They Come They Go

They Come They Go


Sylvia Trocz has been our cleaner for two years.  After her weekly three hour  shift  I give  her a half hour English lesson, which is more conversation than  grammar and something we both enjoy. Yesterday  was her last day and on Sunday she goes back to Poland. So our last lesson  spent was discussing her English experience.

Sylvia now 29 is   from Torun a town in the centre of Poland about two hours from Warsaw. She is a chemistry graduate and before coming to England  spent three years managing a restaurant. She is an attractive woman who  had achieved some success as a runner,a sport  in which she still has an interest.

In 2013 she followed her long standing boyfriend Radek to England. He had been here several years and had a job as a maintenance manager of a primary  school in Hammersmith. They set up home with several other Polish couples in Perivale.

“Because my English was not very good I  accepted that agency  cleaning was the best I could get”. After a year of agency work Sylvia established her own clients,  not least us. We gave her six other clients. She worked 40 hours a week,£11 an hour. Average wages in the UK are three times that of Poland. Sylvia doubled her wages by leaving the Agency. She also found that she was treated with more respect when she was working for herself.

As a naturally tidy, hard working and pedantic person Sylvia was a good cleaner. She was never late.“Although Radek and I were always earning and saving good money we always realised there was more to life. We were both close to our  families who we visited several times a year. We had always planned to go home to get married and start a family. Many who stay  do so because their families are in England.” After months of discussion about should  they go or stay, matters were brought to a head when Radek who had switched to plumbing lost his job.

Our previous cleaner Joanne also Polish has with her boyfriend made England her home. Joanne was in her forties and not as close to her family.

“I  am glad to be going home, it means a new phase and challenge in my life is beginning. My experience has given me more confidence and also made me realise that people the world  over are pretty  similar, they work, they take their kids to school, they go out in the evenings.  My English has improved, I took evening classes. If I had my time again I would have relaxed and done more, travelled around seen a bit more of the country. We concentrated on the money. Radek  first came to England because he wanted to get  money to buy a car. In the end although we met some nice people we didn’t really fit in here. To be with our families is the main reason we are going home.”


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