Monday, 28 September 2009

Where I used to live...

Strolling back home from the centre of Piaseczno I took a bit longer route and ventured to pop in to a place where I had spent roughly speaking over seventeen years of my life. I wandered through the typical estate of blocks of flats, constructed in a panel building technology (wielka płyta), similar to hundreds of such clusters of blocks in Poland, saw a few familiar faces, had a chat with my former geography teacher and neighbour and snapped a few pictures, not only for the blog, but for myself. Maybe I will never live in one place for such long time (it’s most likely when I retire), so I thought it would be expedient to capture the place and save the photos as the memoirs of the days which belong now to the past..

Below – a school I had attended for ten years (1993 – 2003) – I had spent there one year in pre-school class (zerówka), six years in primary school (szkoła podstawowa) and then three years in middle school (gimnazjum) – ten years of mostly joyful and carefree days I’ll be bringing back when I grow older.

The school complex was opened in 1988, just two months after I had been born, to meet the needs of new residents of Piaseczno, who had moved in to those newly built blocks. The school has been revamped, now there’s a decent pitch next to it, pupils can use facilities like gym and swimming pool, where sport classes are held. Currently it’s only a middle school, what means teenagers in their “worst” (as teachers call it) age are clustered together in one place – try to imagine eight hundred rowdy girls and boys… The school even has a draft of its English website (refrain from arduous proofreading, please…, mgr E.D. was my English teacher during first year in middle school, she was quite likeable and did her stint really well on the elementary level).

Below – the building where I lived – view to the balconies and entrance to the staircase. The block was insulated and plastered in 2000. Since then the yellow facade has been covered with mouldy-musty green stains of water leaking down the wall from the improperly laid gullets. My family lived on the first floor to the left, the nearest neighbours were rather unenviable.

The man who occupied the flat below mine would beat up his wife every Saturday after coming home under the influence, the next day they would go to the church together like if nothing had happened.
In the family living next door the husband would hit wife occasionally but once he made up his mind, he was determined to do it right. In the mid nineties they moved out to Nowa Iwiczna (my parents strictly stick to the rule “keep at least 200 metres away from the street Mr and Mrs W. live) and the flat was taken over by parents of one of the spouses. They were really affable, but had one irritating habit – they would look for interesting stuff in the rubbish bins and amass them on the balcony. The administration had to crack down on ants and other worms which hatched there. After they departed the flat was sold to a young couple who still live there, now with their children. As far as I know they still believe in an old Polish saying “Jak Bóg dał dzieci, to da i na dzieci” (If God gives children, He will also give [the money to provide] for children).
In the best times of the flat above us there were eight people packed on sixty square meters (Mrs and Mr P., their two sons with wives and children). Now the flat is occupied only by Mrs P., many of former dwellers of the flat enjoy the accommodation in the lodgings of afterlife, in the leisure time they probably swim in a tar.
For a few years my neighbour from the last floor was the current star of “Jaka To Melodia”. Now of course he doesn’t live in such dingy place. BTW – if you’ve never heard of him don’t worry, good for you! His English website is much better than the one of my school, but it could also take some beating…

And below – an alley in front of the building. From the early childhood I remember there was nothing apart from the flat and arid soil. Now there’s a row of trees, the estate is in the greenery, but the overwhelming squalor takes over. Grass has been rooted out by weeds, pavement slabs are so crooked that one could easily trip over them, the area gets more and more dilapidated.

I’m immensely happy I don’t have to live there. I got used to living in a house with a small garden, so I would find it hard in the spring to sit for the whole day between concrete walls. If I decide to move out, I’ll move to Warsaw and buy a flat there (detached or terraced house for years will be out of reach), at least I’ll replace the advantage of fresh air and greenery with another one – of having everything much nearer. There’s also another reason – Piaseczno, although said to be so modern is still very provincial – people know a lot about their neighbours, news and gossips spread quickly, the whole town can speak about one sensational event (accident, fire, etc.) for a week. There’s a sense of community which I cannot experience in the village I’m living now, but on the other hand I have much more anonymity and one good neighbour, amiable and not nosy…

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