34 COMMENTS

So, I know a lot of this video was about me being awkward and nervous. I’m sure a lot of people might be wondering why. It’s a bit difficult to explain, but I’ll give it a shot.

Poland was very difficult for me. All of the other countries I went to I was fresh and adventurous and fun. In Poland, I was felt very heavy, very pensive, and couldn’t enjoy it as I wanted to. That’s not to say that I didn’t like Poland. I loved it. I was exceptionally happy to be there. I just had too many emotions burdening me as well.

Last time I was in Poland was when I was 16 years old. I went there for a month to visit family. I stayed at my aunt’s place most of the time. We’d go to Warsaw from time to time, and her husband would show me different historical places.

“This is the statue of Mr. Suchandsuch. It’s very important. Do you know why?
“no”
“You should! You’re Polish! You need to know history!”
“I don’t care for my history.”

And the conversation would end with him looking befuddled. What kind of a Polish man was I if I didn’t care for my roots? Not a very good one, that’s for sure.

At the same time, my Polish isn’t great. I’m highly functional. I understand everything being said to me, but I don’t know how to write in Polish, and my grammar is horrendous. I think in English and translate into Polish. My Polish is embarrassing to me. I speak it with my parents, but not with my brother and sister. My brother hates it when I speak Polish to him. My pronunciation is terrible. Better to speak English.

I know a few gyopos here in Korea. A gyopo is someone who’s ethnically Korean, but didn’t grow up in Korea. Some gyopos don’t speak Korean fluently. I know many of them are treated not so kindly because they’re not “fully Korean.” They should speak the language! Hell, we get yelled at online for not speaking enough Korean, but we’re not even Korean! Korean people that don’t speak Korean? They get a tongue lashing from ajummas. Yes, I know that’s not the case for EVERYONE, but this happens to many that I know. But that’s not the point I’m getting at.

My great discomfort in going to Poland was that my identity as a Polish person was incredibly weak. Apart from being born to Polish parents, eating some Polish food from time to time, and speaking the language abysmally, I could barely consider myself a part of these people. My pilgrimage back to the motherland had me embarrassed and ashamed. I didn’t want to disappoint all of the Nasties we’d meet there, all of whom knew I was Polish. I was worried most people would be like “oh. So…that’s who we relate to? Umm…that’s lame” I was so concerned that I’d let everyone down.

What hit me the hardest, and still hits me now as I write this, is how supportive and loving everyone was in the audience. Holy shit guise. The way Martina cried on stage in Sweden is how I was almost getting on stage. My voice quivered at some points and I had to stop talking. Seeing so many smiling faces out there when I felt so deeply that I didn’t deserve it was something that was extremely difficult for me to process. Even now I’m finding this post very difficult to write.

This was also very special for me because of my parents. When they came to Canada they were very poor. Very poor. And I was such a shitty teenager, and constantly disappointing them. To be able to go back to Poland to a crowd of loving people made my parents so extremely happy and proud. Thank you for doing this, not just for my own sake, but for theirs as well. Thank you so much.

I’m gonna stop now before Martina sees me get emotional. She’s busy editing Amsterdam and I don’t want to disturb her. I’ll leave this post with a link to the pictures from the event. For the Poland Day 2 video coming later today we’ll post the rest of our Poland adventure pics.

ToFebruary
  1. Hey Simon, I think I can relate somehow to how you feel, I’m Mexican American, all of my family is directly from Mexico, including my parents. Spanish is my first language, although I regret that I don’t speak as fluently as I’d like, I’m not bad, but I feel like I along with others know my Spanish should be better. It doesn’t help that I really like Korean( & Japanese) culture, music, and boys, more than most of my own culture. I like the way one movie put it (Selena) I’m not American enough for the Americans and not Mexican enough for the Mexicans. It’s frustrating, but I find it’s best to just be myself regardless of how others feel about me “losing my culture” and “forgetting my roots”. My interests involve many cultures, and I like it that way, it’s best to remember that for me. Don’t worry too much about these types of things all of us like you the way you are :)

  2. Ow Simon, I want to give you hugs <3

  3. I think I know how you feel Simon… I know the past is important, because it contributed at who you are today but you just need to keep it as a reference point…keep what memories you think are important… that can help you strive to always become a better and better person or could help others do so…

    I don’t know my own history that well either… I know a few history related things… but even if I knew my entire history with every detail… that still wouldn’t make me a patriot… I don’t even know how to express in my own language sometimes, to make myself fully understood and I don’t like my country… nevertheless… I don’t think I can love a country in its entirety… there’ll always be bits and pieces… in the end…love is where your heart is.

