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 Emanuela Derdowska i Edward Lubera

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Emanuela - Tips for future emigrants
Emanuela Derdowska and Edward Lubera, photography by Barbara Ostrowska

Emanuela Derdowska

I am 34 years old now. I emigrated to Great Britain in November 2006 and joined the great wave of Polish emigration to the British Isles. My reasons for leaving, like most emigrants at the time, were money, the need to become independent, but also the need for change in my life.

I spent close to three years abroad. I returned to Poland in September 2009 and settled in Gdynia.

Edward Lubera

The month of February is an important month in my life. In February 1945, among the debris of the border areas of Eastern Poland, in the town of Chełm, a single mother gave birth to me. Meanwhile, my father, Marian, together with Uncle Adam were chasing Nazi scum with the soviet army. Unfortunately, neither of them returned, they both died. According to the death certificate, my father died in the final stage of the Battle of Berlin.

In February 1967, as a student in my fourth year of German and Scandinavian studies at the AMU in Poznań, I left Poland and moved to Sweden. In February 1973, Eva, my Swedish wife, gave birth to our son, Johan. My deliberate return to Poland also took place in February 2002, though the final and formal decision regarding the permanent change of place of residence from Sweden to Poland was made in May 2006, when I bought my own flat in Gdynia – a new building at Beniowskiego 5, where I live to this day.

Why did I return to Poland and Tricity? The reasons are partially personal – my Swedish spouse and I divorced, I felt lonely, my mother, who lives in Poland, had come down with a serious illness. My opinion on the system change in Poland post ‘89 was positive. I was the initiator and chairman of a South Swedish NGO, the “Polish-Swedish Business Club” at the Skania chamber of commerce, Sydsvenska Handelskammaren, from 1990–2003. I myself became a co-owner and board member of a newly founded logistics company, Ytrans Polska, based in Świnoujście and Szczecin. Revived business contacts and the rapid pace of economic development in Poland enticed me more and more to return, and Tricity seemed to offer unique prospects. The closeness to Sweden from the shores of Gdynia was the ultimate argument for moving to this young and dynamic city.

I would like to emphasize here the astounding development of Tricity’s infrastructure: the modern A1 motorway, the PKP Pendolino railroad connection, the Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway, Gdynia’s efficient municipal transport system with its state-of-the art fleet and the new Tristar system, new and modernised cycle lanes being built all the time. All this will surely have a positive impact on new investments coming into the region, new jobs being created and the development of Pomerania as well as increasing the wealth of its residents. The cultural life in Gdynia also merits a mention: “Kolosy”, the annual congress of explorers from all over Poland, the “Złote Lwy” film festival, as well as the founding of a new film centre, the ethnic music festival “Globatica”, the Gdynia literature award, but also the numerous sport events including international sailing competitions.

All these investments, as well as many other successful and much-needed ones which I have not mentioned, confirm my opinion that my choice of Gdynia as the place of my return to my homeland was the right one.

interview excerpts
Emanuela's photocast about Edward
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Manuela’s documentary on her emigration
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Emanuela - Coming over to the decision
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Emanuela - Longing for Poland
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