When I first started going to Poland, there were things that just didn't make sense to me. Take a look below at seven things that Brits find strange in Poland.
(1) Sunflower seeds
Kinga is a huge fan of sunflower seeds, she'll eat them whilst watching speedway or a movie. She will either buy them in the packet with salt or, if we are in Poland she will buy a sunflower head with all the seeds in and eat from the flower. When I first saw her buying a dead head of a sunflower I wondered what the heck she was doing! As it turns out, sunflower seeds are a pretty addictive and tasty snack. I see Poles eating them on the bus or walking down the street, chewing the seed out of its shell and then picking the shell from their teeth or spitting it on the floor. We just don't do this in England; maybe we should.
(2) Washing machine in the bathroom
In the UK, it's quite normal to either have your washing machine in the kitchen or in a utility room. In Poland though, most homes have their washing machine in the bathroom. I have become used to this now but at first I just wondered why. I think in some cases it does make sense, our bathroom in our flat in Poland had an indoor washing line in there (above the bath) to dry the washing. It therefore makes sense to have the washing machine right there I suppose. Thinking abiut it, I'm not sure why it makes sense to have your washing machine in the kitchen either - why do you want to bring all your dirty clothes to the place you are preparing food? Looks like the Poles probably have this one right.
(3) Electric points in the bathroom
This would just never happen in the UK. In Poland though I can sit in a bath full of water whilst Kinga dries her hair with a hairdryer plugged in to a socket in the bathroom right next to me. For safety reasons, we don't have electrical sockets in our UK bathroom because quite simply......if that hairdryer fell in the bath. It kind of links to the point above regarding washing machines.
(4) Shaking hands
I really like this actually but it took some time to get used to. Of course we shake hands in England, but we do this when we first meet a person or when we have not seen a friend for a long time. In Poland though, this is done all the time. I will shake hands with a person on everyday of the week if I see them - every time I meet them and every time we say goodbye. Never shake hands over the threshold though - it is deemed bad luck.
(5) Chips (crisps)
We don't really get paprika flavoured crisps in the UK. In Poland though, I am sure they are the most popular flavour! Every type of crisp has paprika flavour on offer. To be honest though, they're pretty good. The other thing I find odd is the size of crisp packets in Poland. In England we can go to the shop and buy a single small packet of crisps in a 25g packet, ideal for a lunchtime snack. When I'm in Poland though, I can only ever find large (140g) packets that are supposed to be shared. Often I buy them and eat the whole packet! probably why I always return from Poland a little heavier than when I arrived!
(6) Breaking open a pack of beer
The first time I saw a guy take one single beer from a four pack, I wondered what the heck he was doing! In England, of course you can buy a single beer but can/tins of beer usually come in cases of at least four. In England you have to buy all four, you can't break one off and just buy one. In Poland though this is completely normal, the can of beer costs the same whether you buy a single or if you buy ten. In the UK it's often that a 'four pack' is on special offer and you need to buy the whole pack to receive the offer - you can't just take one out. What I like about this in Poland is that if I am not sure which been I want on a particular day, I just buy one from four different packs.
(7) Lemon in tea - not milk!
I wrote a whole post on this, comparing English tea to Polish tea and I don't think it's just Polish people who use lemon in their tea, it's quite common across Europe I believe. It's just that (most of) us Brits prefer our tea with milk (see the other post of you want to know why). So I always find it funny when I take someone to Poland, we visit one of Wrocław's many wonderful cafes, they order tea and then ask where the milk is and what the lemon is for!
These are some of the things I found odd when I first visited Poland. Now they have all become 'normal' to me and I don't even think about them being different.
Let me know if you have any other ideas.