Staff Corner: From the remote desk of Anna Zlotorzynska
Current location: Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Michelle's question to Anna:
What three things from "the West" fascinated you growing up?
Only three? Well I will try my best!
1. Computers!!!! Ah I was seeing them on telly and in magazines! They were huge, had green screens and they were absolutely amazing! I was fascinated and wished to have one in my house. Once I drew a keyboard on my desk… with a permanent marker and would pretend that I was typing. I don’t need to tell you my parents were not very happy when they discovered this artwork. When I was in fifth class of primary school (so I was about 11) I touched a computer for the first time in my life. There were 30 kids in a class, six computers and we had 45 minutes with them per week. You can do the math, it wasn’t a lot of time per person, but I loved every single minute of those IT lessons! When I was 13, we got a Commodore C 64x for Christmas. It wasn’t really a computer, more a gaming consol, and the games were played from the tapes. It was bizarre if we think about it now… I only got my first real computer when I was 20!
Commodore C64! It was class!
2. In the late 80s and early 90s my auntie used to work in a shop called Pewex. It wasn’t an ordinary shop, and knowing someone ‘’inside’’ was very prestigious! Why was Pewex so special? It was a chain of shops during the Communist era in Poland that accepted payment only in United States Dollars and other hard currencies, instead of the country’s indigenous currency, the Zloty. Only there you could buy goodies from the west – sweets, clothes, cosmetics, magazines, coffee and so on… I was so lucky to have my man (well, actually woman) “inside”! I had access to the sweets and modern clothes from the west! But you know what fascinated me the most from that shop? Bags! Plastic bags! I thought it was amazing when the littlest tiniest thing was packed in a separate plastic bag! I used to collect them! Polish people didn’t know or use plastic bags before this; we used to use material bags or baskets when we were going grocery shopping. Paper bags or wrapping had been used for clothes in other stores. If we had only known back then how great a job we were doing with reusable bags! This trend from the west wasn’t great after all, but the memories remain!
Plastic bags from shops weren't a thing in Poland.
3. As I mentioned, I used to get magazines from Pewex store. My favorite magazine was about travelling. Exotic places, people, food and amazing sites. I would spend hours planning my trips and imagining myself in planes! Because of all the things about travel, flying fascinated me the most. I took my first plane trip when I was 17. I flew on my own from Warsaw to Chicago with one stop at London Heathrow Airport. I still remember how thrilled and excited I felt that day!!