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Living in Poland - prospects for Alabama guy ... need some advice!


OP jasondmzk
5 May 2012 #61
I never said any of those things were awful to ME. It's prudent to always have at least ONE good friend with a pick-up truck.
Pushbike 2 | 58
6 May 2012 #62
I moved here from England 18 months ago. It's difficult to get used to and quite lonely sometimes. It's a lot harder to make friends due to the language barrier. I can get by in shops etc. but not any sort of conversation. My gf is very close to her family and we live about 20 mins away. I really like them but it's very lonely/embarrassing/uncomfortable when you go there and everyone speaks Polish and jokes are translated for you and you sit round a table for 3 hours whilst everyone talks native Polish. I like the country and with my gf I'm sure we will reach a crossroads soon as the slaries here are abysmal. I teach but earned more when I was 18 and worked in a Brewers Fayre as a kitchen asst. It's impossible to save money and holidays outside of europe are financially impossible. My gf has a job that pays way over the average salary in the UK but here is peanuts. I wouldn't like to raise a child here-there is no free healthcare for everyone, accomodation is expensive, and you have to pay for all school equipment for your child. Cars are ridiculously expensive the language is very difficult (but I struggle on). I do enjoy it here but if I think about being here permantly it scares me.
pawian 187 | 17,522
6 May 2012 #63
Cars are ridiculously expensive the language is very difficult [...] if I think about being here permantly it scares me.

You are either too young or too old for migrations. :):):):)
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
7 May 2012 #64
I really like them but it's very lonely/embarrassing/uncomfortable when you go there and everyone speaks Polish and jokes are translated for you and you sit round a table for 3 hours whilst everyone talks native Polish.

YEP. And it's gonna be like that for a looooooooooong time. Maybe forever. Some people simply never learn the language do to it's insane difficulty.

you have to pay for all school equipment for your child

dude, what "school equipment"? books? clothing? shoes?
Meathead 5 | 497
7 May 2012 #65
Jason, it looks like a case of your comfort vs. her comfort. The best idea might be to find some neutral place where you'd both be comfortable enough. Someone has already mentioned Germany, probably much easier to swallow for an American than Poland. You'd both have a chance to find a good job there. Think about it.

I'm of the same opinion. They should move to a neutral place away from both sets of in-laws and get on with their lives, either somewhere in Europe or the States.

your words, not mine. odd you should take such offense to something you know to be mostly true.

I went to school outside Nashville, Tn. which isn't all that far from the Alabama line and if I had a choice between relocating to New York or Alabama, it would be Alabama hands down. Weather's nicer, lower real estate prices, more opportunity for small business. New York is too foreign. It's more like a large European metro and less like an American city. If it had to be New York, I'd prefer upstate New York.
OP jasondmzk
7 May 2012 #66
either somewhere in Europe or the States.

That "somewhere" is gonna be Poland or nada. My command of Polish isn't great, but my wife's Polish is awesome, and she's my lifeline. I ain't about to shack up somewhere where NEITHER of us can speak the language and be understood. You know how hard it is for me to ask for a plastic sack at Żabka, NOW? And this is gonna sound dumb, I'm admitting it up front, but.. I'm Jewish, and... a lifetime of Schindler's List and Life Is Beautiful has made the sound of spoken German make me cringe reflexively. I told ya up front, didn't I? Pushbike, I appreciate your sharing your experiences. Some of them relate, some of them don't, but they were all food for thought, so thanks.
pip 10 | 1,659
7 May 2012 #67
German, for the most part makes everybody cringe- you are not alone there. However, I have done exactly what you are talking about. I left my country with no language skills and moved to Poland with my husband(then boyfriend) who was lifeline.

I have never been to Wroclaw but there are loads of English speakers in Tri city, Warsaw and Krakow---Wroclaw shouldn't be any different.

I have lived here for 8 consecutive years and 2 before that for a total of 10. My language still isn't perfect but people don't seem to mind that my grammar is in the can- as long as I try. But I am also assuming you have a funky southern accent to deal with too.

maybe a trial period is in order? put your stuff in storage and see how you manage for a year- if you can't get a job or start your own business and you are having an awful time then move back- then you can say you tried.

