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What would it be like to live in Lomza?


andysterdam 3 | 45
12 Mar 2008 #1
I'm a Canadian who's received a job offer in Lomza. Would anyone be able to give me a sense of what the town is like? Would I find entertainment in town or would I have to hop on a bus to Warsaw every time? I don't expect the same level of amenities that I enjoy at home, but would I be able to at least have access to cinema, good restaurants, fitness clubs, live music, etc.? Any help would be much appreciated.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
12 Mar 2008 #2
Canada is a big country. You don't need to go to Lomza to experience severe lack of amenities you are used too. Just drive North for a day or two ;)

At one time I knew lotsa people from Lomza. Many went to the US, made a good buck and returned to Poland to live better than some of the people they worked for in the US. Actually, I don't think there is a single family in Lomza whose member did not work in the US :)

Your mileage may vary, but in general the so called "amenities" are more than well know to the good people of Lomza. As for the clubs and such, dunno, gotta google it I guess.
OP andysterdam 3 | 45
12 Mar 2008 #3
Thanks for the feedback, z_darius. it sounds like Lomza is fairly cosmopolitan for its size. I wish I could afford to travel there first to scope out the place before I consider the offer.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
12 Mar 2008 #4
it sounds like Lomza is fairly cosmopolitan for its size

It is, but there is a slight danger with the meaning of the word "cosmopolitan" . I'd rather use the term nouveau riche for this particular populace.
telefonitika
13 Mar 2008 #5
maybe the resident donkey osiol can give you a perspective as he has been there :)
OP andysterdam 3 | 45
13 Mar 2008 #6
I'd rather use the term nouveau riche for this particular populace.

I take it you don't mean that in a complimentary way?

Would I be able to live reasonably well on a 5.000 (gross) salary per month?
telefonitika
14 Mar 2008 #7
5.000 (gross) salary per month?

is that zloty? or what currency?
Wojak - | 1
14 Mar 2008 #8
Would I be able to live reasonably well on a 5.000 (gross) salary per month?

Very comfortable. It isn't rich town. I don't think somebody pays that much there.
OP andysterdam 3 | 45
14 Mar 2008 #9
is that zloty? or what currency?

Sorry, forgot to clarify: yes, zloty.

Very comfortable. It isn't rich town. I don't think somebody pays that much there.

Thanks, Wojak. My potential employer has just emailed me to say that a two-bedroom apt. in town goes for about 700zl/mth., which seems like a pretty good deal to me, considering the salary they're offering.
Harry
14 Mar 2008 #10
Would I be able to live reasonably well on a 5.000 (gross) salary per month?

Yes reasonably well but you need to pin them down on exactly how much you will be getting net. Polish salaries have a habit of varying wildly depending on how the tax payable is calculated. Before I started my own company I would always negotiate a net figure and get the employer to sign a document making them legally responsible for covering all my taxes and contributions.
OP andysterdam 3 | 45
14 Mar 2008 #11
Yes reasonably well but you need to pin them down on exactly how much you will be getting net.

That's a good strategy! It's crazy how much gets taken out in taxes; the dreaded ZUS. If the ZUS over 5.000pln is really around 15%, as I've heard someone in another thread say, then I guess I'd be left with about 4250 net.

Here's the real bottom line for me: I'd still be paying student loans in Canadian dollars at home, which would eat up around 1/4 of the net pay. I don't mention this to whine about the offered wage, since it's above average for Poland--just expressing my anxiety over this very drastic new beginning... :)
Goonie 8 | 242
14 Mar 2008 #12
My mom was born there :D
osiol 55 | 3,922
14 Mar 2008 #13
maybe the resident donkey osiol can give you a perspective as he has been there

I've only visited a couple of times, but that won't stop me from having an opinion.

I like big cities, but only a bit. I'm not particularly keen on very small places though. It seems to have enough going on to make things interesting enough. If you want to go out and enjoy yourself, you don't have to go to the next big city, but then it all depends on your idea of fun. I've been to a handful of pubs there, all quite nice, especially the open air one in the main square. This had been replaced by a mini ice-rink on my last visit, but who wants an open-air bar in late December anyway?

I wouldn't know how to compare £omża with anywhere in Canada, but there are one or two places in England I could compare it to.

Now I've said that, I can crack on with reading what this thread is actually all about.
OP andysterdam 3 | 45
14 Mar 2008 #14
If you want to go out and enjoy yourself, you don't have to go to the next big city, but then it all depends on your idea of fun. I've been to a handful of pubs there, all quite nice, especially the open air one in the main square.

That's great news, as I'm a pub fan myself (St. Patty's Day coming up soon; already made my reservation at the local Irish watering hole). The more I hear about £omża the less provincial and isolated it's beginning to seem from my first expectations. Do you think it would be fine living there without a car? I imagine the price of a used car would still be beyond my budget, but that's another thread. It's a shame there are no trains, though I hear the bus service is quite good.
osiol 55 | 3,922
14 Mar 2008 #15
I did feel as though I was pretty much the only foreigner there both times I visited. For me that's no bad thing. When out on the town for an evening, the last thing I would have wanted would have been to bump into English people! Unlike some Polish cities, they haven't been overwhelmed by booze-tourists in £omża, and I don't think they will either.

