Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Couldn’t find a job in France, hired in Poland, sent to Paris as an expat’… Isn’t it ironic… don’t you think? (Now you have Alanis Morissette’s voice in your head). It’s been a while actually I’m back in my home country, eating le bread, drinking le wine, and avoiding Polish winter like a boss (fuck yeah). Living out of Poland is of course the main reason why I haven’t kept this blog up to date, obviously (someone told me that I’m obsessional, and as all obsessional I always have an explanation for everything… Perfect excuse! What? Am I trying to find a new reason?). So, my assignment is coming to an end soon, I’ll have to go back to Warsaw (which I really enjoy), though… I began to love my life in Paris, my habits, my district, relatives around, friends, not paying the rent… You’re right, I’m becoming sentimental J Let’s go back on tracks! This year is election year in France. BUT! I can’t vote in France as I’m living abroad, I should vote at the French Embassy in Warsaw. Let’s go to the Police office to prepare proxy voting to a friend of mine living in Warsaw... BUT! I can’t perform it from France! I’m an expat’,  I have to go to my Embassy… Irony chapter 2: Reloaded!

And finally, living in Paris is not as pesky as I thought…

This is a fresh start! I neglected this blog for too long! Maybe I should hire a guy. Who said it’s for celebs only? This is segregation against lazy people!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Symbolism or the way to mess your communication

Poland has taken the lead of European Union for the next 6 months, and of course, it’s a good opportunity to communicate and show to the face of the world that the country is the best, etc… Well, that’s common stuff, every country is doing the same and making some mistakes... And to begin this reputation war, here is the official logo.

Quite simple, full of symbols and easy to understand… Ok, nothing to say. 

Now is the official website www.pl2011.eu explaining the aim of European program, etc… It’s actually a model of simplicity and efficiency, in my opinion I mean… Ok, nothing to say. 

And there is the movie putting into movement the Polish identity and strength which will lead Europe on the path of success. And… there is something to say J
I suggest you to watch it before reading so you’ll have your own feelings and interpretation.

According to the creators, Europe is represented by the woman, beautiful but sad, sitting in a complete but lifeless place. Fortunately, Ken (let’s call him Ken), who is the personification of Poland, appears between the buildings and brings life to Europe and everything around. By the end of the movie, Europe is smiling, light is warm, and a new building (which represents Poland) is filling the gap between European buildings. They lived happily ever after. Happy end.

My opinion is slightly different.

First, the place: the environment is definitely a corporate place, which means that people are not the principal value. 

Second, Europe and Ken: Europe seems to be very passive… And Ken looks like an Italian guy with the face (and the hair) of a Norwegian. However, a friend of mine noticed that Ken is actually the Polish Plumber! To resume this story, the Polish Plumber was the symbol of total economic liberalism and social dumping in France, and the Tourist Office of Poland found a very funny and ironical way to promote tourism.

(I'm staying in Poland, come.)

I already know some of you who are going to visit me soon...

Third, the dance: Ken is inviting Europe to dance a mix of tango and waltz (typically Polish don’t you think? But it could also mean collaboration between cultures). And from the moment they touch each other, the world begins to collapse!!! WUUUT?? I mean… What??? We are talking about symbols… Ken touching the hand of Europe, Poland taking the lead of European Union… and the world is falling apart? Whouhouhou… 

Fourth, the rebuilt: As they are dancing, blocks (or foundations of EU?) are floating in the air as they are insignificant as feathers swept by the wind. Then they began to agglomerate and start the construction of a brand new place… cubic like before, let’s go back to the communistic era. And the icing on the cake, the new building talking the free space between others gives this impression of “no way back”, “jail” or whatsoever which is quite the opposite of freedom… You're blocked between the blocks.

Fortunately, this movie is just a detail and there is an interpretation for everyone. What’s yours?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Day Poland Stood Still

Few weeks ago Poland celebrated the first anniversary of the Presidential Crash. For those who don’t know, Former President Lech Kaczynski died in the crash of his plane while he was heading to Smolensk for the commemoration of the Slaughter of Katyn. The background is that Poland is a very catholic country (actually people in churches are not touristsJ) and has a quite hot relationship with Russia.

The crash originated an impressive mobilization and unity of the Polish people, and allowed the erection of The Cross, which sparked debates and disputes related to the weight of the Church in political life.

One year after this catastrophe, a lot of theories raised from nowhere trying to find another explanation for this accident: is this really an accident? And people involved must be:
  • Russians,
  • Communists,
  • Jews,
  • Masonic,
  • Illuminati,
  • All together
Sorry Muslims and Black people, for once you’re not in the list.