    ♥♥♥♥♥♥

  4. Lol I think “more then” should be “more than” on the bingo sheet @2:47. I don’t know why I find typos humorous. :)

  5. I understand somewhat how you feel. Except for me its a different situation. I grew up speaking Spanish and English at the same time; trying to find out as much as I can about my parents’ cultures. I learned very little because my extended family (aunts/cousins/uncles they all live in Canada, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico) does not live near me nor are there many Peruvian or Guatemalan people around where I live (here the hispanic population is pre-dominantly Puerto Rican, Dominican, or Colombian). It also doesn’t help that I never have visited either of my parents’ home countries because both places are technically “unsafe”. That and neither of my parents know what their countries are like anymore, my mom left Peru for Venezuela before she turned 20 and my dad left Guatemala when he was 8 (and a complete true New Yorker). I can say its because of that I grew up so Americanized that even in high school my classmates in AP Spanish (college level) would mock me for being too “gringa”. I chose to become more fluent in Spanish to connect with it better and also because I want to learn many more languages.

  6. Oh, Simon. I just want to hug you. Thank you for sharing this with us. Your Polish Nastes love you and they’re proud to have you represent them. I think it’s true that a lot of people don’t truly embrace who they are and where they came from until much later in life. And it’s great that they do, because where they came from is so rich in traditions and culture. This may not exactly be the same thing because there was no language barrier, but it happened to me. I’m half English and half Canadian and I was born and raised in the United States. Growing up, it’s not that I didn’t care about the English side, but when I wasn’t in America I was mostly visiting my relatives in Canada (with rare visits to England scattered in there) so I didn’t think much of the English side of my family. The most I remember thinking about it was, “We’re going to see a play and there’s going to be great candy and Beano/Dandy comics.” When I went to college I was an English Lit major and had the opportunity to study abroad. I chose England because it’s such a literary country. While there, I thought, “This is my family and this is my country and I’m proud to call myself British.”

  7. Martina, at minute 5:16 when you start speaking Polish, with the inflection in your voice, you sound just like the characters in the video game series The Sims :-).

  8. OMG, guise you made me soo teary. Meeting you in Warsaw, talking with you, and now I’m watching video, reading post, and what I see link to the pictures that I made during fanmeeting. It’s too much, I feel so emotional, so proud and… awwww. Thank you Simon and Martina.
    And Simon,
    you can be proud of your polish, you didn’t born in Oland you didn’t live here, and still you are able to speak a little bit. Many polish people who go to live in another country forget polish after 1-2 years, or even pretend that they aren’t polish.
    You don’t do it, you trying to speak which is great and all polish nasties are proud of it. And you say loud that you are polish. Thank you for it.
    Moreover you even promote Poland, you introudce to others our food, and say that’s delicious. That’s really a lot. Thank you for it.
    And with grammar, you know that polish is one of the hardest languages, even polish people who live in Poland from ages doesn’t speak correctly in polish.

    I was really glad to meet you both, Simon and Martina. Thank you for everything

    (bb cream,biotechnologist ^^, if you remember me Martina)

  9. Now I need to add to my grocery list:

    Pierogies (Which auto-correct wants to correct to groupies…hmm maybe I don’t need to make it plural…)
    Stuff to make Stuffed Cabbage (which is what my family has always called it because I don’t think they know the name for it and even if they did, don’t think they would have been able to pronounce it).

    All that food looks so good! Goes back to eating my lunch.

  10. I forgot to mention they moved here to make my life better and I am proud of that

  11. I totally understand you. I am a Spanish American, but I can’t speak it fluently. I can understand all of it but my grammar and speaking skill are like a 3 year old. In America I have friends who are like me so it’s not so bad. But over Christmas break I went to Puerto Rico. I was was so nervous. I had never been there before and I have like 100 family members over there. When they tried to have a conversation with me I could under what they said, but then I spoke like a 3 year old and they gave up on having a conversation with me. Some of my family even would reprimand me on how I should know how to speak Spanish and how I don’t know my culture. The trip was fun and I did have fun on the trip and I had some Spanish cousins who spoke English. They helped me a lot. I do feel ashamed for not knowing Spanish, but my family moved to America and I very proud of them for doing that.

  12. I agree with Sei, I know a whole load of Polish teenagers/people who live in the UK (like me- i am polish and live in the uk practically all my life) who actually really want to go back to poland because life in the UK isnt as dreamy as everybody makes it out to be! ofc i am not generalising, there are those that love it, there are those that hate it… my point is i have no idea what you mean by this ‘most of us young people dont feel a bond with our country’ ahaha please ;D do not speak for the majority!

