hello – by Justyna

6 Apr

The Polish language has a formal and an informal form of address. The word for the informal “hello” is cześć (I am devastatingly bad at phonetics, but I guess it would sound something like cheysht or even chaste (ha!)). Anyway, Poles like being formal to strangers even if they are roughly the same age. Which to my mind is ridiculous, having to address someone as Madam or Sir who happens to be 27 years old and looking after my kid in daycare. But that’s just a cultural thing I guess. I tend not to abide by it and skip the formality by quickly establishing first name basis by providing my own relaxed offer first, “I’m no madam, call me Justyna”. Or something to that effect. It’s a bit harder to convince three year olds to call me ‘you’ after being well trained by their parents to be polite. I’m a loose canon in their courtesy sphere. Anyway. There is one area of informality that is completely, culturally acceptable in Poland. And that’s out in the mountains. It’s one of my favourite interactions with strangers in this country. You trek through and you come across a stranger and you greet one another with the informal ‘cześć’, even if the oncoming stranger happens to be in their seventies and probably in every day life finds the informal address as a sign of a deteriorating world. But the mountains are a true egalitarian environment and we’re all mates in the wilderness. A lovely thought. Wish Poland was all mountains.

On a different hello note: hello! We’re in hospital for Easter!!

This could be a nice tidy post about the health care system in Poland, as in hello! Look what crod I have to put up with, type of a post. But I’m trying to be optimistic. Jules has pneumonia. Got sick from Kazek. Now me, the boob, and the three month old, are hospital bound. Apparently this will take a week. My mobile phone internet access won’t last that long. But today Michal is bringing me a portable wireless plug-in thingy, so I will not be going insane. My parents are driving down for Easter so I will also get some herring salad. My in-laws are going to visit me and Jules on Sunday so will be sorted out with cheesecake. Won’t be so bad.

Happy Easter everyone. May all your eggs be painted accordingly!!


8 Responses to “hello – by Justyna”

  1. Tabitha April 7, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    Poor Julek and poor you! Hope he gets better soon.

    As for the informal mountainous “hello”, this reminds me of the bushwalking “g’day”, which I actually rather disdain. Why do two city people who are out in the bush for one day suddenly feel compelled to greet each other like they’re true-blue bonza beaut Aussies? Must be all that fresh air.

    I was also really uncomfortable with the formal/informal forms of address in French (because I’m a true-blue bonza beauty egalitarian Aussie sheila). But that’s nothing compared to Vietnamese, where to say hello to someone, you have to judge their age as being that of your grandchild, child, sister/brother, aunt/uncle, older aunt/uncle, grandparent or great grandparent. It’s a minefield.

    • Justyna April 8, 2012 at 6:59 am #

      Re. formal/informal – you win.
      Re. g’day in the bush. Now see, I really dig it now (but back in the day in the bush I resolutely stuck to the simple “hello”). And teach Kazek how to say it (sounds like this “day’g, day’g”) My favourite song on Kazek’s Dinky-di cd is “G’day”. I may have told you this already. It has even brought me to tears. When I’m feeling Oz nostalgic. I have fallen into the sheila trap by being so far away from actual sheilas.

  2. Karen April 8, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    How is he now?

    • Justyna April 8, 2012 at 7:00 am #

      Much better. Breathing still a bit rapid but phlegm is on the decline. He’s giggling and feeding well. Worst over I think.

      • Karen April 8, 2012 at 11:34 am #

        That’s good to hear.

        Anika’s lungs are still crackling but she seems chipper and is eating and drinking fine. So I am relaxed in the day time and still worried at night. I guess the upside of being in the hospital is you have some staff to worry for you, if you can actually sleep over all the crying/snoring.

  3. mischb April 8, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    blergh. happy easter indeed. hope little jules is better soon and you can all hot-foot it out of hospital! xx

    • Justyna April 8, 2012 at 7:01 am #

      five more days of slow internet hell!

  4. Beth April 8, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Poor Julek and poor Justyna!! I hope the herring salad, portable internet and cheesecake have kept insanity at bay.

    Giggling is a good sign.

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