Browsing Category

Culture

Culture

Polish websites you might love, too

You’ll find as a foreigner that it’s often very difficult to assimilate because you don’t have access to all the cool stuff you had when you lived at home. That’s because you had years to find those sites or blogs which were helpful to you and also, well, you could actually read the language that’s used. If you can’t read Polish but you live here, it makes being part of the Internet world a bit troublesome. Here are some sites that I wholeheartedly recommend both for Poles and foreigners in Poland alike.

Continue Reading

Culture

Getting a travel visa to the USA – Is it so bad?

Before someone starts telling me how Poles shouldn’t have to get visas to the States – I know and I’m fully aware of the idiocy of this process. Why isn’t Poland in the visa waiver program like all the other European countries? The official reason is that too many people overstay their visas or never return. Is that true? Hell if I know but anyway that’s their reason. Trust me, I get it. I’ve gone through two travel visa obtainments with two separate people and it not great but overall I have to say that it’s really not that bad (but then again I’ve dealt with more bureaucracy than most). People are frightened of the process for many reasons. You hear sometimes that someone was rejected. You hear that one person was given the USA travel visa for 3 months, one for 1 year and one for 5 years so you think it’s a lottery. Perhaps it is?

Continue Reading

Culture, For Foreigners

6 lessons I’ve learned in my 6 years in Poland + a surprise!

I just hit my 6th year anniversary at the dead end of December and it making me feel strange and a little old. This number of years is starting to sound like a lot. Not just a couple, not just something short-term, but it’s starting to feel truly permanent. People ask me if I’m ever going to move back to the States and I’m starting to think I won’t, at least not in the foreseeable future. But one weird thing is that I can’t imagine myself as an old person in Poland. As a young person it seems like an adventure and as an old person it seems like a sham. Is that weird? Anyway, here are 6 things that these 6 short, fast, where-the-hell-did-the-time-go years have taught me.

Continue Reading

Culture, For Foreigners

Expecting visitors? What to do with your friends in Poland

I had a busy holiday season to say the least. My parents visited for 10 days, then I had a day visit from a WorldTeach (the program I came to Poland with originally) friend who was passing through Gliwice, then 1 week with my best friend Laura and her husband. It was my friends’ first time in Poland and we had an amazing time with them. They love food so we tried to center their trip around that but also visiting must-see sites in Poland. Are you expecting visitors in Poland? Here are some interesting things they might enjoy doing. Continue Reading

Culture, For Foreigners

Building a house in Poland. Think twice about it. 

I guess when we decided to build/buy a house in Poland, we didn’t realize exactly what we were getting into. We bought a house in the raw developer’s state so stan surowy zamknięty. What that means is that the house was built, there were walls, windows and such but nothing else. That sounds pretty easy, right? I mean the hard part was done wasn’t it? Hah or so we thought.

Continue Reading

Culture

My American parents at a Polish Christmas. What I’m nervous about. 

Christmas is a time for family and my parents are coming to Poland for the holidays for the first time ever. It’s also their first time in Poland in winter – remember they’re Floridians – but their third time in Poland overall. We’re really looking forward to having them here (and in our house for the first time) so they can experience a Polish (and maybe a white) Christmas. We’re going to share Christmas Eve and the first day of Christmas (also called Christmas day in America) with my husband’s family, only one of whom speaks English. Want to come help translate?? 🙂 Oh, the joys of a binational family.  Continue Reading

Culture

Don’t complain about your 26 days off – Social Benefits in Poland vs. the U.S.

Coming from America, a country which believes rather in individual and not social welfare, there are so many social benefits in Poland that are mind blowing for me. You still hear people complaining that it’s not enough, which is absurd when you compare it to American conditions. The reason social benefits are relatively low in America is because many Americans believe in low taxes and less government help – that way people have to take care of themselves. Of course that’s fine if you have a good job, not so much if you don’t. Nevertheless, that’s the American way – everyone should pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Continue Reading

Culture

Collecting mushrooms! My favorite Polish hobby.

Grzyby! This is probably my favorite activity that I’ve picked up in Poland. It’s one of the things I love about the summer/fall time. The sheer joy when you find a large prawdziwek (or porcini) is indescribable. I love going to the forest on weekends and spending a couple hours shrooming. In Florida we don’t really pick mushrooms. It seems like the weather would be good for mushrooms but who knows if there are even edible ones there (other than hallucinogenic, which there are plenty of I’ve heard). Either way, it’s not a very popular pastime where I’m from. But in Poland it seems like every has done it at least once.

Continue Reading

Culture

My first two Polish weddings

I’ve lived in Poland for 6 years and this year was the first time I got the chance to experience the notorious Polish wedding – two in fact. And they were both more fun than most American weddings I’ve been to. In short, absurd amounts of food and drink and lots of dancing. So basically really great parties. Poles also like to play games at weddings, which can be a little kitschy but allow you to be silly and have more fun, so they’re not that bad. And if you really don’t want to, you don’t have to participate. Here are some other differences which I think are worth noting.

Continue Reading