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Thoughts on moving to Poland from USA

roade85 4 | 21
8 Nov 2015 #1
I am a 30 y/o male, born in America, American citizen, white (mainly Italian-Irish-French, a little English & German, no Polish), Catholic, and also have citizenship in an EU country.

For the past 1.5 years I traveled throughout Europe while working remotely, all countries including all areas and major cities of Poland. Before that traveled in US for one year. Lived in Krakow for about 3 weeks but everywhere else was a brief stay. In total I've probably spent 7 or 8 weeks in Poland. For the last two months I have been living in Germany (northern Bavaria) but increasingly think Poland may be a better choice.

For reasons I don't care to get into here, I don't plan on living in America or Canada for the medium/long-term future, though I do want to be able to easily visit my family 2-3 times a year.

The top priorities for me in terms of cities are:

1) moderate to low pollution by Polish standards,

2) a good nightlife scene with a lot of English-speaking women under/around age 30 and the highest possible percentage of English speakers in general

3) somewhat sunny weather by Polish standards and changes in season and

4) open, friendly people who are relatively accepting of outsiders. For me it's pretty much down to Wroclaw and Krakow. I like Wroclaw because it's a little closer geographically to Western Europe and the pollution issue doesn't seem to be as bad (it's a non-issue there for me in most neighborhoods) so it's pretty much my top pick as of now. Any other cities I should be considering (they don't have to be esp big)?

I make about 95k USD after taxes (360.000 zloty) from a business I own in the US that I manage from abroad. I'm pretty good with languages and speak fluent Spanish, decent German, and some Italian, so I'm confident I can learn some basic Polish quickly, though I know it is one of the world's hardest. Have bachelor's degree from very good American university.

The main question: given my circumstances, do you think it would be possible to 'fit in' in Poland short-term without knowing much Polish (I only know very basic phrases now, just enough to get around), and long-term assuming having pretty good Polish? Chance of meeting a Polish woman and group of friends (not just expats) who speak pretty good to good English (enough where full communication is usually possible, having normal conversations with my family, etc)? Any considerations I'm overlooking?

To give you an idea of where I'm coming from, here are some things I like about Poland:

- In summary: people, food, ideas of comfort/decoration, nature esp in south and east, relatively cheap prices, normal/traditional gender roles, less PC, lower business taxes, balanced climate in south w 4 seasons

- The Polish people: I find most to be humble, polite, friendly, approachable, and I like the sense of humor. In general, I just find the men relatively easy to respect and be around, 'men's men' in short, and I find the women especially attractive and usually get good vibes in return; not that that ultimately matters much, since I only plan on being with one. Obviously this is a massive generalization and there are many exceptions in all the foregoing regards.

- The food (favorite in Europe)

- Ideas of what traditionally constitutes comfort (i.e. the way older-style houses in countryside, inns, and restaurants are built and decorated, and just their general ambience, not that that reflects how many people in apartments live all that much, but still a plus for me)

-It's a big country that's not landlocked, with nice mountains and forests. I also hunt and there seem to be a lot of opportunities for that esp in the south and east.

-Cheap prices by my standards. I would like to buy a single-family house somewhat soon without taking on a huge mortgage. I also want to have 3-4 or more kids and have the (reasonably affordable) option to send them to a private school, although I'm guessing some of the things I'd be avoiding in US or UK schools aren't as much of an issue in Poland.

-Traditional/normal approach to gender roles. If I have kids I don't want my wife to work any more than part-time and maybe not at all, since I think raising kids and keeping up a household can already be a full-time job and doing both is too much.

-Taxes are relatively low (for corporations at least, important for me since I own a company and am considering starting another small company, potentially in Poland)

-Less political correctness than other countries

- 4 seasons and warm summers

-I think the religiousness is a plus and has/will help people keep their humanity in an increasingly high-tech and morally relativist world

-Not yet invaded by Arab and African hordes, and I haven't seen a significant wigger/fake gangster/Turkish 'wigger' segment

-A good balance between 'Eastern' and 'Western' European (and yes, I do consider it to be Central Europe like Czech, Hungary, etc), and more accessible for most Americans than countries further east

-For me, the self-bashing and complaining I've heard about is more normal than a downside. I find the opposite of that, like in some parts of Germany (mainly Bavaria), to be a little creepy for some reason.

Things I don't like about Poland:

-Pollution in the cities (I come from a small town and am pretty sensitive to it. Thought it was bad in Krakow esp certain days).

-English is pretty bad, though not so compared to other big countries in Europe, except Germany

-Somewhat of a blind allegiance to and trust in the US and its foreign policy and IMO exaggerated concern about Russia, and IME most people have a dated image of what the US really is, which makes it hard to explain why I choose to be in Europe/Poland and not the US

-Traffic, often worse than where I'm from in the US

-Sometimes there's less common ground in terms of familiarity with American movies, music, and culture/pop culture compared with people in Western Europe, so there's just less to talk about in that regard. Only with some people though and with many there's no real difference.

