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Posts by ChrisPoland  

Joined: 15 Oct 2009 / Female ♀
Last Post: 3 Oct 2011
Threads: 2
Posts: Total: 123 / Live: 88 / Archived: 35

Displayed posts: 90 / page 2 of 3
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ChrisPoland   
18 Feb 2011
Work / Some cold, hard facts about teaching in Poland for newbies [101]

40 classes per week means 30 hours' work. Not exactly killing yourself!

I guess it depends on how your classes are organized. For me, 40 hours of class time means about 60 hours of "out of the house" time. I have to drive from company to company, allow for traffic, park and from time to time eat something and even use the WC.
ChrisPoland   
12 Feb 2011
Life / $3,000-$4,000 a month - would we have enough money to live in Poland? [273]

As a person who has rented I can tell you that your landlord may very well enter your flat without making an appointment. I am not talking about the law, but rather the practice. It happened to me when I was renting and quite a few of my friends who rent out their places feel it is perfectly alright to do it. I, as a renter or rentee, feel that it is a violation but I am just giving you a heads-up. Oh...what my friend found in her tenant's apartment one day...

And about the cats, I think you should inform the owner. I never rent to pet owners for the simple fact that I am severely allergic to animals.
ChrisPoland   
3 Feb 2011
UK, Ireland / Advice to Polish parents in the UK about weaning babies? [15]

Hi-
While I am not Polish, I live in Poland, have given birth in Poland and have breastfed in Poland too.

In my experience, it was assumed that I would breastfeed my children. I suppose that if I had not been planning to breastfeed my children, I would view that as pressure to breastfeed. All medical professionals that I encountered (throughout the first year and on) encouraged me to breastfeed as long as possible (even during the time I had mastitis and an operation). The expected norm seemed to be 6 months with supplemental cereal. The next additions were carrots, bananas, plums, etc. It was not unusual to meet other moms in the waiting room of the doctor's office who were still breastfeeding their 2 year olds. I fed my children to about one year plus or minus.

That's talking about the medical professionals...my mother-in-law was another story. Not only did she criticize my breastfeeding (as a fact), she criticized how I breastfed. She was sure that my children were starving and whenever I exited the room tried to feed them something entirely inappropriate (tomato soup made with smoked ribs and cream with rice - yummy but not for a 1 month old baby). There was a lot of talk about "in my day..." and she couldn't believe I was exclusively breastfeeding for 5 months. Additionally, some of my friends fed their babies things I thought were inappropriate such as mashed potatoes with butter and salt for a 3 month old. Basically, Polish moms get mixed signals from friends, family, media and doctors.

I also feel that Polish moms go overboard with the teas and juices. I didn't give my kids anything but milk or water until they were over a year old and I have never seen a need for "herbatki". Anyway I read a research study which concludes that fennel/dill tea actually causes gas in babies.
ChrisPoland   
26 Jan 2011
USA, Canada / What are the odds of my girlfriend getting a USA tourist visa? [70]

In my opinion the odds are good that she will get a visa esp. if she speaks English well at her appointment and explains what her plans are. I think saying that she is planning to travel (I understand that those are her real plans) is ok and that it is not beyond reach financially for some people in Poland. She should feel free to say that she spent a year on an exchange program and she is going back for a visit and to practice her English before she finishes her last year of high school. She should feel free to say that fortunately for her, her parents will be sponsoring her trip. There's no shame in that.

About getting married and taking advantage of student aid, please contact an Embassy to check what constitutes public benefit in their definition. I remember that when I applied for my husband's resident visa (he is Polish, I am American) there was something in there about my husband not being able to use public benefit (I imagine for some time period).

Also, regardless of the income of parents, student loans are available to all (US) students in the US. My parents are "pulling in 6 figures" as well but I paid for my studies 100% by myself with the help of student loans, a job, and some academic scholarships. I was not eligible for any grant money but loans were not a problem. Paying them back...that was a problem.

