Wednesday, 3 January 2018

JESTEM POLAKIEM

I opened an email from my dad today and discovered that he'd sent me a scanned copy of my Polish birth certificate which he'd just been sent. For some reason that's not how I was expecting to discover that legally I was now a dual citizen: I think if you'd asked me to think about how I'd find out I'd have expected some sort of Official Note From The Polish Government (I do in fact actually have one of these as well) and if you'd asked me to not think about it I'd assume that they'd send me a passport (despite repeatedly being informed that's not how it works). But no: my life has been reconned in Polish, or something.

It is a bit of a strange project: I think that as with a lot of people going through something similar, the pragmatic impetus was to remain eligible for an EU passport and to do the same for my son. But I suppose ultimately Brexit has surely provided a romantic impetus for people to *vom* reconnect with their heritage.

I am acutely aware that Poland is neither a country I have spent much time in, nor one that is exactly a beacon to the world at the moment. When large numbers of Poles started coming over in the last decade, it did feel like a pretty brutal lesson in how un-Polish I in fact was. At least one of my main motivations for *vom* reconnection was crushing guilt at being able to speak Polish at a young age but forgetting after I staged some sort of stupid toddler protest against it. I am sure in a sense the option to take up Polish nationality has allowed me to displace disappointment at the stupid EU referendum into kidding myself I am somehow culturally different, when I'm sure 48% of the country feels the same.

Nonetheless, my dad is both Polish and a Polish historian, my grandparents were very Polish, I grew up with Polishness and Polish history and a spectacularly Polish name. I am fascinated by the country and have been learning the language properly in lunchtime classes for a year now. I have a towering sense of guilt and a fairly solid work ethic. I'm hopefully not a total fraud. If my whole life is, in essence, a very delayed accident of the second world war, it is nice to have a certificate telling me I have, in a literal sense, always been Polish.

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