-Limited business opportunities for me compared to Western Europe, for what I do now at least, which is run a semi-luxury service business that depends on upper/middle-class disposable income, so I would need to rely on my US-based business for foreseeable future.

So why Poland of all places?

Asia: too far, don't think I'd particularly like the culture, food, or the women (in far east) in most areas (haven't been there except Turkey).

Africa: only white guy in town.

Latin America: places I've been seem too different culturally and ethnically.

Australia & New Zealand: too far and would never see my family, no long-term visa guarantee.

Spain, Italy, and Greece: too Mediterranean culturally, don't love food on everyday basis.

France & Belgium: don't like people all that much (smug).

Scandinavia: boring, cold, midnight sun issues, expensive, and people too practical.

UK / Ireland: bad weather and food, not crazy about people (often bitter and envious) or politics. Ireland: rains all the time, no 4 seasons, people a little timid for me.

Austria & Germany: too practical and pragmatic, many arrogant, self-satisfied, know-it-alls; too PC, too feminist, hard to make friends.

Netherlands: Germany-lite, bad weather, boring landscapes, people too tall. Switzerland: too expensive, may not get residence permit. Czech Rep, Russia, & to lesser extent

Slovakia: can't deal with the grumpy and somewhat standoffish people. Former Yugoslavia, Albania, and Baltic countries: too small and isolated.

Bulgaria/Ukraine/Romania: too different culturally. I like a lot about all the aforementioned countries, but if I have to say why I wouldn't actually live there, those are the reasons.

The only countries I have seriously considered are Italy (south & central), Ireland, Finland (mainly bc of the people), Germany (parts), Poland, and maybe Netherlands bc of the English there.
majkel - | 60
19 Nov 2015 #2
I believe you could easilly fit in.
First you should decide what location would be the best for you.
If you are looking for a large city with interesting night life and big English speaking comunity I'd check Wroclaw or Poznan. For following reasons:

- cleaner then Krakow,
- not Warsaw ;)
- Wroclaw is quite close to mountains
- college cities
- Wroclaw has stunning architecture and is a nice place to be.

Alternatively you could look for a small city close to forrests and stay there :). I have there two people fighting in me: one wants to live in the middle of the forrest with noone around, the other wants to live closer to culture, also for children's activities. None of them really wants to live in the middle of a big city. I could consider living in one of bi city "bedrooms", as long as it's close to forrest :).
nothanks - | 631
19 Nov 2015 #3
I spent some time in Wroclaw a couple years ago and coming from San Diego, I could definitely see myself settling down there. I'm actually heavily considering it now that Germany is a major question mark.

Given your issue with the Polish language, it kinda forces your hand to live in a big city. But that is probably what you'd prefer [coming from the West] anyway.

Given what you have posted, I think you would be fine. You seem experienced and wouldn't be surprised by any Polish lemons :D. At the worst you might rely on the increasing British ex pats, in the short term. There are a-lot of Spanish students in Wroclaw as well, so if you speak it......

As posted above, Poznan is a city that is often brought up. Krakow and Warsaw might be becoming too Western for your liking. It's been a while since I were in Gdansk. Someone else will have to comment on there

PS: I enjoyed reading your posts and perspective. Myself being someone planning the same move [return] to Central Europe, so I relate to a-lot of what you said. Post more!
19 Nov 2015 #4
roade85 Best bet, and what I would do at 30 and not married,

1 Large Apartment in the center of Wroclaw or Krakow, probably i would edge more towards Krakow due to the number of English girls that go there for hen nights. Get a very flash car this is important in Poland.

Country retreat / farm In lower Silesia , you should be able to find someone to manage it while you are having fun in the city, Don't forget to get a nice 4wd Mercedes or better still Range Rover.

I only did the farm bit because i am retired (Sold the businesses) and I had already found the love of my life.

This link should give you an idea about where I am (Lower Silesia Country Life)
nothanks - | 631
19 Nov 2015 #5
^ He doesn't want an anglo experience. Seems he is actually trying to run from it.
19 Nov 2015 #6
Nothanks I was thinking more about him attracting the girls.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,131
26 Nov 2015 #7
Any considerations I'm overlooking?

Just one thing : you need to remember that Poland is *not* favourable towards men in a legal sense. If you have a child and your wife decides that she's sick of you and prefers her old boyfriend from high school, you can expect to lose the property as well as having to pay significant amounts of alimony for the wife and child. You can't run, because Poland will simply put out a European Arrest Warrant for unpaid alimony, which means that you won't be able to visit about 32 European countries without running the risk of being arrested and deported to Poland.

