Krakow, Poland…today is a big day, I have arrived in Krakow! My father is from this country and I grew up with all things Polish…his entire family fled Poland during World War II and eventually settled in the USA. I spent my childhood being regaled by stories of his homeland. I have heard so much but yet I know so little of my father’s birthplace! I arrive for the first time today joined by my sister on a very special part of my trip; to connect with my heritage and put the pieces of a large puzzle together from the years of mythical storytelling.
I feel like I am 5 years old again: excited, naive, and curious about coming to a place like this which holds the key to so much of my family history! I didn’t grow up with home movies of my grandparents, picture albums of my ancestors, or any keepsakes from the village…only stories embellished and heard over and over again at family gatherings. Poland is a pilgrimage for me, a full circle moment that I hope to have and an experience I have thought about for decades.
It’s fitting that I arrive through a birch wood forest which is my father’s favorite tree. I get emotional upon my arrival and I am greeted by a chilly ominous sky. Krakow is my first stop on the next 12 days of Polish discovery which will take me throughout this land. I hope connecting to my past will give me a new perspective on my life and my future!