One of the things that I find difficult to get my mind around is the defined structures of a classed society. I guess it’s because I was born and raised in America that I don’t agree with being boxed into a specific class or social strata. This has caused some problems here in the UK for me. I have a tendancy to push past any neatly defined lines.

What’s really brought this to my attention this week is our cleaning lady here at the office. Her name is Beata, she’s polish, and she’s also a type 1 diabetic. That’s one of the things that got me to talking with her a few months ago. Every Wednesday she comes in to clean up the offices and almost no one really chats with her. Then one day she mentioned having a low blood sugar, so we started talking. Now whenever she shows up Felipe and I end up chatting with her, probably more than we should cause it slows her down and it takes her longer to get out of here.

So, where does this fit into a classed society you ask? Well, at first glance things seem so stereotypical it’s frightening. She’s mid 30’s, Polish, female, and a cleaning lady. Until you speak with her and learn she and her husband are here working to support their son who is attending the University of Edinburgh, as an english major of all things. She’s got a bachelors degree and used to work in real estate in Poland. But here she cleans offices because she can’t find any other work. She’s branded that class, and can’t break out of it. She’s got more education than I do, and yet can’t seem to catch a break because of her heavy accent and Polish ethnicity. (Probably more to it than that, but, maybe not).

Here in the UK Eastern Europeans get a horrible rap. And until you meet someone and get to know them, it’s easy to fall prey to a stereotypical outlook. I’m sure every country has it’s class system. I’m just not used to it being so obvious.

Just a observation for the day.

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