It is quite a drive to Warsaw from there. Białystok is closer, but I just have a hunch that if £omża's not going to be enough for a big night out, you might as well hit the capital rather than stepping up by only a half-measure.

Do you think it would be fine living there without a car?

Probably. Wherever I live needs to be okay without a car.

I hear the bus service is quite good.

Yes. It has a bus station. The bus was not all that late when it arrived.
polishcanuck 7 | 462
14 Mar 2008 #16
I've driven through £omża several times since my family has a cottage just north of the city (well like 30km N). I also stopped by once to grab something to eat. Now that's not much experience, but to me it seemed like a dead city and my family didn't really have much to say about it either - but we're from wroclaw so maybe we're a little biased. £omża and the surrounding area seems to have been stripped of it's young people by higher salaries/jobs in the UK. Maybe you don't care too much about this though. Just my observations...
osiol 55 | 3,922
14 Mar 2008 #17
£omża makes its own beer.
Why has nobody mentioned that on this thread yet?

it seemed like a dead city

I think you're being at least just a little harsh.

seems to have been stripped of it's young people by higher salaries/jobs in the UK

Of the younger people I have met there, only one has moved to the UK and that was for university rather than work. I've met some older people who have worked in the UK, Ireland and Germany though.

Of course, it all depends on the local economy and Poland's economy as a whole.
OP andysterdam 3 | 45
14 Mar 2008 #18
£omża and the surrounding area seems to have been stripped of it's young people by higher salaries/jobs in the UK. Maybe you don't care too much about this though.

Actually, that is important to me, as my wife and I are still young (29 & 33, respectively). While I don't think it would be much of a big deal at first as we adjust to our new environment, work, etc., it may become an issue down the road. Then again, I expect we would make at least a couple of good friends in town. Maybe join a club or something? Are Poles into things like "poker night" or darts at the pub? And, most important, would foreigners be easily accepted as peers in such tight-knit communities?
polishcanuck 7 | 462
14 Mar 2008 #19
Maybe join a club or something? Are Poles into things like "poker night" or darts at the pub? And, most important, would foreigners be easily accepted as peers in such tight-knit communities?

I think you'll have to get help from somebody else on this - expats? Many of my cousins are about your age but they have little kids so their "after work" schedule will greatly differ from yours, obviously. They mostly spend time with their kids and socialize with friends from work/people they went to school with. Weekend trips to cottages are also popular. It doesn't seem to me that such clubs are popular among poles. I suggest getting to know your co-workers...

Will you be teaching english in £omża?
OP andysterdam 3 | 45
14 Mar 2008 #20
Will you be teaching english in £omża?

Yes, exactly, though more at the literature-college level than ESL proper. I recently corresponded with an American guy who taught English in £omża and he said that he often hung out with his students, mostly at the pubs. As you know, that's frowned upon here in Canada, but hey, if it means having a social life I'm all for it. And, as you suggest, there are always the co-workers.
kasia13
14 Mar 2008 #21
Hello!

I know £omża very well- it's nothing special ... but -:-) - but there are many cities/villages close to £omża (about 100 km) - Ełk, Augustów, Olecko worth to visit especially in the summer:-)

Mazurian Lakes:-)
osiol 55 | 3,922
14 Mar 2008 #22
Olecko

You're not telling me Olecko is better are you?
My flatmate hails from there.

Ełk

I like a very short place-name.
OP andysterdam 3 | 45
14 Mar 2008 #23
I know £omża very well- it's nothing special ... but -:-) - but there are many cities/villages close to £omża (about 100 km) - Ełk, Augustów, Olecko worth to visit especially in the summer:-)
Mazurian Lakes:-)

We're very outdoorsy people, so it's good to know there are other cool & wild places within range for weekend escapades!

Do the lakes get warm enough to swim in summer? I saw a picture somewhere of people swimming in the Narew River in £omża.
polishcanuck 7 | 462
14 Mar 2008 #24
Do the lakes get warm enough to swim in summer? I saw a picture somewhere of people swimming in the Narew River in £omża.

The water is about the same temp as Lake Huron - it's not daytona beach but it is ok for swimming. I always go swimming in the rivers/lakes in the area. Sometimes the water is a bit chilly for my liking but i usually drink when i'm up there so i don't feel the cold as much:)

Kasia is right, this area is great for "outdoorsy" people in the summer. The mazury (eng: masurian lakes) are not only popular among poles but also many western europeans esp. the dutch. You can swim, rent boats/sea-doos, camp, hike, bike, canoe/kayaketc. - basically heaven for someone like me. And it's dirt cheap.
OP andysterdam 3 | 45
14 Mar 2008 #25
The water is about the same temp as Lake Huron - it's not daytona beach but it is ok for swimming.