Perhaps you could even do some sort of freelance while still living in Poland. I had a friend who did this- the world is a smaller place thanks to the internet- it doesn't matter where you live anymore.
natasia 3 | 368
7 May 2012 #68
do to it's insane difficulty

please don't tell him that ... it really isn't true ... it just depends on your natural facility with languages. OK, so I guess for some it would be insanely difficult. But for others it is cool, fine, not really such a problem.

I will never forget the excruciating embarrassment I used to feel, aged 22, standing in one of the tiny, packed general store-type shops that there were on every residential street corner almost, and going through in my head the combination of endings I needed for the accusative version of whatever I wanted, possibly plural, possibly involving quantities, and the dread of that moment when I got to the front of the queue and, like in a ski lift, had to jump in quick or would be run over by the impatient old bags who would have had me up against the wall and shot in a second just for my stumbling ... The little room would stiffen with astonishment as I gingerly tried out what I thought it was that would get me that loaf of bread or bag of flour or whatever it was ... sometimes the things were on the top or near the front, and I could point at them, but God forbid if they were on those shelves way back behind the counter ...

It was a prickly kind of misery that I can feel now, years later. And I still vaguely feel it, even though nowadays people just think I'm Polish, such is my integration. BUT, and this is it the whole thing - that is the excitement, challenge, joy of breaking through to someone else's world ... the thorns do scratch, but it's amazing when you get there. You re-invent yourself, and everything, by that segue into another culture. Personally I think it is very cool, but an open mind is the absolute prerequisite to success, and also never ever thinking it is impossible, because ... like learning to drive, it might feel totally counter-intuitive and awful, but you will get there in the end.

I ain't about to shack up somewhere where NEITHER of us can speak the language and be understood.

well, there is somewhere, in Europe, where everyone speaks pretty much the same language as you ... and it's only a couple of hours from Poland, so only like living in Boston and her parents being in NY ... and there are lots of Poles for her to befriend ... and you could then still keep learning Polish ... and there's an amazing free health service, and all sorts of other useful facilities ... and you would have your independence, in all sorts of ways.

Oxford has quite a lot to recommend it : )
peterweg 37 | 2,319
7 May 2012 #69
I just give them a written list if i have anything complicated to buy (like a particular cut of meat). Shopping in self service stores is a breeze.

Although I've learnt most of the food words.

Oxford has quite a lot to recommend it : )

Its blindingly obvious that the UK would be very easy for both of you. 2 hours, £70-100 and you are in Poland.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
7 May 2012 #70
please don't tell him that ... it really isn't true ... it just depends on your natural facility with languages.

I'm not going to have an argument here on how hard the Polish language is. I'm just going to say that what I first said is absolutely true. The language is hard as $hit.

I have lived here for 8 consecutive years and 2 before that for a total of 10.My language still isn't perfect but people don't seem to mind that my grammar is in the can- as long as I try.


How would this be different if you had moved to Spain, or Italy, or France 10 years ago instead of Poland? Uuccchhh, people will never just admit it on here. But OK, let's get his hopes up and tell him that "it's not that bad" and "if he works hard at it" and "at least you have your wife to translate!" or some other crap like that.
pip 10 | 1,659
7 May 2012 #71
How would this be different if you had moved to Spain, or Italy, or France 10 years ago instead of Poland? Uuccchhh, people will never just admit it on here. But OK, let's get his hopes up and tell him that "it's not that bad" and "if he works hard at it" and "at least you have your wife to translate!" or some other crap like that.

If I moved to France I would be bilingual because I already speak French. If I moved to Spain or Italy I would probably also be bilingual because of the languages coming from a latin background and after 10 years it would be second nature. If I moved to Germany or any of the Nordic countries- minus Finland- I would probably also be bilingual, again the language family thing with English.

For native English speakers any of the Slavik languages are difficult and vise versa. Just the way it is. As an adult it is more difficult to learn- my kids are fluently bilingual with no problems along the way. I am happy to be at the level I am at. Of course it could be better- but such is life. everything could be better.

