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Moving to Poland from Canada


PlantMamaPol
15 Oct 2021 #1
Hi, my family and I are moving to Poland in 3 weeks from Canada. My husband was born in Poland but hasn't lived there in about 30 years. Our 3 kids are 3 years old and under, so I expect a bit of culture shock on their part, at least for the older one. I was born and raised in Canada so I speak English and French but not Polish (although I've begun learning and I'm sure I'll pick it up over time).

My question is, what should I know about Polish culture and the country that's different from Canada? I don't know what to expect. My husband has told me a bit but like I said, he hasn't lived there for 30 years and his last visit was 12 years ago for 2 weeks, so things have changed obviously

Any advice?? Thank you!
Cargo pants 3 | 1,312
15 Oct 2021 #2
Before making a final step I would come and spend couple of months here in the town you would like to move.Every town in Poland is different and initially can be exotic,but it wears off after a while.
Novichok 2 | 5,270
15 Oct 2021 #3
Any advice?? Thank you!

DO NOT DO THAT! Stay in Canada!!! If you can't stand it, move to the US. It's like an American moving to Bolivia - a downgrading experience.

Stand your ground and don't budge! Leaving your family and friends will leave you lonely and depressed. The excitement of settling down in a new country where they speak foreign and a hard-to-learn language will last only so long. Six months later, you will be fighting and accusing each other for making this decision.

One more time: DON"T DO THIS! Let him go for three months. Then talk again. He may one day be grateful to you for having the spine to say no.

Nostalgia is good for movies. Dragging you and the kids to a third-rate country for his selfish reasons is inexcusable.
jon357 69 | 18,513
15 Oct 2021 #4
he hasn't lived there for 30 years

It's changed a lot, big shopping malls, supermarkets, motorways. Restaurants of a standard to equal most places, nice bars. Driving standards are still very low though, and customer service is still very poor.

Be careful of the state schools though, and don't live too far from a major city since you won't find many English speakers, friendly people or many decent shops out in the sticks. Remember that in Europe, distances are smaller than in Canada.

BTW, most people don't speak English at anything above a basic level, unless they're youngish and/or well-educated.

There are online groups for people who move from abroad to various cities. Facebook has several. Plus, the Canadian Embassy does have events for Canadians here in Warsaw. Which city are you planning to move to.
Alien 4 | 465
15 Oct 2021 #5
@Novichok DO NOT DO THAT! Stay in Canada!!!
Novi, don't scare people away. Who knows, mayby they'll be happy. Poland may also be liked by someone.
mafketis 29 | 10,334
15 Oct 2021 #6
Any advice??

Just don't have any expectations and be willing to relearn a _lot_ of your social interactions work. Poland can be a great place to live but it's not a user friendly country and you'll have to accept the way things work here and get over any nagging feelings that Poland is a defective Canada that can be made more like your homeland.

bits of advice:

Any Polish person who _insists_ on speaking English with you and discourages you from learning/improving your Polish.... is not your friend, they see you as a resource but will eventually get tired of you and dump you.

Don't nod to or greet random people on the street as they pass (it's a hard habit to break but you'll get the hang of politely ignoring people). Do always greet people you know.

Do continue to learn Polish (hint: pay more attention to nouns and adjectives in the beginning - that's the backbone of the language and getting those right is more important than verbs). Don't over-stimulate yourself. Find a local online newspaper and just read the headlines (with google translate and a dictionary) until that gets too easy. Don't start off trying to read things that are too difficult (like Rzeczpospolita)

Donald Duck comics are very helpful in learning the language.

Better produce and baked goods and meat are generally found at smaller neighborhood stores, it would be good if you could accompany someone who knows how to shop there to learn how to ask for things. Weight is usually ordered in deko (decagrams so that you ask for 30 deko rather than 300 milligrams).

Polish people are not rude for the most part but rules of politeness are drastically different from English speaking North America and you'll sometimes need to be rude by Canadian standards to be polite here and trying to be Canadian polite will make you seem intrusive (politeness is largely about maintaining social distance).

Don't over apologize, it's not part of the politeness culture and will be seen as a sign of personal weakness (and a sign you can't be relied upon).

Polish people... distinguish grades of friendship. It will be a long time before you're more than znajoma (acquaintance) and make it to koleżanka (friend/colleague) you'll only very rarely ever made to przyjaciółka (very close friend) and never be kumpelka (close friend by the implication is that you've known each other for years).

Learn to stand up for yourself (it will be needed).

Learn to say "No." to requests (it will be needed).

