An American in Poland

About two weeks ago I arrived in Warsaw to begin my semester abroad. The first night, I was all ready to pack my bags back up and go home. I was not prepared for the culture shock, but as the week went on I found myself once again becoming more emotionally stable. 

Before I even left home, I knew being here was going to be a challenge but I didn’t realize to what extent it would be. 

My entire recovery is being challenged. Those eating disorder voices in my head are becoming louder, and I really don’t understand why. Maybe it’s because of the food here & not knowing what it is I ate. There’s a lot of carbs and meat here and I’m struggling to find things that I will actually eat without the anxiety rising in me. I am not counting the challenges over the past two weeks as a failure, but I’ve noticed others here find my eating habits odd.

The family I’m staying with have been pressing me to eat every meal ever since I got here and I felt awkward denying their offers of food at first. I didn’t know if not accepting food when it’s offered was a sign of disrespect in Poland, but I learned that a simple “not right now, maybe in a little bit” satisfies them. 

Then there’s the fact that I feel like an outsider here. I am the only student from America here and it’s a little isolating. The language barrier is not only frustrating but disappointing to me because I struggle to express simple things to a majority of those around me. 

The things I’ve been feeling aren’t being expressed, because how can i? I’m supposed to be having the time of my life here, but so far it’s been more challenging than exciting. 

My hopes for the coming weeks is that it’ll get easier & more relaxing. Hopefully I will become more comfortable with the culture and the food situation. I just miss home and the familiarity, but inside I’m so happy I took this opportunity to live in Warsaw for 3 months. 

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