Saturday, December 13, 2008

Expat Adios

One of the not-so-hot things about being an expat is that I lose friends more often than most people do.

Not necessarily due to my own poor social skills, although let's face it, that's always an option if one says as many stupid things as expateek does.

No, it's true because expats are constantly being relocated. They're off to the next posting, boxes packed, container shipped. The risk in making friends with only expats is that one can have the very unlucky experience of almost all one's friends moving away in the same week.

And it's not like I tried to have only expat friends. It's just that it takes a while to meet locals, especially since Polish is so flippin' bardzo trudno. (Really difficult. Of course.)

Anyway. Almost all one's friends moving away in the same week? That would be this week, for expateek. Of our tight little cadre of six couples, two couples are moving away this very weekend, and another pair most likely in the next month or so. We're suddenly down by half.

The global economic catastrophe is real, and corporations world-wide are trying to curtail expatriate expenses. It's good news for all the people who resent the intrusion of witless, non-Polish-speaking foreign expats, but really bad news because it's an early signifier of no confidence in the near-term economic future.

Meanwhile, quite a few of us expat wives are bracing for more bad news to come.

We're brewing up Tear Water Tea and saving packing boxes.



Anonymous said...

Well there's your problem. You folks have jobs, whereas my girlfriend and I, well we took the opposite course; ditching the jobs and leaving before the economy went down the tubes...

By the time we run out of money it should be, oh, February and the economy will be going great guns then, right? Right? RIGHT???

Know a good bridge to live under here in Warsaw? They all seem kinda scary to me.

expateek said...

Yeah, you're completely correct.... we do have jobs. For the moment. Check back January 6th, it could all be different by then. Every day, someone we know has lost a job.

At least ONE of the two of us has life-skills (i.e. gardening, hunting game, bee-keeping...) As usual I add nothing in terms of value unless blogging or writing academic papers puts food on the table.


Didn't think so.


Good luck with those bridges. If I locate a warm underpass I will let you know. Meanwhile, all kidding aside, stay strong. Economics are cyclical... it WILL get better.


And hopefully in our lifetimes.

Uh huh. Left to me, we starve. Hoping Mr D keeps those zloty coming in....

expateek said...

And by the way, Pan Pierogies, you do write well. I don't think you should worry. Get yer ass out there marketing yourself, keep writing all the time, and don't lose heart.

You got skilz, bro. Go use 'em.

Jim said...

I know this is a bit belated, but, writing as another blogger, how, while constantly upping sticks, packing, repacking AND trying to work, do you manage "November (32)"?

Plus the wit and perception I envy.

expateek said...

Well, I signed up for that Nablopomo thing (November blogging month) and then pride wouldn't allow me to quit. It was really difficult though... and you notice I didn't sign up for the December challenge!

I usually write first thing in the morning, right after Mr D goes off to the job he apparently still has for the time being. That's my best time (well, that's what it feels like anyway...) And I don't work here in Poland, so that makes more time for tomfoolery on the computer. I really love to write... wish I'd figured that out 30 years ago instead of going down 30 dead-end dark alleyways. Not of course that it would pay the rent, but at least I would have figured out a more portable career.

As to the wit and perception...? Well. If you say so. I'm pretty insufferable in person. Mr D tolerates me only because he's about 80% deaf. His sense of humour is just as warped though so we manage fairly well together.

Christine said...

Even worse than tear water tea would be tear water tea having to recycle your tea bags. I sure hope the economy picks up asap. It has such far reaching implications.

Michael Dembinski said...

Expat adios - same thing happened in 2001-02. So many expat managers shipped off home with their families, to be replaced by local managers who didn't need relocation packages, private heath care schemes for the whole family, paid-for places at the foreign schools for their children etc.

The ones that stayed were the ones who'd gone native, found they liked Poland and its people, learnt the language, invested in property here and found their way in business independent of the global corporations that brought them here.

Michael Dembinski said...

"...really bad news because it's an early signifier of no confidence in the near-term economic future..."

This shows the utter stupidity of these brain-dead corporations. They take fright. Fear replaces greed. Poland oh that's near Hungary, Latvia and Ukraine, all of which (really) are having a crisis. Sell. Sack staff. Bring your money back to... uhhh... the US. Which REALLY IS a solid, safe economy.

This is MADNESS. Guys, look at the fundamentals. Poland had the highest rate of industrial production growth in the ENTIRE EU last month! Unemployment is STILL FALLING! Growth next year is likely to be 3%! Shops in Warsaw are PACKED! And you're pulling out of a market like this! You nation of utter FULDS.

expateek said...

I can only point out that not all corporations are American, and in fact, some (that we know intimately I'm sorry to say) are ... God help us... French! Or... eeeek! German! And those too are sacking people and pulling back and all the rest. Not that I'm defending it as a great idea or anything, but it's also not just the lads across the pond doing the dirt.

FULDS... New one for me. I'll go with French Ultimate Latter Day Saints?

Furry Underpants, Low Density Style?

Fried Ungulate Lips w/Dipping Sauce?

Sorry you've had such unpleasant experiences both with expats and large corporations. But not all corporate types are hideous monsters.

In fact, I'm actually a very nice person, in spite of the crowd I associate with. Or that's what I say to myself when I look in the mirror in the morning.

And again at noon. And at 12:30. And at 2pm. Again at tea time. That's how it goes at my house... nothin' better to do!

Michael Dembinski said...

Dick Fuld, CEO of Lehman Brothers...

Expateek, I'm sure you are a delightful person, and I hope to make your acquaintance at a forthcoming Warsaw Blogmeet.

expateek said...

Awww. Why thank you! I look forward to it as well.