Monday, October 26, 2009

Rosół

[ The comforts of chicken noodle soup ]

In addition to all the stops to visit family, there were still some landmarks that I needed to visit in Tarnów. There was a beautiful wooden church in the city – one of the oldest in Poland – that is completely made of wood. I later learned, and saw great pictures, from Ania’s wedding there that was held just a year earlier in the summer. It was small, but the decorations were pretty amazing. Some relatives from Wujek’s side are priests and we were able to get a great private tour looking at the beautiful interior. Even the artwork around the altar was very interesting with special attention to the detail on the hand of the Artist’s rendition of God – notice 6 fingers, it is not a mistake. It was intentional to represent the greatness of God over humans, and for the 6 days that it took to create the earth before the 7th day of rest.

Around the corner from the church was a very old cemetery, with very elaborate and beautiful headstones. Venturing through the detailed carved stones and the large candles and bouquets of flowers, I learned that this was the burial grounds for my great aunt, whom I called Ciocia Hanka, who was the last living sister of my Babcia. I paid my respects, and along with all the other realizations from the huge amount of history and family background I was learning, I was humbled and hopeful to be able to experience Poland side by side with my Babcia. I feel that would be an experience of a lifetime.

After seeing lots of family, lots of pictures, and overall having a very packed day, we were all pretty exhausted. My Ciocia and Wujek’s home in Tarnów is very cozy, and the basement feels more like a cabin than a home. It was getting very cold outside quickly, and everyone seemed to be worried of catching a cold. There was nothing better than to enjoy some soup at home and warm up inside.

That evening in the basement, we started a fire and for dinner cooked some kiełbasa and chicken right over the flames. We ate some great food, dimmed the lights, lit some candles and Wujek started to play some of his old vinyl records starting with the echoing pops and scratches that resulted in the first track of some great classic Polish jazz and rock. We took the chair cushions onto the floor and before we knew it were passed out. Michał took the opportunity to snap some shots of us content from dinner and sleeping on the floor.

Some good soup is always good when it is getting cold out, and it is just one of the small things here in Poland that represents the real sense of comfort I have here. It may be another country, but it really has many of the comforts of home, to the great food, to the warm welcomes of my relatives – even some I have never known before. Kaśka, Michał and I were all having a great time together, and from our adventures and excursions to simply hanging around the fire at night, it really felt perfect.

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