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everyone has stories of where they've lived, share yours and help others decide on their next destination.


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krakow, poland - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 12/06/14.

4

How much time have you spent in Poland?

I moved here on or about August 15, 2005. I think it was actually the 17th but it's been awhile and I'm not great with things like dates and names and such. So, 9 years and 3.5 months.

How old were you when you came to Poland? Where were you before?

Uh 27 I believe it was. Prior to moving to Poland, I'd been living in a suburb of Portland (Oregon) named Milwaukie.

What brought you to Poland? What made you choose Poland over any other place you could've gone?

My future wife. We met via a mutual friend of mine, who I'd met the year prior in a BBC chatroom that was setup to discuss the recent presidential election/results in the US. This mutual friend mentioned that she knew a friend - my future wife - and that she thought I'd also like talking to her. So, I shot off an email, got one back, and it quickly escalated to chatting via Gadu-Gadu (Polish chat client) and then some phone calls and more emails and basically talking every chance we possibly could.

As far as a choice as to who was to move where... it was simple. My wife could move to the US and try to get a job there, which would have involved a lot of paperwork and BS. Or,...

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france - 5sizes2small's (f/34/united states) reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by 5sizes2small on 11/17/14.

1

What brought you to France?

My husband did. I met him online through a website called Gaia Online. We talked for several years and finally met in 2006 when I came to visit him here for 3 months on a traveler's visa. I have since moved here in officially in 2007 and currently still live in the Ile-de-France area.

Describe the city you live in there and your impressions of it.

I live in zone 3 which surrounds the main Paris zip code. Paris is very expensive so it's never been a choice to life there directly. I live north of Paris and have one station on my train before I am in main Paris at the Gare de Nord station anyways. Some might say I can move around quicker than those who live in the south of Paris.

The city I live in is very diverse with people from lost of different countries and cultures. As compared to the US this area is much safer than where I used to live in Kansas.

How does your race, nationality, gender, accent, etc. affect how you are treated or how people react to meeting you in France? Positively? Negatively?

I am a white female with dark features. When I first moved here I felt pressured to dress like the French women I see wherever. I bought new...

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paris, france - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 40s

posted by anonymous on 05/07/14.

4

How much time have you spent in Paris?

I more or less moved over here in 2007. I spent 2009 working in Amsterdam but the rest of the time has all been spent in Paris, so it's coming up on seven years in Europe.

How old were you when you came to Paris? Where were you before?

I was 44 when I moved over here and I came from the Bay Area. No kids, no property and never been married and I KNOW I never could have done this if I checked the boxes for 1 & 2.

What brought you to Paris? What made you choose Paris over any other place you could've gone?

Good question. A little background first... October 2007, I had just gotten laid off from my Silicon Valley job. I was planning on leaving of my own accord around the first of the year as I was burned out and, more specifically, totally frustrated because there was absolutely no room for advancement nor was there any place to go within my old company. So, rather than leaving on my own, I got a nice severance package. Now I could afford to take a bit of time off to decompress and recharge my batteries a bit.

Initially, I thought I'd go to Australia as it was summer, I have a good friend in Sydney and I thought I would go up to...

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cebu, philippines - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 04/24/14.

4

How old were you when you came to the Philippines?

I had just turned 25 when I came to the Philippines. I literally blew out my birthday cake, and boarded the plane.

Where were you before?

I originally hailed from Seattle, WA. Most my childhood was growing up in close cities (Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish, etc), and I studied at the University of Washington.

What brought you to the Philippines?

Job training brought me over. I was to go to Taiwan to visit family before going back to the Philippines for 7-8 months, and finishing up my training in Taiwan.

Describe the city you lived in in the Philippines and your impressions of it.

Unfortunately I did not see much of Manila until the end of my training. I spent most the time in the free trade zone in Cebu, in Clark (by the airport). I experienced a bit of Angeles and their… less tasteful areas. As this zone was more occupied by foreigners coming to work at factories and visitors looking for some night entertainment, most of the area was full of bars, the streets were full of legalized prostitutes, and your average number of thugs/beggars. It was not safe to go out at night, especially as a foreigner.

