Enchanted Polish Sky – part 1 (english version)

João Winiarski hasn’t seen the snow for ten years. His younger sister Francisca tried to cheer him up: she put a bit of snow in a small box in order to send it to his brother who lived in Brazil. The adventure didn’t work out – the snow turned water before arrive at the poczta – the Polish mail.

“As we don’t see Brazilian figs, so you won’t see our snow”, Francisca wrote to her brother in February 1937. João Winiarsky, my great-grandfather, came to Brazil with 22 years old. With the Second World War, he lost contact with his whole family in Poland.

My great-grandfather didn’t come back to his home. But he always talked about his family with affection. Anna Raitz, his wife, has never let him go back to review the family. Before get married, my great-grandmother read her fortune with a gipsy. The woman told her that she would marry with a men who would cross the sea. Anna was afraid that João crossed the sea again and he didn’t return to her.

Knowing the land of our ancestors means knowing our own history. When you think of life in Brazil, it is impossible not to relate many of our decisions and tastes from the path taken by our parents, grandparents, great grandparents … It is the beginning of our own history. These brave immigrants who left family, work and comfort in pursuit of their dreams. They plunged into the unknown.

I had the insane opportunity to know the land of my ancestors in September 2007. The first image that I kept of the country was when I was arriving in Warsaw on a night flight. Lights in the city, seconds before the plane landed at the airport Frederic Chopin. The flight was scary. Lots of rain. The stewardesses couldn’t serve snakcs. Every time they started to move the cart … turbulence!

And in the middle of all this, there were me and my sister – two girls of 17 and 20 years old  participating of a Brazilian tour of Third Age, in a flight with Polish business men. Many of them were reading newspapers. The right question to understand this crazy scene is: What were we doing in Poland?

It was all right for my paternal grandparents traveling on a tour to the country. Two weeks before departure, my grandfather suffered a heart attack. As he was unable to travel, my grandmother also abandoned the boat. I mean, the flight. For who the two places are offered on the tour? The two granddaughters – me and my sister Camila – the only people with valid passport in the family.

Knowing Poland is like stepping into a fairy tale. Colors. Smiles. Tears. Blood. Poland is feeling. Knowing it means taking a walk down memory land. It is the place where legends of the thirteenth century are alive. The trumpeter who died for their country. Castles. Dragons. The largest medieval square in Europe. The golden autumn.
Our passage through Poland was like a circumnavigation – we were on a crazy bus. Motorists Yurek 1 and Yurek 2 ran the ship. The guide was responsible for introduce us in some famous places, but also present the group in many municipalities and official events.
The first stop was the city of Radzyn Podlaski. We know the Holy Trinity Church, the Palace Potoski, the beautiful Polish gardens and the Polish ice cream. Ah! Not forgetting a typical dish: soup with bacon and eggs floating. In that first moment we apprehend traits typical of the Polish people, which can also be observed in Brazil. The Polish people are kind and hospitable, but reserved on a first contact.
The secret to losing shyness is simple – the Polish people sometimes sing ‘happy birthday to you’, the sto lat, and in each new interpretation of the song they drink some cups wódka. It’s enough to break the ice. And there’s music. The festivals always last until the next day. I participated of several of these. The most amazing was the last night in Poland, in Warsaw.

In the middle of the ruins of a castle there was a tent with music and tradicional food like chorizo​​, pork rind and salads. The musical ensemble was Italian – a flautist and a guitarist. They played songs that resulted in an animated dance. There was only one problem: there was no bathroom! Nobody knew that. When one of the ladies asked the mayor’s wife where the restroom was, she threw a naughty smile, gave a napkin to her and pointed to the bushes. Who needed had to go in the bush!
Written by Gigi Eco
Gigi Eco ama aprender e faz muitas coisas ao mesmo tempo - é jornalista, fotógrafa, professora, rata de biblioteca e musicista por acidente. Ama viajar e é viciada em chás. É a escritora oficial dos cartões de Natal da família. É Doutora em Comunicação e Linguagens pela Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná (UTP) e atualmente trabalha no seu primeiro livro de poesias.