Poland is full of stories of men that were horrifically burnt by women doing exactly that, and courts tend to rule very unfavourably towards foreign men.
OP roade85 4 | 21
26 Nov 2015 #8
Thanks for the thoughtful replies.

Majkel: The reason I'm leaning towards big cities is I've found English is more widespread there, or at least used more, and it tends to be easier to meet new people. I really don't love or even like big cities though, for me it's better for a weekend trip a few times a year. I grew up in a smaller town and also like the country. I just feel better when living/spending time there than a city. Can you give me examples of the towns and cities near the forest you referred to? Also unfamiliar with term 'bi city'

Nothanks/majkel: I will check out Poznan again next time I am nearby. I was there once before but only briefly passed through. I like the fact that Wroclaw is close to the mountains and as I could see myself eventually living in that area or having a second home/vacationing there. Have no problem hanging with expats/exchange students, I just don't want to be limited to that. Good to know about the large number of Spanish students.

Dolnoslask: As far as the hen party thing, been there done that. That being said, being surrounded by groups of women doesn't usually tend to hurt your chances with others in the vicinity and can certainly help pass the time. I am very into the idea of having a home/second home in the country. I will check out the website.

Unfortunately I have a very practical car that is about the least sexy possible. Was great for long road trips though. I'm more of a point A-B guy, but I could probably use a small upgrade; not quite ready to spend that kind of cash on a vehicle yet though. Having a small farm/big garden property also sounds interesting and is something I've always wanted to do eventually. I like to hook up with farmers for good-quality meat and produce now and would like to just grow my own someday. Will check out the website.

Delphiandomine: Some income and assets are in non-Polish company I am a shareholder of, rather than being personal salary. Not that I would ever abandon children financially anyway, and hopefully I won't date let alone marry anyone like that. But it's good to know.
26 Nov 2015 #9
Road85, just noticed that you speak German, that means that you would have less trouble in lower Silesia where many people speak German, where i live i am 35 minutes from the German border and two hours from Berlin, 1hr 40 from Wroclaw, you could get a nice farmhouse and some land for 200,000zl, (bit of work required), I paid 125,000zl for 600sqm farmhouse 1.2ha land.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,131
26 Nov 2015 #10
Not that I would ever abandon children financially anyway, and hopefully I won't date let alone marry anyone like that.

This is exactly your problem. Don't make the assumption that the Polish court will even look at any documents that you produce to state your financial position. Family courts are hugely female-dominated, and if the mother says that you're living the high life while she's living in poverty with the child, you can expect the court to rule heavily against you.

This is where the cultural differences will be much bigger than you expect.
OP roade85 4 | 21
26 Nov 2015 #11
So what are you saying, judges just make up arbitrary amounts people must pay, with no facts/documentation to back it up? 'Well, even though your personal income is $5/mo, you must pay $10?' I'm not experienced or knowledgeable in this matter, but I always thought alimony was based on the income of the person, which is why unemployed ghetto guys in the US often pay like $20/month in alimony/child support.
26 Nov 2015 #12
So what are you saying, judges just make up arbitrary amounts people must pay, with no facts/documentation to back it up?

Exactly. Welcome to Poland.
26 Nov 2015 #13
Delph Polish girls are not going to rip road85 off, they are no different to any women around the world, I should know my mum is a polish girl,
delphiandomine 88 | 18,131
26 Nov 2015 #14
Witamy w Polsce. (We welcome you to Poland)

The legal system here isn't often based on logic, but rather arbitrary decisions made by judges. The family courts are by far the worst for this sort of behaviour, but it's endemic in the legal system.
27 Nov 2015 #15
"The legal system here isn't often based on logic, but rather arbitrary decisions made by judges."

Precedent is not used ????
nothanks - | 631
27 Nov 2015 #16
The legal system here isn't often based on logic, but rather arbitrary decisions made by judges.

Definition of the system in the USA.

When did Americans vote on demolishing slavery? When did they vote on gay marriage? Most enormous social & cultural changes were done by judges, some not even elected.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,131
27 Nov 2015 #17
Precedent is not used ????

Officially, no. Stare decisis is a feature of common law, not civil law systems.

But Poland does use precedent, especially if it's a Supreme Court ruling. However, this usually isn't relevant in family law cases.
27 Nov 2015 #18
guys you have got this poor chap married and divorced before he has even got to Poland, whats next burial in Poland and the importance of grave cleaning day. (all saints)
OP roade85 4 | 21
7 Dec 2015 #19
Very true about US legal system. Supreme court justices have immense power and legislate from the bench all the time. They are just lawyers and on their way up the ranks act the politician just as much as legislators. Then they get their black robes and basically become gods that literally can do anything they want with no (official legal) consequences or recourse by the people or rest of the government. Due to the general welfare and interstate commerce clauses the US constitution has been established to have no meaning whatsoever beyond what they want it to mean.