How does the...

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brno, czech republic - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 04/15/14.

5

How much time have you spent in the Czech Republic?

I've been here since May 2010, but came to visit for a few months in 2009 or 2008.

How old were you when you came to the Czech Republic? Where were you before?

I was 27 when I came here. I was born and raised around the Washington D.C. Area. I spent 2 years living in Colorado around 2002-2004

What brought you to the Czech Republic? What made you choose the Czech Republic over any other place you could've gone?

I came here because I met my current fiancée while she was a foreign exchange student at my college. She told me that if I didn't come over then i'd probably never see her again, so I jumped on a plane :)

Describe the city you live in in the Czech Republic and your impressions of it.

I live in Brno... it's got the small town feel but it's a big town. The people here are nice compared to Prague where it's more of a “Why are you in my way?” whereas in Brno they seem to be genuinely interested in foreigners and are willing to help.

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in the Czech Republic? What drew you to the city you live in over other cities in the Czech Republic?

Again, the woman :)...

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indonesia - johnt's (m/24/united states) reflections after years there in their teens

posted by johnt on 01/18/14.

3

What brought you to indonesia? Where were you before? What made you choose indonesia over any other place you could've gone?

I actually didn't choose Indonesia. In 2005, I was only 12 at the time, I was living in Mandeville, Louisiana. In April of that year, my dad, who at the time worked for Halliburton Oil Services, found out that he was being transferred and he had the option of going to Houston, Texas or Balikpapan, Indonesia. Even though he's originally from Dallas, you can imagine how badly he did not want to get sucked into Houston, the black hole of the oil field, when he instead took his wife and three kids across the world to Indonesia. This was just completely unexpected. I remember that he had literally two weeks earlier bought my mother a brand new Ford Expedition that would now sit in storage while we were overseas. So, in June of 2005, we left for Balikpapan Indonesia.

We ended up dodging a bullet, because as some of you know, in August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans (across Lake Pontchartrain from us) and my whole neighborhood was flooded.

How does the city you live in in indonesia compare to other cities in indonesia?

I lived in both Jakarta...

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espoo, finland - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 01/08/14.

2

How much time have you spent in Finland?

I lived there for 3.5 years and have visited numerous times since 2003. Probably 4+ years spent there total.

How old were you when you came to Finland? Where were you before?

I was 25 at the time. Before this I spent most of my time in SLC, Utah. Born in Florida though and my family travelled tons.

What brought you to Finland? What made you choose Finland over any other place you could've gone?

My boyfriend (met in Everquest) was Finnish. He was more settled than I was at the point at which we decided to live together, thus I moved to him. I didn't actually move to live with him until sometime after we were engaged (moved to Finland in January of 2005.)

Describe the city you live in in Finland and your impressions of it.

I lived in Espoo (Olari to be precise) a suburbia of Helsinki. We lived in a nice spot, close to the sea and a forest for riding bikes. A lot of families around, shops, gyms etc. Espoo, like much of Finland, has horrible architecture. I think my first query was whether I was moving to Soviet Russia (due to the austerity of the architecture). I find it very convenient to live there though. Close to Helsinki...

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porto alegre, brazil - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 01/02/14.

3

How much time have you spent in Brazil?

In total probably around 8 months, but not all at once. The longest stint was probably 6 months.

How old were you when you came to Brazil? Where were you before?

I was 21. Before that US.

What brought you to Brazil? What made you choose Brazil over any other place you could've gone?

I used to practice Brazilian Jiujitsu, so I kinda liked Brasil. My school had a study abroad there that was cheap so I went for it.

Describe the city you lived in in Brazil and your impressions of it.

The first city I went to and where I spent most of my time was Porto Alegre. Coming from a small city in a rural state it was an eye opener. I remember being impressed because I thought it would be less developed but it was pretty modern. Very lively.

How does the city you lived in compare to other cities in Brazil?

