Czemu Polska? // Why Poland?

Whenever I meet someone for the first time, I know with 100% certainty that the first thing they’re going to ask me is “Why do you live in Poland?!!?!!!?” Even worse is when someone finds out I’m from Florida. “You moved from Florida to Poland???!!?!” I know everyone thinks I’m nuts, but what can I say? Yes, I moved from a hot place that most people consider the ideal holiday destination to Poland, which most foreigners liken to Siberia in terms of weather. (I also thought that in the beginning and bought a jacket so puffy I’m embarrassed to take it out of my closet nowadays).

This question alone shows how Poles view their country. Many Poles dream of working abroad so they can’t imagine why someone would come here when they have the chance to go anywhere else. I understand them. The standard of living and salaries are higher in the West and prices (and taxes!) are relatively similar, so why not move?

Ok, but that further begs the question “Why Poland??”. It wasn’t like I pulled out a map and my finger landed here. In my case, it was an accident. I did a summer program 5 years ago for WorldTeach, a program based out of Harvard which sends volunteers all over the world to teach English. And I chose to go to Poland. Yes, that’s right, I chose it. Poland is in Europe and Europe for Americans is like America for Europeans. So it makes sense! So I had a plan to travel, but I met someone and decided to move here. It’s that simple.

Living in another country is essentially like traveling every day! Can you imagine that? Always something new or weird or crazy to observe. Sure, it hasn’t been easy. Sometimes it’s totally exhausting and I just want to be normal for 5 minutes, but then I take a nap and get over it.

The best part of living in another country is that it changes you. There’s some dignity in a little suffering. If I can manage 3 work permits in the 5th dimension that is Urząd Wojewodźki (like city hall), managing my own company, awkward parties where I understand nothing, a day in court to prove I should be allowed to get married in Poland, I can pretty much do anything.

I went into this situation wanting to collect experiences and I really got what I bargained for. I lead a much more satisfying life in Poland than I ever did in America and that’s why I live here.

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  • Reply Kuba 26 September 2015 at 17:30

    “Living in another country is essentially like traveling every day!”
    Sounds terrible!

    • Reply Leah Southers 27 September 2015 at 08:13

      hah it is sometimes

      • Reply Adrianna 8 December 2015 at 21:39

        Hah, Leah, I totally get you! I’m Polish and have been living in Denmark for 2,5 years. Struggling with the language and feeling like a traveller every day. So tough to do it, but it’s just so exciting sometimes! And that’s why it’s worth it 🙂

        • Reply Leah Southers 8 December 2015 at 21:48

          Hi Adrianna! Oh it’s nice to hear when someone has the same feelings 🙂 It’s definitely worth the struggle. You’re a better person because of it. How is Danish? Bloody difficult I suppose? I can’t imagine…

  • Reply Dagmara 27 September 2015 at 23:03

    “Living in another country is essentially like traveling every day!”
    Sounds great! 😉

    • Reply Leah Southers 28 September 2015 at 21:30

      Dagmara – sometimes it’s a drag, but usually it’s great. The more Polish I speak, the better I feel 🙂

  • Reply Laura 22 January 2016 at 23:03

    Haha I’m one of those people who always ask to a foreigner why they come to Poland.
    But I do it because I’m from Mexico and the reason for most mexicans living in Poland (or people in Mexico wanting to learn Polish) is that they have met a beautiful polish girl and now they have to learn polish. In my case, I have polish roots so I want to know them, learn polish while being here and who knows what will happen…at least I’m just planning to fall in love with this country…allthough polish language might be frustrating sometimes.

    • Reply Leah Southers 23 January 2016 at 09:28

      Yeah of course everyone asks. that’s totally understandable! it’s always an interesting story so I always ask too. that’s super cool that you’re hear to learn more about your Polish roots! I can only attach myself to my husband’s roots 🙂 how long have you been here?

  • Reply Claire 25 March 2016 at 00:51

    My friend told me I must be insane if I change a good job at a British corporation to study Polish in Krakow. But you know sometimes we feel stuck in a place where we cannot develep our abilities. I felt dead inside and needed a change. I got invited by my friends to visit Krakow and that’s how it all started 😉 Anyway, if you need a good Polish course, consider Prolog: http://polishcourses.com/. Nice language school.

    • Reply Leah Southers 25 March 2016 at 06:20

      Hey Claire 🙂 Cool story! thanks for the link. I’ll check it out!

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