And some people just learn easier than others. Polish is a difficult language but it isn't impossible. The letters are the same and it is phonetically consistant- imagine if it was like Greek, Russian or Mandarin. Then it would be impossible.
Polsyr 6 | 769
7 May 2012 #72
Polish is a difficult language but it isn't impossible

I am currently learning Polish and I fully agree. In fact, with daily practice you will make quick progress :)
IspeakPonglish - | 1
7 May 2012 #73
Hi fellow Alabamian,

I am also from the greatest state in the US, but from the complete opposite side of the state as you. I am from the most wonderful city in SE Alabama called Dothan. I am sure you know it right!? I am currently living in Warsaw, Poland and have been here since October. I enjoy it. I am not going to tell you what to do about moving or not moving, but if you do move to Poland and would like a fellow Alabamian to talk with or watch some real SEC Football (War Eagle!) I might be able to swing over to Wroclaw or you could come visit Warsaw. I am also available if you have any questions about what it is like being an Alabamian living in the Heart of Central Europe, Poland.

Ben
natasia 3 | 368
7 May 2012 #74
But OK, let's get his hopes up and tell him that "it's not that bad" and "if he works hard at it" and "at least you have your wife to translate!" or some other crap like that.

It depends how easily you pick up languages. I don't work hard at it and I am sh*t hot at Polish and I don't find it difficult ... that is not anything for me to take credit for, as it just sinks into me by osmosis. So ok, yes, Polish isn't the easiest, but how hard or easy depends to quite some degree on the learner. Granted, we don't know what he's like at language learning. So it might be horribly difficult for him. But if so, I also think he'd be sh*t at French, even after 10 yrs ...

They should move to England. No doubt.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
7 May 2012 #75
I don't work hard at it and I am sh*t hot at Polish and I don't find it difficult ... that is not anything for me to take credit for, as it just sinks into me by osmosis.

3 questions:

What's your native language?

How long have you been exposed/studying Polish and at what age did you start?

Define "sh*t hot".
OP jasondmzk
7 May 2012 #76
Dothan. I am sure you know it right!?

Yes. I ate at the Shoney's there, once. Thanks for the warm gesture.

The little room would stiffen with astonishment as I gingerly tried out what I thought it was that would get me that loaf of bread or bag of flour or whatever it was ...

Excellent prose, and good advice. You're one of those scary-smart people, huh? The shop horror mirrors Pushbike's unease at sitting deaf and mute at the supper table, the dread of always being "the other".

For native English speakers any of the Slavik languages are difficult and vise versa.

Yeah, and this is the thing, it's not so much, the language, It's me. I speak Spanish and the Romance languages with confidence, and it was easy to learn once I figured out that it was all a bunch of quarter notes. That's it. Not whole notes, then half notes, then whole notes, etc. JUST quarter notes. I can't figure out Polish's music, and it definitely has one. It SOUNDS more lyrical than French even, but it's rhythms elude me.
natasia 3 | 368
7 May 2012 #77
English is my native language.
I have had 2 years living in Poland in my early 20s, my first husband was Polish, but we spoke English, and I had a break of 6 years, and now have had 5 years speaking Polish with second husband, who hardly speaks English. So yes, I have had, one could say, 2 yrs in the country (although mostly among Brits), then 5 years intensive exposure. Our child is totally bilingual; I only speak English with her.

Ok, so I did have a patent for language-learning. I did Latin for 10 yrs (now that IS difficult, as no living language to help), French & Italian at school, and then lived in Greece and picked that up very quickly (much easier than Polish, despite the slight difference in alphabet).

Sh*t hot to me is that Poles think I'm Polish. Ok, maybe been living in the UK for a while, but still undoubtedly Polish. Am only saying that because it is an example of how it is possible to learn Polish. Without doing much apart from sleeping next to someone ... as I said, by osmosis.

BUT I have to say that when I was among Brits in Poland, most of them were completely useless at Polish, despite their best efforts. But they did try, to their credit. I knew an American girl - lovely girl - but struggled worse than any Brit with it. I wonder whether it's to do with openness of mind, on some deep level, or something ... who knows. Not something one can really generalise about. V much down to the individual.

