Returning to Poland After 12 Long Years!

March 10, 2023

As some of you may know, I am a biracial gal. I used to think of being biracial as being equal halves, like measuring precisely with cups as if you are baking the perfect cake. Recently, as I have contemplated a lot about my racial makeup, I realized I have always felt 100% both -fully Black and fully Polish. As a little girl, my mom would book my plane ticket to Poland for the summers via a travel agency and then voila! I would end up on the other side of the world with frizzy hair and my Walkman in hand blasting the Pocahontas soundtrack. Visiting Poland throughout the years has always been associated with mostly positive memories like vacations & seeing distant family and friends, plus I got to brush up on my Polish speaking skills which helped me navigate employment in my 20’s but also mainly because it (still) is fun to eavesdrop and then surprise people with a candid response when they are badmouthing you.

Fast forward to 2010, the last time I was in Poland before visiting this year. We were there for a huge family event (my husband’s sister was getting married) and we did our regular trek from the South-West Corner of the country to the North-East corner, covering all of our bases in between. It was an amazing time and we came back to the states with the intention of repeating our trip in due time. Only that it didn’t happen, because…life happens and for whatever reason 2 years turned into 12! Before arriving this past year, I didn’t really know what to expect but I was so excited for everything I felt like I missed out on all these years, especially seeing family and friends. It was a trip to remember, albeit not long enough to truly immerse ourselves into everything, but I came back feeling like I will never let another 12 years pass by before returning.

Our first stop was Wroclaw. We chose a connecting flight through Munich, Germany to start on the Western side of the Country and visit my husband’s town first (Gliwice) which we then had a short train ride to after stopping in Wroclaw and walking around the Rynek (town square).
Next stop, Gliwice. Pictured is my husband in his home town square with the Neptune fountain behind him.
Picture is blurry AF because that is how jumpy we were after being reunited after so many years. We visited our good friends in Lebork in the Gdansk, Pomerania region for New Year’s Eve. It took us about 8 hours via train from the Slask region.
Our friends country home which we stayed in for the New Year holiday. It’s nestled in between woods and about 30 minutes from the Baltic sea. It felt like I was in Greenland or something. Absolutely magical!
On the road again! It took us another 8 hours to then travel from the Tri-city area to my mom’s home town of Bialystok which is like a straight shot East and then South a bit.
There she is, Miss Bialystok! I freaking love this city.
Here I am with my grandfather, Konrad, in his pre-war flat that has not changed since my mom left in the 70’s. We lived it up every night, drinking wine and eating delicious food. My grandfather will be turning 95 this year.
I couldn’t help but document the pristine condition of all the vintage furnishings and his beloved collection of art.
Next stop, Warsaw! The capital of Poland. We spent the last weekend before heading back to Chicago in this amazing city.
I honestly can’t wait to come back.
There is a huge vegetarian and Vegan culinary scene in Poland and we had the most amazing meals here.
The interior was super cool. It had a retro vibe and reminded me of something I would see in Logan Square.
The Polish Art-deco vibes were everywhere you turned, in all the architecture and interiors.
The coolest part of our stay in Warsaw was that our Airbnb had a direct view of this mural by artist Tytus Brzozowski titled “Warszawa Zydowska” or “Jewish Warsaw“. It paints the history of the pre-war era and highlights some of the most well-known Jewish businesses located throughout this Northern downtown neighborhood.
Most importantly, I got to eat my Pierogi so I would say this was definitely a trip for the books. Until next time!