aka Białystok, my hometown. I lived there for 28 years, 3 months, 23 days. Enough to write about it.

bialystok

Facts:

Largest city in NE Poland

10th largest city in Poland

close to Belarusian border (also the eastern border of UE and Schengen Area)

main street 1

picture: Linden Street

If you want to translate the name into English – it is White Slope but we all call it White Stock.

I have heard two stories about the origin of the name.

  • because of the White river (but where are the slopes?)
  • A prince came here, looked around and said – what lovely white slopes!

I could have been born as a 200 000th citizen of the city! Now there are almost 300K people.

They call us Herrings although we are not the seaside town. It is the way we speak. It is funny. When i lived there i did not hear that dialect. Now, whenever i visit? Oh my! What a beautiful and melodic language!

herrings tattoo

picture: my herrings tattoo

Yes, we have the river. When i was a kid it was a sewage. We were playing by the river. The main fun was jumping over the water as it was less than 1,5 meter narrow. Oh, and we appreciated trees which limbs were hanging above the water. All we needed was a rope or a firehose. Let’s swing people. Whoever fell into the water lost the game. Yes, river was fun.

biala river

And the train tracks! Another unforgettable amusement. And you know what? We were kids and nobody got hurt. Weird, huh?

train tracks

Ludwik Zamenhoff was born here. He had a vision of one language for the whole world – Esperanto. I learnt that language a bit (my sister had it in high school). Kiu parolas Esperanton hodiaŭ?

pictures: left – place where Zamenhoff’s home was; right – Town Hall (the building has never been the seat of the city authorities)

I do not want to make this post a guide. Go and visit my hometown. Worth it. The place has been changing since Poland entered European Union in 2004.

It is the city of churches – catholics and orthodox. The city with architecture – old and new. And it is green, clean and calm city.

Now i have to quote as i find this parallel so right and at point.

„When I travel home (…) I compare it to slipping on an old comfortable coat that I haven’t worn in a long time“

Taken from: https://writingfromtheheartwithbrian.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/how-i-talk-about-my-home-town/

Whenever i think of visiting my folks i am like „oh no, i so do not want to go there. What will i be doing there?”. But to my surprise i enter the city with a smile. I re-discover this place. When someone tells me something about anything and the name of the street comes along, i go deep in my memory and there is a void. I have to ask where that street is. After the explanation i say „oh, this is where my friend from high school lived. Ok, got it”. Am i forgetting the city? Or quite the contrary, i remember it perfectly but i do not pay attention to petty things. Who cares where Dobra street is? I remember what there was or what i did there once or twice.

I have been sentimental recently. I visit my highschool, primary school, old pubs, parks and streets. Am i old already? Or is it a sign of respect and heritage? I want to remember my roots?

I feel comfortable here. It is my place. I seem to know every corner. There are only happy thoughts.

I remember my first home. My family used to live on 13th Koszykowa street from around 1973 to December 1979. On January 1980 we moved to the brand new housing estate – block of flats.

my home

picture: my home since January 1980 ’til moving out 30th June 2004
pictures: view from my room (left) and living room (right)

I remember that old place my folks had rented. I had fun with the landlords’ dogs – sitting in the doghouse with two giants pets, nibbling bones (not mine of course). The right pic shows the house of the landlords. We were situated in the side house with … mouse.

Two Christmas Eves ago I took a walk in my hometown. I went to Bojary district (not far from the city center). I was shocked. Nothing had changed. Old, almost ruined and neglected houses and that cobblestone! Next time I’m gonna ring the bell and talk to the new owners. Maybe they will let me in. It will be a real Christmas miracle!

My places? I have shown my two homes already. What about education?

Please, do not drink „moonshine”or „the spirit of the forest”. It will knock you down easily.

Slides of my hometown: