After 6 years in Poland, I’m realizing more and more that I couldn’t really stop the Polonization process even if I wanted to. The effects are already deeply ingrained and having a tiny half-Pole growing inside me probably only exacerbates it. Want to know whether you too have been Polonized? Here are some of the tell-tale symptoms to look out for:
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.
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.
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.
Hi guys, I have something a little bit different for you this week. This is a post by my friend/co-worker Phil, a fellow foreigner in Poland, who lives even farther than I do from home. He’s got really cool insight into the differences between life in Poland and Australia. It’s a long one, but it’s well worth the read!
Being new in any environment is always a struggle, especially for us introverts who are terrified of making a faux pas (not just me I hope!) What do I wish I had known when I moved to Poland? Ah if only someone had handed me a manual… or a blog… Anyway, part of the fun is discovering the little idiosyncrasies yourself but sometimes it’s good to have a road map to guide you a bit. Here’s what I’d like any newbie to know about Poles:
You either assimilate or you don’t. It’s a choice you make. I’ve seen and heard of many cases here in Poland where someone just refuses to learn the language or adapt to the traditions here. What a shame, you know? If you’re here, you might as well live. Otherwise, what’s the point really? I’m a firm believer that if you’ve made a decision to live in a place, you’ve gotta go all in. If not, you can never truly experience the culture for what it really is.
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!)
I’ve been avoiding writing this post because I have such a bad taste in my mouth about it. Getting a Polish residence card is, by far, the most unpleasant thing about living in Poland. I’d like to give my advice to those who may feel in over their heads. It’s daunting, but a few tricks can help the process of getting a karta pobytu go more smoothly.
I have a confession to make. I’ve been to more European countries than States. That kinda makes me feel like a bad American but I think it’s a proximity thing. You know, like when you live near something cool, the chances of going are often smaller than if you’re visiting a place for the first time. For instance, I’d never been to Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral until last year when my boyfriend urged me to take him there. And it’s 40 minutes away from my house in Orlando.