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Raclawice, in the mail.

May 27, 2010

My great uncle was true to his word. He mailed me a crazy 80s Polish road atlas, some photos from his visit, and a copy of some family history, along with a handwritten letter in lovely, legible cursive (here is where you can sigh and wring your hands about the lost art of letter writing, if you want), giving me Roman’s address and wishing me well on my trip. The photos and atlas have left me feeling torn between thinking, “yes, excellent. An adventure!” and “Fool’s errand, wild goose chase, waste of everyone’s time.”


This photo was captioned, “We found it!”  So. Here it is. Raclawice, in 1989. Land of the Mikas. Our ancestral cradle!And here, some farmhouses near Roman’s house.


Google Maps tells me this is close to 8 hrs away from Berlin, where I’ll be coming from, and nearly 5 hours from Warsaw. But only 2 hours from Krakow, so maybe not a bad day trip if we want to hang out in Krakow. Anyway. My ambivalence mostly stems from the fact that there’s a picture of my great uncle, standing next to Roman, and Roman looks kind of pissed/uninterested in the whole affair. I’m not sure if I want to go to all this trouble to exchange a few words with a surly stranger who is connected to to me only by our shared name. And I especially don’t want to put anyone out or just barge into someone’s village/day/ life and be a big disruption. I don’t feel passionately, deeply connected to my far-off ancestors,or anything.  I am interested, but only in that way that everyone is interested in their family history. It’s a desire to know one’s self. It’s the same urge that drives us to ask our parents, when we are children, to tell us over and over again stories about ourselves when we were toddlers (wait, other people did that, right?) or stories about what our parents were like back when they were, unfathomably, actual people– with lives–rather than automatons purpose built for caring about their children. That’s a tangent, but I’ll roll with it. Sign that you are nearing adulthood: you see your parents as fully formed people. Like, if they were characters in a novel, your parents-as-you-view-them-now-that-you’re-an-adult, they’d be really complex, well-written, fleshed out. When they do dumb shit, you can say, “man, Mom, that was dumb,” but it doesn’t totally ruin your world to see your parents make a mistake. And it doesn’t boggle your mind that they have likes and interests. Yeah.

ANYWAY. Back to Roman. I suppose it is too soon to say for sure whether I’ll go through with this. This trip has morphed too many times and I haven’t even gotten over there yet. It went from being a 3 week thing, with maybe a brief stop in Berlin, to a 2 month thing, with a long stretch in Berlin. It went from, “maybe I will chill out and make my way leisurely down the Dalmatian coast” to “I don’t know wtf I’m doing. I’m going to land in Budapest and see what’s up.”  Maybe I will be too busy getting debauched in Berlin. Or maybe I will find that I need a break from my non-stop bacchanalian revelries and decide that a weekend in Poland is just the thing.

And in closing. I see that I have had a whopping 7 or 8 daily page views for the last few days. This, sadly, is thrilling to me. I am sorry that my blog is so self-indulgent/personal/boring that probably only my mom is reading with much interest. I am sorry. I resolve to get more web 2.0-savvy. More links and multimedia! More trenchant, well-thought-out posts about things that apply to people other than just me. YEAH!

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