1. You use "talk to text" on your iPhone to text your parents because you forgot what you learned in Polish school or never really learned the grammar in the first place.
2. You know where the nearest Polish store is and are ready to go get kabanosy, pasztet, salceson, and ziele angielskie whenever the craving strikes or your family is coming over.
3. You have certain family slang words that have basically become Americanized Polish but everyone knows what they mean. Like: hang outować się (to hang out), cold cuty (cold cuts), and of course Dzia Dzia (Grandpa).
4. The reverse also happens and you end up saying "kapcz-y" with an American accent when you forget how to say slippers or simply can't translate "Smacznego" (clumsy translation: Have a tasty meal!) You always remember to say Smacznego before every meal, though!
5. You know that załatwić is one of the best words ever and that it simply cannot be translated. It means to get something done but more specifically get it done by any means possible, whether it be by using charm, luck, or connections. It's got total communist vibes from back in the day (when bribing was one of those means) but it's such an appropriate word for so many situations!
Another amazingly useful and similarly challenging to translate word that you know is kombinować. Such a great word meaning to figure something out or "MacGuyver" something (side note, my Tatus (Dad) is actually Polish MacGuyver). This word usually applies when you're working with the bare minimum. For example, when all I have left in the kitchen are a few sad carrots and a sparse pantry. I "wykombinują" a beautiful French salad by shredding the carrots and dressing in a little vinaigrette.
6. Your parents have at least one picture of Pope John Paul II in their house and probably their wallets.
7. Someone is always making homemade booze, whether it's a bottle of cytrynówka or their own wine. You will definitely be drinking it at the next Polish gathering.
8. You always, always start a round of Sto Lat after singing Happy Birthday and never leave out the "A kto?" ("And who?") at the end, since in the Polish version, you don't sing the person's name. Bonus points if you're the one who starts the "i jeszcze jeden i jeszcze raz!" (and one more, and one more time! If you've been drinking that homemade booze, you'll probably sing a couple of rounds of this).
How else do you know if you're Polish-American? Do you speak Polish? Let me know what I missed and if you relate to any of these in the comments below!
Polish-American polyglot, language consultant & educator, married to my dream guy (the Croatian Sensation). Let's connect!
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