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Living like a local in Poland - What does it even mean?


veikkopl 2 | 19
8 Jan 2016 #1
My net salary in Gdańsk is 4950PLN and while I haven't got an apartment yet I will be able to find one for maximum of 2000PLN including everything. Therefore, I'm certain I can have a normal life with the remaining about 3000PLN.

Still, you see it everywhere on this site that it's not possible to live like a local ie. cheaper. How so? What do I need to do to live like a local? Why couldn't it be learned and what's the downside of learning that? What exactly am I doing wrong if I get my groceries from Biedronka like all the Poles?
kpc21 1 | 763
8 Jan 2016 #2
But what is wrong in buying groceries in Biedronka? You earn above average, as for the Polish standards, so you can do shopping like everyone, maybe buying products of a better quality (which can be done in Biedronka too), and spent the remaining money for other things or save it...

There is nothing bad in shopping in Biedronka, as well as there is nothing bad in buying goods in Lidl, in Tesco or in a local private-owned grocery store. Or buying fruit and vegetables on a local market.
mafketis 32 | 10,504
8 Jan 2016 #3
But what is wrong in buying groceries in Biedronka?

Ten years or so ago it was crap on a stick, but it's greatly improved both in terms of variety and quality. Produce isn't great (though better than it once was) but that's Poland more than the one chain (and light years ahead of the time when there were almost no fresh vegetables for several months of the year).
polishinvestor 1 | 362
8 Jan 2016 #4
You have to watch the sugar/fat/salt contents at the cheaper shops such as biedronka (especially kids drinks), but to be honest now that lidl aldi and co have moved in biedronka isnt as cheap as what it once was. The meat is much better than it used to be as there are no longer local butchers but its sourced wholesale.
OP veikkopl 2 | 19
9 Jan 2016 #5
Guys...no one even attempted to answer the original question. I want to be a part of this country for years to come, to integrate as they say. Obviously, I don't know any locals outside work and I don't want to ask them either. Why not? Because they probably live in their little bubble whereas I'd like to know what's really happening in the country where I chose to live in.
kpc21 1 | 763
9 Jan 2016 #6
What was the original question?

What do I need to do to live like a local?

What do you mean about living like a local? Just live like a local, live like everyone, I don't know how to explain that.

Why couldn't it be learned and what's the downside of learning that?

What do you wanna learn?

What exactly am I doing wrong if I get my groceries from Biedronka like all the Poles?

Nothing.
mafketis 32 | 10,504
9 Jan 2016 #7
I want to be a part of this country for years to come, to integrate as they say.

1. Learn the language (ignore those who say you don't need to, they are not your friends). It's hard and first and then gets very hard and then gets unbelievably hard and then starts to get easy. Most people most of the time will be able to hear past your mistakes to understand what you're saying. Also, Poland in Polish is far more interesting than in any other language.

2. Get involved, it's not too hard to find outdoor bulletin boards in older housing estates offering various types of classes or trips. Sign up for a dance class or a trip (or whatever) and start to meet people that way. Don't press it, just start showing up at places and the rest will happen.

If you can't find a bulletin board where you live, then go to some university building and there will be posters and flyers for all sorts of events and other activities.

Make any language difficulties part of the process - (in Polish) Explain that you're a foreigner and need some help, there will be some on offer.
Roger5 1 | 1,455
9 Jan 2016 #8
What exactly am I doing wrong if I get my groceries from Biedronka like all the Poles?

That's a strange question. I think most people here shop at more than one supermarket. Biedronka and Lidl keep their costs down by stocking a very limited range of lines, so you might find only one or two brands of, say, tinned peas instead of ten kinds in bigger places. Biedronka has improved over the years but I still find it dull. As others have said, its meat and fish departments have done well to compete. Personally I use Kaufland for my main shop, and look in Lidl and Biedronka to see what bargains they have.

there are no longer local butchers

Maybe in the big cities, but we have two good butchers in my small town.

What do I need to do to live like a local?

When you can pick just one paper napkin from the dispenser in a milk bar, you'll have truly arrived (I still can't do it).
Wroclaw1010 3 | 91
13 Jan 2016 #9
Merged: Integration into the Polish society.

