And what did you think would happen?

I often tell my students about my misadventures in Poland. My stories usually make for good listening exercises. They laugh at my follies and at the weird things I encounter. I tell them when things about their country just don’t make sense to me. Usually the same things don’t make sense to them either. In such cases, they just throw their hands in the air and say “That’s Poland” with a mixture of disbelief and resigned acceptance.

Poland is less than two months away from joining the European Economic Union and things aren’t exactly in order. People within the country are scrambling to get things up to in-coming standards, while Poland’s soon-to-be partners-by-choice and old-partners-by-force are suddenly realising that EU expansion is a big change. The proximity of the May 1 accession date has prompted all of these outbursts and it’s funny that they come so late. It’s not like the accession date was a secret. Nice to see that Western, Central and Eastern European countries are no strangers to procrastination.

Hopefully, Poland’s entry into the EU will mean a change in visa policies for Canadians. Currently, those travellers with a maple leaf sown onto their backpacks need a pricey visa to get in (not including those insecure Americans who’ve picked up a maple disguise). If Poland adopts the same visa regulations as all the other EU counties, that would mean Canadians will no longer require visas.

In the interest of hassle free travel this summer, I emailed the Polish Embassy in Ottawa. I figured if anyone will know about changes to visa regulations for Canadians, it would be them. They are, after all, at the forefront of the issue. They responded two days later (a record, no doubt) with the following:

Answering your mail Consular Division of the Polish Embassy in Ottawa kindly suggests to contact us in April, because we still do not have information about visa for Canadian citizens after the 1st of May.

To which my students said,

“That’s Poland.”

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