Category Archives: stories

What is a home?

Yesterday was a long day in a train.  Speed train, recently delivered Pendolino. Comfortable trip from the North to the South of Poland. Within 8 hours instead of 13 just few months ago. I was coming home.  Raciborz, my first home till I was 19 years old. Then it changed into Wroclaw for another 13 years to continue with Gdansk for the recent 6… Between each home certainly there was a period of a blurred limbo when neither the new one nor the old one where my real homes.

What defines a home? When this particular feeling starts to grow and develop in your heart or mind or both? Is it when you make your first friend in the new place or is it just the first fire at the chimney? Is it the unpacking of your books on new shelves or baking first apple pie in the new oven?

I was desperately looking forward to leave Raciborz and start new life in Wroclaw. I left my first home with a bunch of high school friends making the landing as soft as possible. So it was soft, indeed. In the warm arms of the biggest city on Odra river, Silesian capital city, I felt home when after my first year two of my best friends came to the city to live and continue their studies and I had the chance to show them what I already loved there, all the cheap beer bars, great dance floors, open till mornings afterparty dives and evergreen parks and river islands…

After 13 years, when the date of move to Gdansk was getting closer I started my farewell through never ending friend night talks, old city wanderings, river bench cigarettes, one farewell party after another and in the meantime finishing first sketches of my first novel, impatiently waiting for the trip to Gdansk and already mourning the last day in Wroclaw…

Gdansk became home of course much quicker than within a year. When you fall into sleep next to your beloved one, your heart even if full of uncertainty already feels like home and that first drunk night with your new friends, when you leave the bar and go to the beach to listen how the birds welcome the sunrise…

Fluent borders of feeling like home, winding between old and new, filling the new with hope and promise, and leaving the old with gratitude and love.

and you know what? The best thing of all is that all these homes remain your homes for ever. So am I now back at the first one, planning to see the second for the end of this week. See you there! 🙂

A letter from the past. 25th Anniversary of Polish Freedom


This morning I was watching Barack Obama driving through the streets of Warsaw to celebrate with Polish people the 25th Anniversary of the Freedom and first free elections behind the Iron Curtain that happened on the 4th of June 1989. What was I doing that time? I was only 13 years old, finishing primary school, thinking of my future education and witnessing the Wind of Change blowing throughout the European prairies. So when I came back from work I went straight upstairs and opened my memoirs box (yep, I’m sentimental 🙂
What I’ve found was a bunch of letters I once wrote to my beloved friend, who was taken by her parents on a summer trip and to Greece and escaped from there later to Canada, right before those first elections. Her mother told her in that bus to Athens, that she would never see her friends and grandmother again…

Raciborz, 31st October 1989

Hello!

Bogna, I am sorry for not replying for such a long time but it was not my fault, its just that nothing is worth to write about. October was very, very hot with temperatures up to 31 Celsius! Polish television is getting better and better, there is still no English at schools because there are few English teachers, so I went to an English course and I now need to pay 37,420 zlotys per 94 classes.

Bogna, I am so, so curious what is going on there in Canada, how is the TV, how is your city, what are your plans for the future?! So let me start about myself.
I have graduated the school year 88/89 with very good results. I am now in the 7th grade (7d), my master teacher is Mrs Piasecka and half of the class is new. They came from 6e which was another athletic class and guess what, they just don’t know anything! I didn’t go to the School of Sports eventually and I think that was the right decision.
Now I can spend my time at different classes and courses like  English, chemistry and in general I have a lot of spare time and almost not getting ill, which I am happy for.
After the primary school I would love to continue in High School, preferably in the Human Arts profile or biology-chemistry but its not decided yet whether we would stay or we would emigrate to Germany for good (we’ve got all the passports already and anyway there are only us, uncles from the 9th floor and both grandparents who stayed in Poland so maybe we will meet abroad?)

I spent my summer holidays in Zagorze Slaskie, at that hotel from Rafako, my father’s company. I wanted also to go to DDR but I was too late with my application, and there were no places left.

So as you know in Poland we have a PRESIDENT (hi hi hi) Jaruzelski and I am not sure if that’s gonna change anything for good since the ham costs ca. 30,000 zloty, the sausage from 3,000 to 40,000 zloty, one pack of matches is 25 zlotys, ice cream almost 200 zlotys, bread 1,500 zlotys, bread-rolls 150 zlotys and butter 5,000!!! Literally every day the prices go higher and higher like crazy, seriously! Before we leave Poland I don’t know whats going to happen…

Nothing has changed in Raciborz, well maybe apart from that our blocks are not from Rafako anymore, but they belong to a company that bought them from Rafako for a song … So as in our backyard and there are also changes in the city. A lot of new blocks are being constructed (even next to our school) they also build a new post office and telephone exchange building which I hope will eventually give us the long expected phone number!

On our backyard more and more people are leaving for I don’t know where and there are also new people coming so in the end you really don’t know who’s still there are who are these new people. Once upon a time everybody was saying hello or good morning but now forget about it and there’s even no smile! (well, with few exceptions maybe).

I would like to write you about the winter holidays I had in Zagorze Slaskie. So, it was super, super, really cool and very super simply the best winter holidays I have ever been to! We had a lot of excursions, discotheques, movies, great teachers and of course the people over there – a big bunch of good friends! When going back home some of them had tears in their eyes… On the very last day we had an art exhibition of all our art works and the hotel director told us that we were the most joyfull and singing group she had ever hosted at her place!

Few last words for the end with greetings from folks from the backyards and our neighbors: Asia, Ola and Madzia. Please give my best regards to your parents, your sister and your little brother.

I look forward for your letter.  Bye!

Fabian

Pies w dom, radość w dom.

Niełatwo mi było podjąć decyzję. Tygodnie przekonywań, rozmów, konsultacji z rodziną, z przyjaciółmi, z psiarzami. Jak trudno namówić kogoś, kto nigdy nie miał psa! A jednak można, warto i nawet trzeba próbować! W efekcie zakończonych negocjaci wygrała opcja na maksa i tak oto od dwóch miesięcy rośnie nam w domu psiecko. Jak na drożdżach. Wiecznie głodny, a więc na dokładkę do miseczki kwiatki, trawka, patyczki, kupki i kubeczki, choć staramy się mu to wybijać z głowy. Chyba skutecznie, bo jest o niebo lepiej niż w lutym…

Ciekawa ale i zrozumiała rzecz, że wraz z Ozzim pojawił się wśród przyjaciół nowy, wielki temat rozmów i pytań, wśród których obok tego o zdrowie pojawiło się nowe: o Ozzinkę! No i w tym miejscu następuje cała lawina opowieści dumnego psiaty… Kto by pomyślał…

Pies w dom, radość w dom. Autentycznie i bez ściemy. Wraz z nim pojawiła się w domu znośna lekkość bałaganu, dosłownie uroczego! Nota bene Sznaucer spośród wielu swoich zalet ma tą jedną, że nie gubi sierści, a bałaganiąc robi to z takim wdziękiem!

Psiodzice są dumni ze swojej psiociechy!                                          Psiodzice wszystkich ras łączcie się!