Don't stress out after making mistakes. You'll get over it and so will other people.
Cargo pants 3 | 1,312
15 Oct 2021 #7
Any Polish person who _insists_ on speaking English with you and discourages you from learning/improving your Polish.... is not your friend

You are perfectly right on this.

Don't stress out after making mistakes. You'll get over it and so will other people.

Yup,100% true.First time I totally agree with you on your post.skur/wasinyo.
amiga500 2 | 998
15 Oct 2021 #8
Polish people... distinguish grades of friendship.

very good social analysis there maf. As for nodding/saying hello to strangers in a isolated location, i remember a big debate on this on pf years ago, with the brits taking the side that it is normal behaviour for humans, i will always do this even if the natives regard me as slightly mad or obstrusive, unless the person is an ultra or tattooed up of course.
Novichok 2 | 5,270
15 Oct 2021 #9
Taking kids from a grade-A country like Canada to live in a substandard ex-communist one like Poland is child abuse - all done to make daddy happy for a while until he realizes what a terrible mistake he made.

Like I said, his nostalgia is his problem and should not be dumped on his kids. They deserve better.

My position has nothing to do with speaking English or nodding but with permanent damage to the kids by turning them into citizens of a third-rate place like Poland where people pay Western prices for big-ticket items and earn 25% of salaries. Yikes.
amiga500 2 | 998
15 Oct 2021 #10
turning them into citizens of a third-rate place Poland

Or maybe they want to get away from this?. torontosun.com/news/local-news/warmington-downtown-addicts-homeless-being-overlooked-during-pandemic Oh wait that is happening in yankistan too, in the democratic areas, and you have the gall to call poland third rate! what does that make the usa?
mafketis 29 | 10,334
15 Oct 2021 #11
a grade-A country like Canada

No longer.... it's sold its Pacific coast to Chinese real estate investors and has horribly insane covid policies. I fully understand wanting to leave Trudeaustan for freer climes....
jon357 69 | 18,513
15 Oct 2021 #12
call poland third rate! what does that make the usa?

Fifth rate.

Worth mentioning that the very negative individual who called Poland "substandard ex-communist" has not lived here or visited much for well over 50 years.



amiga500 2 | 998
15 Oct 2021 #13
good photo. I remember when i came back to poland in 92, and the Marriot/LOT building was the the only modern skyscraper on the sjyline. So much dynamism and development and wealth over the last 30 years , kinda like the london docklands.
Atch 16 | 3,419
15 Oct 2021 #14
I'm afraid it must be pointed out as the OP has young children, that Poland is the most polluted country in Europe and the air quality is extremely toxic in many cities.

notesfrompoland.com/2020/10/13/dangerous-levels-of-air-pollution-in-polish-childrens-bodies-finds-study/
Novichok 2 | 5,270
15 Oct 2021 #15
Where I live in the Chicago area, we don't have Chinese investors or insane covid policies. Teachers make 130 grand a year (google District 211 in Palatine if you want to see the evidence) and there is no crime.

We nod when appropriate, like our cops, speak English, and life goes on. If you are stupid and want trouble, you go to Chicago and only the thug areas.

To even mention covid or Chinese investors as the reasons to move is insane. Covid will be gone but the effects of changing countries are forever. What you all are doing is ignoring her reasons to hesitate, if not oppose the move. And the kids...What a promotion...from Canada or the US to Poland.

So cut the general crap and concentrate on her and the kids. Nothing else matters.
mafketis 29 | 10,334
15 Oct 2021 #16
the brits taking the side that it is normal behaviour for humans

Brits are the single nationality that seems most... discombobulated by cultural differences in Poland (and the one most likely to see their own cultural quirks as normal human behavior rather than.... cultural quirks).

So much dynamism and development and wealth over the last 30 years

And unlike Russia or Ukraine (and in contradiction to PiS propaganda) most of the wealth hasn't been scooped up by thieving oligarchs... it's not been distributed equally (which would be impossible however much that fact bothers some) but the general lack of oligarchs in Poland vis a vis some neighbors is a very good thing.

In the 1990s when I spent more time there than I do now Warsaw was far more... stratified with a larger have not class than other major cities. Has that gap been narrowing any?

I live in the Chicago area

Which is not Canada... so.... irrelevant.
jon357 69 | 18,513
15 Oct 2021 #17
good photo.

I think it's a few years old. Warsaw has.changed massively even in the last 5 years or so.

Our 3 kids are 3 years old and under, so I expect a bit of culture shock on their part, at least for the older

They probably wouldn't notice much difference.Everything they like there also exists here.
Novichok 2 | 5,270
15 Oct 2021 #18
So much dynamism and development and wealth over the last 30 years

What the hell does that have to do with a Canadian woman, her Canadian kids, and her isolation from her family and friends.

