I am now in Sopot, Poland having been lucky enough to also visit Warsaw. As always when in Europe I now regret not having followed my mother‘s recommendations. „Later“ has long since arrived and I would very much prefer to know more about the places I visit. There is something to be said about having the background of an area at one‘s grasp when viewing the present.
History is everywhere. As an example the tower in Warsaw shown below. It was a present to the Polish people from Stalin. There are mixed emotions here regarding the building due to its relation to the oppressive communist era, the young seeing it through more forgiving eyes than the older generations. To me it is impressive but knowing how it came to be does bring about the feeling that this is precisely the type of building an evil empire would build for a leader to stand in and say „muhaha“.
I am not in a position to provide any detail about Polish history aside from the fact that a country with such a prime location and abundance of natural and human resources ended up getting more than its share of WWII horrors. Not to mention being sent down the river at the end of WWII, having done nothing wrong yet ending up on the wrong side of the iron curtain.
But this time is gone now. Today is a different present and Poland is thriving comparison to many of the European states that cannot seem to shake off the economic crisis that has been here way too long for anyone‘s liking. The people here are wonderful and the society seems unusually cultural. Even the McDonalds is quaint and where else would you find a well attended literary festival in a beach resort town? But guess what the talent does when on a break – nothing particularly literary:
My daughter is now studying the history that was killing me at her age and to be fair to her I must note that she is much more organised and contentious than I was at her age. Despite this advantage she was very stressed this past spring when preparing for the history exam and I overheard her complaining to my mother about how it was too boring and dry for remembering. Much to my surprise my mother‘s opinion about history seemed to have evolved a bit over the years. Instead of giving my daughter the speech I got, she was telling my daughter not to worry about the test. To any question she was unable to answer she should write: Why are you forcing me to learn history written by men about men. Where are the women?
I have since given this some thought and come to a conclusion. My mother‘s opinions have not changed, this was always her view. She simply knew me well enough to know that unlike my daughter that would never reply to a test question in such a manner, I would have welcomed the opportunity to put the book down and put that reply down to all of them.
Finally, on my travels this summer I have noticed that the Coca Cola company has been running the same ad campaign as in Iceland where the bottles are marked: Drink Coke with…and then they put a name. It is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion and I don’t really get how this is supposed to work. Do you try to find someone named Jennifer to drink your Coke with if you get a bottle marked Jennifer? Or are you supposed to sift through the bottles in search for the names of your friends? I do not know, nor do I really care. But I did find this bottle interesting, it is from the Polish version of this campaign and I hope this is a name, not a status. Have a Coke with your....
Yrsa - Wednesday