And what people are saying about the lack of jobs in the summer for English teachers is absolutely correct.
ChrisPoland   
20 Jan 2011
Law / Starting a private kindergarten in Poland [42]

But also keep in mind the point I made about private vs public (in Wroclaw). We are one of those foreign families with bi-lingual children that usually flock to private daycare centers. Additionally, we can afford a private daycare center. However, we chose a public daycare center because it is nicer than any private center we visited (in Wroclaw). And I don't mean it is a little bit better. It is so much better that the choice was simple. Luckily we "got in". Bribes (as mentioned above) were not needed in our case ;)
ChrisPoland   
15 Jan 2011
USA, Canada / Things that Polish-American should know about Poland. [168]

Regarding the Catholic church - Polish Americans should know that the Catholic church in Poland is not the same as the Catholic church in America. In order to partake of the same "services" for lack of a better word, completely different requirements are in place, handed down as God's law but are in fact often the arbitrary decision of one priest. I have often met with the statement that the Catholic church in America is not the "real" church.

In addition, if you are not interested in involving your children in the church, prepare yourself for a lot of comprises. If compromise is too much for you, prepare to feel oppressed.
ChrisPoland   
14 Jan 2011
Law / Starting a private kindergarten in Poland [42]

In my experience as a parent, I have not seen any private daycare centers in Wrocław that can even compare to my kids' public daycare - and that is without even considering the fees.

Our public daycare center has spacious classrooms fully equipped with desks, toys, books, full WC facilities per room. The playground is extraordinarily well-equipped and has a WC with direct access from the playground. The center also has an auditorium/gym where the kids give performances and enjoy other activities. Every group has 2 teachers and the "little" kids have 2 teachers and a helper. Children attend gymnastic exercise courses and have speech therapy. Catechism is available to those parents who wish to send their children as well.

Our public daycare costs us (with extra fees for the parents group and extra sports) about 400 zl a month per child including cooked meals. If your child is out for the day for whatever reason, you do not pay. The private centers cost at least 800 (up to 1500) plus meals and does not have the facilities of the public.

So where does that leave the private centers? - bursting at the seams. I was afraid that my child would not have enough "points" to get into the public center so that is why I checked into the private centers. They are full of all the overflow kids who didn't get into the public center or who live too far. I have found that private centers are plan B for many parents, not plan A even for those parents who can afford private centers. Judging by the cars in the parking lot, I would say that plenty of parents at our public daycare could afford a private center but the public is just plain better.

So I guess the moral of my story is to either locate yourself in a place where you can catch all the overflow kids and/or make your center so outstanding that it will become a desirable plan A for the parents.

Good luck!
ChrisPoland   
13 Jan 2011
USA, Canada / Things that Polish-American should know about Poland. [168]

I don't quite get the whole discussion about who is a real Pole or not, but I do agree that Polish-American people should get to know something about Polish history. I wish everybody knew more about Polish history, not just Polish-Americans. Hmmm, does that make me a little bit more Polish than American?

On a side note - American people like to identify themselves with their origins, no matter how far or tenuous. Some people think that is artificial or annoying, but for me as an American, I think it is sweet. My father's side of the family is definitely Polish (Michalik, a few generations back) but that is not why I came to Poland. I came here to work.

If it were possible, I would suggest that Polish-Americans move (not visit) to Poland for a time and foster relationships with Polish people, learn the language, read the newspapers, watch tv, and travel. I have my Polish husband and family to fill me in on cultural things I just don't understand, but if I didn't have him, I would hire somebody to discuss "Polish" stuff with. That is an expensive proposition but worthwhile.

P.S. We have been discussing the whole "Polish" thing lately at home. How American am I? I was born and raised in the US. I didn't know any Polish when I came here. I can speak ok now. I am married to a Pole, my kids were born in Poland and they speak Polish, but they are American, too. It is crazy!!!!
ChrisPoland   
13 Jan 2011
Life / $3,000-$4,000 a month - would we have enough money to live in Poland? [273]

I am American and I agree. Some people may scoff at the idea that $3000. doesn't allow for an "American" lifestyle but it is true. Having said that, you can easily adapt esp. since (as you described it) it is only temporary.

I also moved to Poland to work for an American co. for 2-3 years. It is more than 10 years later and I'm still here. I never intended to live here but each decision I made further entrenched me here (esp the Polish husband part). But I am not complaining, just talking about intensions and the effects of our decisions.

