Sunday August 13th

This time we did not take the bus and walk to Gaj Wielki, instead Uncle Mietek drove us. After he gave us a tour of Tarnowo, via car, we went to the cemetery where grandma is buried (my Mom’s Mom). The church next to it is 800 years old and has just gone through a conservation process. The cemetary is undescribably beautiful and I can not do it justice by writing about, so please wait for photos. I will say this: families come once a week, mostly Saturday and clean the gravestones, weed, put fresh flowers and candles on the graves and tidy the surrounding area. It always looks as if it was All Souls day. There is no grounds-keeper, the familes keep everything looking nice.

We were hoping that the rain at the cemetary would not follow us but alas we were not so lucky. It was raining through out the day and the gray weather kept the rooster confused. The poor fella was cock-a-doo-a-doing all day long every few hours. We spend most of the day with my Mom’s Dad, Juzek Koziol, his youngest son Uncle Piotrek, Uncle Piotrek’s wife Renata, their 2 sons David-just finished college and Lukasz (Luke) – high school. Their oldest child Evelina, in her early 20s, was not there since she and her fiance were busy personally delivering invitations to their wedding next month, unfortunately we don’t have enough vacation to be here for it.
Althought the weather kept us inside we had a great time talking with Grandpa, (he is 86), Uncle Piotrek and Aunt Renata. Jason has a curious mind and is a very engaging conversationalist, so as a translator it was a hard working day for me, but I was very happy that we had the opportunity for my family to get to know Jason.

Besides learning what life for a farmer was like during the communist times and how it differs now under the European Union, we also discussed farm life in general. They use to grow sugar beets, wheats, corn for feed and potatoes. Everything that was grown would be bought by the communist government at very decent rates, so things were very good for farmers at that time. Now it does not pay to grow such things since there is no buyer for them due to world commerce being the driving force of the European Union. This means that even though Poland can produce many things, they are not encouraged to do so by the EU, because the EU wants Poland to buy these products from the other EU countries. So where once there was a buyers to be found for pigs and cows (for food), now there isn’t one and EU tracks every piece of livestock and every crop. The crops that the Koziol Farmers farm now are for their livestock and for themselves. Although they have pigs, cows and chickens, they sell only milk and get most of there money from that. Sometimes people do come directly to they and buy a pig or a cow, but this is also tracked and not their primary source of income.

When the rain took a break for a short while, we took the opportunity to strech our legs and I showed Jason the farm as the rest of the family tended to the animals. Grandpa went to the bulls to change their straw with a pitchfork. When we went up to him he signaled to us to go ahead and get closer. This was something Jason was not too keen on doing since he has never been this close to an animal that theareticaly could maul him. As grandpa stood in the door way to the bull pen, Jason got close enough for the chained, beautiful blue-black eyed bull to sniff him. All the bulls behaved themselves, they know better then to piss-off Grandpa.
Since we, the adults, toasted with Krupnik, honey and herb vodka liquor, David drove us to Uncle Mietek’s.

After one last hot tea and cake with Uncle Mietek’s family, he drove us to the city to our hotel in Poznan. We had a train the next morning to Warszawa (Warsaw) and it was less stressfull to be able to spend the night in Poznan and walk to the train station in the morning. By the time we got to our hotel we were wiped. Jason snored instantly and I, although completely exhausted from translating all day long, could not sleep. My mind would not rest. Good thing there was a tv in a seperate section of our room so that Jason could comfortably snore away as I watched “The Mummy” dubbed in German, ‘Oh Shnell’.

–Marzena