Tarnów: Family

Tarnów. Where my parents were raised, went to school, met each other, and fell in love. It's a small(ish) town just an hour away from Kraków, and also where my closest family still lives. One of the main reasons Momma and I went on this trip is because I wanted to learn the history of my family, see where my parents grew up, and actually take everything in now that I was old enough to understand and remember (during my last trip to Poland, I was still obsessed with My Little Pony...ha).

Since my mom's an only child, we spent most of our time in Tarnów with my dad's side of the family. The building above is where my dad and his two siblings grew up. His sister then raised her three boys in the same one-bedroom apartment. In Poland, people live for generations in the same apartment. It's a source of pride and joy to be able to pass it along to your child.

A few years back, my aunt and uncle and their three boys moved into this beautiful neighbourhood just outside of Tarnów. They spent almost ten years building their home from the bottom up with their own cash.

They work so hard, and I am so happy that they have their own space to call their own now.

My cousin adopted a cat who turned out to be pregnant. She had four kittens that were loads of fun to play with and photograph. They caused so much mischief and their antics made everyone laugh. Here they are playing in my aunt and uncle's backyard.

This is Simba, who I jokingly called mine. He always ran to me first when I called the kittens to come play and followed me around. I wish I could have smuggled him onto our plane back to Canada!

This is one of my cousins, Tom, and his fiance Monika. Tom works at the alcohol store just down the street, so he always brought the party to the party (aaaaaaaall the beer and the vodka).

Nothing like a Polish ognisko - a campfire! Beer and kiełbasa are staples of our culture, and things that I enjoyed almost daily when in Poland.

No matter how late we were out partying, my cousin and uncle woke up at an ungodly time (4/5 am!) to work at the market. They travel around various markets depending on what day of the week it is. Here they are at their stall, selling axes and cooking supplies!

On the days the men weren't working, we all played tourist and walked around the central square of Tarnów.

Here, my mom and aunt are telling me about the infamous "clock". Before cellphones and texting and Snapchat, this is where couples would meet for dates at a predetermined time. My mom and dad and aunt and uncle would all schedule to meet here and then go on their dates. So sweet. 

After a day of walking, there's nothing more refreshing than some alcoholic ice cream. Here we are at Cafe Tatrzanska

This is where momma and poppa had their civil wedding!

And this is the church where they had their religious wedding.

And this is where their first apartment was! 

We had a chance to visit my mom's godfather and his family as well. Her godfather and my grandfather were best of friends - apparently they used to drag race cars together!

My mom's godfather offered us some homemade "nalewka" (alcoholic spirit... of course) made from fresh fruits from their garden. So delicious.

I loved spending time with my wonderful family and family friends. As an only child, it was so nice to be surrounded by my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Partying with my cousins until 5am was probably the most fun I had my whole trip - until the morning after that is!

I could have listened to the stories and memories about my parent's and grandparent's lives for days. Learning about their past helped me learn more about myself, too.