“Because we want to, because we want to” – Billie Piper.
Almost everyday for the last 16 years or so of my life (in countries I lived in such as Australia, England, Hong Kong before Poland) I have had to put up with the same question from other people, mostly locals. This nosey question that some people seem to love, for their own sadistic self-gain:
“Why are you here?” / “Why do you live here?” / “Why Hong Kong? Why Australia? Why Poland?”
I’ve answered it a thousand times in different ways, with sarcasm, with sincerity, with no reason for my answer, with no logic. I’ve destroyed the question, I’ve become angry at the lack of understanding, intelligence or sympathy from the asker. The question becomes tiresome after a while because in truth the only reason we are ever where we are should be because we want to be. I like it here. I want to be here. That’s why I’m here. That’s why everybody is everywhere, in theory.
“We’re here because we’re here” – Northern Ireland football fans.
But my answer or range of answers is still not good enough for some weird scrutinistic people. People so lacking in confidence in their own lives or the very reason they are here, that they pick on others to interrogate and they keep asking the same question, normally expecting one of the five fake answers below.
“Time and time and time again, are you here for my pleasure?” – Shed Seven.
After explaining that I like Poland and I want to live here, that I chose to live here, comes a second question:
“Yes, but why do you want to live here?” / “Yes, but why do you like Poland?”
At this point I sometimes gaze mirroric in disbelief. I normally just say something like:
- “read my blog, I list reasons on there”
- “you have a great country, why, don’t you like your own country?”
- “I’m only here to eat pierogi Ruskie”
- “stop asking such stupid questions, let’s turn the tables, why are you here?”
and I soon realise I don’t need friends that don’t like my answers, or my sincerity, or that don’t respect that some of us are so strong minded and powerful to make up our own decision. I chose and continue to choose my own destiny in life. I am here because I want to be here. Got it?
Some people get even more confused and surprised when I tell them I have visited well over 130 countries yet chose Poland. Almost as if they think those other 130 countries are somehow “better” to live in than Poland. Well, they are not, otherwise I would live in Benin, or in Turkmenistan, or in Ecuador, or in Slovakia, or in Myanmar, or in England. But those countries were great to be a tourist, or to stay for a while at that point in my life but not to live in, here, today in 2019. Poland is streets ahead for me at the moment. Here are some articles about why I like Poland (and 10 other countries):
- My top 11 countries from the first 100 I visited
- Stonewall reasons to live in Poland
- My travel Podcast on my journey round the world to Poland
- My interview with Careers in Poland on why I love Poland
- My interview with ExPat focus on why I love Poland
- My interview on My Second Home Poland
- My interview on Global Weby
There is also a less menacing question, which merits a much easier answer…
So, what brought you to Poland?
Well to be honest I have been here to Poland over 20 times now so each time it was a different method of transport that brought me to Poland at different times.
- In 2005 it was a train from Berlin to Warszawa
- In 2007 it was a flight from Minsk to Warszawa
- In 2016 it was a bus from Budapest to Kraków
But seriously though, here are five reasons that definitely didn’t bring me to Poland and reasons that are wrongly assumed by buck eejits (read: unintelligent imbeciles) who ask such questions. Keep asking, the answer remains the same.
“The world had turned and I’d become a stranger; and I’m tired of watching all the flowers turn to stone” – Noel Gallagher.
Fake Reason 1:”Oh, your company sent you here”
Some people really believe that a person is so weak that their lives are controlled or dictated to by a “company”. Think again. Why would I “be here in Poland” because a so-called “company” sent me here. Companies don’t send people anywhere, unless those people are puppets that cannot make up their own minds. People have freedom of choice and movement.
I have a strong, confident and powerful mind. I make my own moves in life. I control my own destiny. I have my own companies. I don’t get pushed or bullied around by companies who “send people somewhere”. Imagine being sent somewhere by a company, your life is not yours anymore…
I’m pretty glad I no longer work for corporate, commercial, capitalist companies and cannot be controlled by such egotistic globally-destructive capitalists. So no, I’m not here “because my company sent me here”.
Fake Reason 2:”You’re married to a Polish girl”
Check my fingers and you will discover I am not wearing a ring and I am not married. That’s the same as unmarried. I am a single gentleman without a wife. So forget your pre-conceptions that lots of immigrants are here because they are married to a Polish man or Polish woman. Most of us are not, nor crave to be. Mixed marriages in Poland (and in most countries) make up less than 5% of the population.
If I get married in life, it will be to a girl I love and want to be with. If that lady happens to be Polish, then so be it. She might equally be Japanese, Lithuanian, Congolese, Surinamese, Belarusian. She could be from Rotterdam, or anywhere…love has no geography.
