Growing up in the Seventies and Eighties, I imagined Poland as a gray, poor country mired in communism. When I arrived in country in August 2017, I immediately saw that was not the case. Poland is lush and vibrant. It’s a land that celebrates a thousand years of history and loves its language. It remembers the tragedies of the past while building a better future.
The language barrier is deep. But so far, what I’ve seen is Poland’s impressive diversity: the wide, sandy beaches of the Baltic coast; the rebuilt cities of Warsaw, Wrocław, Poznań and Gdańsk; the natural world of bison, wolves, white storks, marshes and woodlands; and the bustling cities with their Christmas markets.
It’s a land that, at first, felt very foreign to me. Now, it feels familiar.