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For Foreigners

Homesick remedy #1 – Writing Letters

That’s right. I said writing. Not sending emails or whatsapping people. Writing an actual letter on actual paper that people can actually keep. Writing cards and letters is something I grew up doing. My proper southern mama (hi mom!) always had us write cards for special occasions or to say thank you and it kinda stuck. Letters are a dying tradition but they are one of the most squishy, mushy ways to make someone feel appreciated, especially when you live far, far away from your lovies. Those of us who live abroad can appreciate it most of all. (hint: card giveaway at the bottom!)  Continue Reading

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Culture

“Dzień dobry Panie Dyrektorze” A comparison of power distance in Poland and in the US

In America, the way to make people feel comfortable in a social situation is to be friendly and treat them like friends. We wanna be pals. If you have to do something unpleasant like get a new driver’s license, you try as hard as possible to make jokes or at least small talk with the person behind the counter. You laugh together or something to feel like friends and you can even refer to them by their first name without disrespecting them. In fact, it goes along with the “let’s be friends” thing. How about Poles? Do they behave similarly?

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Culture

Canning. A dying Polish tradition that I’m keeping alive.

Five and a half years in Poland and I’m already an old Polish woman. One of my favorite summer activities is canning. Produce is super seasonal here so in the winter there’s no way you’re gonna find things like berries or good tomatoes. The only way to eat that stuff all year is to can it for the winter. When I lived in the States I was always a little wary of it. Whenever you read about it online, it seems so dangerous and scary like you can really easily poison yourself and your whole family. In reality, it’s not that hard.

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Culture

My 7 biggest complaints about Poland

 So I’m gonna get a little ranty and tell you my complaints about Poland. Let me preface this by saying please don’t read this post first and think I’m a total asshole. I’ve written many heart-warming, sentimental posts about my love for Poland so, please, no offense, ok?

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Culture

Health insurance in Poland vs. America – Whose is worse? 

Which would you prefer? 1. Paying for public health care, being fully covered, but waiting in long queues when you need to use it? 2. Choosing your own private health care plan, getting good service, and paying only once, albeit at a higher rate but possibly not being fully covered? Hard to say, really. Let’s take a closer look.  Continue Reading

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Culture

The 6 Most Common Polish complaints

You may have heard that Polish people complain a lot. And it’s true. It’s like a national pastime. The important thing to remember is that people complain as a way to bond, greet each other, feel comfortable around each other. It makes them feel like they can relate to one other because they have the same problems. Having a history of hard times after hard times, it makes sense. And anyway, everyone complains, right? But Poles have their own special complaints, tailored to the issues we often face here. Let’s take a look.

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Foreigners in Poland

The worst thing about being an American abroad

Tax season just ended. The most stressful time of the year if you’re an American abroad. Don’t get me wrong. Overall, there are more benefits to being an American than disadvantages. However, when it comes to things like taxes, if you’re an American living abroad, you have to file a tax return in not only your country of residence, but also your dear home country, America. And surprise, surprise, it’s a fucking nightmare.

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Travel

Hiking + majówka. Two beautiful Polish traditions. 

I wasn’t particularly sporty when I moved to Poland but my husband is extremely sporty and therefore I have no choice. I have to do sports if I want to see him on weekends. But. but. I actually really enjoy hiking. It’s an incredible cardio exercise and after spending a whole week indoors, it’s really refreshing to spend a whole day outside in the fresh air moving your tyłek a bit.
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Culture

Kombinowanie. Survival mechanism or cultural construct?

Do you ever find yourself trying to find a creative solution to a problem? Maybe you try to get around a rule or law in order to benefit yourself? Or possibly you try to get out of doing something you don’t want to do like go to work or school. Perhaps you try to look for the best deal when you’d like to buy something? If you said yes to any of these, you may find the word “kombinować” useful in your everyday life.

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