I mentioned last fall that was going to visit my family back in Poland in early October but never got to share how the trip went. It was one of the shortest trips I even made. There were times I used to go for 2.5 – 3 weeks. Times when I worked at my previous company, where 90% of the folks were Australians or Europeans, where we got 3 weeks off over the Holiday Seasons so basically everyone could go to their home country. It made sense. Those were also times before I was with T. so it was easy to just pack a bag and leave for 3 weeks at a time.
This year was different. Firstly, I only get 10 vacation days a year at my recent job (sobbing here) so I really need to plan all my travels wisely. That usually means traveling around long weekends or Thanksgiving week, to maximize the time that I can take all at once. Secondly, at the time of travel I was already around 6 months pregnant and I was getting anxious, just overthinking things. I didn’t want to be away from T. or my OBGYN for more than 10 days. All in all, my entire trip was nine days, including travel.
Off to mushroom picking with my nieces!
It was wonderful to see my dad, sister and her family. It was also first time I got to see her fourth baby too. Sweet little boy that is actually turning one year old in just several hours.
I was pleased to make the trip in October, rather than November or December (as I usually did in the past), as I was welcomed by still decent weather, with a few days when we did not even have to wear jackets. It always is such a huge mental retreat. In some ways being back home does make me feel like the world is standing still. Same everything, just the neighborhood kids getting older and the trees growing taller.
This is my dad’s field. Growing up, this was rural land where we grew potatoes and rye. 20 years later, when most local young adults have no interest in farming, most of the rural land turned into self seeded forests. Pictured here are freshly cut young pine trees left to dry and used over winter as fire starters. The bushes around the trees are blackberry bushes. They produce abundance of berries that my sister turns into juice and jelly.
Free spirit. Lots of room to run around and play. Something that I surely miss living in NYC. And something that I did not appreciate 20-25 years ago.
I love mushroom picking and it was my dream for the last several years to make it back home to be still on time for the mushroom picking season. The dream came true over this last trip. We did not need to go far to bring home an entire bag of freshly picked mushroom. Please note that the red mushroom pictured are highly poisonous and we did not pick them but they are so photogenic that I wanted to share. 🙂
Deliciousness. Porcini and bolete mushrooms. Cook with butter, onions, sweet cream, sprinkle with salt and petter. Serve over mashed potatoes. Dinner is served!
My sweet nieces, all three of them, love drawing and painting. No tablets, no iPhones, no gaming systems in their hands. I brought the girls from the US a bag full of Crayola crayons, pencils, markers and watercolor paint. The happiness level was off the charts.
A finished product of my oldest, seven year old niece.
One of the last crops from the garden. Let me tell you, no raspberries, even from a fanciest Whole Foods, compare to freshly picked berries from one’s own garden.
These home made pierogis were as good as they look. My sister’s mother in law makes hundreds of them each week, generously giving them away to my sister and her family. My sister is very lucky to have a full freezer full of them.
The time flew way too quickly.
Always bittersweet, my dad and I always shed a tear when kissing goodbye. The countdown to see each other again starts the moment I leave. xx
You can read about my past trips here:
Home Sweet Home
Home Trip Update and Back to Simplicity
Home Trip Update and a Few Frugal Things