  13. hellu simon and martina – i just wanted to say that im sad that you THOUGHT that polish fans would NOT support you…. i just want to remind you the Nasties love you for who you are not where you are from!!!! you being polish is only an additional connection that fans have to you however its not the primary one! Despite your discomfort i hope you enjoyed it in poland, us polish fans absolutely love you guys and i hope the next video will show us in a more… positive light… thx for all the vids

  14. hellu simon and martina – i just wanted to say that im sad that you THOUGHT that polish fans would NOT support you…. i just want to remind you the Nasties love you for who you are not where you are from!!!! you being polish is only an additional connection that fans have to you however its not the primary one! Despite your discomfort i hope you enjoyed it in poland, us polish fans absolutely love you guys and i hope the next video will show us in a more… positive light… thx for all the vids :)

  15. omg simon you’re the sweetest ;_;

  16. Simon, the thing is that you don’t deny that your family came from Poland and that’s cool and I think that it makes Polish Nasties proud and happy, at least I am :). You don’t need to know all the things about Poland and now you have time to learn our history, of course only if you want to. Angry youngster is far behind, be happy where you are now :)

  17. Ah, I know the feeling. I’m a 华裔, that is, a gyopo but for Chinese people. (Though I’m only half Chinese). I speak Chinese with my mom, and I’ve visited China every year, and even though it kinda feels like my second home, it also feels like I’m just a visitor, that this isn’t my country. My Chinese is just like a Chinese child’s: perfect pronunciation, (almost) perfect grammar, but a miniature vocabulary, and I feel so stupid when I start to speak to Chinese people and they think that I can speak perfectly, and then they say something and I just don’t understand. (But at least I have it a bit easier than others since I look half foreign!) Thing is, it’s impossible to maintain two nationalities perfectly if you grow up in one country. That’s just the way it is, and we all know how teenagers are – it’s not cool to be different from the other kids, and so we start rejecting our heritage. I hated China up till I was maybe 18 or so, but this summer I came back from having studied Chinese in Beijing for one year (I’m 21 now). When I was there I was angry with myself for letting myself forget and push away so much of my Chinese and my heritage, but really, who can blame us? I think it’s something that most kids of multiple nationalities go through, and it’s up to ourselves to grow up and start taking care of it when we’re older and more mature. You still have your Polish embedded in you, it’s not too late to start learning again. If you want to.

  18. Hey Simon, it’s okay. Even if you feel like you don’t deserve the nasty-love, you do. We don’t see you as “Simon the polish guy that should he able to speak polish” we see you as “Simon the super epic fun guy”! So don’t worry about it because the culture you were born in doesn’t define you as a person, your actions do. So Simon, don’t be sad or embarrassed because we nasties will support you no matter what! :D
    x Meike from the Netherlands

  19. It’s decided. I’m gonna move to Poland and eat all your food!!! ALL OF IT!!!!!

  20. But Simon, it’s being you that’s important. Us Nasties dont love you because of where you come from; I’ll bet every single one of those Nasties were thinking “WOW Simon is Polish like us THATS SO COOL” not that you arent Polish enough. Thats not even a thing. Youre a person, not a culture WE LOVE SIMON AS SIMON ^^

  21. I don’t think I can ever fully relate with what you were going through, but uh, there there *pats head*

  22. This is a pretty classic first generation/second generation language outcome. My parents both speak Spanish, but I don’t. I don’t even really understand it. I get a few words here and there so that I can get the gist of what people are talking about, but there are many non-native speakers who understand Spanish MUCH better than I do (let me tell you, I heard about it from my Grandma when she found out that Gwyneth Paltrow spoke Spanish) Sometimes people are surprised that I don’t speak Spanish because my parents both speak Spanish fluently (my father more than my mother. Like Simon, she’s always worried that her grammar is terrible). My parents both grew up in New York City, in a latino neighborhood, so they heard Spanish being spoken around them, but English was the language of school, work, and most importantly, the language of their peers. Language isn’t just what you teach your kids. Kids learn language from what they hear around them, from their friends, from the signs they see, the shows they watch, and the music they hear. Language is a full cultural experience, and the majority of their experience was in English. As a result, English became their default language, and as adults the language of their everyday home life, which is why I don’t speak Spanish. That’s usually how it happens. It isn’t the first generation (children of immigrants) to lose the language, it’s the second generation (grandchildren). So Ajummas and Ajusshis, and Abuelas and Abuelos can grump and grouch all they want. The truth is, no matter what they believe, they wouldn’t have been able to do any better.

  23. This post ;-; I’m so happy that I take the time to read the blog entries, as opposed to just watching the videos as I know some people do. (I know there’s nothing wrong with that, don’t kill me) It just makes me feel so much closer to you guise, and gives such an emotional look at the usual fun side that is shown in the videos. But yeah, this entry especially. Poor nervous Simon ;-; And the fact that it’s like a sort of redemption, coming back to Poland… Egh. I get so emotional about things, even if I’m not really involved in them. I’m so happy for you Simon~!