It is more European and much wealthier than lots of Brazil. Having been to Europe later in life I can a lot of similarities with it. Much whiter than average, and more educated. Porto Alegre is the Brazilian equivalent to San Francisco, Boston, or Seattle. That is where the trip went so I didn’t have much choice in picking the city....

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buenos aires, argentina - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 12/12/13.

4

How much time have you spent in Argentina?

3 months.

How old were you when you came to Argentina? Where were you before?

34 - I had just moved from Medellin, Colombia.

What brought you to Argentina? What made you choose Argentina over any other place you could've gone?

I wanted to get a good mix in my year of slow travel around South America - Buenos Aires is the big city of South America - they call it the Paris of the south, and you really do get that sensation of being in European city with all that old world architecture.

Describe the city you lived in in Argentina and your impressions of it.

It was a huge city - there was a sense of faded glory about it - which makes sense historically. There's a lavishness about the architecture and the food and culture that mixes with the current economic situation that contributes to that feeling.

How does the city you lived in compare to other cities in Argentina? What drew you to the city you lived in over other cities in Argentina?

It's like any big city in the world - people are little bit brusque, it takes forever to get anywhere - but I wanted to live there to get that classic Argentinian experience, and I felt...

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utrecht, netherlands - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 11/27/13.

5

How much time have you spent in Utrecht?

Half year as a Foreign Exchange Student and then two years as an International Student (Master's Degree)

Which best describes how old you are/were while in the Netherlands?

Late 20s.

What brought you to Utrecht? Where were you before?

I won't lie, it was the coffee shops mostly. To be honest, I never actually hung out in coffeeshops myself. But I simply wanted to live in a place where stuff like that couldn't earn you a ten year prison sentence. That's basically it.

Describe your impressions of Utrecht.

Utrecht is a medieval Dutch city that is largely dominated by its universities. It's one of the larger cities in the Netherlands, but its still tiny compared to a US city. It's got gorgeous canals, a lively city center, old buildings, crappy food, lots of students and even more bikes. It's also a great travel hub.

What are the the people of Utrecht/the Netherlands like?

Dutch folks are usually very friendly and well educated. Everyone speaks perfect English and they watch all the American TV shows, so they will totally get you and your humor. That being said, I found the typical Dutch to be a bit of a 'know-it-all". They...

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berlin, germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 11/27/13.

6

How much time have you spent in Berlin?

Seven years in Germany, three in Berlin.

Which best describes how old you are/were while in Berlin?

Early 30s.

What brought you to Berlin? Where were you before?

Was attending Uni in the Netherlands but couldn't find work, so I went to Germany where it was easier. Without an EU passport, the job scene in the Netherlands is pretty much closed. Of course there are exceptions. But, as much as I hate to say it, in my experience, this has less to do with the economy and more to do with the NL protecting their labor market

I've been offered jobs only to have the conversation end the minute they found I didn't have a legal right to work in the NL. After a few months (even with student visa) I simply gave up. Plus, Dutch language is usually a prerequisite, and how many non-Dutch people really speak Dutch?

On the other hand, in Germany, the level of Native English is lower, so they will be hiring non-Germans a bit more to support their communications. Aside from that, Germany is just bigger with more cities and more companies. So it's easier.

But I've always worked in marketing, so I'm sure other fields are different, like medical and...

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medellin, colombia - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 11/26/13.

2

How much time have you spent in Colombia?

3 months.

How old were you when you came to Colombia? Where were you before?

34 - it was this past year. I was in a small mountain village in Ecuador before, again for 3 months - I was trying out what people are starting to call "slow travel" - living for around 3 months at a time in various places.

What brought you to Colombia? What made you choose Colombia over any other place you could've gone?

When I was living in China I new a lot of people who were either South American or had visited SA. When they found out that I was going to be traveling there, almost all of them suggested Colombia, which honestly surprised me because I still had that mentality that it was a very dangerous place. I do not regret it at all.

Describe the city you lived in in Colombia and your impressions of it.

I lived in Medellin, formerly dubbed "the most dangerous city in the world" - They've largely gotten over that, but they are definitely still burdened by it in terms of international travel, but I think, judging from the number of articles published this year on how it's a great place to go, they're working on that.

