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 Małgorzata Chachaj i Sulina Bourdon

Małgorzata Chachaj i Sulina Bourdon, photography by Barbara Ostrowska
 

Małgorzata Chachaj

My emigration started in 2002. It was a journey North – Iceland, then Norway, with a wonderful stint in the idyllic Ireland. For me, experiencing those places was first and foremost connected to motherhood – that is where my children were born and where they grew up. The encounter with radically different family models, the relations between parents, children and society, so different from our own culture, is at the same time a difficult but enriching experience.

When the question of their identities came up, as well as problems with the young rebellious slavonic spirits’ cultural adaptation, I decided to return to Poland, to Gdynia. And I smile every morning when I think back to that decision.

Sulina Bourdon

I first went abroad when I was in university. I met my future husband on a year-long scholarship in Germany. We went to Belgium together in 2001. That is where our two daughters Solene and Julia were born. We lived in Belgium for six more years, then we moved to Heidelberg in Germany because of work.

My children are being raised in a Polish-French family. It was important to me that they could communicate fluently both in Polish and French. I did everything to teach my daughters Polish and teach them everything that is important about Polish culture.

After 13 years of emigration, our family moved to Poland. Nowadays, we live in Gdynia.

interview excerpts
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Sulina - The dilemmas and joy of repatriation
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Sulina - Forming your children’s identity
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Sulina - The trepidations of young repatriates
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Sulina - Ambitiously teaching Polish
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Małgorzata - Slavonic longing
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Małgorzata - “My language is me”
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Małgorzata - Returning is like a honeymoon
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Małgorzata - Single mother expat
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