I have spent now bit more than half of my “given time” in Poland and in Wroclaw. Having a Lutheran cultural background I do not know if I dare to really say this because it might get back to me in negative way even already tomorrow, but still I say it. My expectations have been far, far exceeded.
I just enjoy :)
Wroclaw has became my home in a way that I do not feel like tourist in here. Maybe I do not feel like a local either, but I have not felt like local anywhere in last six years… I have gotten used to Polish language, so that when travelling back from Russia the Warsaw airport atmosphere felt like heading back to home, because of the familiar language. Earlier this autumn I heard two former colleagues (a Slovak and a Pole) mention about how they miss Finnish language, and it felt weird to me because neither of them speak nor understand it. But now I know what they meant.
Biggest positive surprise have been people. Not that I would have expected them to be “not nice”, but I could not expect kindness, warmth and openness that I have had privilege to experience. Absolutely best moments of the whole stay are the moments when I've could really feel that connection when thoughts, visions, sense of humor or only the "brainwaves" in general have been tuned into same frequency, and language or cultural context have not mattered.
Part of my nature is to consider things from several viewpoints and sometimes to be unsecure and suspicious, or actually to avoid being naive, I have to consider or at least notify to myself being conscious of the fact that I am a foreigner here, and to some that is something exotic and interesting. On couple of work related situations it has been very clearly visible that I am being treated differently because of being not-Polish. That was with people from same company, but who I had never before met. For them I was only “not Polish”. I discussed about this with one of my colleagues, and he confirmed from his experiences also that the phenomena does exist, foreigners are treated “better” than Polish.
Because of these reasons cynical side of me has thought myself whether the kindness I so much enjoy is every time or even at all genuine, but maybe only a way to try to gain something.
It is true that for majority of people with who I’m in touch with I am a project manager, team lead, trainer, sent from headquarters – whatever you want to call it – but anyhow in position in which I am in certain way responsible of people’s performance and work delivery, and on the other hand not in same organization that all of others. That brings or might bring certain tone into relationship. But isn’t it so that not many people encounters are without some kind of background setup existing? Rarely do you start on clean table. One should “get over it”, not pay too much attention to it and see the real person behind. And I am not in a position that via me anything special could actually be gained. Not at work, neither in civil life. I have paid special attention especially in work related situations not even on mistake ever to give that impression even on a mistakenly spoken sentence that could be wrongly understood. I have been very careful, maybe too suspicious even, on being professional in that sense. And I do not want to be cynical. Why to suspect the worst and why not to just believe in the good in people? Especially because I have absolutely none reason whatsoever to think for a moment that any of people I deal with at work would be anything but genuine. The same kindness and hospitality I’ve received from persons not related to work at all.
If people are the big good thing, lack of people is the big bad thing as well. As I left here alone I do not have colleagues, an “expat community”, or any existing connection to people in same position than me. I did not even think of that before moving and was not able to “worry” about it. But if I now needed to pinpoint something I miss most that would be it. Of course I “miss” family and friends (yes you guys there!!!), but it is different, because most of the time back home on Helsinki I did not have you in daily life either. But the “peer” group of people having the same foreign background, with whom to share the experiences I am having and who would have felt the same; that’s the thing I miss.
To sum up some of the bubbling; I have felt more like home in here than I did during first three months in Helsinki after moving there. Maybe at least occasionally even more home than ever in there. I do not know what to think of that. Of course I am older, hopefully wiser, more confident and knowing myself and my personal goals, likes and dislikes better, and therefore can define my place at world better, no matter of the physical location. But still. Sometimes earlier I thought that returning back to region where I have had the best and happiest time of my life this far would be where to aim at, but now I suppose it is not. That part was already done. There is so much of world still to see, people to meet, experiences to live, work to do, that it just does not make sense return or try to return to something that has passed.