Oh - and for the English tongue, French is MUCH harder than Polish - takes far more effort to pronounce convincingly (easy to speak hilarious English-style French, though - hard to be good at).

I can't figure out Polish's music, and it definitely has one. It SOUNDS more lyrical than French even, but it's rhythms elude me.

You just need to be there. It has a very strong, very distinct music ... the cadences and intonations are not dissimilar to those of some Southern European languages. Poles are also rather fiery. I say they are the Italians of the North.

Excellent prose, and good advice. You're one of those scary-smart people, huh? The shop horror mirrors Pushbike's unease at sitting deaf and mute at the supper table, the dread of always being "the other".

Thank you ... and no, not really a brain-box ... just seem to drink in languages. I still feel the unease and the shame, though, like poor Pushbike, even now - it is like stage-fright. I used to try to work sentences, etc, out in my head, but have found that the instinctual, musical response generally works better, and is more accurate. We are taught to put languages together like building blocks when we are at school, but the artificiality of that approach falls down so often, in so many ways. The thing I was reminded of most as my daughter acquired language was how repetition is the total key. Blind repetition of tiny elements of language. Like sticking bits of tissue paper to a frieze. Once they are on, they are there forever, but catching those butterflies in the first place is the trick. You will only do it by repeating the same action a thousand times.

Well look at me, waxing lyrical. I am enjoying expressing myself in my first language for a change ; )
pip 10 | 1,659
7 May 2012 #78
Oh - and for the English tongue, French is MUCH harder than Polish - takes far more effort to pronounce convincingly (easy to speak hilarious English-style French, though - hard to be good at).

not a chance.
Pushbike 2 | 58
7 May 2012 #79
You are either too young or too old for migrations. :):):):)

31

dude, what "school equipment"? books? clothing? shoes?

exercise books pens pencils all the stuff which is free back home
natasia 3 | 368
7 May 2012 #80
Really? Are those things free? I don't think so, or at least, what you get 'free' always needs supplementing.

Sorry but I can't believe you think that having to buy your kid's pens and books for school is a rip-off ... Don't mean to sound so astonished, but really? They don't cost much. And Polish state schools, in general, are so so much better academically than UK ones, and there is much more uniformity of standards. OK, maybe you have to buy the pencils and textbooks, but ... what's important here?

I think the Polish school system is something worth being there for. Ok, the health system all costs, and things are pricey, and if you are on a 'native' salary you will not be able to do anything. But you speak English as yr first language ... there must be something you can do. Even if you spend 2 weeks working in the UK then come back with yr salary for the remaining 2 weeks in Poland ; ) ... I don't know. Teacher's salaries aren't bad, and you can supplement easily and well with private students, can't you?

But this has nothing to do with Jasono and his choice, apart from to say 'don't be put off by the schools - they're good' ...
Pushbike 2 | 58
7 May 2012 #81
Schools in England are much better equipped having worked in them in both countries I see the difference. The health sytem is abysmal and paying for education is crazy.I'm sorry but if health and education aren't free till 18 I think something is wrong. Having to pay for school books means a lot of hand me downs. I earned more frying chips as an 18 year old than I do now as a teacher. Foreign ho,lidays are a thing of the past and I pay here for a 32sqm flat what my brother pays for a mortgage on a 2 bed semi.
pawian 187 | 17,522
7 May 2012 #82
Foreign ho,lidays are a thing of the past and I pay here for a 32sqm flat what my brother pays for a mortgage on a 2 bed semi.

You live and pay the rent in Warsaw.