What life style is a foreigner suppose to live in order to be considered an integral part of the Polish society. Language, abiding by the laws and what else? The way integration has been perceived on this forum kept thinking....
G (undercover)
13 Jan 2016 #10
Vodka, sausage etc.
Wroclaw1010 3 | 91
13 Jan 2016 #11
I know Poles who don't do the former. I eat homemade sausages :)))
jon357 69 | 18,445
13 Jan 2016 #12
What life style is a foreigner suppose to live in order to be considered an integral part of the Polish society.

It means different things for different people since not all Poles live the same way, and Polish society is far from being single-faceted.

An urban educated cosmopolitan city dweller in Poland, and a small farmer spending their life far from a town have a very different lifestyle and often a very different set of values.
brummiexpat
15 Jan 2016 #13
Gdansk is expensive for foreigners anyway, it's one of main cities in Poland. You have to learn the Polish language. It's difficult but it's very important.

Biedronka is a very good shop but you don't have to use it, Kaufland is good aswell, you can always go to Tesco and use machine I suppose it would be easier. Kaufland's butchers and Górski company butchers are very good and cheap. Don't buy hams or sausages from packages, they don't taste as nearly as good as those from the butchers and of course chicken or pork (any kind of meat) - buy from butchers. Local shops are ok, but they might be abit more expensive than supermarkets. As for what's happening in Poland.. nothing people are just getting on with life..especially now its gone a tad nippy... hehe. Best advice is don't dwell on what's happening just live your life and enjoy the amazing country YOU chose to live in :).
Roger5 1 | 1,455
15 Jan 2016 #14
As for what's happening in Poland.. nothing

If you are referring to political and diplomatic events, there is a very great deal happening. If you choose to ignore events, then that is your choice. It certainly makes sense if you believe that you as an individual can make no difference to what the political elite does. Which has just reminded me of an anecdote Peter Jay, one time UK Ambassador to Washington and FT leader writer, used to tell. A sub-ed questioned what Jay had written in a leader column, saying that he didn't understand it. Jay replied, "I wrote that to be understood by half a dozen people in the world, and you're not one of them.
kpc21 1 | 763
15 Jan 2016 #15
Biedronka is a very good shop but you don't have to use it, Kaufland is good aswell, you can always go to Tesco and use machine I suppose it would be easier.

What can be difficult in doing shopping in a supermarket? You don't even have to talk to the person at the cash register... Some supermarket chains employ even deaf people for that job.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
15 Jan 2016 #16
No, not everybody in Poland shops at Lidl, Biedronka & consorts! I don't and I know I am not the only one in this case (most (Polish) people I know don't as well). To mention super and hypermarkets, I shop at Piotr & Pawel (their name brand is very good and not expensive), Leclerc, (big not their express shops) Carrefour, Marks & Spencer and whenever I ran across them to Alma, Simply (owned by Auchan but better), Mini Europa and at small neighborhood shops. I used to shop a lot at Społem store (they had a lot of great products) near MacDo on Marszałkowska, but it closed down some 2(?) years ago. I go to Lidl/Biedronka max. 3 times a year, when I have no choice because no time to go shopping and there is one of such stores where I happen to be. Once I bought plain yoghurt at Lidl and threw it away, it was gelatine (= ox or pig) and another time chicken ham that was so salted that it was barely eatable and ended up too in the garbage can.

Sorry, but discount stores sell mostly crap: industrial s..t full of salt, sugar, conservatives, and other chemicals stuff and their choice is very very limited. I understand that when we have a tight budget, we have no choice but unless being a desperate war refugee, I don't see the point for foreigners to end up in Poland and buy "garbage" because it is cheap. These companies are no philanthropists and if they sell cheap, it is because their products are not worth anything.

I don't care if I sound like a "snob", which I am not but sorry to rely on Biedronka, Lidl or other Kaufland stores to feed oneself in Poland (or elsewhere) is wrong and very dangerous in the long run. If foreigners coming to Poland cannot afford anything better as they need to count each ZL, maybe they should try to get better money elsewhere so they can shop higher quality and tastier food products.

