Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy—detour, again–Lake Maggiore

So here’s another Italy detour since there is nothing to currently write regarding Poland.

I’m currently at the Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees in Stresa, Italy. This hotel is situated along Lake Maggiore, one of the bodies of water in Italy’s famous Lakes Region. Lake Como is nearby, home to many celebrities as well as billionaires and business execs. George Clooney is probably the one most associated with Lake Como. Continue reading


Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–Poland Six

I’ve just finished reading Roots, by the late Alex Haley. For the uninitiated, Mr. Haley wrote his best selling book chronicling his “roots” back to a remote African village. He described his ancestors’ lives, how his great-great grandfather was captured in the jungles of Africa and taken on a slave ship to America where he worked as a slave on a Virginia plantation.

This book had me riveted from the beginning. It is a whopping 886 pages and I was reading upwards of a hundred pages per night. Couldn’t put it down. It was revealing for me. because I am doing roughly the same thing when I hit Poland in early March and later, Ukraine. Continue reading

Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–detour to Ascoli Piceno Carnevale 2015

A bit of a detour.

Today I got the opportunity to go to Carnevale in Ascoli Piceno, a medieval celebration that the city has thrown for decades. It lasts for six days. My cousins have told me about it countless times. Indeed, my first image of my cousins is from a photo my father showed me when they were very young, decked out in their best homemade costumes.COFFIN

When my cousin, Maurizio told me Carnevale would be happening this weekend, I immediately decided I would go. I have to admit that my expectations were different from what I experienced. I was expecting jousting tournaments and flag competitions similar to Under the Tuscan Sun. Not on this night.

I took the train from Alba Adriatica to Ascoli Piceno, arriving about 5:00 p.m. Upon leaving the train station, I encountered hundreds of people streaming toward the Piazza del Popolo where the majority of activities occur. I had been in touch with my cousin, Maurizio, and his son, Stefano, to determine a meeting place. Continue reading

Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy, Poland Cinq

I just realized how odd it is that I am talking about “pursuing the expatriate life in Italy” when I’m planning on traveling to Poland at this point. AND, I’m naming each Poland-related posting with a number in French. Perhaps this is a subconscious attempt on my part to be as continental as possible.

Well, to continue in this vein about being continental, I’m going to chat a bit about Ukraine, my next trip after Poland. I’ve been following the Russian separatist issue in eastern Ukraine since it erupted last year, long before I ever entertained any thought of going there.  Continue reading

Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–Poland Quatre

With only about four weeks before my departure for Poland, I’m trying to find some type of media person to chat with regarding my search. I’ve previously discussed that I would like to find a reporter who might take an interest in my story and write a short article about my search. Perhaps someone would recognize my family name and contact me. It would go a long way in helping me get information. I’ve contacted one reporter so far. No response yet.

I have to admit, though, that I am excited at the prospect of checking church records, government archives and cemeteries to find information on my ancestors. I’m quite fortunate in that I have information on the birth of my grandmother in Rosvausch, Poland. I have her maiden name and the names of my great-grandparents. For this I’m feeling very fortunate and blessed. To have information going this far back, especially when my grandmother was an immigrant, is fantastic. Continue reading

Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–Poland Trois

Hmm, this is kinda frustrating. I want the information in this second book to be as accurate as possible and I’m coming across discrepancies.

In looking over death certificates, I’m finding conflicting information. Some of the information is understandable. My biological mother’s family surname was “Bakun”, pronounced “Ba’ kun”. When I first saw it, I naturally pronounced it like “bacon”. During my initial visit to B.C. to meet my family, I was informed of the correct pronunciation. Indeed, my aunt “Maria” told me that some of her siblings changed the spelling to “Backen” when they arrived in British Columbia so it would be pronounced correctly. Continue reading

Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–Poland Deux

I want to try to write every day until I actually reach Krakow. No matter how trivial or bland, I want to keep myself engaged. Once I arrive in Poland from Italy, I’m sure I’ll be writing like a fiend.

The motor of motivation is starting to rev. Yesterday I spent hours researching family information online. My cousin back in Oregon has an Ancestry.com account and did some sleuthing for me.  Much of the information she found I already had. But she was able to find a few more nuggets that will help in my search. Continue reading

Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–Poland!

Well, the clock is starting to tick. In a little over five weeks I leave for Krakow, Poland to begin the research for my next book. For the uninitiated, this blog This is My Lemonade, is regarding my first book of the same name. It chronicles my adoption journey as I attempted to juggle two families and two identities, following my roots all the way to Italy. Yes, that is the connection to these blog postings starting with “Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy….”

So Poland will be the first stop on a journey that will also take me to Lviv, Ukraine. This particular trek is intended for my next as-yet-untitled book. I am attempting to follow my birth mother’s family. My maternal grandfather was born in Lviv, Austria-Hungary (today’s Ukraine) and my maternal grandmother was born in Krakow, Austria-Hungary (today’s Poland). Continue reading