I really had no idea what I was letting myself in for but, being as it was only a short plane ride from the UK, I wasn’t taking a massive risk. Having said that, I had never heard of the town I was going to, I couldn’t even pronounce the name of it, and I’d never heard of the school I would be working at. Because I had travelled quite extensively on my own in recent years, it was easier for me to give it a go. I was, however, still a little scared and worried about this new endeavour. One thing that helped was going with the same attitude I had when I headed off on my own for the first time around the world in 2008, which was: Try it and see what happens. I am a positive person and while this might sound like a negative way of looking at it, I don’t believe it is. It’s being realistic. Things don’t always work out – sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. If it doesn’t work out, so what? At least you tried. If you’re embarking on something you’ve never done before, especially something as major as living and working in a different country, you have no idea what it will be like and if it will be right for you. You really are stepping into the unknown.
As I write this now, with the church bells playing the daily midday tune, I have no idea what the future holds or if this new endeavour will work out. I feel sure it will. At the moment, I’m enjoying my new expat life in Poland. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to experience it and to be living and working where I am. I am living in a charming, small town in southern Poland about a 40-minute drive from Krakow. I prefer being in a small town rather than in a big, bustling city. To be honest, I have the best of both worlds. I can enjoy life in this small town and hop on a bus to Krakow. One of the benefits of living in a small town rather than in a city is that everything is much cheaper and when you are getting paid a local wage, as I am, that’s really important.
I have completed my first week at work, which wasn’t easy since my first teaching session starts on Monday at 7am and I finish work at 7pm every weekday with only one day off. On top of that, I felt dreadful last week, having caught a cold, I had difficulty sleeping, all my technology was failing me, and I had to sort out some problems with my house back in the UK. I still have problems with both my netbook and phone, but, thankfully, my cold is improving, I am sleeping better, and everything seems to be okay with my house now.
My work colleagues are great and I have a lovely place to stay with two other expats, who are also experiencing life in Poland for the first time. Although we live on the top floor of an apartment block that doesn’t have a lift, we will be fit going up and down the stairs, and we have a balcony with a fabulous view of the town and lush, green hills in the background. Now, all I have to do is work on understanding and speaking Polish. I know that’s not going to be an easy task.
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Have you experienced expat life or are you thinking of living and working abroad? I’d love to hear from you.