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Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Long Break

I have been on a break with my blog for awhile. I guess I just ran out of inspiration. Being here in Warsaw has become almost routine. Also, I have found that the feeling of being different and standing out in a crowd has somewhat diminished. This is not to say it is gone completely. There are still times when the stares become too much. But, I think I have begun to just not pay attention.

All that said, I will write when I feel compelled to do so. In the interim, I welcome any and all comments. If you are a person of color living in Poland, please let me know. I would love to hear your experience here.


  1. Funny, I just told a friend today that I was done with Poland! When I start cursing people out for's time for me to hit the road.

  2. A friend of mine, a young woman from Hong Kong, worked here in Poznan for a year. She said the staring on the trams drove her crazy- kids and their parents. I know it doesnt change your experience, but I've been told that staring insn't considered rude in Poland.

  3. Joel, I just finished reading your whole blog:) From the first post till this one and I love it!
    I'm Polish living in NYC for close to 29 years now and trust me, when I go back to Poland I feel exactly like you:) Even my white skin and my perfect Polish doesn't help. I don't know what's wrong, but I can't even bring myself to visit more then once every 10 years.
    People staring not only at you, but at me too because I speak English to my American husband and that's enough to make them stare. Services in any possible department of life are terible.
    Honestly, I admire you for moving there.
    I know is the power of love, but... I would never ever try to convince my husband to move there.
    One trip (3 weeks) is enough and probably more then he could handle:))
    Please keep writing and good luck with everything.

  4. Hi Joel- Please keep writing. We are here with you. I am a starer. It never occurred to me that it might be painful for the other person. For years I was a flight attendant and I never tired of staring endlessly at the foreign faces. So unique and unlike mine. Later, when I had teens, they teased me mercilessly about my ruthless staring and how outrageously rude it was? Who knew. Once I saw a beautiful woman with thick hair in Harlem. I watched her while my son and I ate at a restaurant. She came over and demanded angrily, "what in the world do you think you are looking at?!" I'd watched her walk over to us, but was shocked she was so upset. I said, "your face and your hair is beautiful." Then there was this akward silence. My son was mortified. I'm not sure why staring is considered rude. For years I was a flight attendant and people openly stared at us for hours while we did our job, walking up and down the narrow aisle. Their unwaivering stares never bothered me, as I figured they were just harmlessly curious. I am older now and am sufficiently invisible. Age is a cloaking device. Eye contact is such the powerful tool. Anyway, I enjoy reading your life. Thank you~

    1. I loved your post! Every time I fly, I stare at flight attendants like there is no tomorrow :). They seem so perfect, neat, pleasant to look at; everything they do is done so smoothly; pouring drinks, handing a piece of lemon; it seems as if they were floating. And I ALWAYS wonder if staring doesn't bother them.
      I usually try to make up a quick apology just in case someone comes up to me like that woman from your story. What should one say? "I'm a starer and you are fascinating to look at!".

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  6. I have been living here for over 8yrs. I have learnt to ignore the staring. My advice, buy an mp3 player some good earphones and listen to the music when out! Works like magic! :)

  7. I'm a starer, too! I love watching people, it doesn't matter where they are from. I just like to observe their behavior, the way they eat (I work in a restaurant), walk, talk to others, hold their children. I try to do it so they don't know they are being watched. I know it sounds creepy, but I hate being stared at myself so I try not to be so obvious. There are different stares, I think, and I try to use the ones that are not so offensive if that's ever possible.
    I get a lot of stares when I visit Poland even though I'm Polish. People stare when they drive their cars; they almost get in accidents but have to check out who is driving from the opposite side. I find it very funny :)

    Hang in there, and stare back! =) I bet the other starers will look away first.

  8. Hello. I enjoyed your blog bro. I too am a black man and will be living in Poland in January. I will be about an hour and a half from Warsaw. thank you for the heads up on the staring. lol