In fairness to this answer though, by living in Poland where 95% of females are Polish, then there is a higher chance that my girlfriends will be Polish. That much is true, I admit that but it would be the same in every country then wouldn’t it. If I was in Ecuador now, it would be more likely I get an Ecuadorian girlfriend. But no, I didn’t move here for my wife, or to find my wife. I’m unmarried. Incidentally the excellent Krakcast (Krakow Podcast) this week has a cool debate on why you are more likely to see a Polish lady with a foreign guy than a Polish gentleman with a foreign lady. Food for thought. The future hasn’t happened yet.
So no, I’m not here “because I married a Polish girl”. Ring unbought.
Fake Reason 3: “Oh, you have Polish ancestry/family”.
No, no and no. My full name on my birth certificate is Jonny Scott Blair. I was born in Northern Ireland. My parents and grandparents are Northern Irish. Before that, my ancestry was either Northern Irish, Irish or Scottish. None of the previous 5, 6 or 7 generations were Polish. I don’t even speak Polish.
So nothing about my history of my ancestors or family could link me to Poland. Blair is an Ulster-Scots name. Port Blair is in Andaman Islands off the coast of Myanmar and was colonised by the British – and yes I visited Port Blair in 2016…However, the town of Blair (with its castle) is in Scotland and I’ve never been there, but it’s on my list.
Jonny and Scott are regular Northern Irish, Irish or British forenames. None of them have any Polish link. I sometimes jokingly refer to myself as Janek Blairowski or Jan Blairowek. But this is merely comedy. I’m a Northern Irish as they come. In fact I’m a Northern Irish nationalist, a rare breed in a land of extreme left-wing voters. My first trip to Poland was actually as a Northern Ireland football fan to watch my country AGAINST Poland. We lost 1-0.
So no, I’m not here “because I have Polish ancestry”.
Fake Reason 4: “Oh, you’re an Erasmus student”.
When I first heard the word “erasmus” I didn’t know what it meant. I had never heard of such a word. I studied English Literature up to the age of 22 and still I had never encountered the word “erasmus”. Then, while living in Poland I discovered this word as many younger folk kept mentioning it. While staying in hostels as a tourist, some people would ask me if I was an Erasmus student. Of course it’s flattering as a 30+ year old to be classed as still looking young enough to be 20 – 25 (average age for Erasmus students), but no I am not an Erasmus student.
I have however studied Polish in Gdańsk (at Study Polish in Gdańsk) and in Warszawa (at Klub Dialogu), but no I did not move here on an Erasmus programme. Part of me perhaps wishes that when I was a student 16 years ago that I had this option of Erasmus but I didn’t have such an option when I was studying in Bournemouth University. However if I had that option, then I probably would have used it, and became more well travelled than I am today.
So no, I’m not here “on an Erasmus programme”.
Fake Reason 5: “Oh, not married but then you must have a Polish girlfriend”.
As explained in point 2, again no. I am a single Northern Irishman in Poland. I do not have a Polish girlfriend, nor am I dating Polish girls, nor am I looking for Polish girls. The last two girls I met up with for what could be considered “dates” were a Lebanese lady and a Russian lady. Yes I dated 2 Polish ladies before, but long after I moved here. I certainly didn’t come to Poland to find a girlfriend. What a stupid reason, are people really this unintelligent?
I have visited over 130 countries and none of them did I visit with an intention of finding a girlfriend. Love is a tough emotion and is natural in life. We don’t force it and we certainly don’t move to a new country “to find love”, a completely ridiculous assumption.
So no, I’m not here “because I have a Polish girlfriend”.
And that’s it really. Of course those who follow my blogs on this website, on my Facebook Page, Twitter Feed and Instagram Profile will know that I do love these things about Poland and all of them together can help explain why I WANT to live here and why I like living here:
- I have some brilliant Polish friends
- It’s a safe country
- It’s a peaceful country
- It’s a progressive country
- It’s sceptical of capitalist twats (e.g. Dunkin Donuts was a recent failure)
- It has a strong sense of pride
- It has a strong government
- It is well connected by land (it borders 7 other countries)
- I love the cuisine (pierogi, bigos, the Bar Mlecznys etc.)
- I love the local bars and cafes (the non-global ones)
- I love the up and coming Craft Beer scene
- It’s a football loving country
- I love a good Stary Rynek (old town square) in an unknown town (I love them)
- I love the trains and transport system
- I love the diversity of landscape (deserts, beaches, mountains, rivers, lakes, forests)
- I like the pricing system (Australia and Northern Ireland are too dear to me)
“In the field of opportunity, it’s plowing time again” – Neil Young.