When I first started teaching in Poland, my students asked me what I thought about the country. I answered that I really liked the train system. I thought it was great that there are train connections to nearly every city and town in Poland, and that I can live a car-free life.
They stared in response. “You like theRead More
Thirteen months ago, I began my life in Wroclaw with a walk. Drawn to walking as a way of getting to know a new place through the slow absorption of details, I’d hoped that I would also begin stepping toward a deeper understanding of place. I knew that I’d have the opportunity to do a lot of traveling during those thirteen months in Europe – two weeks in Croatia, one week in Budapest, a few daysRead More
There’s something distinct about the 100+ year-old houses in the Lower Silesian region of southwest Poland. This certain distinctness isn’t immediate in the way these houses look, even though they do have similar characteristics – weathering gray stone facades whose rough edges warm and smooth with distance; even windowsRead More
I stood motionless, my feet melting into the cobblestone walkway. I was transfixed. Dusk was descending and thousands of candles began to punctuate the darkening path, blinking quietly on the ground. The tiny flames illuminated rows of gravestones. I’d never before felt such a strong sensation of peace and calm in a cemetery.Read More
At the beginning of September, I began a journey. Though I didn’t have many tangible expectations for the outcome – I was more interested in the process of journeying itself – I did have one goal. To backpack across Poland and visit the towns where my great-grandparents came from. In the end, I returned to Wroclaw having reached five out of sevenRead More
Family stories have always suggested that my great-grandfather Makowski grew up on a farm, somewhere in central Poland. According to the stories, the farm was huge. According to the stories, the Makowskis had tons of children. According to the stories, there was tangible communication between my great-grandfather’s new family in America and his oldRead More