  24. I understand about not knowing your language and going through the I don’t care phase. I’m first gen Chinese-Canadian and I went through the I don’t care phase as well. I think we all do… My brother has said that he doesn’t want to be Chinese and that he’s not…(rolls eyes)
    Growing up in Vancouver, my parents made me learn how to speak Cantonese until I gave up. Now that I’m older, I regret the decision to quit. Most of my cousins don’t know ANY cantonese and will not be able to have a single conversation. I can speak it, but I can’t read too well and when I speak, I’m awful grammatically, have some slang/accent, and speak at a elementary school level.
    I take Mandarin lessons now, but I’m not comfortable as people stare at me if I don’t know what to say, and I know there are people who will lash at me for not knowing Mandarin.
    I’ve taken greater appreciation for Cantonese and I feel that both my grandmas might like me a bit more for knowing my native tongue and learning about my heritage.
    Wish I could teach most of my cousins and my brother though… One got pissy at a Buddist temple for not understanding blessed jade and one doesn’t think Chinese is important… my parents are trying to force my brother into taking mandarin again…

    Point is… be happy you know some of your language. It may not be a lot, but it is still a part of your heritage.

  25. Aww Simon~
    Seriously you’re just giving all the feels! I feel for you.
    I live on Hawaiian homestead and am like 60%. I’m constantly looked at weird because I don’t speak like everyone else because I don’t have the accent and I know nothing about the Hawaiian language. And it was mainly me refusing because it was constantly shoved down my throat about me learning the language and being Hawaiian.

    I know that me saying don’t feel bad and don’t worry won’t help. But we all love you and I’m proud that you’re open about it, this takes a lot of courage.

  26. Simon, I haven’t had a similar experience, but I wanted to tell you that I found your post really touching. The fact that you were that affected by going to Poland, that you had such strong, mixed emotions and felt so concerned about how you would relate to the country and its people when you got there — this is going to sound weird, but I feel like all those things speak to your character, and to how much you care. I’ve always loved that you and Martina are so honest with us, and this post really exemplified that. *Hugs*

  27. the girl holding the soo zee mask looks a lot like leigh behind a soo zee mask LOL

  28. Simon, I totally get where you’re coming from too. I’m first-gen Portuguese Canadian, and I’m embarrassed of how little of my heritage I actually *know*. Especially growing up in Toronto (where you probably know has a huge Portuguese expat community). My Portuguese is also *highly functional* (totally stealing that BTW), and being around family and friends I feel that they look at me sometimes as ‘less than’ because I’m not fluent, or that my social circle is not made of the same background. I sometimes feel in the middle of 2 worlds: more Portuguese than Canadian with my friends, more Canadian than Portuguese with my relatives (more extended than my immediate family). Add to that the knowledge that my parents are well known in ‘the community’, so growing up I felt doubly judged by people that looked down on me for ‘acting *too* Canadian’ (someone even told me that, once). It’s tough sometimes.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is … I feel you. And don’t feel ashamed. We all made stupid decisions and had bad attitudes when we were teens and thought we were ‘too cool for school’. Feel proud that you’re wanting to learn more now, as an adult. With age comes wisdom and respect, and the desire to know our roots. :) Those people at the fan-meets in Poland ‘get that’. Your parents ‘get that’. :) It would be a LOT worse if we didn’t grow from how we were as kids. lol

  29. Simon, I think I know how you feel. I felt exactly the same when I came to visit Korea Last month. I was born in Seoul, but moved to the U.S. when I was very young. Your description of your emotions mirrored my own, all you had to do was substitute The U.S. for Canada and Korea for Poland. I regret how much time I spent turning my back on my Korean roots and I regret being a shitty kid to my parents who sacrificed so much to move abroad. I’m so glad you had the opportunity to go back to Poland under such fantastic circumstances and thank you for sharing it with all of us! My visit to Korea changed me for the better and seeing your videos keeps the experience fresh and alive. You guise are the best! Your love of life is so contagious, it makes us all the better in seeing the world through your eyes! Thank you again!!!

  30. Aww, Simon! You big dothraki crybaby! You guise are adorable. Nasties won’t judge, we just appreciate how much you’re willing to share with us. As you can clearly tell from the other comments, people in this community can relate *hugs all around*

  31. Dear Simon you are very brave and I commend you! Hugs and best wishes to you and the beautiful mrs. You guys are such a pair and so amazing! I love your hair (Simon) don’t take that the wrong way but it’s super cute! :D you constantly amaze me with your creativity and amazing uses of phallic words! ❤️

  32. Simon, I think I kind of understand you, since I am a first-generation American. It’s like you feel sort of ashamed because of losing some of your parents’ culture, but you really shouldn’t feel that bad. We grow up in a different country than our parents did and mix with new cultures to create our own beautiful cultures.:D

    Don’t be sad; have a hug! ^.^

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