Meeting Polish Ladies

On a cold winters evening, I headed to Hatfield to meet Michal and some of the Polish community. Arriving there it was really busy – everyone was heading to the park for the fireworks and bonfire night. When I arrived at the Fire Station where the group were meeting, the meeting was in mid flow – moving from Polish to English, it was amazing to listen to the beautiful language.
After their meeting, I spoke to three ladies who stayed behind to talk to me. One of them has been in the UK for over 20 years and the other 2 only a few years. It was really interesting to hear how the area has changed – 20 years ago, Eastern Europeans were seen as a novelty, now they are at times perceived more of as a problem. We talked about what it’s like for them living here, the language barriers, both in terms of actual language but also the subtleties of language and intonation that only a local can sometimes understand, how they are perceived, the frustrations of being over qualified for the jobs they are doing, how they fit in with the wider community, their cultural differences and many more. They all spoke of their desire to be doing things that were not only for the Polish community but were also part of the wider community. Their frankness and honesty were greatly appreciated.

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