How does the city you...

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costa rica - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 11/25/13.

5

How much time have you spent in Costa Rica?

Around 2 years.

How old were you when you came to Costa Rica? Where were you before?

30. I grew up in Ohio, then moved to Chicago for most of my adult life.

What brought you to Costa Rica? What made you choose Costa Rica over any other place you could've gone?

Our three criteria were 1) Warm 2) Cheap enough to live off of freelancing and 3) Reliable enough electricity and internet to do our jobs. That narrows it down more than you'd think. I had visited Costa Rica years ago and enjoyed it, and its size and diversity made it really attractive to explore. Nearly everywhere we've lived in Costa Rica has been a serendipitous decision, but usually it's been a matter of riding that line between feeling isolated and being close enough to the big-city services we need.

Describe the city you live in in Costa Rica and your impressions of it.

We started out in San Antonio de Escazu, southeast of San Jose. The Northern part of the Escazu canton is really developed, popular with expats, and not really my cup of tea, but the farther you go up into the mountains, the more beautiful and rural it gets. We lived on the town square, and it...

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berlin, germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 11/22/13.

7

How much time have you spent in Germany?

In total I have spent roughly four years in Germany. One exchange year in a lovely university town called Tübingen and three years in Berlin, where I live today.

Which best describes how old you are/were while in Germany?

When I did my exchange year I had freshly turned 21 and when I moved to Berlin in 2010 I was 23.

What brought you to Germany? Where were you before?

There are many reasons I could get into as to why I chose to move to Berlin. An honest answer is always best so I will divide this into two parts: the straight-forward answer and the deeper one.

Straight-forward: When I was 18 and began my history degree in North Carolina and there was a requirement to study a language for four semesters. Being American (and of course not bilingual) I was a tad bit nervous about this, constantly remembering my struggles "studying" Spanish in high school. But things took a turn when I started dating a girl from Switzerland, who was studying at my university. When the time came to make a choice, she suggested German. At this point I was still a smartass 19 year-old and with my Jewish-American background found this to be a funny...

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buenos aires, argentina - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 11/22/13.

5

How much time have you spent in Argentina?

I was there just shy of 5 years, from Feb, 2009 to Oct, 2013.

How old were you when you came to Argentina? Where were you before?

I was 32 when I arrived. Before, I was living in Seattle, and had just finished m bachelor at the University of Washington.

What brought you to Argentina? What made you choose Argentina over any other place you could've gone?

I am a linguist and spent about 5 years studying Spanish before graduating from the university. I had a Dominican friend who learned English in the US when there as part of an NGO. I spoke to him after he returned home and noticed that he had lost a lot of his English in the month or so that he was there. For me, that sealed the deal - I was going to do a masters, so why not do it in a Spanish-speaking country? I knew that I needed to "seal" the language in, and had to go right away so that it didn't go stale. I researched a number of countries: Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and decided that Argentina looked like the best bet since it is a very developed country, and has a very good infrastructure (and free healthcare!).

What is Buenos Aires like? What are the...

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chile - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 11/14/13.

6

How much time have you spent in Chile?

In total, I have spent about a year in Chile. 3 months in 2006 and about 9 months this year (2013).

How old were you when you came to Chile? Where were you before?

The first time I came to Chile I was 19 years old. The second time, and for a more permanent move, I was 27 years old. Before my tourist/school trip in 2006 I was living in the state of Wyoming. Before my move this year I had been living in Bellingham, Washington.

What brought you to Chile? What made you choose Chile over any other place you could've gone?

I studied teaching at Western Washington University, my major was 'Language, Literacy, and Cultural Studies' with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. As a secondary motive, I came to Chile to teach English. My main motivation was to spend time in Chilean Patagonia. This area is one of the wildest and least populated regions in the world. I had been to the town I am now living in (Coyhaique) before and really liked the area.

Describe the town or city you live in in Chile and your impressions of it.

