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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?

Air quality and general lack of environmental-friendliness. Air quality sucks for a few reasons. One of them is that this part of Poland (Silesia) is industrial and the other reason is that people burn garbage. This is due to the fact that people either don’t have money for more efficient methods of heating or don’t want to pay. Not only that, many people are skeptical of recycling. Um, why? Maybe the idea is something new for a lot of people, so if it’s new, you push back against the change. Ok I get that, but I often hear from people that they don’t recycle because they live in a flat and don’t have a place for 3 bins that will help them segregate. So do what I do and take a plastic bag and shove everything inside and then segregate when you go downstairs. It’s really not that complicated. or “I don’t recycle because the truck just takes everything and puts it in the same place anyway”. Yes and 3 minutes spent on segregating was lost forever. What a tragedy.

Everyone speaks Polish to me too fast. Ok I understand a lot of Polish but, for the life of me, I can’t understand why no one slows down their speech when they talk to me. Ma-sa-kra. You have to slow down your speech when talking to foreigners, y’all. I don’t need more excuses to look stupid. Throw me a bone.

Taxes. Being from the States, this is my most common complaint about Poland. Given the fact that there are many absurd social benefits and social health care, taxes are massively high. Sales tax (VAT) alone is 23% percent. Although they are far from the highest in Europe, the comparison to America is quite dramatic and it’s only getting worse.

Graffiti. I can’t stand this. There are beautiful buildings everywhere which are covered in graffiti, and not the pretty kind. The kind that just lets you know which football team they support or which area they live in. Somehow kinda idiotic to spray paint the name of your area on a building in your area… but ok. A new coat of paint? Perfect opportunity to paint “Piast całe życie!”

Sales. There aren’t real sales here. Even at outlets. You’re never like “oh shit! this is a sweet deal!” You’re like “eh, ok, that’s what this is worth.” And forget there being an amazing sale on some real name brand. The only place you can really find good deals is Tk Maxx, and if you don’t like searching through junk, it can be an irritating experience. That’s why every time I visit home, you better believe I’m coming back with a full suitcase and maybe one extra.

Intolerance. Generally, the fact that we live in homogenous society doesn’t help much with tolerance but, overall, most people I know and spend time with are very tolerant. However, it happens sometimes that when I’m out and about I can hear that even young people are intolerant to people like gays, for instance. I suppose it’s a matter of not knowing many and just simply not having experience with people who are different, but when I hear people talking about homosexuals, I often cringe. What’s acceptable in common conversation here would be considered very not PC in the States.

Bad service. Mostly it seems like people just accept the bad service they get here. And as people don’t expect good service, it’s often not given. Sometimes I’m shocked by treatment I get and sometimes I’m delighted. It irritates me that it can be so drastically different. Nowadays there are so many options, it doesn’t make sense to frequent a place where you know the service is bad.

Along with my fellow inhabitants of Poland, you can hear me complaining about the weather and how expensive things are as well, but of course I have a few of my own, but they’re not that bad in my opinion. Anything I missed?

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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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Culture

The differences between American men and Polish men 

Cross-cultural relationships are always complicated, but I’ve found my relationships with Polish men to be much simpler than with their American counterparts. Is it possible that men in Poland and men in America are strikingly different in terms of dating and relationships? Men are men everywhere, aren’t they? What differences does it make if they live here, in Australia, or in Argentina? Let’s get straight down to business: Polish guys just don’t play games like Americans guys do.
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Travel

A tour of the Guido Coal Mine – Kopalnia Guido

Zabrze might not bring about associations with great sightseeing for most people, but in fact, it has at least one gem — the Guido coal mine —worth visiting on a afternoon when the weather is drab like it was most of the winter. In addition to the Wieliczka salt mine and Szyb Maciej in Zabrze, Guido is another point in my mine experiences here in Poland – something I could never experience where I’m from.  Continue Reading

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Culture, Poland

Polish music – What I’m listening to now

So what do I think about Polish music? Well, if you were to explore my Spotify account right now, you’d see a lot of indie rock and indie pop. So right now I’m listening to BORNS, Grimes, Best Coast, Halsey, Purity Ring, Churches, and lots of others that are very similar. Here I wanted to discuss a few Polish bands which I’ve been listening to that I think everyone should know about, Polish speaking and non.

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