I know some people here are going to tell me that at Biedronka, Lidl, Kaufland, it is just great but to say so, I expect them to be so used to crap that they find it ok.

Believe me, eating good and healthy food is a pleasure and worth it. It is now possible in Poland to eat well but need to shop at better stores. Of course, it is more expensive but worthwhile......

To conclude, NO, living like a "local" does not mean to shop at crapy stores! I know quite a few Poles who would not be caught dead at such stores. However, the Polish society is so diversified that it is impossible to say "Poles do this or don't do that" (same applies to ANY other nationality anyway).
dolnoslask
15 Jan 2016 #17
"good and healthy food is a pleasure and worth it" I agree I shop in most stores and open markets but I only buy fresh meat and veg (Ok also a bit of polish sausage and bread).

I cook everything from scratch including soup. I used to suffer from acid and had an ulcer, since being in Poland I have never taken any tablets or had any problems.

my grandma used to to this when I was a child in the uk, i still use her recipes today , working on my own bread and cakes, pickled cabbage and onions at the moment.

It amazes me how little money i spend on food if I keep away from processed packaged foods, It certainly allows me to to buy lots of VIP lager with the spare cash.

Many where i live do the same , some only buy from the outdoor market and seasonal veg from local farmers.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
15 Jan 2016 #18
for sure, Dolno! All that industrial crap full of salt, sugar, chemicals of all sorts is very dangerous and that is what is found MOSTLY in shops like Biedronka, Lidl, Kaufland and the like. Nowadays there are also a lot of small shops or companies (for instance I really like bread from Nowakowski and whenever I pass one of their stores, I buy several different kinds of rolls) in Poland where we can shop without spending fortunes so why relying on Biedronka/Lidl's crap?
johnny reb 31 | 6,378
15 Jan 2016 #19
My question here is, "Do people in Poland blanch and freeze vegetables and fruits in season so they will have them to eat throughout the winter months.

Do they do a lot of home canning with fresh meats and fish to avoid the high salt content of canned crap you buy in the stores ?"

I haven't read much about this on the P.F.

I used to suffer from acid and had an ulcer

It certainly allows me to to buy lots of VIP lager with the spare cash.

Are you sure it was the acid that was causing the ulcer as excessive alcohol consumption has been know to cause them too.

(for instance I really like bread from Nowakowski and whenever I pass one of their stores, I buy several different kinds of rolls)

Read the book "Wheat Belly" and you will understand why you are over weight and most likely will never eat bread again.
dolnoslask
15 Jan 2016 #20
Inpolska I have noticed that in Poland they must use three times as much salt and sugar when cooking, its horrid, especially when i have paid good money to eat in a restaurant . My grandma never cooked like that, for sure and she was polska from the first republic.

my wife and I have been to McDonalds and Kentucky probably four times in the last two years, each time we chose a different one in the hope that the experience would be different, needless to say every time we have been to these places we have come home feeling sick and drinking pints of water to re hydrate.
Bogatyr
15 Jan 2016 #21
It is easier and nicer to live like an expat than a local. Why Change?
mafketis 32 | 10,504
15 Jan 2016 #22
"Do people in Poland blanch and freeze vegetables and fruits in season so they will have them to eat throughout the winter months.

They used to do a lot of home canning of fruits and vegetables for that reason but I don't think it's so common anymore with produce being shipped from southern europe now.
dolnoslask
15 Jan 2016 #23
"It is easier and nicer to live like an expat than a local. Why Change?"

Because if you live as an expat and travel the world there would be so much that you would be missing out on especially when it comes to cuisine.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
15 Jan 2016 #24
@Dolno: just one recent example, yesterday I stopped with someone at ... KFC's ;). I did NOT eat but I tried ONE fry, it was loaded with salt (added by staff while cooking) and barely eatable.

