Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dąbrowa Tarnowska

Saturday was a very exciting day for me since I was able to go a short trip away to Dąbrowa Tarnowska, which is the place where my Babcia grew up and started her family as a young adult.

*On skype* – Hey Babcia! Guess where I am! Dąbrowa Tarnowska.

Before leaving to Europe, many of my relatives became very excited of my close vicinity to Poland and literally gave me lists with addresses and phone numbers of people to visit and which family members lived where. Between Tarnów and Dąbrowa Tarnowska was where a large majority of my extended family lived, and for Saturday’s agenda, we almost had a back to back schedule of different houses to visit.

[ Family, boxes of photos and coffee to sit for long talks - the elements of a day meeting tons of family and learning about your relatives. ]

In total over the weekend I went to four different houses, each with a different connection back to my Babcia – different branches from Babcia’s older brothers or sisters. The visits were of course very nice – all of them with more coffee and plates of food – and full of everyone giving me big hugs and a lot of greetings and welcomes in Polish. Starting from Ciocia Maika on my first evening in Tarnów, I began to notice a trend with all of my extended family, and even people that vaguely knew my family in America.

Oh Krzysiu, you have your Babcia’s eyes.

After one look, I could tell this was Ania’s son.

And other observations with how much of a Partynski I was. [Babcia’s eyes? Ania later laughed with me that Polish people love to find similarities, or even think they find similarities, with family members]

Hell, to my relatives, I might have my Mom’s face and Babcia’s eyes, but no one said anything about my nose – they probably kept that to themselves – those Crachiola’s gave that to him.

I could follow along with the Polish conversation around me – and I might even venture to say that it was getting better constantly hearing the language. Every family I went to was happy to hear though that learning Polish has been in my curriculum and I have plans to hopefully studying it in Poland in the future.

In the evening, at the final house we visited everyone wanted to see pictures of my family in America, so I showed them what I had on my hard-drive and, since they had internet, went online to find some more. As soon as I had connected to the internet, my skype began signaling a call from my parents and I knew they were in for a surprise. And actually I was in for a surprise myself – my Wujek Andrzej was in town in Troy and wanted to get in touch with me to see how Germany and Poland was going.

He didn’t just get me however, since almost 10 members of the family at the house were crowded around my back looking at the computer screen waving hi to Wujek, Babcia, my cousins, brother and parents. I thought it was so cool – there were almost 20 people involved in the entire conversation ranging 3 generations – The whole situation was exciting – one, for the amazing fact that skype is even possible – and secondly just the great feeling that my family is so big, loud and happy to see each other.

Going to Dąbrowa Tarnowska was something I knew was going to introduce me to an entire new perspective on my family – my very big, extended family where everyone is still called your cousin your Ciocia and your Wujek. Even if my conversations ranged from a few clumsy Polish phrases, to some choppy English to achieve understanding from my relatives, the entire day, while overwhelming, introduced me to an entirely new part of my life and background that I have to appreciate and discover.

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