The Polish people were very unique and they appeared to be characteristically different in all the cities we went to. In Warsaw, the people were constantly busy and in motion. In Lublin, I saw a lot of older people than I did in any of the other cities. The youth population was majorly present in Toruń’s and Gdańsk. In Krakow, people were more hip and current with fashion. Everywhere else, I saw high-end fashion and a lot of business attires, particularly in Warsaw. People walked fast and with purpose, and I remember thinking “Wow! Americans walk slow.” I did not expect to see much of a diversity there; however they were a lot of diversity represented in Krakow, Warsaw, and Gdańsk. What I was not sure about was whether people were mostly tourists or residence.
In the first couple of days in Warsaw, I remember my friends and I walked around a lot. We were looking for a cell phone so we can fix Lexie’ phone. I remember one day, while Lexie and Krystal were inside the store, I was sitting outside with some of the other girls. I saw a little girl that was dressed up in a pretty white dress. I remember I liked the dress she was wearing and I said to her something like “You look pretty.” She looked at me and did not say thank you even though I was not expecting it anyways. At first, I just thought that experience was just one of a kind and I should not have said that to her. However, throughout my stay in Poland, it became obvious to me Poles do not say “thank you”, “excuse me”, or even smile politely at strangers unlike Americans. At first, that was strange but it became normal the longer we stayed.
Another thing I noticed was the pride each guide had for his or her city. In Lublin, Agnieshka took us on tour around the Lublin Ghetto and at the end of the tour she stopped at the Synagogue in Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva. I remember she called it the Oxford of all the synagogues. Then a day or two later, our other guide in Krakow, Krzysztof Suszkiewicz described one of the synagogues he was showing us the same way. They both showcased pride and passion for what they do.
One thing that was common in all the cities we went to was how much people smoked. I did not know if that was a European thing or a Polish thing, but people were smoking everywhere we went. There were a lot of advertisement for tobacco companies everywhere too. We even saw it on dance floors and bars.