One from the vault - one of my many duties as an (un)diplomatic wife was to staff the overseas voting booth ... And so we head back to 2010 ... Number these from one to five,' I say, handing an older man his green form. 'But I don't know any of them, how am… Continue reading (Polish) Democracy Sausage
A little excerpt from my book about a Polish Christmas gathering. *** 'Jay,' my Polish friend Natalia said to get my attention, 'in Australia do you really sing that song - Waltzing Matilda?' 'Sure. Not every day, but ...' 'So, let's sing it! How does it start?' '"Once a jolly swagman ..."' I started, Natalia… Continue reading Sleep in heavenly peace
"When the living walk among the dead, we remember there is less between us than we might like to think." Young people in Poland mark Halloween in much the same way as people all over the world these days; it's an opportunity to dress up and have a bit of a crazy night out. But… Continue reading Halloween – Polish style
People planning to visit us in Poland usually run their draft itinerary past me. And at some point, they almost all pause and sigh. “I suppose I should visit Auschwitz, shouldn’t I?” they ask. I always wonder how I should answer. Should you visit Auschwitz? Nazi concentration camps are certainly something you can choose to… Continue reading Should you visit Auschwitz?
The steam engine belches steam and coal dust. Metal wheels grate on metal rails as we hurtle towards our top speed of 90 kph. Every ten minutes the engineer, Marek, bends forward and holds an ear towards the furnace, a huge expanse of coals that sucks in oxygen and spews out intense heat. Steam hisses… Continue reading Wolsztyn – Full steam ahead!
Hi. My name’s Jay, and I’m an expat wife. It’s been two years since my I traded in my day job for the expat spouse gig, and followed my husband’s career to Warsaw. And I have another confession to make. It’s not quite what I expected. I know plenty of people have reservations about giving… Continue reading Losing my Virginity
It’s halfway across the intersection — as I’m mid-turn, on the wrong side of the road, on the wrong side of the car, with the gear stick having inconveniently turned into a window winder — that I realise I have no idea what’s going on. So I revert to a trick I’ve perfected in my… Continue reading There’s no place like …
The ground floor of the former Warsaw Communist Party Headquarters is now a Ferrari dealer, yet the Polish cars of the Soviet era still putter about its streets as though nothing's changed. Patryk Mikiciuk from Warsaw’s Motoring Museum divulges a few of their secrets. What cars were typical on the streets of post-war Warsaw? The… Continue reading ‘If only they could talk.’ Polish cars of the Soviet era
If you come to visit me in Warsaw, it’s likely I’ll suggest visiting the Jewish cemetery in Bródno. And we’ll get on a tram and head to the entrance, on Sw. Wincentego Street. And there, you may start to wonder if I’ve got the right place. Isn’t that just an old, overgrown forest of silver… Continue reading Things long buried
I arrived on the scene of my first fully fledged translation emergency to find a professional Polish translator in his sixties, with a snowy-white beard and thick glasses, sobbing into his English-Polish dictionary. In impeccable, Oxford-accented English, he looked up at me with his red-rimmed eyes and summarised his problem in four words: Rex Hunt’s… Continue reading Rex Hunt’s Translation Adventures