I just got back from a Wortgottestdienst (prayer service) where we prayed the Pentecost Novena in anticipation of Pfingstensonntag this Sunday. Pentecost is one of the coolest holidays of the year, in my opinion, but this semester it signifies something else totally awesome… PFINGSTPAUSE!!!
We get the week off next week for Pentecost, and even though it feels like we’ve only been in classes for 6.5 seconds, I am extremely excited about my vacation plans!
My dad is flying into Frankfurt tomorrow for business, so on Friday after I’m done with classes I’m taking the train up there to meet him. We’re traveling around central Germany for the next 3 days–seeing Würzburg, Rothenberg, and Heidelberg before Dad flies to Austria (en route to Slovakia–what a random place for a business trip) on Monday.
I’m spending Monday in Frankfurt–hopefully seeing some of my favorites who are currently traipsing through Europe for a month–and then on Tuesday I fly to Krakow, Poland!!!!
I am so. so. so. so. excited.
My mom’s family is Polish… her grandparents immigrated to the US before World War I, where they worked incredibly hard (like, in-the-coal-mines-of-Pennsylvania hard) to give their family a better life. Which they have! We now have the political, religious, and economic freedom to live prosperous American lives… with a good dose of Polish culture thrown in, too, of course. Mostly in the form of pierogies, nut roll, kielbasa, and polka.
That being said, not too many of my family members have been back to Poland. My grandparents certainly haven’t, and they’re living vicariously through me as I get to experience this next week! Some of my mom’s cousins have been back to visit our remaining family there, bringing back an amusing (but very telling) anecdote about how the whole neighborhood surreptitiously passed their one good drinking glass between houses in order to properly welcome their American guests. My cousin Jesse also made the trip back to the motherland several years ago when she and her now-husband, Craig, spent the year in Italy. They actually got engaged in Krakow.
I will not be getting engaged in Krakow. But I am visiting one of my bestest friends, Niki, known affectionately as my Wifey. So, close enough!
Niki was born in Poland, and even though her family moved to Austin when she was 3, they still have a house in Krakow, and they just happen to be flying in on the same day that I am! What good fortune!
I’m really looking forward to seeing Poland from the perspective of a Krakow native. Unfortunately, I won’t be there long enough to see all the exciting sights in the vicinity of Krakow, but I definitely want to go to Auschwitz, the salt mines, and Czestochowa. Beyond that, we’ll be exploring downtown Krakow, and may or may not make it to John Paul II’s hometown of Wadowice and the Divine Mercy Shrine.
Also, I am looking forward to the food. But what else is new?