Village Life is Exhausting

Trip Start Jun 08, 2008
1
6
24
Trip End Jul 09, 2008


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Flag of Poland  ,
Sunday, June 15, 2008

My cousin Laryssa had planned for us to spend about a week in the village of Stany, while also taking some time to visit other family in the surrounding cities.  I initially questioned this decision and began to wonder what I could possibly do in a tiny village for a week.  I imagined I would spend the days just sitting in a field drinking beer to escape the boredom, but it soon became apparent that every single day there was something else to do on the agenda.  Minus the fact that I had to run around to several different places a day, I was not allowed to sleep past eight o'clock due to a little girl named Julia.
 
She would up at ridiculous hours of the morning and begin running through the house, obviously wanting to play.  She would then see me passed out on the couch and then decide that I am the one to play with.  She would proceed to sneak up to me and open my eyes with her fingers.  Once she forced my eyes open she would yell out "Dzudzi! Dzudzi!" (her word for uncle) which would make me finally wake up only to see her face inches from mine, startling me enough that I would no longer be able to go back to sleep.  This same sequence of events happened nearly every day; she became my own personal alarm clock.
 
If she wasn't spending her time waking me up she was spending it plotting how to never allow me to use the restroom.  I think certain children don't realize that they have to use the bathroom until after they see someone else go into one; the light bulb then goes on and they realize they need to "shikaty."  Whenever Laryssa or I had to use the restroom she would come to the door seconds later knocking and yelling that she needs to go.  One day after getting used to her games I decided to ask her if she needed to use the bathroom before I took a shower, her answer was a resounding no.  The moment my hand touched the faucet in the shower, Julia is knocking away at the door.  By the time I opened the door Tomek had already taken her outside to use the bathroom.  At this point I think I'm safe to take the shower; once the water is running there she is again knocking at away at the door.  I just couldn't win with her.
 
Because Laryssa was to be Bartek's godmother, our trip to Stany was timed to coincide with his christening.  I don't particularly enjoy going to church services, they are rather long and boring occasions and I am also forced to wear a suit, so I was a bit wary of attending a christening mass in a local village church.  The church is located in Stany and is quite small, and I found it odd they would actually have a priest perform mass for such a small congregation.  Apparently the church was built by hand by all the villagers of Stany some years ago or so I've been told.  I was however pleasantly surprised with how short the mass was, including the christening service; it took a maximum of a half hour whereas in my family's Ukrainian Catholic church at home services typically last over an hour and a half for a normal Sunday mass.
 
As I mentioned in a previous entry, the village of Stany is located in a part of Poland that was occupied by Germany for some time.  Because of this history, Stany's church used to contain a cemetery for Germans alongside the newer cemetery for the village residents.  However, it seems that a hatred of Germans or just a lack of burial room caused the villagers to bulldoze the entire German cemetery into one pit where they then placed a small mausoleum above.  To this day you can still see remnants of some of the German gravestones in a large clearing that has been overgrown with weeds. 
 
This cemetery is also where several of my family members have been buried, including my paternal grandparents.  My memories of being in Stany as a child are quite hazy, however I distinctly recall going the gravestone of my grandmother several times a week to replace candles and scrape off melted wax.  For some odd reason I used to really want to scrape the wax off the stone with a razor blade, and it was my daily highlight.  So what did I do when I went to visit my grandparent's grave fifteen years later?  Scrape wax off the stone with a razor blade.  Some things never change.
 
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