@Johnny: I know re bread ;). I don't eat much hereof and when I do, it's with no sugar, no salt and no gluten and as to Nowakowski, I may go there 4 or 5 times a year ;). Anyway, better to eat bread from Nowakowski rather than from Biedronka/Lidl.Kaufland and consorts ;)

@Dolno: when I go to McDo and consorts, it's because nothing else around and it is only for coffee (McDo's is fine according to me)
dolnoslask
15 Jan 2016 #25
My dad taught me some of the old ways, how to grow and clump root vegetables under straw and earth, gran used to salt her own kapusta in a barrel in the cellar and she used to make jam.

Last year I froze our excess blackberries, blackcurrants and raspberries, I still have boxes of apples that we picked off the trees in the cellar , boxes full of walnuts and hazelnuts that we picked and dried. I plan to do more as and when I have finished the major work on the house and we have stopped our European travels and have time to grow and tend to our own crops.

Maybe get some livestock later.

I must say my dad would have smiled if he could to see me going back to the old ways instead of rushing round the world fixing peoples computer nightmares.

living like a local in Poland, I love it.
Wroclaw1010 3 | 91
15 Jan 2016 #26
unless being a desperate war refugee, I don't see the point for foreigners to end up in Poland

That was way below the belt :)))

Do people in Poland blanch and freeze vegetables and fruits in season so they will have them to eat throughout the winter months.

I just returned home from Lubiąz, where inside the old lady I visited store room there are about 200 bottled tomatoes, strawberries, pears among others all from her garden. I got two glasses of strawberries from her anyway.

and you will understand why you are over weight and most likely will never eat bread again.

A lot of my friends here find me quite strange when I tell them I don't eat bread, smoke nor drink. Yet they keep telling me I look a lot younger than my age :-P
InPolska 11 | 1,821
16 Jan 2016 #27
@Dolno! You sure do everthing right (in terms of food ;))! Last summer I thought about preparing fruit preserves for the winter but unfortunately I did not. Yes, it would be a good idea and I'll think about it next summer. In winter it is very hard since no fruit. I don't like apples, other than Granny Smith and Ingored (such a name), don't like oranges sold in Poland which have no taste and are very dry, I do like bananas but after a few days .... ;) so preparing summer fruit for the other seasons would be the answer. I don't also like exotic fruit sold in some stores, all the more as they got riped while being on planes so here again no taste....

@Wroclaw: Do you happen to read at least whole sentences if not whole paragraphs before quoting others? ;). I wrote and write again that coming to Poland (or wherever else) and stick to eating unhealthy crap from sh##ty stores because it is cheap and one has to count each coin does NOT make sense unless coming from a place with dramatic (war, dirt poor, etc....) conditions. Yes, if those foreigners arriving to Poland have to rely on Biedronka/Lidl/Kaufland because other stores are "too expensive", it does mean that they should look for employment elsewhere. If I had to buy food at such stores, I would worry ;).
Wroclaw1010 3 | 91
16 Jan 2016 #28
Do you happen to read at least whole sentences if not whole paragraphs before quoting others?

I was just pulling your legs.

In as much as I don't like to be drawn into vain arguments, labeling products from other "stores" as crappy based on your own experience baffles me a lot. A part from the other food you named in your previous post(which I rarely eat), the food items I buy in lidl,biedronka and Piotr and Pawel taste pretty much the same. Being someone coming from a country where about 60% of the population are farmers, I see almost all the food products here as "crap" commodities. The last time I felt the smell of tomatoes was 3 years ago in Amsterdam. Guess many Poles don't have any idea of how fresh tomatoes should smell.

I mostly cook and eat African dishes, most of which I buy from Berlin and Warsaw, whiles living in Wroclaw(the adjective cheap is out of the equation). It would have been more enlightening if you state all that you've written as just a personal opinion.
RubasznyRumcajs 5 | 488
16 Jan 2016 #29
just get yourself a local girlfriend.
there is no better way to integrate, than on the family-level
pawian 181 | 16,861
18 Feb 2020 #30
last time I felt smell of tomatoes was 3 years ago in Amsterdam. Guess many Poles don't have idea of how fresh tomatoes should smell.

I was told it is quite the opposite - Polish tomatoes and produce in general has proper natural taste and smell.


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