Every 10th of the month, people are demonstrating in front of the Presidential Palace and these events have a political dimension. On one hand we have the conservative, catholic and anti-communistic side, aroused by the charismatic PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the evil twin of the former president (hoooo look at him… so freaky).

(Source picture from  www.time.com)

On the other hand, a quite chaotic mixture of people supporting different causes (gay, veganism, cannabis, liberal…) in a playful mood.

So here are some pictures from April the 10th and June the 10th.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Administration Spree !

Czesc my trusty fellows. Today we are going to talk about serious business: Polish Administration. Well, administration stuff in every country is quite boring, but there are many relics from the communist era here which are sending you completely mad. Fortunately you can count on the kindness of Polish people to help you… and make you discover the city in the mean time and enjoy this amazing administrative maze.
Be aware that this is the short (very very very short) version, and the timescale of the complete story is about 3 months.

Let’s begin the Marathon!

So right after I had the answer from my company (remember first post, yes it was slippy…), I went to my embassy to register my stay. Quite simple: passport, address in Poland, phone number, e-mail. Then, and it’s the beginning of my initiatic journey, they asked me to register with the local authority to get the Karta Pobytu (residency permit), which means going to the Urzad Wojewodzki (“regional town hall”). All foreigners are required by law to have it.

At the Urzad Wojewodzki, after hours of waiting, the lady in front of me told me in 1 minute everything I need to fill the 4 application forms, and that means a lot of papers, ID pictures that show your left ear and face (so bad Van Gogh), a magic number called PESEL (ID number) and the zameldowanie (residency registration) and I can get it at the Urzad Miasta (“town hall”) All foreigners are required by law to have these two things.

At the Urzad Miasta, after hours of waiting, they told me in (less than) 1 minute that I have to go to the Urzad Dzielnicy (“district town hall”).

At the Urzad Dzielnicy, after hours of waiting, the guy told me in 1 minute everything I need to get the zameldowanie, and that means a lot of papers, the rental agreement, the permission of the landlord saying he agrees I’m living in his flat (yes, that’s different from the rental agreement, don’t ask…). There are two kinds of zameldowanie, temporary (3 months) or permanent. As a foreigner, you are eligible only for the temporary one, so you have to register every 3 other months, up to 5 years, then you can apply for the permanent one (so simple). Is it clear for you? Ok, breath a little bit then let’s keep on! 

The difficulty here is to get the permission from the landlord. Why? Because most owners are renting flats on the sly to avoid paying taxes. So no rental agreement and of course, no permission. Now, in case you have a rental agreement, there are two ways to get the permission: a signed paper or an oral declaration. Can you imagine someone going with you to face the Polish administration during hours (and actually during office hours) just to say one sentence? And this 4 times a year? Yeaaaaah suuuure they will… The other thing is once the permission is signed, it’s very difficult to legally remove the occupant. Guess what? I have no rental agreement.

Well, that’s not the only thing. To work in Poland, you need another magic number called NIP (Taxpayer number) you can get at the Urzad Skarbowy (tax office).

At the Urzad Skarbowy, after hours of waiting, the lady gave me the application form to fill and I need… wait for it… PESEL and zameldowanie fuck yeah! However, she added that I don’t really need the zameldowanie, and I can go to the Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnetrznych I Administracji (Ministry of the Interior and Administration).

At the Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnetrznych I Administracji... No queue, I just could not enter the place. Instead, I was allowed to use the phone to call someone inside the building 50 meters from me. There is another way to get the PESEL (only the PESEL). My company can apply for me and I don’t need any zameldowanie. Also, I need the NIP number first to begin to work so…

At the Urzad Skarbowy, after hours of waiting, the same lady finally asked me to put my passport number, my French address, the names of my parents (wut? number one), the address of my parents (wut? number two), and to come back to her in 10 days. \o/ Congratulation! I have my first magic number! I wouldn’t imagine bureaucracy could be so heavy when you just want to pay your taxes… But it’s not finished yet!

So it seems companies can apply for foreigners to get a PESEL and they usually do. Who here is thinking that private administration is better than public administration? Because that’s quite the same story… I’m the first foreigner asking them for this. Ok. So they don’t want to do it. Why? Because! Back to the Ministry, I asked for all the documents I need (well, my company needs) and it’s surprisingly simple: 1 application form (only one), copy of my passport, copy of my contract. Back to my company, giving the application form and the ministry phone number. Guess what? I received an e-mail from the HR manager saying… NO they won’t apply for me but that they’ll help me if I have any question related to residency registration… They lost more time looking for that than filling out the form and sending it… Everything takes a lot of time here, I received this last information last week… Back to the beginning.

You know what this reminds me? 

