I just spent a month back in the States – traveling, visiting friends and family, and taking care of some repairs and improvements for the home we still own in Tucson. What most homeowners take care of over the course of a year, we have to squeeze into a few weeks.
|New seat covers and a fresh coat of paint for my favorite swing|
|The bricks that have been sitting in our backyard finally became a walkway|
When it was time to return to Poland, I started thinking about the things I had enjoyed the most and would miss upon my return. Family and friends are of course at the top of the list.
For creature comforts, I miss having a clothes dryer. Our flat in Poznan has a washing machine, a front loader that uses almost no water, but runs VERY long cycles. No kidding, I think a load of whites takes 3 hours. Then the clothes have to be hung on a rack. On a good day, and there are few of those drying-wise, the laundry might be dry the next day. Depending on the laundry and the weather, it might take two or three days. It seemed like such a luxury/convenience to get up in the morning, wash a load while having my tea and have the clothes dry, fluffy, soft and wrinkle-free by the time I’d finished my bath.
Which brings me to another thing I miss. Our AZ home has a garden (deep and wide) bath tub. I love filling it with steaming water and soaking. It would be just the thing on a cold, Polish winter day, but our flat only has a shower. When we’re traveling, it’s a treat to find a hotel with a decent bath tub.
It was also nice to have a large oven. I made a three layer cake for my sister’s birthday and was able to put all three cake pans in the oven at once. I have jokingly referred to our little apartment oven as an easy bake oven. It holds only one 9 inch pan at a time, so baking three layers can take a couple of hours.
|My favorite chocolate cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream|
I made reference to some of these things on facebook as I was packing, and a few hours later a Polish friend made a comment about foreigners bashing Poland. I checked with her to see if my remarks had been taken as making fun of Poland and Polish things. No, it wasn’t me. But to be fair, I should also comment on the things I missed about Poland while I was in the states.
I missed the extensive public transportation system. We almost never drive anywhere in Poznan. We go by tram, bus, or walk. It’s normal to walk here. There are sidewalks everywhere; that’s not the case in Tucson – no sidewalk in front of our home, no sidewalk on many busy streets in our part of town. People don’t assume something is wrong if you’re walking in Poland. I felt so American when I drove a mile (1.6 km) to my friend’s house for dinner; I walk that far to go to the supermarket all the time in Poznan. True it was probably 95 degrees out (35 C), and I was bringing something that was chilled. To top it off, our daughter joined us later, so we had two cars at their house.
I also missed affordable food. Food has gotten so expensive in the US. I picked up things for a few meals and some vitamins, three bags of groceries was $111 (or about 300 zl). The only time we spend that much money on groceries in Poland is when we’re hosting a dinner party for 8, an overflowing shopping cart, not three bags. Even though the supermarkets are bigger, they didn’t seem to be better stocked. There were still things I wanted that they didn’t carry. How many facings of the same product do I need to see?
|I picked these beauties up on my way home from the lake today at a local produce shop, 4.36 zl or $1.39 at today’s exchange rate.|
The TV news was another thing that I found lacking stateside. The little Polish news that I see or the English speaking European news channels seem to generally be presenting the news of the day. Our local news (KGUN 9, in case their news department has a google search going) spends much of their morning news show talking about their facebook page – their latest question, responses posted on their page, at length. It’s not news and not the best use of social media either. Someone called them on this point and the morning co-anchor defended the practice saying it was like talk around the water cooler. Since when is water cooler gossip news worthy?
I guess the lesson, as we are soon to find out where we’ll be spending the next few years is that you can find something to like anywhere. Some possibilities will make that easier than others. Remind me of this point if we find ourselves in Yuma, AZ (the sunniest place on earth with only 3 inches of rain a year).