Where does your brother live? In London?
Pushbike 2 | 58
7 May 2012 #83
the Midlands

Please keep to the topic of the thread
OP jasondmzk
7 May 2012 #84
The health sytem is abysmal

When my wife was still my girlfriend, she miscarried her pregnancy and had to go to the hospital. Her father knew the director, and got her her own room. It wasn't enough. When we got there, plastic sheets hung over the entrance to an open-air lobby, the whole place was dark, and muddy footprints covered the floor. I was horrified. This was the first thing that made me step back, and say, "Okay. This is a developing country, you gotta make allowances." American healtchcare is expensive, and not focused on preventative care. People can and do fall through the cracks. Some public hospitals are so full and chaotic, you'd be better off reading a Dummie's Guide to Home Healthcare, or something. But this hospital in Poland was too much. It was an incredibly stressful time, and nothing would have made us feel soothed, or hopeful, I know.. but.. that one hospital --which Ola says was an anomaly-- was a big a strike against my wanting to live there as anything else.
Pushbike 2 | 58
7 May 2012 #85
I think America's system is worse than Polands but both seem like a business. Brits complain about the NHS until we are abroad then we realise just how great it is.
pawian 187 | 17,522
7 May 2012 #86
the Midlands

Sorry, but it is unfair to compare prices in the Polish capital and rural England.

Your brother is paying for this: while you are paying for this:

s

It is natural that the big city is more expensive than the countryside.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
7 May 2012 #87
American healtchcare is expensive, and not focused on preventative care.

I'd agree with you fully about the preventative care part, but health care being expensive? Depends. Not if you work for the feds or a government/state agency/city/municipality/military, not if you work for a corporation, not if you're dirt poor (medicaid) and not if you're over 65 (medicare). Fresh out of college, my first corporate job at 24 years old, I had soup to nuts healthcare for $15/month. My wife and I currently pay zero dollars for full healthcare through her job.

Generally the people getting hosed are the middle class who lose their jobs and can't find another one and those people are generally poorly equipped for the job market. Like you said, some certainly do fall through the cracks but no system is perfect. I don't have a single friend or family member without healthcare and the highest level of education any of us have is a bachelor's degree, and that's only about half of us.

Regarding your wife's pregnancy/miscarriage, very sorry to hear that. Horrible thing to go through. Unfortunately, in the USA, we have shite for maternity leave whereas in Poland it's what.....half a year or more with full pay? That's the way it should be and I'd love to see it change here. Not taking care of a country's women is a huge mistake.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
8 May 2012 #88
English is my native language. I have had 2 years living in Poland in my early 20s, my first husband was Polish, but we spoke English, and I had a break of 6 years, and now have had 5 years speaking Polish with second husband, who hardly speaks English.

Wow, this is what I need - a native English speaker of Polish, who is by default unlikely to threaten to "go back home" whenever I allegedly have "pretensję" towards her (which usually just means I wouldn't take her to TK MAXX lol) :D

It's so true, all the good ones are married <sniff> lmao :)

t is natural that the big city is more expensive than the countryside.

Depends on how you look at it, really. City life should be much cheaper, if you think about it - all the infrastructure serves a high density population, living in smaller spaces. If you think about it that way, city living is actually the biggest rip-off ever. If the country bumpkins want all that space in the middle of nowhere, then let them pay the full price of supplying them with gas/electric/internet/phone, etc. They would soon move into town if they had to ;)
OP jasondmzk
8 May 2012 #89
Once again, to be clear, I'm not moving to England, and it's irrelevant as to the cost/risk of living there. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and opinions. As they are not germane to my current dilemma, not to mention the fact that I'm not interested in hearing them, or in anything else you have to say, your posting on this thread is no longer necessary nor appreciated. Thank you.
Meathead 5 | 497
8 May 2012 #90
I'm admitting it up front, but.. I'm Jewish, and

Than you should stay the hell out of Europe. If she wants Colorado Springs, give her Colorado Springs. I used to live there, Grand Junction, Vail, Denver. If I had to (for some reason move back) I wouldn't hesitate. As I've previously posted Denver ain't bad as major metro's go, kinda like Minneapolis.

I think America's system is worse than Polands but both seem like a business. Brits complain about the NHS until we are abroad then we realise just how great it is.

I have experience with both, America has the best health care in the World, bar none. Too often people confuse the cost of healthcare with the quality. The quality's not the problem it's the cost. Who was that guy who temporarily moved to Poland to help out his wife with her ailing father and ended up losing his hand? That was a pretty radical medical procedure especially in this day and age.


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