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Cultural readjustment... returning to Poland from the West.


Buddy 7 | 167  
6 Apr 2008 /  #1
Now I'm a happy little soul who pootles around where ever the path is winding.
My beloved however seems to be suffering since her return to Polska. Having spent the last 7 to 8 years in the Uk, the majority of her twenties, living in South London she is finding readjusting really hard.

I have prior experience with Third world banana republics, so for me Poland really isn't that idiotic. There are many, many things that seem alien and illogical to me in Poland, however, I take these as exotic oddities.

My other half is not so tolerant, she proudly showed me an article which stated that people returning from the UK after long periods away are seeking counselling to deal with returning to Poland. I'll try and locate this article, it was on onet.pl

Meanwhile I have dug up an interesting just with various peoples experiences documented. opendemocracy.net/people-migrationeurope/article _1300.jsp

Is there anyone else who has similar issues?
As for me I'm trying to Go Native.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
6 Apr 2008 /  #2
Another brilliant idea for a thread, I hope it takes off Buddy.

Can I ask u, why do u feel it's so difficult to readjust? It's not like the difference between European and Asian cultures after all.

As ever, it's a question of mindset. I went to Asia with an open mind which made the adjustment process so much easier.
OP Buddy 7 | 167  
6 Apr 2008 /  #3
why do u feel it's so difficult to readjust

Well I don't, (I'm an idiot abroad) its my wife who's suffering.

Well I have many different ideas, but I prefer to set the topic off and read others points of view, this while help me order and articulated the problems I perceive bother her. Thanks for the encouragement. (I enjoy the silliness of the forum, but also really appreciate the useful knowledge that I glean from this forum).
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
6 Apr 2008 /  #4
Well, many are returning or have returned so there is potential. If u don't mind me asking, what is it that ur wife is having so much difficulty with, the job front?

No, I don't work for any data collection agency so u r ok
OP Buddy 7 | 167  
6 Apr 2008 /  #5
She has spent the last 7 years living in South London, Chelsea, Clapham etc now we live in the UK equivelant of Aldershot. Thats the first one.

She's gone from being called PoshPolak and swanning around shopping, eating out, parties, and living the life. To a much more restricted selection which aren't on our doorstep.

ThirdlyI fear she doesn't like the winter, who does, but it affects some more than others.
Fourth, family. And in Poland family matters for better and for worse. Marry a Pole, you marry her family. I feel like I'm in a soap opera.

Hmm there are more to come..I'm just pausing...
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
6 Apr 2008 /  #6
Marry a Pole, you marry her family. Very true, acceptance is key here. There's always some kind of name day or party here and I'm always invited. I clam up when speaking Polish to her parents but am comfy speaking to my girl.

She's had counselling for that? At the risk of sounding insincere, she seems to have the Posh Spice syndrome
OP Buddy 7 | 167  
6 Apr 2008 /  #7
She's not had any counselling other than the reassuring words I give her.
Such as..... it can't get anyworse sh1t happens...que sera..sera...c'est la vie....
I'm not eminently qualified unfortunately.
krysia 23 | 3,059  
6 Apr 2008 /  #8
Everybody reacts differently to experiences in life. I know a 19 year old who came to the US when he was 7 years old. He's happy back in Poland. He never seemed to adjust here, he left his parents and likes it better there. So some people just can't adjust and may seek conseling, but it's all how you perceive change.
finT 12 | 167  
7 Apr 2008 /  #9
I have prior experience with Third world banana republics, so for me Poland really isn't that idiotic.

LOL :)
Actually I think this is pretty understandable behaviour on your partners side.
I think Polands success is being exaggerated abroad by Polish sources, possibly to attract people back, and many people are very disappointed when they return here. I've already met a few people who returned to Poland after being told that they can now earn the same as they were earning abroad and how everything is improving at a fast rate etc. and then after a couple of months of unemployment and boredom decided to move back abroad as it ain't really as sweet as it was being portrayed. Then again, maybe some folks are just impatient and expect too much.
lef 11 | 478  
7 Apr 2008 /  #10
they were earning abroad and how everything is improving at a fast rate etc

Some truth in that, its one thing returning to Poland for a holiday or being there as a native. I know of one person who committed suicide after selling her life time investments and returning to Poland.. She was never accepted as "one of us" but somebody rich from the west.

Poland still lacks a lot and no amount of vodka and cheap food will change that.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
7 Apr 2008 /  #11
May I start by saying this is one of the most interesting threads I have read.

I have prior experience with Third world banana republics, so for me Poland really isn't that idiotic.

Myself and my better half have just moved back to Poland from such a banana republic and Poland is like a proper western country in comparison, it still has some way to go but nothing too crazy.

I think for me a big thing is where in Poland you live, not somewhere out in the sticks, or too close to the family.

I know from personal experience, London is fast and furious, and moving to a small town is boring.
I will be paying close attention to this thread, keep'em coming
brazilii 8 | 97  
7 Apr 2008 /  #12
She's gone from being called PoshPolak and swanning around shopping, eating out, parties, and living the life. To a much more restricted selection which aren't on our doorstep.

