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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

How To... Survive A Polish Party

Dearest sweethearts,

Polish people do love to party and it's very common / natural even, to go out after work for a beer or two. Especially if it's Friday! It's a normal attitude to get out and socialise with your team mates and friends. It's a normal thing for Polish people, as they do know how to hold their alcohol. They eat well and are well versed into drinking, so don't even think about going hand in hand with them - take your own sweet time. You don't need to prove yourself, even though they might push you into it - I repeat: they are better trained and have this in their blood, in their genes. Unless if you are Russian; then you might try ;) you guys are hard-core drinkers / party people as well. But let's start from the very beginning - a very good place to start... Polish parties can be done on a daily basis, reasons varying from a birthday or a celebration at work or even the fact that there is good weather outside and a nice pub garden just opened. Every reason is a good reason to have a party and relax with friends. I remember my first year in Poland where there would be a party at least every second day. Now when I say party I mean more of a gathering, not necessarily a pub or a club with a DJ or a band. When I say party I could also mean going to someone's place, where everyone brings their own drinks and there is a laptop / pc somewhere playing some good music to chill out on. The concept of party / gathering is somehow similar to what we have in Romania as well... just taken to a higher level ;) Now I've been to hundreds of parties in Poland - both weddings, baptisms, regular DJ parties, home parties... you name it! And I've been living in Krakow for more than 6 years now, so hear my words of wisdom on How To Survive A Polish Party:
Reflections of Small Square Krakow
  1. Getting to the party: Make sure you come in time - the people who invite you will most certainly give you full address and of it is a club/pub involved you will get their Facebook / Internet Page as well (via email or Facebook) to make sure you get to the right place. Polish people like to be on time (even before that) and they like the others to be on time as well. For Latin people that might be an issue... but if you are running late the advisable / proper thing to do is ring them and let them know when you will be there. Of course, for weddings and baptisms be sure you are on time, the ceremony will start and will not wait for you. If you are going to a family meeting or if you are going for lunch with someone make sure you are in time as well as most probably there will be food waiting for you and Polish people are picky when it comes to Food and the right temperature of the Polish dishes. 
    First communion in Poland
  2. First impressions - I hope you were on time! Else that will be a negative indicator for your behaviour to the host. If it's your first time going into a house it's proper to bring the lady of the house some candies or flowers and to the man some vodka. If there are kids it would be nice to bring them a small something as well - Kinder eggs are my "go to gift". In a Polish wedding you should also give the gifts at the end of the church ceremony - if you were not there you can give them at the wedding party. You will give the money gift + the flower / wine / lotto coupons for the newlyweds. Also, once introduced the proper greeting between ladies is kissing on the cheek - 3 times: right-left-right. Men might kiss the ladies hand and men will always shake hands. 
  3. The house tour - if it's your first time in the house, most certainly you will get a tour of it. Polish people are open hearted once you make the connection and they love to share what they have. I don't know... maybe they do that also to let you know that there are boundaries as well... here is the whole house, now you know where the toilet is in case you need to take a leak, the kitchen in case you want to get your beer from the fridge, the balcony in case you want to have a smoke and the living room for the party... everything else is restricted area! Kidding aside, I never had that - all my friends houses / apartments were as open as people on a Gay parade! P.S. if you don't get a house tour don't be offended, just ask for it ;)
  4. Breaking the ice - when it comes to foreigners, to expats living in Poland, I have ways hear from the Polish people how pleasurable it is to hear us try and speak the language. They know it's one of the toughest one in the world and they will appreciate you trying to learn even a bit. Says "Dzien Dobry!" (Good Morning!) to someone can actually make their morning good. You will see them smile, and smiling is not an usual Polish trait ;)
  5. Food / Eating together - if you are between close friends or at a home made party you will probably have some chips and paluszki (salty sticks) and maybe some coreczki (small toothpicks with meat and cheese and olives combined; they go great with beer or vodka). You may also chip in and but some large pizzas. But if you are invited to a family meeting / dinner or a wedding / baptism party... well that's a whole different story! You can speak she the dishes are served bit not too much, as it is customary for the dishes to come one by one and people wait to eat the next one until everyone else is finished. It's proper to try something out of each dish. You can even compliment the cook if you really enjoyed it ;)
  6. Don't get into politics, religious topics or sexual orientation remarks - I believe politics is always a touchy subject, so beware and tread carefully. Religious topics - you are in a Catholic country where people are not that find of other religions / denominations. You might even find that Muslims are a hot subject even though there are mosques in Poland and there are quite a few people of that faith. Don't get into sexual orientation remarks as well... LGBT is a touchy subject... You might even know the action  with the rainbow from Warsaw that was set on fire. Twice...
  7. Leave when you know you are still holding the reigns of your senses - don't make a fool of yourself and make sure you know your limits when handling alcohol. Did you know Poland has this smart "one night - extremely expensive - very safe - handled by doctors - hotels"? When police people catch a drunk person on the street, an unresponsive one, they take them to this "hospitals" where you get a room for the night, you are closely monitored by doctors not to get into an alcoholic coma, and you are released the next day after you pay an amount of money (more than the regular hotels charge). They do this to keep the streets clean and make sure everyone stays out if trouble. 
    Old Town Krakow, Poland
  8. Don't be the last one to leave - no-one likes it when a party is past its expiration date and everyone of us knows at least one case of a person who just didn't let the party die. Come on! We are not robots! The newlyweds want to sleep as well and they have plenty more things to do / wrap up before they will manage to get a nap. The host wants to have some quiet time to clean up the house - maybe a good idea would be, if you want to stay longer, to help the host clean up a bit. You shared the fun, now share the responsibility! 
  9. Thankfulness - don't forget to tell the host how much you enjoyed it. Be very sincere and do it from your heart! Polish people love compliments as much as they love to complain ;) so don't be a d**k and share some love. You will get invited again and you will have a great time again and again. Also, you can show how thankful you are by staying and helping clean things out - if you are in a proper stage, not drunk / tipsy like an elephant in a China shop! It's also a common thing to return the invitation: if you were to someone's wedding that someone should come as well, if you go to a house party you should host a party home as well... unless you have a small apartment... then it might get crazy!
  10. Don't be a stranger - once you are part of the Polish people friendship group you will want to be there all the time. It's ways great fun to hang around with them. They make wonderful jokes, they even know how to make jokes of themselves, they share a lot once you enter their circle. They are warm and friendly and caring. Once you make friends they will be there to stay. Don't run away and get scared, they are great! You can discuss with them everything and anything, they will always give a helping hand, they will stay true and tell you their mind - and I love them for that! 

Embrace the subject and read one of the articles below - How To... In Poland
  1. Do Shopping In Poland - Currency 
  2. Pick The Best Time To Visit Poland 
  3. Get To Poland - Transit
  4. Eat Like The Locals 
  5. Spend One Day In Krakow 
  6. Be Prepared For Coming To Poland
  7. Recognize Tourists In Poland
  8. Maintain Work-Life Balance In Poland
  9. Books/Films/Music In Poland
  10. Survive The Polish Weddings
  11. Survive The Polish Winter 
  12. Know You Are (Most Probably) Talking To Someone Who's Polish
  13. Survive A Trip To Poland
  14. Survive World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow
  15. Survive A Polish Party 
If you feel you would like me to treat a specific subject, please feel free to Contact Me :)

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves To Give A Helping Hand