Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My parents have funny names

A month to the day after we'd signed the initial contract and left our deposit, ensuring ownership of 1/10th of the property, we found ourselves sat around the same polished table, listening to the same notariusz reading out slightly different formal Polish sentences.

It was only a month later but the weather could not have been more different. We had sweated through the first meeting, the sun beating through the window, but this day was wet and grey; jackets were back on and shoes were worn over socks for the first time since the summer began. For some inexplicable reason, the secretary had brought us all a glass of water, despite the fact that the first meeting had been long and refreshment-free. That didn't bode well.

I was feeling slightly light-headed as there had been no time for lunch and all I'd consumed had been a coffee when we met the seller just before the formal meeting, in the Wedel next door. We'd crossed a line at that meeting - he suggested we use the familiar form of addressing one another instead of the formal. I breathed a sigh of relief - it is the one thing I really hate. Why can't we all be ty instead of Pan and Pani?

Again the droning voice, again the verification that I'd understood. Then I managed to give the Poles a taste of their own medicine.

'In Polish contracts we use your full names, and then identify you (from all the thousands of people with my full name in Poland...) by adding the first names of your parents.'

'Yes, ok, Penelope and Gareth.'

The notariusz looked up at me with an incredulous expression, peered at me over her glasses and asked me to repeat.

I tried not to giggle. 'Peh-neh-low-pee' I said, speaking slowly 'and Gah-reth'.

She handed me a piece of paper and I wrote the spelling for her. She muttered the names under her breath and I gave her a grin. 'Now you know how we feel when we meet people named Grzegorz and Zbigniew' I thought to myself.

The minutes turned into hours and we made it through the full contract. There was another coffee break, which I filled with a rich thick hot chocolate, and a tense wait for the bank to make the transfer from our account to the seller's.

We left the office four hours after we have entered: light-headed with hunger, but sporting grins from ear to ear.

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Anonymous szwed said...

Hey, I wish all legal transactions went as smoothly as yours. Sadly, most of the time Wedel chocolate is not available.

Btw, was the notarusz`s surname Koziorowska?

10:31 am  
Blogger Becca said...

Yeah, we were right to choose the notariusz next to Wedel... actually her surname is Warchoł

10:33 am  
Anonymous szwed said...

Ah, then I don`t know her. Koziorowska`s office is just opposite. This is the Wedel at the corner of Szpitalna and Gorskiego, isn`t it?

11:15 am  
Blogger Becca said...

That's the one, although there really should be a Wedel at every corner...

6:26 pm  

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