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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Comparing Romania to Poland

Dear friends,

So sorry for the silence lately... I'm growing older (just turned 18 (with 14 years of experience) the other day) and more and more I want to spend time with the ones I love. You can always find me on my Facebook page, where I post daily pictures and articles from other blogs about Poland. If you haven't heard/read this about me before, I am not Polish myself. I was born and raised on the land of vampires, the land of Vlad the Impailer, the land of Nadia Comaneci and Gica Hagi, the land of Ceausescu: a (former?) beautiful country named Romania. I came to Poland,  mostly on a whim and the fact that Krakow felt very much like home, in 2011 and I stayed... You never know what Life throws at you. As Forrest Gump put it "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get". I wanted to stay for 6 month and now I am 7 years+, I have a Polish husband and a 2 years old lovely LadyBug Baby Girl (born in Poland, a true Krakowian now).
I've been thinking, very often in my first years in Krakow, about the differences between Poland and Romania. It's hard not to compare, considering the fact that we come from such a similar background, we are Balkans and we have been under the boot of the Russians, suffered under the communist party rule. Romania is a lot behind Poland in terms of infrastructure. Poland has accessed amazingly well the European Funds and had better rulers than the Romanian people. There was a real (visible, palpable) oligarch class. All leaders (democratic) that came after Ceausescu just wanted to rob more and more and take wealth for themselves. They never cared about the people. They would buy people's votes with some kilos of flour or oil and then steal them away. The rate of corruption is very high and the difference between the lower class and the high street people is huge! There is barely a middle class visible - a thin, almost non existent line, disappearing more and more, year by year. Not to mention that most of the land has "misteriously" disappeared into "unknown" hands after the fell of communism.
Historical photo: Polish-Romanian border
The language was the first and probably the only big shock. Polish language is a Slavic language and does not resemble at all with the Latin languages - like Romanian. From Wikipedia: the lexical similarity of Romanian with Italian has been estimated at 77%, followed by French at 75%, Sardinian at 74%, Catalan 73%, Portuguese 72%, Spanish 71%. In modern times Romanian vocabulary has been strongly influenced by French, Italian and other languages. This is why, for Romanian people,  knowing several languages is not a biggie ;) we all understand Italian, Spanish and French just by speaking our own language. It wasn't for nothing that in its glory times Bucharest (The capital of Romania) was also known as The Little Paris. 
Florianska street, Krakow - a view of the Mariacki Kosciol (St. Mary's Basilica in Krakow)
When it comes to Faith, the religion - the faith in God also binds us, makes us similar. Both Poland and Romania have deep roots in faith - be it Catholic church for Poland or Christian Orthodox for Romania. We have many churches both in the big cities but also in the countryside. People go regularly on Sunday at church - maybe more here in Poland. The main difference is that in Romania the churches tend to be small, cozy and dwarfed by the bigger buildings that surround them. We are, of course, not including here the new Cathedral that is (still) under construction in Bucharest - that is one of a kind and an abomination, if you ask me! The churches in Poland, even in the smaller cities, are a sight to behold! Towers reaching towards the sky, big bells to bring everyone to church, so you could hear them from miles away. The churches are almost always filled to the brim - especially during the main celebrations, like 1st of November (All Saints Day) or during important historical moments. People in Romania, in the years after communist times, also migrated from the Orthodox church to protestant churches. I don't see that as a bad move, considering the fact that most of the priests in the Orthodox church nowdays have a "Give me the money!" sort of sermon and care less about actually saving people and doing good.
Source
There are many topics to touch, but for today I will dare touch one more: healthcare. Ufff! As a mother but also a citizen of Romania, let me just say this: healthcare in Romania is horrible and sometimes even dangerous. Most people that afford it go to Hungary for private care. If one is young and healthy all is well and you don't mind waiting in queues for a regular check up, but once you are pregnant and want a good care for you and your little one developing... that's gonna be a lot of time and money (and nerves) that you will spend. I chose to give birth in Poland and for me Romania was not an option - after all the horror stories I had heard. For a taste, here is me ranting about having natural birth vs. c-section. Guess what? Having a natural birth in Romania is almost impossible. Why bother be next to a person for 24 hours of labour? Better cut them all - how hard can that be? When I was looking to find a good hospital to give birth we went to prospect - none of the hospitals I have seen were in such an aweful stage as the hospitals from my city of birth. My friend had a girl a month or two before me, so we always compared the service. My birth was done in a hospital run by the country. I gave birth in a room for myself with a couple of nurses and the doctor checking in from time to time. After that I was brought in a 2 person room and stayed there 3 days. It did not cost me a thing and I did not "give" anything to the doctor or the nurses. The sum my friend payed was of several thousands and the treatment was NOT exemplary! 

Now please, understand, I am not stating that Romania is a horrible country, nor that it is unbearable to live in and I would definitely not recommend it. No! Romania is rich in its history and culture and it's people are warm and kind and more friendly than the Polish people (truth be told). But I feel safer in Poland and life is easier and more stable here. I don't fear for my family and I don't fear what tomorrow brings. Don't we all want that? Stability and peace.

Yours extremely sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Lived in Poland since the Summer of 2011
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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Krakow Airport Breaking Records

Dearest sweethearts,

#DidYouKnow that in September 2018, 614 567 passengers benefited by the services of Krakow Airport (Balice / John Paul the 2nd)? That's 13% more than last year, same month. Over a period of 9 years, more than 5 million passengers were accepted on Balice. On the 24th of September, a record has been marked: 23 931 people! The previous record was from August 2016 (The year of the World Youth Day in Krakow), with 22 552 travellers. 4 days later, on the 28th of September,  a Lufthansa flight from Munich to Krakow landed at the airport with the 5 million passenger. 
The September record served during the day shows that more and more people are shortening the travel time, including business trips, by choosing the plane rides instead of train/bus/car - also stated the Chairman of the Board of the Krakow Airport, Radoslaw Wloszek. New carriers and routes have been announced in September. The airline BlueAir announced the merger to Turin, the capital of Piedmont, that will be inaugurated on the 16th of December. Turin is the 9th new feature in the winter grid of Krakow Airport connections. The previously announced new routes are: Tel Aviv (LOT), Eindhoven (Transavia), Vienna (Laudamotion), Leeds Bradford (Jet2.com), Kiev, Lviv, Amman (Ryanair), London Luton (EasyJet). 

How about you? Have you ever been on the Krakow Airport? How was your experience? 

Yours sincerely, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Krakow 
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