71 years old Stanislaw Kowalik has lived in Malbork for 5 years. he was born, studied and grew up in a village called Jablonna near Warsaw. Like every child, he went to primary school and next he attended a vocational school in Legionowo. After Graduating, he worked in a car factory in Zeran district of Warsaw; he operated machines in building sites. His worktimereached from 8 to 10 hours. Several years later he met his future wife - Barbara. They got married and started a family in Sierpiec.
In 2013, they decided to move to the North of Poland. The main reasons were: buying a smaller flat, living closer to the older daughter and grandchildren; advanteges of living near the coast which was their dream.
The journey from Sierpiec to Malbork took them around 4 hours. They both were thrilled about the changes introduced in town.
"I love my new life, especially afternoon walks aroundthe castle walls, all city events (Malbork's Day or The Siege of Malbork) and opennes to the people for others." - says Stanislaw. He also said about warm welcome for them as new tenants from their neighbours. In free time he solves crosswords. They also have own small garden allotment where they often set up family reunions and barbecues. In spite of these advanteges he sometimes misses his hometown in Jablonno, where now, his younger daughter lives with her husband and son and sometimes longs for his family in Maszewo.
Translated form Polish by Piotr Woźniak
Iryna Pomozova is half-Polish half-Ukrainian born in Kazanstow. In the interview she said her life was quite complicated. Her father was a military man, so they were moving a lot. She lived 5 years in Ukraine and 4 in Germany.
She came to Poland for the first time when she was 13. She visited then an old Soviet village, where people only spoke Russian. She finished Polish high-school with good grades and moved to Ukraine to enter a university.
She came back to Poland in 1997 and stayed here. She doesn't think fondly of life in her first apartment, that she rented in Kaldowo, as she didn't like her older roommate. Now she, her husband and 5-year-old twins live in Malbork, in a detached house in Piaski district.
She has been working in in Technical High School no. 4 in Malbork for a few years now. Asked what country she's closest to her she answers Ukraine with no hesitation, however, asked if she would want to come back, she said she that Poland is her home now - this is where he met her husband, her friends and started her family.
One of the most important questions we asked her was "Was starting your life in Poland hard?" She confirmed, but at the same time she said she had no issues with integrating into the Polish community and that she thinks we are a very kind people.
Translated from Polish by Kamil Suchecki
A twenty-year old Andrii Kuczyński has been living in Malbork for 3 years. He was born and educated in a small town Żytomierz in Ukraine, where he used to live with his mother until he turned 17. After graduation he moved to Russia with his father where he lived for about a year. Finally, he has emigrated to Poland where he has taken up a job in the company. In the meantime he has been developing his plastic skills and interests connected to the sport.
At the beginning, he felt very lonely as he didn’t know anyone and he didn’t speak Polish. Eventually, Andrii opened up to people, met new friends, but also enemies. He was also quite surprised by people being careless about the polish grammar and he was annoyed by how they were overpricing themselves just in the terms of wealth.
He doesn’t really feel connected to his homeland, because he doesn’t believe in nationalism. To quote him ”My country is the one where I feel at home!”-Andrii answers. He mentioned that he missed his mother, but he wouldn’t return to his homeland by cause of the low level of the remuneration, the inability to insure a good life and upsetting memories.
He hasn’t decided yet if he wants to live in Poland forever- everything can change
Translated from Polish by Natalia Front
Anastazja Pożitkowa is one of the students of Henryk Sienkiewicz High School. She is 15 and has been living in Malbork with her mother for one year and four months now. She came here during her summer break. Anastazja spent her free time on sightseeing surrounding cities. I spent this time very nicely.- She said to me while interview.
She was told to be very active, curious and happy when she was a kid. She has always been learning fast, especially new languages. In school Anastazja usually has very good grades. In a free time she takes care of self-development. When she was younger she liked going to a ballroom dance class, drama club in school, also she was attending an artistic, and English school. But that is not all of her free time activities. Anastazja was a member of a photography course. Because of her love to sport, every once in a while she was involved Athletics competitions. I know that it might be too much for some of people, but I do like it- she said.
When I asked Anastaja why she and her mom moved from Belorus she answered that her dad is not with her mom anymore. Her mother wanted to get a job in European Union and wished that decision about moving to Poland will have a positive result in Anastazja’s future.
The motivation for Anastazja to move was better education, she also find learning new languages very enjoying and developing.
Since she is very open, confident person she easily found herself in an polish environment. The fact that she moved here made her believe in herself more than ever. Decision about moving here was probably the best decision my mom could ever made for me.
At first she didn’t know polish language, but with awesome teachers help she fast learn how to speak in polish. I still have a little problem with writing but I think it is a matter of time and practice.
Anastazja says that Malbork is very picturesque and historical town, but she doesn’t want to live here forever. But she wants to stay in a UE.
In her opinion local inhabitants are very open to new cultures and nationalities, which is a big advantage.
Now she lives with her mom in a two bedrooms flat which they rent from her mom’s friend.
Anastazja has been living in Poland for almost one and a half year so she did not have an opportunity to take part in local or traditional polish events but she wants to, and feel the real connection with Poland.
The most importantly is that she feel connected to her homeland. Belarus is part of me and my life, my friends and family live there, who I will never forget. I love this country.
The interviewer: Ula Ochocińska