Don`t get me wrong, but with such a good life in UK, why did she go back to Poland???
I think if someone is moving to Poland expecting the same life style as they have in UK, they will be always frustated. Poland is a different country, with different culture, different values and so on. I`m not trying to decide here which one is the best, but I`m from Brazil living in London for now and I realized that in Poland you find things that no money can buy. If you like design clothes, michellin restaurants, incredible night life, celebrities gossip, starbucks and alike, busy streets, don`t move back to Poland.

Anyway, best of luck for you two! :)
miranda  
7 Apr 2008 /  #13
How long have you been back? I think it takes at least a couple of years to adjust.
I have had experiance like that and I absloutely understand your wife. I went back eventually. People change when they live abraod and Poland is still such a homegenous country that I can see her having problem with adjusting. After beeing gone for a long time I had to get to know my family again as they had to get to know me.

Mine was a bizzare experiance although on the professional level I did really well. On the relationhsip level with my family I encountered a lot of conflicts do to miscummunication since they reallly did not know what life I had abroad and they never really asked. It was hard for both of the parties and I eventually went back and my family took it personally.

Anyways. It depends what your wife wants in a long term. If she is planning to have a fmaily life I think Poland is good for that, but if she wants to experiance more than that, then perhpas moving back is an option. I realized that one in that situation cannot have both which doesn't make the decision easy.

I also depends where you live. If you live in a small town or a city then perhpas moving to a bigger one is an option, so she can have a little bit more social life with more entertainment and other possibilities and be in the same coutry with her family. Sopa opera sounds familiar and it seems that there is no way around it.

I was lucky enough to live close to Berlin, so this is where I got my "Western" fix when I was fed up with the Polish ways.

Also finding friends with similar experiance would be helpfull.
mafketis 20 | 7,331  
7 Apr 2008 /  #14
My beloved however seems to be suffering since her return to Polska.

Little known fact. For many, many people who've spent considerable time in a foreign culture, the culture shock is actually worse when they return home to their native cultures.

There are a lot of reasons for this (not the least being that it's so unexpected) but note that the real reasons have little to do with living standards or government idiocy per se (I get freaked out when I go back to the states which is why I've been back so rarely). Also, it does tend to pass though readaptation can take longer than anyone expects.

My advice is be there for her and don't try to reason with her. A lot of "yes, yes" and "I know, I know" and an unwavering sympathetic demeanor is probably the best cure (and/or at the right time verbally sparring in the Polish manner if you're up to it - nothing wakes Polish people up quite like a heated, if ultimately trivial, argument).
OP Buddy 7 | 167  
7 Apr 2008 /  #15
Thanks for the posts, all well received..
miranda  
7 Apr 2008 /  #16
Little known fact. For many, many people who've spent considerable time in a foreign culture, the culture shock is actually worse when they return home to their native cultures.

very true.
szkotja2007 27 | 1,500  
7 Apr 2008 /  #17
Its a bit off topic but.....taking this to the extremes I was reminded of this......

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Bradford

went blind at 10 months of age but regained sight on both eyes after a cornea transplant at the age of 52.
Wroclaw Boy  
7 Apr 2008 /  #18
When i came to Poland to live everything was great at first, my Polish wife on the other hand having lived in the UK for six years suffered severe depression. I suppose anyone leaving a country for what ever reason has re-entry issues but I think with Poland there are simply more re-entry issues.
El Gato 4 | 351  
7 Apr 2008 /  #19
Cultural readjustment... returning to Poland from the West.

Well this isn't a problem because it is Poland, but because of the situation in Poland. There are things you can do in the UK that you just can't do in Poland, YET. The way people view some things in the UK are also different than they are in Poland. From my experiences going out and partying with friends every night might be frowned upon by some of the older people in Poland, while in the UK and US it's totally fine. Little things like that get to you.

Remeber when all the Poles showed up in the UK? They were homesick...now that they have adjusted, you can say they are new-homesick now that they are back in Poland. If you've lived somewhere for so long you are going to miss your friends and surroundings after you leave. Happens everywhere all the time. It's just happening all at once with a lot of people now that they are all coming home. It'll all blow over soon enough and we'll all be happy.

:]

If you want her to get over her "depression" take her out and see the countryside. The lakes, mountains, valleys, etc. I've seen so many pictures of things in Poland that you will never find in the states, and vice versa. I know what my mom and dad miss the most about Poland is definitely their surroundings. They loved the mountain air and all that good stuff.

