65 signs that you’ve lived in Poland for too long

I’ve been living in Poland for more than five years, and I’ve found that it is a country that’s either misunderstood or not much known about by foreigners. Poland is still mostly associated with the horrors of war that it endured not very long ago, but after living here for so long, I believe there’s so much more to this central European country!

I came up with the following deductions about life in Poland (which may or may not be unique to this country), and thought it’d be fun to make a blog post about it! These are just my pure observations and are not necessarily proven facts, so I hope you enjoy reading these thoughts on life in Poland through a foreigner’s eyes! 🙂

  1. You eat warm, home-made rosol (chicken broth) soup when you’re down with cold.
  2. You have your favorite old town in Poland. Looking at you, Wroclaw! 😉

    Wroclaw old town
  3. You believe that Poland has the best variety of alcohol in the world. If not the best, one of the best, and you don’t mind explaining and arguing why.
  4. You are used to the BMW and Audi drivers going crazy on the roads and sometimes make way for them. Sigh.
  5. You rely on a shot or two of home-made fruit nalewka (liquor) before bed to treat your cold.

    My first try at cooking rosol. Turned out good!
  6. You no longer protest when a Polish grandmother or mother offers you endless amounts of food, no matter how full you are already.
  7. You know where your nearest 24-hours alcohol store is, just in case.
  8. You are used to the sight of Soviet style apartment blocks, some of which are in dire state.

    Trams are common in Polish cities
  9. You know that kebab is the best food on a night out. You have your favorite one in town.
  10. You diligently change your summer tires to winter ones in your car as November rolls around.
  11. You have learned to complain as the locals and do so regularly. About everything.
  12. You wonder why your favorite Polish beers aren’t as world-famous as the neighboring Czech and German ones.

    Sampling local beers in Torun
  13. You have enough stories on how you couldn’t handle the Polish vodka from your first years in Poland.
  14. You swim with no qualms on the 15 degrees Baltic sea water in the peak of summer.
  15. Your summer weekends include grilling the best sausages in the world (kielbasa) in dzialka (garden and a hut in the outskirts that city residents own for leisure) and eating  them with ice-cold beers.
  16. You squeeze a quick getaway (2-3 hour flight) to southern Europe on your long weekends.

    The highways aren’t always so empty
  17. You avoid grocery stores like plague before a long weekend.
  18. You are prepared to get wasted and party till the morning when you get a wesele (wedding party) invite.
  19. You are spoiled with the variety of cakes. You have a couple of favorites.
  20. You know where your nearest Zabka (popular convenient store in Poland) is.
  21. You know that the cars will only stop for you if you step on the zebra crossing, that is if you’re already on the crossing.
  22. You believe that Poland has the best variety of sausages in the world.
  23. You look forward to summers like crazy.

    Idyllic Polish summer
  24. You always carry a cardigan with you even though it’s summer.
  25. You are used to parallel parking and do it everyday.
  26. You no longer stop to photograph every church and cathedrals you see while out and about.

    A local church lights up in the annual light festival in Lodz
  27. You buy an electric fan to tackle the summer heat, since your apartment doesn’t have an AC.
  28. You take shopping bags from home to save on the money and environment by not purchasing plastic bags in the stores.
  29. You are no longer startled at mostly older people asking you about the time or bus schedules while you’re at the bus stop. Also you are used to grumpy tram and bus drivers.
  30. You really believe that you are going to fail your practical driving test the first time.
  31. You are prepared to allocate an entire working day to get anything done at the urzad (govenment offices.)
  32. Your road rage has started to subside and you are used to stupid drivers. Maybe you have become one at this point! 😀
  33. You rearrange your wardrobe four times a year to make place for the seasonal clothes.

