Poland

Without much preparation, my daughter Nani and I spent the Potato Holidays, in the middle of October, in Poland.

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Nani and I with my cousins, Irek and Tomek.

It was a bittersweet week that Nani and I spent in Poland. My aunt Jadzia was in the hospital and it was pretty clear that she wasn’t going to go home again. She died on the day that we left.

Jadzia was 80, she lived a full and happy life and she died peacefully surrounded by family and friends. People loved her because she was always positive and funny and she loved people back. I don’t want to belittle anyone’s pain, but I ordered a similar death for myself. After I’ve lived a full life, I wish to die surrounded by loved ones, peacefully, cracking jokes to the very end.

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Here I am with my childhood friend Bogusia, and her family, on a spot where we played as kids, with the housing development where we grew up, in the background.

In Poland, I stayed with my friend Bogusia. We met in second grade and haven’t lost touch since then. Before email, we wrote long letters to each other. I remember once writing a letter to her that was 40 pages long. I’m not kidding.

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Bogusia and her husband are the best, most dedicated parents I’ve ever come across. Their kids are the best kids one could ever ask for. Sorry, my kids. I’m not that great at parenting, but you’re alright too.

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Nani surrounded by family: my aunt Jasia, my cousin Gosia, her husband Tomek, her daughter Kasia and Kasia’s friend, Filip.

Nani had a hard time because the poor thing doesn’t speak Polish. She understands a little bit, but not enough to participate in any conversation. Luckily, some of the young kids speak English these days. But still, I admire her for being able to sit there for hours listening to us chattering at no end.

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Me and Roki.

I had lots of dogs to play with, in Poland. My dogs were able to forgive me though.

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Here I am with Bogusia, Bogusia’s mom, Ania, and her daughter, Milenka.

I loved seeing all the people that played such a huge part in my childhood. I love my friend’s mom, who remembers little details about me from all those years ago.

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The weather was incredible the entire week. It almost felt like divine intervention (I’m exaggerating, of course. But yes, it was lovely).

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And even when my visit was unannounced and unexpected, I was treated with good old-fashioned Polish hospitality.

I am so glad Nani and I made this impromptu trip to Poland.

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