Photo by Debbie Castro
I speak English like a native, I understand British culture well, but sometimes I just know I will never fit the mould because at heart I’m very Polish. This blog isn’t about politics or religion, although I may touch on them a little, but about the culture we ‘English Poles’ love so much but don’t always know so well.
Born in the UK to polish parents, my Dad was deported to Siberia as a child and arrived in the UK with the families of the II Polish Corps in 1947. My Mum grew up in Wilno, Krakow, Warsaw and Częstochowa with her mother, arriving here in 1958 to join her father who had stayed in the UK after having been deported to Gemany for forced labour, escaped and joined the II Polish Corps in Italy.
My early memories were tinged with the unspoken trauma of war. Only my Babcia (granny) spoke of it and my favourite bedtime story from her was about her house burning down during the Russian/German front crossing Wilno in 1944. I have survived polish Saturday School, many Akademie (shows), and am now active in harcerstwo (Polish scouting) loving my Polish/English life to the full.
I enjoy hanging out in cafes – checking out new ones especially with a hippy vibe, reading newspapers, blogs, exploring my family history, trying to understand Polish politics, yoga and being outdoors. Since the age of 19 I’ve been to Poland every year. I’ve sailed out of Szczecin, canoed down it’s rivers, walked it’s mountains and the streets of many cities. I’m a wife to an English husband and Mum to a son. I live in lovely leafy Sheffield, though I have lived and worked in Leeds and London.
I love all things beautiful. Cooking Polish food takes me back to my childhood and connects me with many friends who have come from Poland more recently. I adore projects and this is one, as I hope you will agree, that links people of Polish heritage together. There’s something very special about having grown up with an identity that was on the whole, forged in the home.