Zenon met us at the hotel about 9:00 and we laid out plans for the day. He had contacted cousins in advance of my arrival and we were scheduled to meet at their home that evening so the challenge was to fill up the day.
I had done much research prior to my arrival to avoid spending too much time stuck inside a church or archive searching for records. Because of this I had birth and marriage records for many of my ancestors. This turned out to be both good and bad! For while I discovered additional family information that would help me while in Poland I missed the actual ‘Discovery’ events that I might have had upon seeing these records for the first time. In the end I am glad that I did that research in advance as we had a difficult time getting access to records at the church.
Zenon took us to the Rural Architecture Museum (Skansen) in Sanok to give us an idea of what life might have been like when my ancestors lived in this area. The beautifully re-created buildings, churches and villages was well worth the time. The open air museum covers many acres.
We left the museum late in the afternoon to prepare for dinner with my newly found family. I was very nervous!
Anna and her family welcomed us with open arms! Anna, while originally from Lubatowa, now lived in the village of Klimkowka with her husband Janusz, only minutes from my hotel. Also there was Anna’s daughter Katarzyna and her husband Bartosz and their daughter Oliwia, Anna’s son Kamil and her Mother Henryka.
We were welcomed into their home and presented with a fabulous feast of many traditional Polish dishes. I think they were determined that we try them all. I lost count of the number of courses served but every one of them was fantastic! Over the course of the evening we exchanged many pictures and stories as we got to know each other.
Zenon did an outstanding job of translating for us and I am so thankful that he was there. After 2 years of trying to learn Polish I struggled to use even a few words. That got a little better over time but the whole evening would have been very difficult and awkward had Zenon not been there. Additionally, he helped guide the discussions about family. Taking notes and pictures and later updating my ancestry family tree for me. I might have lost that information has he not done that.
Dinner transitioned from the house out into their backyard where additional food was presented along with the wódka. We learned that Janusz and I shared a common interest, hunting, and he was quick to bring out and display his trophies. We were invited back for 3 additional visits/dinners over the course of our stay in Poland. On the final visit Janusz presented me with 2 of his deer mounts take home with me.