If New York City is the ‘Big Apple,’ then Warsaw is the ‘Big Pear’ – badly bruised but still delicious and sweet. This city carries with it the soul and spirit of its people who suffered, survived and struggled but believed in rebuilding and restoring it to its former glory. As anyone with a basic knowledge of history knows, Poland has been through a seriously tumultuous past but right now, times are good and it looks like it’s only going to get better.
Upon meeting someone new, I’m quite quickly faced with the common question – why Warsaw? Unsure of how much to reveal to this perfect stranger, I often respond with a generic answer: I got a job here right out of college, cost of living is lower than most cities, it’s an exciting place to live for a young person. But when I really think about the reasons why I chose Warsaw, there’s a much deeper truth than that.
A decade ago, I recall the streets were clean that time of night, and the glow from the streetlamps reflected off the puddles down below, creating a romantic atmosphere on Plac Konstytucji. As I leaned out the window, with music playing in my ears, I pictured myself living in this city. I wanted nothing more than to rent a classic apartment, work at a magazine, and live a fabulous European life. This sounds so dramatic but I was just 13-years-old on a family vacation in Warsaw. On that same trip, my father took me to the cinema and for hot chocolate at a little café. These are my fondest memories in the city before becoming a resident. Even as a child, who knew very little about the world, I liked the way Warsaw made me feel.
To be honest, I’m not sure how long I’ll live in Warsaw, but the future is always uncertain. At this present moment, I’m happier than I’ve ever been anywhere else. As long as I have opportunities to grow, travel and work, I see no reason to leave. Warsaw has taken me in, shaped me, and showed me how wonderful life can be. Not everyone sees the city the way I do, and that’s fine. But I quite like my version.