I have been back in Florida for over a month and I have to say it's been quite entertaining! There are a few things that I miss and don't miss about Poland. But regardless of all this, it's been fun getting back into the groove.
What I miss about Poland:
As you guys know, I lived in Poland for almost 4 years and from the time I arrived I became enamored with it. So obviously, now that I am back in Florida there are things that I miss tremendously.
Friends - While living in Poland I was able to make great friendships with people from different parts of Poland and the world. There are some that I miss more than others, but surprisingly (or not) the ones that I miss the most are my Polish friends. The group of people that I'm referring to are the ones that have known me the longest. They're the first friends I made in Poland and they're the ones that have stuck by me this whole time. Although we are both trying to keep up with each other's lives (via messages and social media) it is not the same. And my fear is that we will slowly start drifting apart. However, one must realize that this is all part of life and we must accept it.
Restaurants - So I was big into eating out in Poland not only because I hate cooking, but because it was pretty affordable and the variety of restaurants in Gdansk/Sopot/Gdynia area huge! Oh and did I mention it, it's affordable!! Unfortunately, a lot of the restaurants in Florida are not only quite pricey but the food quality is nowhere near the quality in Poland. I feel like the food in the US has too many condiments and it's too greasy. So to be honest, every time I go out to eat, my stomach feels a bit queasy.
Services - Now, I am aware that Poland has not the greatest customer service and I totally agree! It still needs some improvement, however, services in Poland are just so affordable compared to the US! Services in the US are 4X more expensive than in Poland. For example with my accountant in Poland - not only did she speak English and was extremely helpful and polite, but her services did not break my piggy bank! I was paying her (depending on the month) around 170-250 zlotys per month. Now, I have to pay an accountant just as much, but in dollars (and it’s a cheaper accountant). There are some accountants that earn as much as $50 an hour!
Health Care - This is another one that is a bit controversial and to be honest, I was one of the many who complained about giving my hard-earned money to ZUS. But now that I can compare, I’d rather give my money to ZUS than give it to a greedy health insurance company. So I'll give you an example - Back in December 2016, when I was visiting my family I had problems with my eyes (common occurrence) so I decided to go to the eye doctor to get my eyes checked. Total cost of this visit: $125 (visit) + $60 (eye-drops, original price was $200, but doctor was kind enough to give me a discount) = $185. In Poland, it would've costed me, let's see, less than 50 Zlotys (granted, I always had private insurance in Poland).
What I don’t miss about Poland:
As much as I love Poland, there is actually a list of things that I really don’t miss and I’m thankful about being back in the US.
Understanding - Many of you know that I started learning Polish a year ago and those lessons have been extremely helpful (I could finally communicate with Uber drivers!). However, I was never to the level of having a full-on conversation. So now that I am back, it is a bit bizarre being able to communicate freely, understand conversations and sometimes even eavesdrop! I mean, it has its perks not being able to understand because you can concentrate on your own thoughts. But being able to communicate is really priceless. Not having to rely on friends constantly, it's so rewarding!
The weather!!! - Of course, the weather! How can I not miss it?! In Florida, the weather now is in the 30's but nonetheless, I love it! Actually every morning when I open my blinds it immediately makes me smile. Every time I go outside in the evening, I am thankful that it is still warm and I don't need to layer up with a bunch of different sweaters, jackets, and/or coats. It is an incredible relief being able to wear shorts and t-shirts everyday. Also, I look healthier having tanned skin versus pale skin.
Customer Service - So yes, this is hate/love relationship. I am thankful for the customer service in Florida. Everyone is so cheery and willing to help you that it is hard not to love it. However, it is over-priced and I do hate tipping! For every service one must tip and it really adds up!
What are your thoughts on all these things? What are you experiences living abroad and/or moving back to your native country? Are you able to relate?