A LadyBug who is an Expat, Travel Lover, Photo Maniac - Living in Magical Krakow - Born and Raised in The Vampire Land but not afraid of Garlic ;)
1. Why did you move abroad?
Well this is quite a long story so get a warm blanket and some hot tea ;) Kidding aside, here is the short version: I was working in Romania (in Iasi) in a corporation that had one of its main branches in Poland (in Krakow). The Team Leader from Krakow proposed I would come and give it a try. I said that I would do it for 6 months and then travel further on - I had even a plan for the UK/Ireland. Then Mr. Rosiek jumped in the picture and I stayed :)
2. How do you make a living?
I just switched my job 3 months ago - just got my permanent contract a few days ago :) I am currently working as a Information Security Analyst. Previously I worked in IT for a bit more than 5 years. Before that I did around 3 years of volunteering and I was part of AIESEC + The Economical Students League. I always thought that I would do volunteering so I finished the Faculty of Economics. Little girls would say they want to be princesses or ballerinas and wished to be an accountant :))) Well, serves me right! Now I work in a Bank ;)
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I try to do this as often as I can but I cannot lie, during the working days I am unable to focus on anything except work. Weekends are for family. I talk to my sister on Facebook, with my Grandma I text and with my mum I get to have longer calls. Sometimes we use Skype but tell you the truth, the connection in Poland is not as brilliant as in Romania ;) I also like to go old-fashioned from time to time and send them postcards and letters. I found it hard recently when I tried to write a longer letter and I realized that I grew unaccustomed to using a pen... comes from sitting to much with a keyboard nearby!
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Poland?
Oh! It must be the feeling that I always had... it feels so much like home that after visiting it for 10 days, when my ex-TL asked me to move here and do the job from here I just had to jump in and say YES! The people are warm and each time I get to the Main Square in Krakow, I have such a rush of positive energy that I feel like I can take on the world :) I love their personality, their faith in the fact that Poland IS the Mother Land, that Poland IS their heart and their soul. I have never before seen people inside a country acting so consciously proud or their homeland and heritage!
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Poland?
That would be definitely the language. Polish language is the hardest language, just check this out: Average English speaker is fluent at about the age 12; the average Polish speaker is fluent in their language not until age 16. Let me give you an example: guess how many grammatical forms has the number 2? Only 17 ;)
17 grammatical forms for the number 2:
4. dwóch (or dwu)
7. dwom (or dwóm)
Makes sense, huh? :)
6. What do you miss most?
My family. The fact that over 1000 km (approximately 15 hours by car) are between Krakow and Iasi is quite a big deal. Not to mention that there is no option of direct flight. I would lie if I would tell that I miss anything else except family and friends, but it is also true that I wish they would invent teleportation faster... or maybe cheap flying cars. Now come to think of it the Weasley's really had a good thing going on with the flying car. And it could go stealth too!
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
Well working with Polish people definitely helped :) And I definitely have to hand it to the Polish people: they really know how to party from dusk till dawn! They are friendly, polite, open and even though they do not speak English to perfection (or at all...) they somehow make you feel relaxed and at peace.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
In time, I managed to make myself think that there are no strange things. But I can tell you one thing: men are very much old-fashioned and gentle and caring. They respect women and they take care about the ladies they love. They open the doors for women in public, they are not afraid to show how they feel and I love seeing men - of all ages - buying flowers for their ladies.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
To tell you the truth, I never heard a myth... ok, maybe the fact that they drink a bit too much :) but hey, in this country the weather always plays tricks. There is a lot of cold, a lot of wind, a lot of rain that people need something to warm their blood.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
It is about the same, and the parity of RON (Romanian currency) VS. Zloty (Polish currency) is almost 1 to 1. It helped me a lot when I came here as I could translate everything into my country style of living. The salaries are though better in Poland then they are in Romania. For example, in my previous company, the salary for the 2nd line of support in Poland is almost equal to the salary of a Team Leader in Romania - and the price for food, for example, is the same... Go figure one of the motives I moved :P
11. What advice would you give other expats?
A very bright saint - Saint Augustine - said a very wise thing: The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. I agree with him 100%. Travelling brought me to where I am now. My mum always picked on me, saying that I was made to travel. When she was pregnant with me she was travelling abroad as well, so I still believe the love for movement came from there.
The moment I left for Greece at the end of High School she knew that I will not be able to stop and that I would want to see more and more. She was as always right. Since then I have travelled abroad at least once every year. Each country is different and each country has something new to show and tell.
You learn that you can live out of a backpack, that you can handle yourself in a thousand of situations (weird, unusual, logical or just plain), that you can develop your sense of direction and that you can run until you are close to a heart attack in order to catch a flight... Been there, done that ;) That is how you grow and develop yourself :)
12. When and why did you start your blog?
One day I was sick and tired of answering the same questions: How are you? What's new? How is live in Poland? so I was even thinking of doing a monthly email and just sent everyone what I was up to in that week, adding some additional pictures. Then I took a step back and also realized that I don't quite want to use Facebook that much, as they take the rights of the photos uploaded. And I am extremely fond of the pictures I take ;)
So I was reading some blogs when this idea just popped into my head: why not create a blog but do the posts as if I was writing a letter to my friends?! Well... I believe that was a great idea, considering the fact that I have less people asking me the same question ;))) You should try it as well, you will have a chance to reach all your friends, no matter if they have Facebook or not ;) They will be up to date with what you are doing and the next time you will see them they will just pick it up where you left ;)
In time you will see that not only your family and friends read you, but other people will be interested as well of what you are saying and what you are thinking. It is a great way to make new friends and trust me, bloggers are extremely friendly and open. They are willing to help and create connections, share their experiences. If ever you have the chance, open a blog and go to a blogging conference near to the place you are ;)
Blogging will help you get in touch with expats worldwide and you will be able to share your knowledge on the places you have been. They will tell you where you should go, what you should do. They know best, as they learned it through the tourists eyes ;) So my advice to you is to always have your mind and your heart open for the World :) And travel as much as you can!
LadyBug's blog, The Home Of The Twisted Red LadyBug
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