Gift for a Polish doctor going back to school?
June 10, 2016 6:09 PM   Subscribe

I've been working with a Polish MD for a few years (as a secretary) and he is now going a different way, I am hoping to give him a gift to remind him of me, or at least leave him with a good impression.

I haven't had much luck searching on google because of the Polish/nail polish thing.

The situation is, I am a medical secretary working for a physician who is going back to school for two years to complete his fellowship in a subspeciality he loves (Public Health.) I've worked for him for three or so years now, and while we're not any closer than the office relationship, I'd like to say thank you to him, as he helped the community we work in when we were short of a doctor.

I'd kind of like to do something traditional as he doesn't get home often and reacts well when we make bigos for potluck. I scoped out the vodka section at the liquor store as he originally brought a bottle of Polish bison grass vodka to the members of the clinic but the LCBO has mostly rubbing alcohol for vodka.

He does have a small daughter who is about 3-ish now and I am not in any way against being all "congrats also here is a present for your child!" as this has been a good way to do presents in the past.

1.) Very Polish, fairly traditional about it I think.
2.) Very into Judo/MMA/"Grappling" - he likes to do ringside physician stuff IDK if there's anything there?? He's quite active in that scene himself I guess.
3.) Has a German Shepherd who if his daughter wasn't holding on to his pinky finger, would control his life
4.) Terrible handwriting and a predilection for losing pens so don't even with the pen stuff
5.) Loves his daughter terribly well, star focus of his life, etc. etc. Polski gifts for a three year old would be just as good if not better.
6.) Eats like a tractor that is on fire.
7.) Is a doctor but kind of a country one so pretty laid back about things.

Essentially what I'm looking for is a "thank you for doing what you did, and I wish you the best of luck in the future" present, through a Polish lens, preferably not yellow roses. Thanks!
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hmm. My Polish coworkers mentioned that they are quite proud of the types of mushrooms in Poland. (Button mushrooms just don't count.) He might appreciate a gift of an assortment of fancy mushrooms.
posted by jillithd at 6:46 PM on June 10, 2016

I was once gifted a small wooden sculpture of a white stork by a Polish friend who said that it represented luck in her culture. That may be appropriate for your situation.
posted by at 8:00 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

This calls for a polish good luck tree desk ornament.;
posted by slateyness at 8:50 PM on June 10, 2016

Try adding food/products to your Google search.

My vote would be for a place that ships frozen pierogies.
posted by brujita at 9:28 PM on June 10, 2016

as he helped the community we work in when we were short of a doctor.

Do you have letters and cards from patients that could be put together in a scrapbook? Maybe you could frame a beautiful photo of the neighbourhood (eg wide angle shot of the street, with the office building somewhere in it)? And/or throw in a pic of his name on his office door? Might be nice for him to have a tangible reminder of the patients he's served and the work he's done.

(I would maybe work that angle vs. his ethnicity, because it's not the most important thing about him, know what I mean? Unless he thinks it is the most important thing about him, in which case you will probably have a hard time meeting authenticity standards. Unless you're also Polish and know someone who can find the best things, but then you wouldn't be asking this question.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:46 PM on June 10, 2016 [5 favorites]

Polish doctor here. I don’t know, I actually wouldn't aim for something Polish. Several of the above examples are more about non - Polish people's ideas about Poland than what I as a Polish person value most about Poland or even that I identify as Polish. If he's middle aged then YMMV but if he's got a three year old daughter he might not appreciate a clichéd gift. Just a thought.
posted by M. at 6:08 AM on June 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Another Polish person here, though not a doctor. Agree 100% with M. above, just get him something related to the work he's done in your community; it would be much more meaningful. A gift basket of local foodstuffs?

With respect to Polish things, I'm pretty sure he has much more nuanced likes and dislikes because he has grown up in Poland, rather than just liking everything "Polish" (or what other nations think of as "Polish"), so you are running the risk of getting him something he doesn't particularly care for, or offending him by giving him some stereotypical junk.
posted by Ender's Friend at 8:34 AM on June 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Okay, so I thought of something Polish, but it would be more of a joke gift. If he's going back to school, you could get him a gift basket with the Polish equivalent of instant ramen:

- things like Gorący Kubek ("Hot Mug", instant soup): examples here

- instant ramen, although you'd probably have to find a Polish store for this, examples here and here
posted by Ender's Friend at 8:54 AM on June 11, 2016

OK, came up with something a little less known but really cool.

I have several of their pieces and they are quite popular in Poland.

Otherwise, I think a guestbook-style scrapbook with letters from patients and staff would be an awesome, awesome gift (though of course very time-consuming).

Other doctor stuff: a durable, well-designed penlight (mine always fall apart fast). But maybe you get good and cheap ones from the pharma reps? A subscription to a medical journal he loves (they are crazy expensive). A restaurant gift card. A farewell dinner attended by the staff. These are all expensive - how much were you looking to spend?
posted by M. at 9:10 PM on June 11, 2016

Oh, that pottery is perfect. This is the absolutely perfect injoke.

Thanks all for the suggestions of scrapbooks and area things but that's already part of the general clinic staff goodbye gift.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 9:53 PM on June 11, 2016

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