The town I live in (Coyhaique) is the larges town in the region of Aysén. It has about 50,000...

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luton, united kingdom - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 11/13/13.

2

I was 24 when I came there. Before that I lived in Lithuania where I had my bachelor's degree finished. The city I lived in the UK was a small industrial town called Luton, far from the best place to be in England. High crime rate, lots of immigrants, families on social welfares. The only thing good about it was probably a close proximity from London and several international airports.

Possibility to study high quality Master‘s degree in Human Resource management brought me to the UK and relatively good tuition of course (now it’s not so good). I had a preference to continue my studies in another country and it had to be English speaking, because I didn’t want to feel isolated with a language barrier in some other random European country, and UK is quite close for a cheap return home.

To answer about the people in the UK, I would have to include all of immigrants, because there are so many of them, I would not hesitate to claim that truly British people are only 50 % of the population.

It would be kind of alright if the immigrants were Europeans, but they’ve got, Africans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, Indians (they are quite alright though), and Albanians. They don’t integrate;...

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poland - someguy's (m/37/canada) reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by someguy on 11/10/13.

3

What brought you to Poland?

My Polish GF and eventually wife. We met in Dublin where there is a large Polish community.

Describe the city you live in in poland and your impressions of it.

I've lived in both Warsaw and Krakow. These are very different styles of city so it's interesting to experience the contrast. Warsaw is around 2M, so pretty much the biggest city in Eastern Europe. It was totally destroyed in WWII, so much of the architecture is brutalist, but there is a region called the old town which was completely reconstructed to its historical renaissance appearance, and they did a fantastic job.

There is also plenty of green spaces. In general Warsaw had quite a vibrant feel in some areas. Commercial space is still cheap, so in the areas where I lived (Powisle) there were plenty of funky bars and cafes that had an experimental feel to them. The nightlife went strong to the wee hours and I even had some visitors comment that it reminded them of Berlin.

Krakow on the other hand is a very beautiful city as it was never bombed during the war. It is one of the few cities in Europe I've visited where the castle is not some tourist attraction outside town, but is right...

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the united kingdom - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 11/06/13.

4

Which best describes how old you were while in the UK?

I moved to the UK when I had just turned 18, and left at age 25.

What brought you to the UK? Where were you before?

I grew up outside of St. Louis, MO and moved to the UK after high school to start university. I was an international student at the University of Edinburgh.

Describe the city you lived in in the UK and your impressions of it.

I lived in Edinburgh for four years, and then lived in London for about three years. Edinburgh is: beautiful, architectural, cold, walkable, hilly. London is: busy, expensive, extraordinary, central, cultural, large.

How did the city you lived in compare to other cities in the UK?

I was drawn to Edinburgh because I had been on vacation as a child and absolutely loved it. I was drawn to London because of how much I enjoyed visiting. Also, it is very much the capital and was a good location for my job hunt, and most of my friends were also moving there after university, or already lived there. I'm not sure how to answer the "comparison" part of this question. London is significantly different from the rest of the UK in terms of demographics, but all cities in the UK have their...

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the netherlands - anonymous' reflections after spending decades there

posted by anonymous on 11/06/13.

2

How much time have you spent in the Netherlands?

I've lived here nearly 30 years total. We had three years in the States in between times.

How old were you when you came to the Netherlands? Where were you before?

I was here for 18 months in my late 20's. I came here for good when I was 33.

What brought you to the Netherlands? What made you choose the Netherlands over any other place you could've gone?

My husband is Dutch.

Describe the city you live in in the Netherlands and your impressions of it.

We started out in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is magical. When our second child was on the way we moved to Almere. Almere is a new city, built on reclaimed land. We always said, 'We will NEVER move to Almere'. At the time, it was easy to move to Almere. The houses were affordable, the commute to Amsterdam was an easy one, and it seemed a good idea at the time. We have not been sorry. It misses the 'gezelligheid' of an older city or village. (gezellig is a word that can't be purely translated but kind of means 'cozy').

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in the Netherlands? What drew you to the city you live in over other cities in the Netherlands?

Because...

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