It’s way too long since I ventured into my A-Z of Poland, so I’m going to introduce to you another of my cousins. A lady who loves to dance and always has a warm smile for me, Irena works hard for a living. She and Arkadiusz (Arek for short) run a market garden in their home town, Bełchatów. Arek grows many of his own plants and seeds to sell in his shop, which specialises in garden products. Whenever she can, Irena helps out in the shop, which she loves to do. Usually this is in addition to factory work, or whatever she can find, to help with the family finances.
Irena is the daughter of my aunt Lusia, one of Dad’s sisters, and her husband Zbigniew, whom I never met. When first we got together the photos would come out, many of them tiny squares of black and white, but precious memories, every one. I would try to piece together the story and remember the names of family members who died long before I had the chance to meet them.
This is one of several photos that were emailed to us when Dad first made contact with his family. It’s a touching story, which many of you know.
Irena and Arek have two lovely children, Robert, a quiet young man, 22 this month, and his vivacious and beautiful younger sister, Weronika. (remember, the ‘w’ sounds like our’v’)
I should maybe explain what’s going on here. Arek likes a bit of fun. Several years ago the family were in Zakopane for a Silver Wedding celebration. Lynne, my stepsister, and husband George, had joined us from Canada, and Lynne was practising with a new camcorder. Her handbag, containing the camcorder, weighed rather a lot, so Arek was “helping” her to pick it up.
If you aren’t familiar with my Polish story, you could have a look at my Personal A-Z page.
Idziemy! We go!
And so to grammar! A silly saying that’s often used in our home, “I’ve already told you more than I know myself” completely applies to my knowledge of Polish grammar. So, let’s start with a simple verb conjugation:
Iść- to go (on foot)
idę - I go idziemy - we go
idziesz - you go (familiar form) idziecie - you go (polite form)
idzie - he/she/it goes idą - they go
Well, I got the hang of that. But did you notice the (on foot)? It transpires that there are numerous ways of saying you are going somewhere in Polish, and there is a separate verb for each of them! Thus ‘to go (by transport)’ uses the verb jechać. Sometimes I can remember that verb (and it’s irregular conjugation), sometimes not! Imagine my consternation when I later discovered that if I wanted ‘to go, by plane’ I needed another verb. And so it goes on ….
I am a very bad student. I used to love language at school but these days I have neither the patience nor the memory. I recently discovered another ‘i’- Italki. It offers the potential to converse in Polish (and many other languages), at any level, and I have been trying to convince myself to enrol. I return to Poland on 29th April, for a family wedding, and this time I will be staying in a hotel with my husband, who will rely on my immaculate translation. You’re right- there will be much nodding of heads and smiling.
Many thanks to Julie Dawn Fox for inspiring the personal A-Z Challenge, and to lovely Frizz, who prompts me to return to it whenever I see his A-Z (but never often enough). Do visit these challenges if you can find time. You will be richly rewarded.