I'm back - Lock up your burgers!
I achieved some of my mission objectives during my month in England (including delivering Polish fudge and locally-bought fish and chips to my mother). There was drinking, there was eating. Lots of drinking and lots of eating. I accidentally weighed myself a couple of days back and was alarmed to find that I had topped 80Kg. (For those of you wondering how it is possible to "accidentally weigh yourself" I was weighing my luggage, by first weighing myself baggage-less then weight me and suitcase together)
So, what will I miss about "home"?
Cider. Having said that I'm finally getting used to beer. Cider I can just about live without.
Fast internet. While I was there I got my internet upgraded (to make it more reliable and remove any doubt as to where responsibility for any problems lay I got my own router replaced my one of internet service prodiver's superduper new ones). Internet is now a steady 60Mbs. Now that I'm back in Poland I'm using mobile internet again. While I was in the UK I had various technical problems including my mobile phone effectively being rendered useless. So, I bought a new one. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was working at "H+" speeds in the UK. Well, occasionally anyway. Now that I'm back in Poland I can see the magic "4G" in the status bar. Nice.
A local supermarket. Back in Brighton I am lucky to have a medium-sized supermarket within a minute's walk from my house. It served me well during my stay. My high intake of microwaveable lasagnes probably accounts for some of my weight gain. In Kraków my nearest supermarket is 15 minutes walk from the flat (as a bonus there is a North Fish in the shopping centre) and my favourite one (with MacDonald's in the shopping centre) is half an hour's walk away. Good exercise (providing I don't partake of any fast food while getting my shopping done).
Excellent service. Back in England the supermarket checkout staff are always friendly. Contrast this with last night in one of the bars. The bar staff were surly to say the least. No tips for them. They were probably irked by having to stay until the last client leaves. But that doesn't excuse them.
Buffet food. I had a few occasions to go for buffet meals. "Eat as much as you like" they boldly proclaim. I did. That's why my trousers are a little snug. At six or seven pounds these buffet deals give cheap Polish food a run for its money.
Jaywalking. Crossing the road whenever you bloody-well-like is liberating. None of that stupid waiting at a red light no matter what time of day or night it is.
Big money. English coins (on average) are almost double the size of Polish ones. Even after two years I still struggle to count change and usually just end up emptying my change collection on the counter for the shop assistant to pick through. English coins are not only big, but also heavy... sometimes annoyingly so. It seems I just can't win.
So, what do I like about Poland?
Being a foreigner. People always happily ask how I have ended in Poland. Sometimes I even tell them the truth. And if I ever fancy a career change, there's always teaching.
Cheap drinks. Beer in Poland is around one third of the price of the equivalent tipple back in the UK.
Polish trains. Although incredibly slow, they are incredibly cheap. Polish roads are a little too dangerous for my liking too, so trains are a good option.
Learning Polish. Although I have given up actively learning Polish I am still learning. It's good for my brain, as well as being a source of amusement for locals.
So, to sum up...
I'm happy to be back in Poland (even though it's a little cold). Brighton is not necessarily better than Kraków and vice versa. It's just different. I count myself as fortunate for being able to enjoy them both.