I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all of you: English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch, Belgians, Germans, Americans, Swedes, Norwegians, Spaniards, Italians and all other nations for receiving my countrymen. Maybe you know, maybe not, and maybe this is the moment to tell you how much we owe you.
My friends, my family, my parents, me myself – we are all touched by migration. Far away from home, from familiar places, from the people you know, the habits you grew up, even from the climate you are used to: these are the sacrifices endured to get a chance for better life. Dilemmas of separation and crises caused by dissociation.
As a Pole, I always temptation to fall back into history. Find excuses for the large numbers on the map you see above. Not this time. Those interested will find the answer.
I want to say ‘thank you’ for to all of you: English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch, Belgians, Germans, Americans, Swedes, Norwegians, Spaniards, Italians and all other nations for receiving my countrymen. Maybe you know, maybe not, and maybe this is the moment to tell you how much we owe you.
In 1985 my father flew to Western Germany. Shock is the word to describe his experience. It took 2 hours for this guy who lived in the second largest city in Poland to find the exit from Frankfurt Airport. The number of cars, the number of goods on the shelves and the number of shops. Unbelievable! The first official salary for his work on a building site: $500 a month! Compare this to (ATTENTION!) the 30-40 dollars a month he picked up as a director in Poland. Do you get it? If we add the another $500 that he could have earned during weekends, we have about 25 times more per month. Dear reader, please multiply your current monthly salary by 25 and you’ll see what pushed people in those times to come to the West.
Thanks to the money earned abroad by my father, my sister and I were able to afford higher education and even English lessons. Yes, one of the direct benefits of economic migration is that I can share this story with you, right here, right now.
But let’s continue to follow the story of economic migration in my family. After working in Germany and Austria my father came back and opened his own firm in Poland – mainly because of the know-how he had acquired on the German and Austrian markets. Because of the skills he had learnt and the work culture he had soaked up. The culture that he adopted in turn influenced the market in Poland, as he taught it to his trainees, multiplying the benefits of economic migration. Masses of people like him were changing the market in Poland, changing our social realities, leveling the inequalities and making our neighborhood safer.
Yes, we foreigners from far-away lands gain countless benefits. There are the eternal grumblers among us who cannot and will not appreciate your hospitality. But believe me, the vast majority really do appreciate it. Thank you for receiving us, and for your patience in sharing your space, culture and reality that has inspired us to change our homelands.