October 21, 2013
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?
“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.