I have found that Polish women tend to be quite close to their families (But I think you got that considering your wife has brothers but she still needs to help out). I think that you both can be prepared for a lot of mixed feelings during this time about where you want to live, where is home, etc.

Good luck to you and your family
ChrisPoland   
12 Jan 2011
News / Hydraulic Fracturing in Poland. [14]

Plastic Pole- My family and friends have experienced first hand the damage fracking can do (in my hometown in the US). I hope we can avoid the same but who will speak up against the "frackers"?
ChrisPoland   
12 Jan 2011
USA, Canada / Things that Polish-American should know about Poland. [168]

I have lived in Poland for quite awhile so I am basing my answer on the impression my 68 year-old aunt had when she visited Poland a few years ago. (It was her first visit abroad and she considers herself "Polish".)

I think that Polish-Americans, like my aunt, who plan to visit Poland (and may have heard about Poland from other family members) should know that Americans are generally well-liked in Poland...but please don't set foot on Polish ground like you are the second coming of Jesus Christ. Another thing is that Poland is not as cheap as some would think especially compared to the American dollar.

So, my aunt who loves to research our family history just showed up to various "family members" (aka complete strangers) homes unannounced, unable to speak Polish, and expecting to be welcomed and expecting someone to understand her. Bless those souls, they did welcome her but knowing my aunt they didn't have much of a choice. Also my aunt complained that dinner in a large tourist center cost a whopping 20 dollars but when she misunderstood the internet cafe pricing she was prepared to pay 400 PLN for one hour of internet time - that's my crazy aunt.
ChrisPoland   
7 Jan 2011
USA, Canada / What should I bring back from the U.S. to Poland? [46]

I usually bring back clothes (cheaper in the US but the price gap is closing), vitamins (huge price difference, and ziploc bags (don't laugh, everybody is right, you cannot find them here). One last thing, I brought food coloring. It comes in an inexpensive little pack in the US and in Poland it comes in a quantity I would never use in a lifetime of birthday cake decorating.

I don't think it makes sense to bring food items except maybe something like candy or gum or something. I have a recipe for pancakes that is just as good or even better than any mix ;)
ChrisPoland   
7 Jan 2011
USA, Canada / American Marrying Polish woman - visa question [41]

I got married a long time ago, but I remember specifically being told in the US that getting married on a tourist visa would cause my husband problems with immigration. I don't know if they meant officially or if they would just give us a hard time. In the end, we got married in Poland.

I got all my information (regarding US wedding) from the US government. I used the web page and when I had a question, I called the hotline. The regulations are not always easy to understand but access to them is not a problem. For getting married in Poland, we got the info we needed from both the US Embassy and Polish local government. It took us almost 6 months to the day from applying to get married to actually getting married. It involves a court date and a home visit by the police - that means that the American future-spouse has to reside in Poland during this time.

Our very good friends were able to obtain a fiance visa even after the future bride was sent back to Poland from the airport in the US under the suspicion that she was planning to work. I think she was trying for her third 6-month stay under a tourist visa with no known income. They still received a fiance visa within the next year, but she did have a lot of problems with red tape.

On a side note, in order to receive a fiance visa and later a residence visa you need to prove as a couple (or with extended family) that you are able to financially support yourselves. FYI your idea of supporting yourselves and the govt's idea can differ dramatically.

Good luck!

PS I think the reason many people think there is something wrong with your situation is because you refer to your fiance as a lady you know.
ChrisPoland   
20 Dec 2010
Language / How can i teach my child Polish language? (I'm Russian, my wife is Polish) [35]

I think first you have to decide what languages you would like your child to speak. After that you teach your child those languages just as anyone teaches their child a single language. Supplement with reading materials and dvd's.

We would like our children to speak English and Polish (we live in Poland). We started out with each of us speaking our own language only but that left our kids a little deficient in the English department. Now we speak English at home and Polish everywhere else. The result is that we have 2 little bi-lingual kids who at this moment prefer Polish. It will be up to us as they grow older to supplement their English but luckily we are equipped for that. Really, for now it is just as simple as speaking to them.

