Social Relationships  

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Nowa Wies




The narrator is welcoming and articulate, often talking at length with little prompting from the interviewer. He trained as an engineer in Wroclaw and worked there for a long time, before seizing the “chance” to buy a small piece of farming land in Nowa Wies. It was not the result of a long-term plan: “I got here by pure accident. I never thought of living in a village, building a house; never. I was such an ordinary city intellectual”. Although the move away from being a member of the intelligentsia was not planned and the couple were relatively old for such a change of lifestyle, it was clearly a success. For the first two years in Nowa Wies “my wife used to sit and watch sunsets. It was very important to her [laughs], and I was asked not to disturb”.

Gradually, they earned the respect of the other villagers and now “we have certain position here. [My wife], as a doctor, is very needed here in the village”. He notes the “dignity” of the local inhabitants and how “everything flourishes at its own pace”. He talks interestingly about the role and “class” of the intellectual in Polish society, and warns against rating intelligence too highly: “It is all about how do [people] adapt to reality.” Although his neighbours “are not highly educated … some are really clever, very clever. It is worth talking to them…. relationships are much better [than in the city]. We have got some friends in the area. They are real intellectuals”.

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  Graduated from the Institute of Technology in Wroclaw and lived there for a long time. In 1992, he seized the chance to buy 5 ha of agricultural land very cheaply.
Section 2  Telling his wife what he’d done. In fact, she’s more interested in nature than he is. He still reads a lot and visits the libraries in Wroclaw and Bystrzyca.
Section 3  Talks about his schooldays, studies and work in the Polish radio services. Like others of his generation, he says, it’s a complicated life story.
Section 4  His “coming here was quite accidental, not planned”. Although he had a rich life in the city, he still keeps in touch with old friends and relatives.
Section 5  In Wroclaw, you can “feel sulphur in the air … generally it is unpleasant and dangerous”. But he points out that the village has becoming increasingly depopulated. His wife’s expertise helped them establish themselves. In return for her medical advice, the neighbours “bring some eggs or help in the garden. They do not like to be somebody’s debtor”.
Section 6-7  The story of the move: emphasises the spontaneity. Mentions his efforts to plant more trees. And how they were a bit taken aback by the weather on arrival. Had to learn “how to deal with nature … for example with weather – all those downpours, storms, heavy winters”. He also realised that “everything flourishes at its own pace.” Had not understood this before: “What I knew was based on literature. That was all. And suddenly it turned out to be different.”
Section 8-9  Keeps himself intellectually stimulated by writing long letters, especially to Michal (his son?). Admits he might have found it difficult to have made the move when he was much younger, but now he is happy. He can still have very interesting conversations with the local residents, and relationships are better. His best memories of Wroclaw are of the gothic churches, music and some of the festivals.