Moody asked: How is growing up in Poland going to affect your kids (meaning what kind of person they will become), vs if they were growing up in the US?
My kids won't be as used to meeting and making new friends. Their first three years of elementary school are spent with the same teacher. Their first six years are spent with the same set of kids. They are not forced into a new environment every year. I both love and hate this. Still, my kids are pretty outgoing, and I hope they can hold on to that throughout their lives.
My kids will (do) have stronger shoulders and backs than American kids. There are no desks, just tables and chairs, so the kids have to carry all their books and supplies to and from school every day. Now that Evie is in fourth grade, she changes classrooms every lesson (all the same kids stay together, they just move from room to room) and lugs all her books around to each one.
My kids eat fewer processed foods. They don't have all the interesting and fun snack foods that you have in the States. There are maybe two or three different kinds of crackers (Oh how I miss Cheez-its and Wheat Thins!) no fruit snacks and hardly any freezer stuff like corn dogs, bagel bites, and chicken nuggets. I mean, they have chicken nuggets of some sort, but like a tiny box of them. But I think I wouldn't buy them much even if I lived in the States.
My kids will never learn how to drink from a drinking fountain. Seriously. They love them so much and practice every time we see one when we're in the States, but they both still are about on the 18 month old level (loud slurping noises, tongue often seen outside of mouth [lick, lick] water all down chin/in nose etc.) I've demonstrated countless times, but really, how do you explain, "purse your lips, sort of close the back of your throat with your tongue and then suck a little bit at a time. . .?" It takes loads of practice. (nearest drinking fountain is in the Freiberg, Germany temple)
My kids will always get an A in their English classes. Last week David had a substitute in his English class and she was holding up pictures of animals and the kids were supposed to call out the name in English. Amidst all the calls of "Dack!" There was one little boy who called out, "It's a duck!" The teacher stopped, put down the picture and said, "David!! Do you know how to speak English?" (only she used a slang word for talk which means more like chatter or blabber or something) And she was so excited when he said he could (but she kept speaking to him in Polish about it, even though he answered her in English).
My kids might stand out more than kids in America in terms of their culture and religion, and learn to defend and talk about it at an earlier age. Everything from why they aren't bundled like an Eskimo to why they don't want any tea, thanks, to why they don't attend religion classes etc. Evie has had a teacher ask her how she knows that her church is true and after Evie explained about the Holy Ghost, her teacher told her that those are just her own thoughts and feelings. She has had a caring friend ask why she doesn't pray, and has explained that she DOES pray, just in a more "talking to God" sort of a way. Since then she has had enough birthday parties with blessings said over the food that all her friends understand that she does pray. And more often than they do. (I know kids everywhere have some of these opportunities, of course)
When we visit Greg's parents (they are Catholic) we always ask a blessing on the food. His dad calls on one of us, my father and mother-in-law never say the prayers, but my FIL always lets us know that this is how it should be (meaning that even though they don't do it themselves, and never have, he feels that it is right). We also read scriptures and have family prayer with them in the evenings and they are surprised and delighted by how much the kids understand.
My kids will have to work harder at honesty. Honesty is just not highly valued in this country yet. There is still lots of corruption left over from Communism and the "take what you can get by whatever means necessary" attitude is still very prevalent. My children stick out like a sore thumb on this issue, and I know they will have loads of temptation (I know they would in the States, too, but for sure it will be harder here). I think they're up for the challenge, though. I wrote about dishonesty in Poland/the kid's school here.
So these aren't maybe about what kind of people my kids will be because of growing up in Poland, but it hopefully gives you an idea. I hope that my kids will be both tough and tolerant. Tough enough to stand up for themselves with all the teasing and trials that will come from having a Mormon American background in such a Polish Catholic country and that they will learn love and tolerance for the really interesting religious beliefs and customs of the people around them.