Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Get in line, folks...

There's been a lot of water under the bridge since my last post, but let's go straight to the good stuff: last weekend, I had the privilege to attend a Real Polish Wedding.

My first wish was that it would turn out just like the Deer Hunter wedding, except I think that was supposed to be Ukranian, not Polish. Mostly I just like to think of myself as a young Meryl Streep in this scenario, dancing in the middle of a huge crowd to the sounds of a traditional Polish wedding band. And did I mention there was vodka involved?

Being a Florida native, I tend to associate weddings with pulled pork drenched in barbecue sauce and beaches at sunset, so finding a new meal in front of me every 30 minutes and being obligated to do shots with the bride were completely new for me. They were experiences in which I gladly participated until about 2am, when I realized that even after almost a year of practice in Poland, I am still a lightweight compared to 25 out of 26 of my friend Marek's first cousins. I'm not counting the little blond boy who I spotted with an empty champagne glass... I hope he was holding it for his mom!

Compared to other typical Polish weddings, this one was definitely more modern - usually, everyone has to bring flowers to give to the bride and groom when meeting them in the receiving line. This couple, being practical, realized that nobody knows what to do with hundreds of bouquets of flowers, so they cut that part out. In the countryside, wedding parties last two or three days, with an afterparty being held the day after the reception. The rule: you must finish all the leftover food and drink from the night before. And no, there is no other drink except for vodka.

The wedding and having Easter in my flatmate's village in Silesia were the jewels in the crown of my Polish experience this year, which is now unbelievably coming to an end. That's Kasia to the left, crossing a stream near her village.

During that weekend, yes, I went to church multiple times, but mostly spent my time riding bikes around the lakes and forests with Kasia and her sisters. And also running away from six year old boys.

For you folks back home: Easter Monday in Poland is called "Wet Monday" because girls get doused with water for "good luck." I must be really lucky, because four 15 year olds in a maly fiat thought it was a cool idea to pour an entire bucket of water on me on the way to the train station. It was a pretty cold three-hour journey in wet jeans, but I think it was worth it just to see Kasia's mom yell at the offenders.

I don't want to get too sappy, but I am having a hard time getting excited about my next destination because it involves leaving this one. So if any of you boys and girls are around Krakow, let's hang out - I don't have a clue how it happened, but I am at two weeks and counting.