    Golden autumn and a matching dress 😉
  34. You as a woman are used to men opening doors for you and letting you go first. Yes, even strangers!
  35. You stuff yourself with creamy, sweet doughnuts (paczki) on Fat Thursday, that falls around late winter.
  36. You receive flowers and chocolate from the men in your life on Women’s day.
  37. Your spring and autumn weekends including strolling in the parks and trying to spot squirrels.
  38. You no longer walk away in fear of the dogs without leash being taken out for a walk. {This is very personal of me 😀 }

    Winters are sometimes pretty too
  39. You automatically say dzien dobry (Good day) and do widzenia (Goodbyeto strangers while walking in and out of elevators.
  40. You gladly accept the compliments on your t̶a̶n̶n̶e̶d̶ brown skin.
  41. You regularly give up your seat for the elderly, children , disabled and pregnant women in the public transports.
  42. You have an affinity for tracksuits with stripes.
  43. You spend at least some time on the Polish mountains or Baltic sea beaches in summer. Then you come back and complain to your friends how crowded it was.

    Cold Baltic sea
  44.  You no longer glance twice in amazement at the hoarding boards displaying texts that have multiple consonants clustered together.
  45. You are used to seeing advertisements everywhere.
  46.  You are literate in a handful (or more) slangs and other colorful expressions that can come in handy 😉
  47. You look forward to the variety of delicious fish and soup dishes on Christmas eve feast.

    Just a big fish waiting to be eaten on Christmas Eve
  48. Your annual winter rituals are walking around Christmas markets while sipping delicious hot wine or hot beer.
  49. You regularly hop over to Berlin or Prague or the Tatra mountains near Slovakia for a weekend getaway, especially if you live in the central and southern parts of Poland like I do.
  50. You know that the best feeling in the world is soaking in a hot thermal pool after a long day of skiing or snowboarding at the slopes.

    A long day snowboarding at slopes and a thermal pool later!
  51. You use przepraszam (sorry), prosze (please) and dziekuje(thank you) excessively.
  52. You have repeated the story of how you ended up in Poland to curious and surprised locals too many times.
  53.  You are proud of how far you have come with the extremely difficult language of the land.

    I was so proud when I actually understood it during my first year in Poland! It says “Freshly painted”
  54. You are familiar with the stories about hard life during communist years in Poland (which ended after 1990).
  55. You love taking baths and soaking in the tub. Bathtub is more popular than showers in most households in Poland.
  56. You are so thankful for Tesco and Tk-Maxx stores because they have products with the English language along with Polish, a rare find!
  57. Rossmann (all things cosmetic) is your favorite store if you’re a woman, and you miss it when you’re abroad.
  58. You have come to like carbonated water.
  59. You have come to enjoy ogorki kiszone (pickled cucumbers).
  60. You know damn well how to make use of a sunny, warm day.

    Looking forward to spring blooms!
  61. You love tanning on the sun, and you are no longer surprised to see so many tanning salons (solarium) around.
  62. You avoid driving on the motorways before a long weekend.
  63. You know to stay away from football matches that attract hooligans, for your own safety.
  64. You don’t mind or care for political correctness, as it’s not a thing here yet.
  65. You are used to people(who often reek of alcohol but not always) asking you for change around public parking lots.

    Good old mountain cheese, best served grilled with jam







27 thoughts on “65 signs that you’ve lived in Poland for too long

  1. Oh Pooja, I love this post so much!!! And your photos are gorgeous! (btw, can I ask you which camera you were using for these? I need to change mine and the colors and contrasts of your photos are ideal).
    Coming back to the post:

    I’ve never tried rosol but that seems really tempting. On the other hand I have tried ogorki kiszone and I could eat a whole jar by myself!

    Do you have photos of the dzialka you mentioned? It sounds like heaven!

    That big fish waiting to be eaten on Christmas Eve… Huuuummmm no thank you! 🥴

    I’m not surprised you have to tell the story of how you ended up in Poland so many times. Quite unusual, right? Have you written a post about that actually? Should I search in your archives? Because I don’t think I know…

    You have Tesco and Tk-Maxx stores in Poland??? I must come ASAP!

    Actually my grandparents were from the Ukrainian border (now Poland) and I’ve always wanted to come and visit. It’s on my wish list anyway!

