Letter from
Kasia &
Ania

Dear All,
it is 2020, the year in which I’m celebrating my last twenties. Well… there’s a saying that life starts after thirty. Mine for sure. For last two years I am fighting against my stroke-ness and I’m finally starting to win, walking out my disability. I’m doing small steps – more and more – all by myself ; and I’m waiting impatiently for the future which I finally see so clear.

With greetings
Kejti girl (Kasia)

Katarzyna Banaszek
Katarzyna Banaszek
Katarzyna Banaszek
Katarzyna Banaszek

Letter from Katarzyna & Anna

transcript

I’m Kejti.
Officially: Katarzyna.
I’m 29 years old.
Two years ago I had stroke.
My passion is photography and music.
I know that many people say so.
But photography is also my profession. And I play drums.
I mean, well, not currently.
Currently, together with my fiancé, I live in Bydgoszcz.
Because of rehabilitation.
Polish people call Bydgoszcz by a nick name: Brzydgoszcz (after “brzydki” meaning ‘ugly’ in Polish)
but it is really nice and pretty city.
We love living here. And we plan to stay here longer.
(…) two women living together might turn out a disaster. But here our life is awesome. And we are awesome. (…)
I would not change Ania for anybody else.
Not even for young Kate Bush.

I think our biggest dream is to be back in Iceland. At least for a visit. I call Iceland my promised land. Another big dream of ours is to live in seclusion, surrounded by nature. That’s very important for us. And my personal dream is that out cat that we were forced to leave at my parents, that it still puffs at me few times and scratches me well again.

Life of disabled person is not easy and certainly it’s pissing me off. I never thought dependency is in fact so irritating.

Kasia

* * *

Hey,
I’m Ania and I’m Kejti’ (Kasia’s) fiancé. We are together since 5 years, and currently we live in Bydgoszcz. I’m originally from Poznan. And I will be 28 this year.
I studied economy, I worked in hotel business, and now, since 2,5 years, I help Kasia in the everyday functioning, cause at this moment she still needs help 24/7.

When the stroke happened, we were paying Easter visit to Poland, but our home, residence place, was Iceland. It was March 2018.

We are in Bydgoszcz since the rehabilitation started. It is already 2,5 years being back in Poland. Bydgoszcz was not really our choice of preference, simply: the best in the country rehab for Kasia is placed here. But it was very positive surprise for us to discover Bydgoszcz as a nice place to live. I’m a driver and it’s great for driving. Everything is close. And we won’t hide that it is for us, in our situation, a super important thin. And Bydgoszcz’ old town is beautiful. It’s called “Venice of Poland”. Great to spend time in.
But still, living in Poland is not our choice. We moved to Iceland and we wanted to live there for few, or maybe even longer, for dozen of years… Iceland is very tolerant, very open, ethnically and socially very diverse, people’s views on many issues are so different than in Poland. That’s why we left. And also, Iceland is our special place, we fell in love with this country, it’s the place we simply felt good to be in. I think the place of birth is for us important, and surely and mostly the people in Poland are important, and since they are living here so we do consider Poland our place too, but Iceland.. Iceland is our home of choice, if I may say…

… I guess, year 2018 was critical. Beginning of some new era, new chapter. Surely for me. And now current pandemic, it has changed so much: in the human relations, in the way we see certain issues, in economy, in the whole system. Those incredible 3 months of the hardest lockdown, how much they twisted everything. I do not want to complain, and during pandemic we were ok: we had a place to live, we had food, we just had to stay calm and endure.. Of course it was.. challenging.. mentally. And for all of us. I think we all went through ups and downs. Impossibility of meeting people, our families, that was very difficult. I missed real contact with others, our usual daily rhythm, the routine of preparing for leaving the house, going for rehabilitation. It was a crazy time.

Also, some issues got reevaluated in our heads. One appreciates more simple possibility of getting out, of taking a stroll, of being in nature… Now we really try to stay close to nature more often… and we do appreciate so much more the meetings with family and time spent with friends; and we try to use it the best way, to live our life more, to enjoy the moment..

And now, when everything seems to come back to some kind of (still new but) normal, it is more difficult for us again. More trouble to organize any charity event for example; we do understand that people lost means and money, so they cannot support us,
it is then harder…, but anyway, of course, we continue to operate…

For me personally, a life in Poland is ok, I try not to grumble too much..
But still, there are issues that concern and touch me deeply..
like impossibility to legalize our relationship.
Usually, when in marriage, when one partner gets sick or has accident, the other one who suddenly needs to become caretaker, to quit job, there is always a support from government.. an insurance… and in my situation, I am denied any possibility of formal help. And that creates extra burdens, extra troubles in this already quite tough situation.. there is a whole list of them… and the disability becomes even harder.. So, same sex marriages, small issue, seems to so many such an irrelevant problem, all the whys? What fors?
And actually, for us, it would change so much … Really.

I still believe there’ll be the change one day. I believe we will get to the moment equal rights for every relationship will be provided. And I think that is my main dream for today: to witness this change asap. To see everybody understanding we are all equal.

And another dream, and it can still wait a bit but: I really really would love to come back with Kasia to Iceland. I know coming back for good (to live there, to work) that might not be possible anymore.. But at least holidays… that would be already enough.
Yes, so.. that is my dream: a trip with Kasia to Iceland.

Ania