Poland is part of the EU now, so it's not like it will be hard to go and visit your new chums in the UK any time you want. :]
Dzhaklin 3 | 166  
7 Apr 2008 /  #20
Maybe she is feeling that she has digressed in her life. She moved from Poland to the Uk and lead a posh lifestyle and now she's back in Poland sans the posh style. I have experienced a similar thing. Maybe her life before the Uk wasn't what she wanted it to be and she got adjusted to the life in the Uk and loved it but now that she's back instead of feeling like she has moved on she feels stuck in the past. That might sound really off, sorry if it does. I would just give her some time.
brazilii 8 | 97  
8 Apr 2008 /  #21
or I would come back to UK ;)
lef 11 | 478  
8 Apr 2008 /  #22
Its a bit off topic but.....taking this to the extremes I was reminded of this......

yeah, In a a round about way there is a powerful message in all that.
OP Buddy 7 | 167  
24 Apr 2008 /  #23
Well thanks for the posts.
Hmmm...well if all else fails I'll try another European country, at the end of the day its all Europe, we are citizens and we can travel. Rock n Roll
aarrgghh  
24 Apr 2008 /  #24
I was intrigued to find several folk here share my views about the indifference or rather mundaneness of life in Poland compared to the West. This is not a new phenomenon, ever since the 17th century Poles have been coming back to Poland from tours of Europe or studying in Italy to find that they hate the country, and can't readjust. I think a major 17th century Polish writer, was it Lukasz Opalinski, wrote something about Poles returning from abroad and complaining bitterly about everything here, and how useless it all was when compared to what they'd seen in more 'civilized' countries. Your lady is not alone....
Eurola 4 | 1,906  
24 Apr 2008 /  #25
Adjustment is always in order when you move to another city, another state... and not to mention another country. As long as you keep your mind open to all the newness around you, you'll be fine.

It's just like every morning you make a decision to be happy all day or to be grumpy..the mood will follow you all day. The choice is yours.
aarrgghh  
24 Apr 2008 /  #26
As long as you keep your mind open to all the newness around you, you'll be fine.

It's not newness that's the problem. It's the staleness, the unsmiling, lack of joie de vivre, the total lack of spontaneity that most Poles seem to exhibit. Once you have experienced this in the West, and return to Poland, people here seem to be zombies. It's difficult to adjust to this. Fact.
Eurola 4 | 1,906  
24 Apr 2008 /  #27
Well, I'll be there in two weeks! I can't wait see my zombie brother and sister and at least 30 zombie, unsmiling cousins and friends! We're going to have a hell of good time sitting and staring at each other without a word! :)

On a good day we'll be walking drunk on the street with a bottle of vodka. Do people put them in a brown bag? They seem to do it in NY or Chicago...
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
25 Apr 2008 /  #28
Can I ask u, why do u feel it's so difficult to readjust? It's not like the difference between European and Asian cultures after all.

The issue may lie on the fact that for many of us upon return we do not find ourselves in the country we left. In my case that country doesn't exist anymore (only Michal still lives in it).

Things changed a lot, so the last time I was in Poland I did feel like a foreigner. If I travel to a country I never visited before I know things will be different. Not always sure how and in what respect, but there is that expectation of difference that makes things feel they way they should be i.e. weird :)
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
25 Apr 2008 /  #29
t's not newness that's the problem. It's the staleness, the unsmiling, lack of joie de vivre, the total lack of spontaneity that most Poles seem to exhibit. Once you have experienced this in the West, and return to Poland, people here seem to be zombies.

I must be a zombie myself then, because I find life in the so-called West boring and stale, but when I visit Poland, I feel joy and energy, and am extremely happy to jump right into the middle of things, even if this does include completing my dad's annual tax return (yes, I always did it when living in Poland, and I am still expected to) ;-)

What is this a lot of you seem to have about unsmiling Poles? Polish people do not grin needlessly, but smile when they mean it, and laugh when they are happy. A "smile for everyone" usually means no really warm feelings for anyone. This has been said before on this forum, if I recall.

I have always had fun chatting to the lady at the local store or to the old man waiting for a tram with me, and I can assure you we are all smiles and giggles then. It's a question of reaching out to a real person as opposed to expecting everyone to be overjoyed to see you just because you happen to be there.

Yeah, some of my Polish friends go to Poland and come back complaining of the dismal melancholy of the place. So when I visited last year, I took extra care to track this terrible depression down and have a closer look. No such luck. I was exquisitely happy and hated going back. And this is definitely my last year in the UK.
raina - | 6  
25 Apr 2008 /  #30
I have lived in Warsaw almost 11 years now and quite agree that Polish are not friendly.
They mostly feel that they should mind their own business but in the bargain have become a very unsmiling and uncaring lot!
Look around at people waiting at an airport, train or bus.Rarely do they even nod at one another or make eye contact.
Hell even in my gym which I have been going to for almost 6 years now its me who has to wish my trainers and the receptionist!!

Then they just wish you back --No one bothers to yak a bit about mundane issues!!
But then they behave in the same manner towards the polish members also.

Magdalena -In my opinion a smile is a great thing as it breaks so many barriers.
In Uk when you go to a post office or bank even if you dont speak the language you know people will smile and attend to you politely.

This takes away a persons fear.
Here in Warsaw even though I speak Polish there is no smile or friendliness in my post office.
And sadly my local grocery store lady will never chat or smile with me even though she knows me since 6 years.
So do remember smiling at a foreigner helps them get a bit confident and takes away a bit of the lonliness inside.

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