Friday, 24 April 2009

Polish word of the day: 0032009

Today's Polish Word of the Day, ladies and gentlemen, is:


Definitions in English, according to my dictionary: evidence, avowal, declaration, declarement (dictionary published in Poland, possibly without the assistance of a native-speaker proofreader) deposition, return, statement, testimony, utterance, witness.

And - because context is all (said King Lear, no, wait, that was ripeness. Still another month to go until strawberry season, sigh) - an example of usage:

zeznanie podatkowe o dochodzie

Yes it's that time of year again. What's the problem? I hear you ask. Pinolona works in the UK now - surely she's just a temporary resident of Poland, what's with the tax declaration?

Well, that was what I thought. Only... towards the end of February, my old employers sent a PIT-11 to my parents' house. I saved a copy of the pdf on my computer and thought no more about it. After all, I've already paid, right? And it was only four teeny tiny little months after all. And for the rest of the year I was registered as a proper Sole Trader in the UK, with National Insurance contributions and everything (you can pay online - it's very dangerous actually, once I had to run home in a panic, thinking I had accidentally paid 300GBP to Her Majesty's Inland Revenue instead of my credit card bill). You know and I know that by 2050 they won't be paying out state pensions any more, but let's pretend, because it makes us feel better about not having a private pension scheme yet.

Then, I heard a vicious rumour that anyone in possession of a PIT-11 (and that would be me: I picked the thing up - with tongs - from my parents' place over Easter) is liable to a GodAlmighty Fine should they fail to fill in the next PIT form (I forget which, thirty something I think) by April 30. That, ladies and gentlemen, would be next Thursday.

Oh crap.

See now, I really, honestly meant to deal with it as soon as I got back from the UK after Easter. But in the way that we deal with things we don't really want to deal with, when we really hope they'll just slip away out of sight and out of mind. So I wrote a few emails, I sent a couple of facebook messages, felt very efficient, and made a cup of tea to celebrate. And then... well, some work came up. And there were a couple of other things to do. And there were train tickets to buy, and classes starting again, and routine maintenance like fringe trimming and bikini waxes (no there won't be a post. It's not that sort of website). Not to mention 'accidentally' staying in Bunkier Sztuki for three hours after salsa class. Or going out for an 'essential' pub meeting to 'practice my French' (if it's in French, it counts as work, not socialising).

Then, of course, I simply had to go to Budapest for the weekend. It would be a crime to have lived in Central Europe for almost two years and not have visited one of its most beautiful capital cities. Photos to come. Don't change the subject!

Now we all know how it is. When we know we are going on holiday on Friday night, do we work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday? Like fun we do. But that's fine, right? We can do the rest when we get back. Because the translation isn't due until next Friday morning. And it's a nice easy document, only 57 slides. And we've already translated... wait a minute ... thirteen.
No problem!
Thursday night was a little painful.

Did I mention the mid-term exams?

Our teachers were very casual about this. Too casual for my liking. I knew in advance that we would have exams after the holidays. Around late March, I started to get anxious, but little information was forthcoming. Now, when I'm going to have exams, I want to know when, where, on what, and exactly what percentage of my final grade this will constitute.* On Tuesday, I returned from Budapest having missed Monday's class.
- Do we have an exam on Thursday? I asked the other students
- Probably
- Probably?! Didn't she say?
- Well... not in so many words...

(please note that we all speak in Polish together and this is therefore pretty impressive. I'm really looking forward to visiting my Japanese classmates when they move back home and communicating in Polish in the middle of Tokyo, for no reason other than that we love it).

Anyway. We had exams. I had work. And it was all over by about 11.30 this morning. Dressed in my bestest**, I emerged, blinking, into the sunlight and tripped carefree up Grodzka to the Urząd Skarbowy.

I was so good, you would have been so proud. This time last year, I posted my declaration on the last possible day (a Sunday) at the 24-hour post office in front of the station. I was so hungover - after a sushi goodbye party, with saki, for a Japanese friend - that I retched all over the side entrance. I sat down on the step for a moment, wearing rather scruffy boots under my summer skirt and carrying a plastic bag. An old man swore at me and tossed a few grosz in my direction. I was a disgrace.

This time was much better. I checked the notices first, clocked 'enquiries' on the second floor and went straight upstairs. I even remember to pick up a PIT-37 for my flatmate on the way.
I got to the top. There were queues of people everywhere, and I could see this was going to require elbow power. But no! Wait! The queue by the enquiries okienko mercifully consisted of one woman only. I arrived, I explained my situation and...
- ah no. Pani has an English address. You should go to the other Urząd.
- Excuse me?
- This is Stare Miasto. Since you don't have a Polish address, you should go to Śródmieście.
- Where is that exactly?
- Krowoderskich Zuchów
- Ah.

Krowodrza is a suburban district in the north of the city.

There was only one thing left to do.

I bought an obwarzanek, walked home in the sunshine, and went rollerblading for two hours.

Now I'm looking for a friend with a car, to drive me to this Krowoderskich Zuchów place...

*This is a more or less accurate representation of my attitude in this regard:
**When I was an Erasmus student in Italy, there was a Polish girl in my French literature class (don't ask why we studied French literature in Italy. Something about ECTS credits). She showed up to the final exams beautifully turned out and explained that in Poland, one always dresses up for an oral exam. I followed her example.


Bennox said...

Krowoderskich Zuchow's not far away! I went there once, and was sent to several different offices, before it turned out I needed to be going to Stare Miaston instead.

pinolona said...

It looks far away!

And I have to get Two buses to get there...

Anonymous said...

Pinolona, you have survived the trip to Katowice without any scars, so it should be really no problem to take a tram to the Krowoderskich street.

pinolona said...

ah... I had a lift to Katowice. It was only the trip back that I survived. And getting back to somewhere is not as difficult as getting to somewhere.