I still can't accept that Polish courts literally make up amounts that must be paid out of thin air (unless it is some minimum amount for subsistence/reasonable living standard of the woman and children) with no evidence at all, and then there's no hearing, no recourse, and they put out arrest warrants if you can't pay? Can someone give me a specific example of how this would happen, money figures involved, etc? Like I said, hopefully this won't ever be me. From what I've seen though, I don't think the situation is any better in the US (also very, very slanted in favor of women) or any other country I might consider living in, so I'm not going to worry too much about it. Still good to know though.

Dolnoslask: that's really cheap for a house and land. I saw some similar deals online. I had only looked at real estate close to cities (like in real estate agency windows, etc) and had no idea the price went down that much in the country. Do you have a go-to website/source to look for real estate? Also, I was trying to figure out around where you live based on the distance. That sounds like a pretty convenient location. It seemed like you might be in the vicinity of Boleslawiec? What is the rough percentage you would guess of people who speak German, and what areas/town/cities have the most? Do any young people still speak German? I haven't really come across it any big cities in Poland, though I did a little in Ostrava which I believe is Czech Silesia or right outside. Do you or anyone you know hav an issue with the difference between the Silesian and Polish languages?
Lyzko 45 | 9,438
7 Dec 2015 #20

Having just glanced at your specs, on first glance I'd have to honestly say you're a tad "guilty", so to speak, of plain, ol' fashioned wishful thinking, sir!

Indeed, similar to elsewhere throughout much of the civilized world, folks under thirty in almost any big city are gonna speak at least SOME English:-) As to whether or not you'll land in, say, Wrocław (or the average medium to large metropolis outside of possibly Warsaw!) and hoards of enthusiastic, good English-speaking members of mostly the female persuasion will start literally or figuratively throwing themselves at you, I tend to have my doubts:-)

Then again, I have been known to be wrongLOL

Powodzenia, dude! You'll need plenty of it.
OP roade85 4 | 21
8 Dec 2015 #21
No throwing at me expected; I don't expect that anywhere. Don't need hordes either. I've met many people in Poland who speak English on a level that seemed good enough for a friendship or relationship. I know it's not all that common, but definitely not incredibly rare. Just trying to get an idea of the best place/places for it. Apparently you think that's Warsaw. Do you really think it's head-and-shoulders above the others in that regard? I liked Warsaw; liked Krakow and Wroclaw better, but didn't dislike Warsaw. I lived in NYC (where you live?) for 5 years and have been in pretty much every big city in Europe, so I am no stranger to the big city bar/nightlife scene and don't have some kind of fantastic expectations. As a comparison, if someone else asked this question about say, Ukraine or Bulgaria, my answer would be no, you have a low chance of meeting someone (not that there aren't plenty of people in both who speak English, but they are rarer in terms of how many and how good than in Poland in my experience, just trying to figure out how much rarer.)
Lyzko 45 | 9,438
8 Dec 2015 #22
The only city I know (resp. knew once upon a time...) relatively well is Szczecin aka Stettin, to you:-) The Poles whom I met hated it when you call their respective city or town by her "German" name!! Better merrily mispronounce the Polish than Germanize.

I spoke Polish, but I wasn't there for more than a few days total.
OP roade85 4 | 21
17 Dec 2015 #23
Hey, I don't call it Stettin. I speak a little German and have a little German blood, aber ich bin kein Deutscher. Instead I try and probably fail to pronounce it in Polish. Although I have some experience with Germans across the border, who stare quizzically when you say it in Polish, then say 'oohhh, you mean Stettin'
17 Dec 2015 #24
Hi Road85 , I live about 30 mins from Boleslawiec, good websites for houses are olx and, people do speak some English and it does seem to be getting better. many people speak German too, I have noticed that more expats (Non polish speakers) are starting to move around here , must be eight people that speak fluent English that live in my lane.

Take a look at this website it tells you about where I live
23 Jun 2019 #25
Yesterday, I read some propaganda in a Polish newspaper (Gazeta) that Poles are still doing great because food prices are cheaper than in other parts of the EU. It usually means that prices will go higher. In the US it starts to make sense to grow your own food too.
terri 1 | 1,663
23 Jun 2019 #26
You are kidding yourself if you think that. People on a fixed income are already feeling the pinch.
23 Jun 2019 #27
food prices are cheaper than in other parts of the EU.

Fast catching up with UK prices, and Polish wages in general are much lower.
kaprys 3 | 2,245
23 Jun 2019 #28
Some prices are just ridiculous like parsley root or even onion.
Dougpol1 31 | 2,640
23 Jun 2019 #30

Just paid 3.80 zl for 4, yes four, onions in my local today (no supermarkets open thanks to those catholic fukks)

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