Poles are passionate people about family and their identity. At least that is how I remember Poland. It has been awhile since I lived there. I visit from time to time, but visiting is not the same. You have to live that reality... being Polish. My first impression was that everyone was a clone, mostly dressing the same, having the same names, eating the same food, remembering events the same way. Americans don't do that... not really. We remember things differently and are proud of our individualism, our relativistic point of view.
We don't bond with each other the same way Poles do and I miss that. Here, I don't feel or think I can say that I know my neighbor. I don't know what they are doing, eating, thinking. Poles know and I hope still have that wonderful privilege ~ that Polish closeness, which forgives, which loves even the unloved, the hater and the beggar because they are Polish.
My grandmother was Polish. Her family came from Znin. They left Poland when it was not Poland. It was Prussia, divided by 3 occupants: Russia, Prussia and Austro-Hungarian empire. Yet, Poles never lost the sense of who they were and what they were about. Largely held together by language, faith and family.
Poland became Poland again after WWI and then it was lost again after WWII. Not too many people know that Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt caused that to happen. Poland survived being a communist country and you might even hear some people who were born and raised in that reality say they miss it. What they probably miss is the closer Polishness they had during those harsh times which allowed them to survive and retain their identity.
I hope that Poland can retain its identity in this ever growing global reality where people will be made the same by commercialism, politics and economics.