    1. Hi Vero, thanks for such a lovely and lengthy comment 😀
      The photos in this post are from several years, so I’ve used several devices. I mostly just use my phone for photos, and do simple edits (saturation, brightness, contrast) to make them better. I use phones by Google the most: right now it’s Pixel 2XL and it takes some great photos. I also use my Sony Alpha 5000 sometimes 🙂
      I will definitely post some photos from dzialka this summer! It’s my fiance’s (the main reason I ended up in Poland too, btw 😀 ) parents’ and I hang out there almost every weekend in the warm months. Tesco and Tx-maxx are the best! I always end up spending so much when I go to those stores haha. Do you have those in your city?
      Oh that’s interesting to know! I knew you had Polish ancestry but I didn’t know it was from as recent as your grandparents 🙂 Do you know what city/town it is? Either way I’ve never been to East Poland but I hope it will change this summer. Sounds like you should definitely come to Poland for a visit! Not too far away from France either 🙂 I will definitely keep posting more about Poland in the upcoming months, since we plan to travel to many places here this summer 😀 Have a great Sunday evening, Vero!

  2. Tesco and Tx-maxx … We don’t have them in France. I can only go there when I step foot in England! 😦

    My Grandfather was from Surmaczowka (Subcarpathian Voivodeship).

    Can’t wait for your coming posts!

    Enjoy your Sunday night 😘

  3. What a fun post, Pooja, with such an interesting collection of photos! (You look stunning in the autumn pic!!) That Xmas fish is a bit scary 🙂 Whenever I think of Poland, I think of Ryszard Kapuscinski, the author who made the most profound impact on me, ever (his Africa books. I read them in French though, I might have to re-read them in English one day!)

    1. Hi Snow. Thanks for the compliments! I love autumn colors so much.
      Hehe I don’t think I ate that fish either, but it was because I was already so full by then 😀 For fish-lovers like me, Xmas eve dinner here is really something to look forward to 😀 I think you mentioned about the author sometime, somewhere, I don’t know about him. I will take a quick look into his biography and works. Wow I didn’t know you spoke and understood French soo well! ❤

  4. So many things in your post appealed to me or were familar, Pooja. As Tanja said they are reasons to stay longer.
    50, 59, 65 and all the food answers made me wanting to go back to Poland a soon as possible. Your photo of the golden autumn leaves is so beautiful. I thought Japan had fantastic displays of Autumn leaves but that photo of you with the yellow trees is even more impressive ( the foreground and the background) Very photogenic – both you and the trees. 😁 And a great photo of the lights on the church and of course Wroclaw!!

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the post, Amanda! Food and drinks are really good – can’t complain. And it’s good that more and more international restaurants are popping up in big cities. Two weeks ago I was in Warsaw and there were sooo many Asian eateries along with many others (European), just a dream for me hehhe! It’s the same here in Lodz – more and more variety in food.|
      Autumn can be very pretty here but it’s also rainy, cloudy, cold and dark most of the time. I am the happiest person on sunny autumn days (not too common). That photo was from one of those days, just perfect. They say about autumn “zolta jesien, zolta Polska” (golden autumn, golden Poland) over here. The photo of the church is from an annual light festival in Lodz during autumn, I’ve heard about Vivid in Sydney, the light move festival in Lodz is our Polish version of Vivid hehe. Have a nice evening, Amanda! I just started work. 🙂

      1. Thank you, Pooja. I haven’t seen Vivid and it is funny that you have heard of it. I saw one in Lucerne though. Golden Autumn Golden Poland indeed. Good to hear the culinary options are expanding. That reminds me I will have to go to the Polish club tomorrow to get some polish foods. I think they have a market on Saturday mornings. Do you have Nepalese society in Poland?

      2. There are many Nepalese people in Poland (I doubt that it compares to the number in Australia but still) and it’s growing every year. In my city I have heard there are about 200. I sometimes meet up with some of them, but most of my close friends and family (through fiance) are all Polish.. Nepali New Year is in 2 weeks, and a cultural event is taking place in Warsaw, I might go there but I’m not too sure. 🙂

  5. Czest, Jak sie masz Pooja. I loved Poland when I did my Eastern European Tour. People are so friendly and real.You have the knack to tell some absorbing stories Keep it up. Dziekuje for sharing. Do widzenia

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