1. What do you miss most about home?
Nobody will probably be surprised if I say that what I miss the most about home is Polish food. You could say – well you can make it here too, if you are a good cook! You can buy potatoes, vegetables, meat here. Of course I can, but it will not taste the same as if made at home. Maybe it’s another type of potatoes, maybe the cows are eating another type of grass, or the water tastes differently… One thing I’m definitely sure about is that Polish Pierogi or Bigos taste better made in Poland.
2. What have you learned working at SHAPE in an international environment that you can take back to your national military?
Patience. I learned that working in such a diverse environment, you have to be patient. Patience means respect to different cultural habits and behaviours you meet here, having contact with over 30 nations. This means understanding people, to give them the chance to express themselves. This also means to wait for other people’s points of view on the same issues. We all speak the same language, but with different levels, accents, vocabulary, so we all need to be patient with others and to others to be understood. It’s amazing that so many people, despite all these differences, can successfully collaborate. Patience means taking your time, not wasting time.
3. What is something unique about Poland that others might not know?
As I didn’t surprise you with missing polish food, now I will surprise you for sure. As everybody knows that in Poland, we drink a lot of vodka (which is only partly true – Poland is not even in the top ten of drinking countries) and we can drink it more than others and still stand on two legs, but did you know that in my country you don’t have to buy water? You can safely drink it directly from the tap! There are cities in Poland like Poznan, which are famous and proud of this fact. How is this possible? Because of still, very clean springs and utilizing the highest possible technology used to make sure that water is clean and healthy – nature. We use clams to check water. Their reaction on single imperfection is immediate and infallible.
4. During normal non COVID times how would you usually celebrate this national day?
Polish Constitution Day is one of the most important national holidays in Poland, next to Independence Day (November 11) and we celebrate it very solemnly. This day is always a day off of work. In all cities, towns and villages local authorities organise cultural events, patriotic gatherings and concerts, historical restoration groups organise parades of vehicles and equipment from the era, usually ending with a firework show. Since it is in May and the weather is usually really nice, there are picnics everywhere so you can try delicious Polish food like sausages from the grill, split pea soup and local drinks and beer. This is going to be the second year, we cannot celebrate this way, but I hope the next year everything will come back to normal, and we will enjoy this holiday as in the past.