Kelley: Never A Dull Moment In Poland
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Poland, etc.
I am just an average American who just happened to move to Bydgoszcz, Poland. I have been married to a guy named Jim for the last 20 years who has moved us to 5 different countries in 9 different houses. My husband retired from US Air Force and got a new job that brought us to here in December 2011. I have been blessed with 4 kiddos between the ages of 5 and 19.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging the end of January this year mostly to keep friends and family informed of our new lives here in Poland as it is not a country you hear a lot of people moving to. Over the last few months my blog as grown more than I ever could have imagined. Who knew there was so much interest about living in Poland?
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
My favorite blogs entries are my cooking ones! We have lived in many different locations and one of my favorite things is learning to cook the local food. Now I can share my fun experience with others from all over the world!
Tell us about the ways your new life in Poland differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Living for 6 years in the Netherlands before moving to Poland, I was already use to the European mindset and adapted to not having many of the American luxuries such as 24 hour shopping, stores open on Sunday, having lots of different type’s restaurants and most importantly being close to family. But once we arrived in Poland I was pleasantly surprised to have some of the luxuries back, 24 hours shopping, shopping on Sunday and having more than enough different restaurants to choose from.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Poland? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I don’t think anyone can be really prepared to move too any county. Originally when we knew we moving from the Netherlands we thought we were moving back to the United States so we came for a week long holiday to here in Poland. We fell in love the people and the country, so that is the reason why we applied for a job here. But I do have to say it is one thing to visit a country on holiday but it is another story to live there. We very lucky also to have one of our neighbors in the Netherlands was from here Bydgoszcz which also gave us an inside scoop of our new home.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
One thing about living here in Poland is the language barrier. Polish is not the easiest language to learn but in the area we live English is not widely spoken. I am trying to learn the language but I do have a few hiccups now and then. I was at a McDonald’s and tried to order a sweet & sour sauce but instead the lady understood strawberry sundae, oops!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Poland?
- Try to learn some Polish before you get here. The bigger city English is more spoken and also with the younger generation because if you live in a smaller area like we do, the language can be a barrier.
- Make sure you have originals of all your life’s important documents such as birth certificates, marriage license, car titles and such. They do not like copies they want originals of everything!
- Come with an open mind! This is true for any country that you are moving too. This is my 5th country that I have lived in and I have known people who hated living at each of the countries while I have absolutely enjoyed them! Remember whether you are coming from the USA, Italy, Canada or the Netherlands, you do not live there anymore, so don’t compare them!
How is the expat community in Poland? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I do not live in a city with a huge expat community but have met several other expat spouses from my husband’s work that have already started turning into family. To be honest the Polish are some of the friendliest and hospital people that I have ever met which has made my transition here easier than I imagined.
How would you summarize your expat life in Poland in a single, catchy sentence?
It is NEVER A DULL DAY IN POLAND, for me!