English is a very flexible language and that probably makes it so popular among foreigners. If you don’t know a specific word you can try to use your imagination and in some cases you’ll find a word you need or a very similar one which will make you understood to the native speakers. Certainly it doesn’t always work but (in my opinion) it’s worth trying.
I used this method when I was thinking about the name of my blog. I wanted it to show what I’m (and, more importantly, will be) focusing on. One of my favourite English words is “bromance”. It’s such a great mixture of two words “bro(ther)” and “romance”, I love the person who made it up!
Thinking about this word, I started trying to invent my own word, my personal and very first neologism. POLGERomance was definitely the best one that came to my mind. Because I really think that there is something like a romance between Poland and Germany and even if it’s not obvious at first glance, it surely exists.
Of course, people from the East of Poland and the West of Germany might not feel it that much but the closer to the border, the more evident it becomes. People are very attached to their equivalents from the other country, travel a lot, make fantastic friends who help them understand the other culture or live in one country and work in the other one.
Everything I write is based on my personal experience. I can’t be sure that life in other border towns is 100% the same but I’m certain it’s at least similar. If you’re from a city which is more or less in the middle of your country, you may be wondering how it’s like to be so close to two completely different cultures. I’ll do my best to explain it to you but it can’t be done in one post.
For now, let’s just concentrate on some basic facts about the only border towns I got to know quite good, Slubice in Poland and Frankfurt (Oder) in Germany. Until 1945 Slubice was a part of Frankfurt what indicates even stronger connection between these two cities than between other border towns. The German city is much bigger with a population of 60 000 people (comparing to around 20 000 citizens of Slubice). Nowadays, all you have to do to change the country is to cross the bridge. Easy, isn’t it? If you’re lucky you can meet police officers or border guards standing there but don’t hope for everyday encounters.
What’s very specific when it comes to these cities is that there is a high percentage of students and foreigners. Each city has its own university (Adam Mickiewicz University – Collegium Polonicum and European University Viadrina) which are in close cooperation with each other. It means that you can study in two different countries, cities, universities and languages if that’s your wish. What’s more, at the German university almost 40% of students come from a different country what makes Viadrina the most multinational university in Germany.
These are only the basics about the life on the border but we have to acknowledge them to begin our adventure in the upcoming posts.