Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Singing God save the Queen at a Polish wedding...

People might be getting a little bored of my endless tweets and posts about my trips to Poland but never have I actually written about them. So, after just getting back from the heaviest 'drinking' session of Poland as of yet, I thought it would be a good idea to share a story of my most recent trip to the land of builders and plumbers.


Yup, the rumours are true. They drink bloody liters of the stuff and if were not for the national salary being low, I think it would be used instead of milk in cereal, water in coffee and probably be what fills the swimming pools.

An example of this can be seen when I went to a Polish wedding last Saturday.

An HOUR before the actual ceremony started we had made a 'gate' of balloons to stop the bride and groom from leaving their house. I thought it was all a bit funny until I realised that for them to get past they had to give us two bottles of vodka. They kindly obliged to the tradition and gave us the bottles. I then politely followed tradition and had two shots of the stuff.

After the ceremony, which was a bizarre experience with myself not understanding a word of it, we made our way to the reception in a nearby hotel.

It looked rather similar to an English wedding apart from the food and music being played and what occupied every table. To every three tables was a bucket of ice with two bottles of vodka in it. This most likely added up to 30 bottles(ish).

As we sat down and all necessary announcements were made we had our first shot. About 15 minutes later we then had our second. 20 minutes later we had our third, all of which being poured by myself, apparently its traditional for the youngest lad to pour but I have a suspicion they just wanted to stay seated.

*I should also add that when a bottle finished a new one was put in the bucket, free of course and NEVER did they run out.*

Soon after the first drink the first hot meal came out and we ate and drank, then drank again, then ate again then drank again...

This pattern carried on for at least an hour before the food was eaten and dancing was to begin.

Now dancing in Poland is quite specific in that they have a certain style. Luckily with it being so simple that Stephen Hawking could probably do it, I got up and got involved, my head awash with booze.

I danced with my girlfriend, my girlfriends mother and a few others who wanted some English loving then sat back down where more drinking endured.

I suspect that by this point I had swallowed half a litre of the liquid and was beginning to feel a little weary. However, opposite me was my father in-law who simply raised his shot glass and said 'drink', one of the ten words he knows in English, and whether it was out of pride or fear, I did.

The hours then rolled by, some dancing, some talking and some swallowing the firewater.

At around 12am though, something quite embarrassing happened.

The bride and groom sat down on some chairs in the middle of the dance floor and the DJ began rambling on about something. My girlfriend then whispered in my ear, 'take the bride's shoe and you can win vodka'. Usually I would say f-off! But with my head filled with dizziness and heart filled with dutch courage, I proceeded in taking off the bride's shoe.

It was all very simple and about five minutes later I went out again to receive my prize. The DJ then started talking to me in Polish. I simply replied with 'nie mowie po Polsko', which translates to 'I speak no Polish'. Everyone then started laughing as they realised the English boy could say something in their language. I smiled, mostly out of embarrassment and waited.

The DJ seemed to not realise that I still spoke no Polish and he carried on rambling in all that I could describe as gibberish.

My girlfriend then came out and translated.

Apparently the DJ had asked me if I wanted one or two bottles of vodka. I obviously said two and again awaited my prize, standing with the bride's shoe in my hand and EVERYONE staring at me in amazement.

What followed was something I did not expect.

It turned out that for me to get something I had to give something. This meaning sing something in English.

With myself being rather intoxicated I panicked not knowing what to sing and bless these people with my voice. I had no idea of any song I could sing and thus began singing the only thing I could remember the words to.


Yup, I sung happy birthday with a crimson face and stutter but luckily everyone else seemed to know it and joined in, making my red cheeks go back to their usual colour.

Once I finished I felt a sense of relief knowing that the nightmare ordeal was over.

It wasn't.

Weronika then told me that I had won one bottle of vodka but for me to win the second I had to sing a second song.

I contemplated taking the one bottle and leaving with my head held high but quickly thought 'fu#k it, I want two'.

Full of motivation and alcohol I begin to scream out 'God Save The Queen' hoping someone would join me again.

Turns out Polish people don't know this one and I sang alone, feeling like a right tit. However, when I finished I received a warm applause and cheer and finally the two bottles.

I sat back down, whipped back another shot and stared at my two bottles, feeling as if I had never earnt a drink as much as this. It was a strange feeling but a good one, knowing that when I drunk the vodka, I would remember how I got it.

Now the two bottles sit on my windowsill, looking ready for when I return to uni, reflecting the experience I had. An experience that was most certainly different and daunting but one I loved and respected, even if I can't remember most of it.

Oh and the bride got her shoe back...

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