Ah, Poland. A magical land that attracts people from all over the world. Some are looking for fame, some for fortune, others are just looking to survive, and then there’s the one that simply knows best. No matter what happens, they always seem to be suffering from bad situations, all of which are Most Definitely Not The Expat’s Fault. In fact, if you question them, you’re likely to be insulted and abused for not immediately believing their stories. But who is this know-it-all Wrocław Expat, and how can you identify them?

Well, our Know-It-All-Expat first and foremost is profoundly arrogant. They will be found looking down on others, most probably while stuffing their face with food from KFC or some other lousy international food chain. They will refuse to listen to instructions by others, although that’s usually because they don’t actually understand the language. In fact, they will even refuse to follow instructions, because they are an Expat In Wrocław and rules are for other people. Their attempts at learning Polish are pitiful, because they think that speaking English is more than enough for them. Therefore, you can spot them usually by the oversized ego that they have. The ego is most certainly considerably out of proportion compared to their actual achievements, though they will lie about those achievements all the same.

Life as the Know-It-All-Expat knows it is a mystery for most of us. They seem to spend an extraordinary amount of time complaining about their host country, usually because things aren’t exactly like it is back home. Whether it’s encounters with bus drivers who don’t understand the complicated dynamics of power 4000 miles away, or making up stories about alleged incidents that frankly didn’t happen, our hero is always getting involved in strange situations that the rest of us never encounter.

But don’t they work, I hear you say? You think they actually work legally? Our friend works, but usually online so that they don’t have to pay their fair share of taxation to support public services. They then proceed to complain vociferously about the state of the public transport, public offices and other services, none of which they actually pay for. They have strong beliefs about how they would make things better, but for some strange reason, they never actually approach the operators of these services with their suggestions.

How could we get this far without discussing their sincerely held beliefs that they are A Big Deal? That’s right – after some limited media exposure, the Know-It-All-Expat will tell everyone within a 200m radius about just how successful and knowledgeable they are. Never mind the fact that the media exposure was actually a 200-word article online that was read by no-one, they are A Big Deal and they most certainly won’t let you forget it, even long after the original author has forgotten about their existence.

All of these things are irritating, but let’s not forget the most important trait they have: The Question. Our Know-It-All-Expat asks questions, but never wants to hear the answer unless it is exactly the answer they want. The Question therefore acts as a primitive form of self-reassurance, which allows them to confirm that they are actually superior to others in the process. Are they superior? Do you really need to ask that question? They wear the Wrocław Expat title like a badge of honour, although for most of us, the badge is made out of cheap baking foil and resembles the kind of thing made by pre-school children.

Even when we try to ignore them, it’s nearly impossible to do so. The Know-It-All-Expat appears in the most ridiculous of environments. You can be enjoying a nice coffee, and suddenly they appear, bellowing as they go. Your coffee is ruined, not least because you have to listen to them talk about themselves for 50 minutes out of a 60-minute conversation class. You can laugh at the way that they take the biggest cake on the menu, but it doesn’t replace the fact that you’ve got to listen to their inane stories about their life.

If there’s one good thing, it’s that these type of people can be found all over the world. Wrocław, fortunately, is merely just one more stop on their tour of irritating everyone all over the world. The bad thing? They’ll be replaced with almost identical clones within weeks once they finally leave. The rest of us just have to smile, grit our teeth and hope that they get deported sooner rather than later.

Michael Forbes

This article and all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this article are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. Maybe. 

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