No family, no friends, foreign country, and the language she does not speak but those shiny tall buildings in Warsaw...Wow!

Yeah, that will cheer her up real good...
Cargo pants 3 | 1,312
15 Oct 2021 #19
! what does that make the usa?

A third world,compare it with Bangladesh.
Novichok 2 | 5,270
15 Oct 2021 #20
The international geniuses at work...

Hello...It's about her! She is the one that will be most affected by the husband's egoism.
mafketis 29 | 10,334
15 Oct 2021 #21
So she's starting to do some research, good for her!
Novichok 2 | 5,270
15 Oct 2021 #22
And turned to us for advice. That moment, we became her advisors, if not lawyers, and owe her and her alone the information and a look-ahead that would serve as that bucket full of cold water. Let's keep in mind that, to a woman, extended family and friends are everything. Tall buildings are nothing. I am not a woman but I am married to one.

To make things worse for her, her egoist husband will be happily chatting in Polish, watching TV in Polish, and reading papers in Polish while she will be pulling her hair out from frustration. Her kids will continue in English at home but hear Polish everywhere else. A real heaven on earth...

No, I don't want to read any crap about how she can learn Polish fast if she has the right attitude. Save it for Lyzko.

PlantMamaPol, take it from me, a father of two and a grandfather of four, that most posters are not normal like you. They are not married and have no kids or grandkids. If you stick around here long enough, they will be talking about sports teams and civil rights.

When I told my wife about your plans, she just said, No way! PM me if you want to avoid the distractions.
Cargo pants 3 | 1,312
15 Oct 2021 #23
When I told my wife about your plans, she just said, No way

Typical answer from Polish immigrants,who came before 90s.My wife will say same too but will not admit the fact that Poland has changed,not so much of Polish mentality.New generation which is now in teens is different though.

any crap about how she can learn Polish fast

Fuc/k that,I didnt learn Polish almost 21 years of going there every other month,and feel no need for that.I will be just fine if I ever plan to spend rest of my life here.

If you stick around here long enough

No,you will be taking sides with posters here and some will tell you who you should support,just like in real life,but here you can stick it to them.
Oathbreaker 4 | 451
15 Oct 2021 #24
I don't know about your economical situation, but for the husband to have a job in Poland would be important and a good enviroment for the kids to grow up.
Novichok 2 | 5,270
15 Oct 2021 #25
Or maybe they want to get away from this?.

If you want to get away, you get away to Naperville, not Nowa Huta.
Novichok 2 | 5,270
15 Oct 2021 #27
The number one reason why couples divorce is money. Moving from the US or Canada to Poland is an econ suicide for most people. That is why 3 million Poles are outside Poland. Pretty pictures mean nothing and get old on day 2.

I mentioned Naperville as the city that was repeatedly voted as the best place in the US to raise your family. Not my invention.

To show her, the value of your opinion

I offer her no opinions - only warnings about her upcoming isolation - a very heavy price to pay for the egoist husband's nostalgia for the things that are no longer there. Those 30 years out of Poland cut both ways.

It's the others here that bs about things women don't give a rat's ass about. Tall and shiny buildings, my rear end...
Lenka 3 | 2,814
15 Oct 2021 #28
Spoken as a women:
A lot depends on your personality and expectations. You have to accept things will be completely different. Sometimes better, sometimes worse.

I think the social interactions in Poland are healthier for kids. Bonds tend to be fewer but stronger. At such a young age they shouldn't have slightest problems adapting.

Financial side will depend of course on what you guys can do for a living, are you both going to be working etc. But generally you probably will be a bit worse off.

You will be isolated unless you will really make an effort. Go out every chance you get. Accept invitations etc.

It would be good if you had someone you could observe to learn stuff. As Maf mentioned even shopping.
Novichok 2 | 5,270
15 Oct 2021 #29
Sometimes better, sometimes worse.

A Canadian mother with three kids who doesn't speak the local language and is 100% dependent on her husband for her social life...this is worse than hell. Unless he is rich, they will be fighting over money the day he gets his first paycheck.

At such a young age they shouldn't have the slightest problems adapting.

That's the scariest part of all. People can adapt to all kinds of things - including domestic abuse.
Going Polish from being Canadian is, as I said, cruel.
Lenka 3 | 2,814
15 Oct 2021 #30
Listen Novi, I'm really not interested in arguing with your silly notion about Poland being inferior to Canada. It's different but by no means is it a dump.

If you want to keep on banging on about it carry on but please leave me out of it.


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