Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Learning Polish: "No, you can't have my cat"

After three years of living in Poland I'm quite satisfied with the fact that my Polish is finally on a more or less acceptable level, which means that I can have some conversations with the locals without using English, German or out of frustration my own language: Dutch (which never really helped me out in any other country, but okay)

I've been taking Polish lessons and although I'm still on a basic level with speaking, my listening and reading is way better, so I understand a lot. I'm just very quiet when someone asks me something.

Whenever I can I speak Polish -or at least I try/pretend to speak Polish- and usually that makes me feel proud. But not always. Lately I was doing my groceries after a 1,5 hour long Polish lesson, so I felt quite confident. I walked up to the cash desk to pay for my food, drinks and cat litter for the fluffy black hair ball that is called Mika. 

Everything went smoothly and I think the cashier thought I was cute with my not so perfect Polish. I gathered all my stuff and lifted the heavy cat litter into the shopping cart when the lady suddenly asked me: "Can I please have your cat?" 

A moment of silence went by and I was staring at her all puzzled: "My cat??!?!?? You want my cat?"

The word for cat in Polish is 'kot' and I was sure she just said that. I asked her to repeat herself and she said it again. She still wanted my cat! I explained to her that it's my cat and unfortunately she couldn't have it. The weirdest question ever, if you ask me. 

Now she was the silent one, but not for long: after a few confusing seconds she slowly said: "kod pocztowy", which just means postal code. With a red face I gave her my postal code in crappy Polish, apologised, said goodbye and walked out as fast as I could.

I still have a lot to learn, but at least my cat knows I'm loyal to her.