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).
I am starting to get excited. These past few weeks there has not been much to do prior to leaving. I have recently realized that I should be researching this area, the socio-political issues and the wars that strafed these nations. Once I get to both Krakow and Lviv, I am hoping that I won’t have to travel to local communities otherwise I could be there forever.
In addition, I’m finding that I might actually need to travel to London for more research. My cousin went on Ancestry.com to look up family members for me. She found that my maternal grandmother, aunt and uncle left London in 1920 on the Tunisian and arrived a few weeks later in Quebec, Canada. Of course, that might also require a trip to Quebec, too. Whew!
My approach to this research is to contact local media and offer up to them my unique story and my efforts to learn my heritage and find distant family members. It is my hope that a reporter somewhere might find my story compelling enough to write an article. From there, I am hoping that someone with my family’s name might reunite with me. It would go a long way in saving me the time I would otherwise use looking through government archives, cemeteries and church records.
And I also hope that it might spur a few people to buy my first book so I can afford to visit London and Quebec like The Wanderer. Otherwise, the book might not get done. Either that or I might have to make broad assumptions on the Canada years. And the Canada years are the longest period of time for this aspect of the genealogy. Although, I think the years in Austria-Hungary (Poland and Ukraine) might actually be more interesting. It’s more interesting to me anyway.
My brother’s Ukrainian girlfriend is trying to get me in touch with a film director that she knows in Lviv. This caught me off guard. A film director? Would he be interested? Would he do a documentary? A news piece? Her offer has opened up different vistas on where this could go. As with anything, though, the devil is in the details. Nothing is certain, nothing is in writing. I haven’t even met with anyone yet. It’s exciting to consider. But I’ll save true exuberance when (and if) things actually happen.
I admit that I’m kind of going into this project blindly. I’m not even certain what approach to take. I want to partner this untitled book with Lemonade. But I have not figured out how. Of course, that could come later. I wonder, too, if this half of the story will be as compelling as Lemonade.
After all, I will hardly be in this book. Not that I’m so bloody fascinating or that my presence is a prerequisite. The fact is that I’m the one commonality that bins the two stories so I have to be in this book somehow. But, the ins and outs of Lemonade are unique and the issue of adoption is on everyone’s lips. Will Lemonade readers be interested?
I have to consider a name, too. A name that would draw people’s attention. I need appropriate graphics that would do the same. The name and graphics for Lemonade caught people’s eyes. Even men commented on the graphics which was something I didn’t expect. Truthfully, I have a name for the book in mind as well as an idea for graphics that I think would draw in people. But, until I’ve done my research in Krakow and Lviv, I cannot make that choice. Everyone will have to bide their time for that momentous announcement!
My big fear is that this endeavor will not come to fruition and I will have gone to all this trouble for nothing. I keep thinking that this move to Italy was only for this book. But it really wasn’t. I had decided to take up my brother on his generous offer of an apartment before the idea for this book germinated. Initially, all I cared about was getting to Italy to live, to be near my family. The idea for the book came later, almost as an afterthought.
I think that, once I decided to come to Italy, I felt I had to justify such a life-changing decision. I didn’t want to sit around and live the la dolce vita lifestyle. I wanted to actually accomplish something. And I still do. Like I said, I don’t want this experience to be all for naught. I supposed one could argue that the actual experience is worth its weight in gold. But for me, I still have to do something. I wouldn’t be able to sit around drinking cappuccino relentlessly and traveling wherever the wind takes me. At least not after the first six months…
At the very least, I believe I will have family genealogical information, and that thrills my brother. He’s excited over my effort to find information from our mother’s side of the family. We have so little info and our connection to eastern Europe is very tenuous. I harbor no illusions about creating relationships with very distant relatives. This is a personal journey for me–and on behalf of my brother. It has the potential to be something significant for us.
So I will attempt each day to write about progress on the Poland part of this research. I will, however, still talk about Italy. How can I not?