about the project
oral history archive
collections
contact
about emigration museum in gdynia
search
A A contrast version
+add your story
 Joanna Ochocińska i Jakub Onoszko

Jakub Onoszko and Joanna Ochocińska, photography by B. Ostrowska
 

Joanna Ochocińska

My name is Joanna Ochocińska, I am 33 years old and I am unable to tell my story. I think it’s because the story of my emigration and coming back is more of an amalgamation of accidents, coincidences and spur-of-the-moment decisions. This story has no beginning, no logical development or a moral; it does have something akin to a happy end though. I feel like, up until 2006 when I went to London, I had a Guardian Angel watching over me, or some other Great Spirit that was steering my life so that my irrational decisions would lead to good results. And so, for example, against all logic and my own gut, I managed to find a job in the UK as an English teacher – a fantastic, interesting and well paid job I could not have even dreamt of when I was leaving Poland.

Job satisfaction was not enough for me to like Great Britain though. In London, which I grew to hate, I lasted just enough time to gain quite a few tons of life and job experience that has been bearing fruit to this day, and which has allowed me keep a clear head when facing any problems or adversity. My aversion to Great Britain went hand in hand with my longing for Poland and, in 2011, with great relief and a spotted dog, I returned home. The Guardian Angel ensured a soft landing for me, both in my private and professional life. I think I’ll do well on my own from now...

My interview was recorded in two places which are very special to me: my parents’ house, from which I embarked in 2006 to conquer the world, and around Rębiechowo, where I ride horses and rest up before the work week. Both of those places were and still are powerful magnets which always drew me towards Poland when I was abroad and would regularly haunt me in my dreams.

Jakub Onoszko

I am 28 years old. I left for the UK in 2007 to study, three years after Poland joined the EU. I emigrated to seek excitement, adventure – I needed a change. A jump off the deep end seemed like a good way to become self-reliant and overcome my fears. I did not know anyone in Bath, I had only been to the UK once before, I came for five years with a particular goal in mind – to graduate from university. I did not plan on doing anything beyond that, just one thing led to another. Many attractions were waiting for me. People from all over the world, many trips, lots of practical knowledge, it was a paradise.

But I just could not seem to stay for long there and I was always drawn to Poland, I always had this feeling of not being “at home”. After four years, I got my BA degree and it was time to end my education... Just one more year in the Netherlands and I could go back.

And finally, I got my MA degree, loaded 20 kilogrammes into my bag, I was never one for hoarding things, and one day later I was on a coach to Gdynia. There, my girlfriend, my parents, friends and everything I considered to be “mine” was waiting for me. I finally didn’t have to wait for another break and an excuse to visit home.

I met up with Joanna Ochocińska at the same train station in Gdynia from which I had embarked on a 30-hour ride to Bath. Our next meeting took place in a flat in Chwarzno, in which I currently live with my girlfriend, for whom I returned to Poland.

interview excerpts
: / :
Joanna – an Indian glade in the middle of Gdańsk
>>> Read the transcription
: / :
Joanna – Leave... why not?
>>> Read the transcription
: / :
Joanna – “I started to think about coming back on day one”
>>> Read the transcription
: / :
Joanna – bad dreams about the UK
>>> Read the transcription
: / :
Joanna – A view of Gdańsk from the plane
>>> Read the transcription
Joanna's fotocast about Jakub
: / :
Joanna – Emigrant school of life
>>> Read the transcription
: / :
Joanna – Unlearning pessimism
>>> Read the transcription
gallery