French version

Czech version (couldn't find any Polish version)

English version

In theory, I’m legally required to have PESEL, zameldowanie and karta pobytu, to stay in Poland so right now I’m just a tourist here. More, I’m an illegal tourist as I can’t prove I’m on the Polish territory for less than 3 months. And as I’m a tourist, I should pay a “tourist tax” for each day I stay here (the tax is included in the price of your hotel for instance).

In practice, no one cares…

Still alive?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spot the Difference.

Hey my trusty fellows! Here is a game. I will propose you two pairs of pictures. Your mission should you decide to accept it, is to recognize which one is from a movie, and which one is from real life. Actually, these are also good examples of the Polish way of life.

Well, the perspective is not exactly the same, but I suppose your brain can perform some spatial translation…  This one is easy, but the next is a different kettle of fish:

Yes, the death of the former Pope is a lie, he was carbonited so he could come back when he'll be the most needed. I think I'm spotlighting one of the most kept secret! I should submit this info to Wikileaks... The World Must Know!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Working time

Hey there! Long time no see! I was a bit in a hurry lately. First, the owner of my flat increased the rent just two weeks after I moved in with all my stuff, and my flatmates and I only had 2 weeks to find a new place, or else… Finally, I’m living now in a lovely girly little place full of useless stuff. I kinda like it actually, thanks to the dishwasher and the two beautiful girls with whom I’m living maybe. Then, with my job, I have to pass certification exams, or else… (I like ending sentences with that, it remembers me Demolition Man). Actually that’s not exactly work right now, I’m presently in a so-called “Bootcamp” where we are trained on the products we are selling to clients. Well, indeed we are trained, it’s quite tough but just in a limited time interval. Then we are drinking so much coffee, eating polish food, and talking to international newly hired colleagues who come in Warsaw just for the training. First, Polish people with whom I’ll be working soon. They were not talking that much but that’s ok now because it would have killed me if they stayed mute. Then we have the guys from the UK. The oldest, all around 45, but the funniest. One has the same voice of Terry Gillian! Here come the Spanish guys. After 2 years of living in Spain, I’m very impressed about their English skill. Of course with a typically Spanish accent, but they are speaking pretty well and partying every single day! The French are French, which means handsome, funny, cultured etc, and speaking with a strong accent as I have. Here come the Japanese… One is black belt of an unknown martial art where they use to throw fireballs, the other one, I didn’t understand who he is, but what I know about Japanese people is if they are not throwing fireballs, they are changing themselves into giant space combat robots… Ho! I forgot! We are also playing Robot Unicorn Attack! Here it is! (Click to Play)

But be careful, it can change you sexuality… It has already happened to me, I really enjoy the company of women now… Haaaa forbidden places where no men can knowingly enter! YES! That’s it! Doing shopping  with them, helping them to find the sexiest skirt and cache-coeur, sometime going into the cabins to give my opinion on lingerie, and of course, surrounded by a horde of hot chicks suffering from compulsive buying… Nightmare is real, and the worst of it, I’m loving it :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The ID Chronicles

This Saturday, I was with few colleagues at the Przekaski Zakaski. That’s a Polish tapas bar (Polish and tapas in the same sentence? Yes, and it’s worth it) where you can easily talk to anyone as it’s a total friendly anarchy, just in front of the Presidential Palace. 
Here it is! Yes I know, I have to take my own picture next time. It’s essentially the place where I’m learning Polish (Poprosze piwo, a draft beer please, the most important sentence to learn a language). So, I was there, drinking beers and eating potatoes (of course potatoes), and when I wanted to leave, no jacket! Someone stole it… with my passport in the pocket… Shit happens… On Sunday morning I’ve been to the police office where they were asking in Polish for my passport. If you follow what I’m writing, that’s the reason I was there because I don’t have it anymore. Finally I obtained an appointment at the central police office with a translator so let’s go! The translator shown up 1 hour late because… she got arrested by policemen on the way to the police office! Let’s begin, my jacket was stolen, with my passport, and of course I blocked my credit card. 2hours to explain that... At the end, I stood up to leave the office and the police officer asked me: “where is your jacket? It’s cold outside”. I know, but remember I have no jacket anymore. “So you should buy a new one today or tomorrow, we’ll have snow soon”. Well, I really want to, but tell me how I can go shopping without a credit card? I suppose it’s so common they don’t really hear what I said. To finish the story, I went to the French Embassy this morning, and tell the security guys that I have to declare the loss of my passport and make a new one. Ok, go to the consulate section. But they didn’t let me in… No ID… Say what? However, there’s a happy ending. I was finally allowed to go through the gate, and when I said my name… “We received your passport yesterday in an anonymous letter”. Ho thank you so much mister Lupin. Even though you still have my jacket, you're a very gentle thief. Let’s go eat some potatoes to celebrate, don’t you think? J