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How moving to Gdansk opened the world for me

Contributed By: Swati Rawat
Gdansk, Poland, Zip Code: 80-016

The journey from a bustling city in India to the picturesque coastal town of Gdańsk in Poland has been nothing short of transformative for me. This move wasn’t just about a change in geography but an exploration of possibilities, an expansion of horizons, and a deep dive into a new chapter of my life.

A New Beginning

I still vividly remember the day I received my job offer. Working in IT had always been my passion, and when the opportunity arose to join a dynamic team in Gdansk, I was thrilled yet anxious. Leaving behind my family, friends, and the familiar rhythm of life in India was daunting. Yet, the prospect of living in Europe, a place I had only seen in movies and read about in books, filled me with an exhilarating sense of adventure.

When I first set foot in Gdansk, the city’s beauty and charm took my breath away. The architecture, a blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and modern styles, seemed to whisper stories of centuries past. The narrow cobblestone streets, the vibrant hues of the townhouses, and the serene Motława River painted a picture so different from what I was used to.

Settling In

The initial weeks were a whirlwind of activity, navigating a new culture, understanding a foreign language, and adjusting to the work environment. Yet, the warmth and friendliness of my Polish colleagues made the transition smoother. They introduced me to local traditions, cuisines, and places of interest. I quickly realised that Gdansk was not just a place to live but a community to belong to.

My apartment, nestled in a quiet neighborhood, became my sanctuary. I decorated it with a mix of Indian artifacts and modern decor, creating a space that felt both comforting and new. I would often find myself at the window, sipping chai and watching the changing seasons, from the snow-laden winters to the vibrant summers, each bringing its own charm to the city.

A World of Opportunities

One of the most liberating aspects of moving to Europe was the ease of travel. Weekends became mini-adventures. I visited the historic streets of Kraków, wandered through the beautiful landscapes of the Tatra Mountains, and soaked in the rich culture of Warsaw. Beyond Poland, I explored neighboring countries – a weekend in Berlin, a short trip to Prague, and a memorable holiday in Paris.

Each journey was a learning experience, broadening my perspective and deepening my appreciation for diverse cultures and histories. The efficient transportation system, the proximity of countries, and the freedom to travel without extensive visa hassles were privileges I had longed for, and they were now at my fingertips.

Finding Home

Despite the allure of travel and the excitement of new experiences, it was Gdansk that I always looked forward to returning to. The city had grown on me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. The St. Dominic’s Fair, one of Europe’s oldest trade and cultural events, became a favorite annual event. The sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea provided a peaceful escape. I developed a fondness for pierogi and żurek, Polish delicacies that soon found a place in my kitchen.

The language barrier was a challenge initially, but I took it in stride, attending Polish classes and practicing with my colleagues. Each conversation, no matter how halting, was a step closer to integrating into my new home. The sense of accomplishment when I could navigate a grocery store or chat with a neighbor in Polish was immensely rewarding.

Reflecting on the Journey

I realise how much I’ve grown since I moved here. The experiences, both challenging and rewarding, have shaped me into a more resilient and open-minded individual. The decision to move to Gdansk wasn’t just about advancing my career; it was about embracing a new way of life, one that has enriched me in countless ways.

I’ve found a home in this quaint, historic city by the Baltic Sea. The move has indeed opened up the world for me, not just in terms of travel but in understanding different ways of living, thinking, and being. Poland has offered me a unique blend of familiarity and novelty, tradition and modernity. It’s a place where I’ve carved out a space for myself, where I feel a sense of belonging.

As I continue my journey here, I carry with me the warmth of my Indian roots and the excitement of my European adventures, blending them into a tapestry that reflects the person I’ve become. Gdansk, with its charm and spirit, has not just been a destination but a catalyst for growth and discovery, making it a truly special place in my life.

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