Good luck!
ChrisPoland   
21 Nov 2010
USA, Canada / PolAm style Thanksgiving? [35]

Hi -

Regarding turkeys in Wrocław:

One year I asked at Epi market if they could order me a fresh, whole turkey. They did but it was a bit pricey. Another year (after we found "our" butcher) we asked our butcher to arrange a turkey for us. Just as good, half the price. Frozen turkeys are available at Carrefour for sure. This year we are not doing the whole bird either. It is just too much hassle and I don't really enjoy having my arm up to the elbow in bird.

Happy Thanksgiving

PS Sweet Potatoes are cheaper at Piotr & Paweł than at Epi :)
ChrisPoland   
30 Jan 2010
USA, Canada / My wife wants to return to Poland...but I want to stay in the US [155]

Funny. You are right about one thing. We won't thank you :) But honestly speaking I do not see this as an aspect of the female mind. How many men still think they can fit into a 32 inch waistband despite all other factors (stomach, mirror, scales) indicating otherwise. Maybe it is some survival mechanism related to self esteem :)

Anyhow, the "child's best interest" is always important but in this situation it doesn't really help them decide. First of all, let's remember that Jozek is still currently married and wants to be married and raise his child (if I remember correctly 2 years old). The child's best interest would be served probably if they stayed together in whichever country they can do the best in.

We often think of the child's best interest in divorce when we are comparing 2 countries with dramatically different standards of living (there was the case a few years ago with a little boy between Cuba and the US). Poland and the US are not so dramatically different, making the decision even more difficult.
ChrisPoland   
29 Jan 2010
USA, Canada / My wife wants to return to Poland...but I want to stay in the US [155]

Jozek-
I really feel for you esp considering your fear that your wife may take your child to Poland and never come back. When we had to make the same decision, we lived together for a couple of years in each country and then sat down to hash out the details. I am American and my husband is Polish and we are both fond of Poland and America. The conversation between us was not each one of us defending our own country. Honestly, we were not sure which place would be better for us. At that time we chose Poland and here we are. Sometimes we second guess our decision but we re-evaluate and move on trying not to idealize the other country and demonize the one we are living in. If possible go with your wife for an agreed trip explaining that you cannot move now. Collect info about jobs, prices etc and try to sit down and have a sincere discussion about what would be best for your family as a whole, not just your wife.

Good luck and take care.
ChrisPoland   
23 Jan 2010
Life / Kindergarden / daycare in Wroclaw [4]

Hi-
Pre-schools/kindergartens have "recruitment" periods when you have to fill out some forms and count up your points. But that's for public schools and it is only once a year. You may have better luck finding a private pre-school/school. Are you thinking about an English-speaking place or Polish-speaking? Do you know what part of the city you'll be living in?

Feel free to send me a pm or email and maybe I can help.

Good luck!
ChrisPoland   
19 Jan 2010
USA, Canada / Differences in How Polish People Raise a Child and How Americans Raise a Child [149]

Before coming to Poland, I had heard that Polish parents spank their kids more than American parents. I had also heard that Polish students were master cheaters. While I have found that indeed Polish students can find ingenuous ways to cheat, I haven't noticed that any more of my Polish friends spank their kids than my American friends.

Maybe spanking is going out of style, so to speak, esp with the popularity of the Supernanny tv show??
ChrisPoland   
17 Jan 2010
Real Estate / Multiple owners of agricultural property in poland [2]

I bought a property (agricultural land plus house and out buildings) that at the start of the process had 6 owners. During the process of buying one person died and then there were more owners who had inherited their part. After the inheritance issue was taken care of, all of the owners set one owner as their legal voice in making decisions about the property. That made the further negotiations and paperwork easier. Having said that, all owners were required (for some reason) to come to the final signing of the contracts, etc.

If I understand you correctly, the land was inherited by 3 people, you being one of them. Maybe one of the heirs could be assigned as the person responsible for the land while leaving the ownership of everyone intact. It is also possible to assign some guardianship to someone who is not the owner to take care of formalities such as paying the taxes if you are out of the country.

Good luck to you!
ChrisPoland   
17 Jan 2010
Food / WHAT DID YOU EAT FOR POLISH EASTER TODAY? [45]

When I was a child in America, we did the Easter egg hunt thing after church. I heard that here people do an Easter nest. I've only heard that from a couple of people. Is it regional or maybe old-fashioned or maybe "new"-fashioned? Has anyone heard of that?

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