That's a pretty good point of reference, since I live on Lake Huron (Goderich, Ontario)! Drinking & swimming (as well as drinkin' & snowmobiling/hunting/fishing/barbecuing, etc.) is a given around here too, lol...
zero bongo
14 Mar 2008 #26
Outdoor life in the summer near Lomza can be pretty darn good. Lots to do and see, especially the further you go north and eastwards towards the province of Podlasie. Fresh air, open fields, huge forests, lakes and rivers, wild life, few people....

It's the winters you want to worry about. (There's almost no Spring or Fall in Poland). It's too cold to go wild in the country, and the main pastime of the locals seems to be hidden in half-litre bottles of a suspicious transparent liquid. Nevertheless, if you are very outgoing types, and are fortunate enough to meet Poles who have travelled a little (or would like to travel), there's no reason why you can't have a fairly reasonable stay here.

My best advice is to bring a whole bunch of optimism and lots of smiles with you, cos they are worth their weight in gold over here, and will smooth your reception among the locals, who are quite unused to such things as cheerfulness and good humour, and will love you for bringing a little light into their generally dull, uneventfull lives.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
14 Mar 2008 #27
There's almost no Spring or Fall in Poland

Is that why Poles have use the term "zlota Polska jesien" (Golden Polish Autumn)? It lasts 2 to 4 months depending on the area and given year's weather conditions. You will see plenty of people in the forests, picking blueberries, and especially mushrooms - hugely popular Fall activity. Some areas are simply infested with people traveling to various forests in late August, September and sometimes early to mid October. Many tourist agencies offer organized mushroom picking tours, as some areas are better for that than others.

that's how it looks:

just make sure you know what you're doing, as some of those may be lethal.
OP andysterdam 3 | 45
15 Mar 2008 #28
My best advice is to bring a whole bunch of optimism and lots of smiles with you, cos they are worth their weight in gold over here, and will smooth your reception among the locals, who are quite unused to such things as cheerfulness and good humour, and will love you for bringing a little light into their generally dull, uneventfull lives.

Thanks for the advice; that's so true about the smiles & such. It was the same way when I taught English in Ecuador. Huge difference in how my non-smiling German colleague was treated there. The thing about the winter is that I can't see it being any worse (or even close) to what we endure where I live in the snow belt of Ontario, Canada. The local highways shut down all the time because of the blizzards and icy conditions...

You will see plenty of people in the forests, picking blueberries, and especially mushrooms - hugely popular Fall activity.

That looks like a lot of fun! I wonder if the local shroomheads find any magic mushrooms too.
Bla - | 27
15 Mar 2008 #29
Hi, I'm from Lomza so I think I may tell you a few things ;)
If you are looking for wild night life, forget about it ;) That's the first thing... There are few clubs and some pubs, but nothing big really. You can have some fun, but don't expect too much. We have a cinema, but it is not any good. In the summer it's not that bad, it will take you about an hour or two of driving to get to the lakes (Mazury).

And the money... 5000zl gross will give you 3500zl on your hand... And who's paying so well if I may ask? ;) It's hard to get that amount of money in this town, really. Living here is not as cheap as some may think, but renting some place to live is not expensive, so you will have some money to spend ;)

If you want to know something else I will try to help you.

I just saw that you will need to pay student loans, about 1000zl... So you will be left with something like 2500zl a month... Not so good, but you can live ok with that, but don't expect to become a rich man ;) It will be much better if your wife finds a job too.

You don't have to buy a car right away, but it would be mor comfortable for sure. Still you can use a bus or just walk to some places. The town isn't that big, so it's not a big problem. You won't be wasting much time for sure.

There are some restaurants here, fitness clubs too, live music can be hard to find, but from time to time it's possible, depends what kind of music you like. Poker nights? Don't think so... Darts too, it's rather a beer and talking or dancing ;) If you like bowling, it's here, but not very popular. I'm almost the same age as you and I wouldn't expect too meet lots of new friends at the clubs/pubs. Not so many people speak english good enough to freely communicate, but it's possible that you will be able to make some friends. I'd rather count on people from you workplace, to begin with something and clubs/pubs can be not that safe, ask someone about opinion before you decide to go somewhere. In some of them are mostly very young people (I'm suprised police don't do anything about 14 drinking in such places) and in some you can meet the local tough-guys looking for some "fun". If you choose the place wisely, you can still have fun and not worry about being beaten or robbed. And people should be friendly, most don't have anything against foreigners.
polishcanuck 7 | 462
15 Mar 2008 #30
That's a pretty good point of reference, since I live on Lake Huron (Goderich, Ontario)! Drinking & swimming (as well as drinkin' & snowmobiling/hunting/fishing/barbecuing, etc.) is a given around here too, lol...

Hey, i grew up in Kincardine!! Small world haha. Kincardine/goderich are a good place too live, too bad they're so far from major cities. I do miss the lake/beach though. I live in the GTA now and rarely swim in lake ontario:(


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