Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Tonight I finally got to meet Viktor’s family. I really couldn’t wait for tonight to come. I had wondered how long I might have to wait to meet everyone. They have their own lives and schedules. For me, I’m flexible so I had to be patient.

You know what it’s like to meet someone and feel like they’ve been in your life forever? That is the way I felt after tonight. Is it because I knew we were blood related? Is it because I talk constantly? Is it because I make friends easily? Or is it because we all desired family?

VIKTOR'S FAMILY

Selfie! Viktor’s family. In the back, Luba, Julia (daughter-in-law), Caterina (granddaughter) and Viktor. In the front, son Victor, twins Cristina and Yaryna, yours truly.

Perhaps it is a bit of everything. Viktor’s family welcomed me with open arms. They, also, were surprised that a stranger from North America was inquiring about “Bakuns” and interested to meet this man who was a distant family member. Yet, during dinner, I didn’t feel distant. There is always the initial awkwardness because you want to make a good impression. You don’t want to spill your wine or drop your fork.

But the conversation was easy. The laughter was genuine. It was comfortable like a favorite warm blanket. Viktor’s son, Victor along with his twin daughters Cristina and Yaryna speak excellent English and we were able to understand each other very well. His wife is an excellent cook and I ate until I was ready to explode. She and his daughter-in-law speak no English. However, I have learned that it is possible to communicate a sentiment through facial expressions and gestures. I’m sure Viktor’s wife, Luba, understood as I cooed over her borscht and pierogies.

It was obvious that I was an honored guest. The table had been meticulously set with crystal and china. Food continued to arrive from the kitchen. Wine flowed generously. Throughout the evening, Viktor made toast after toast.

I felt so comfortable. It’s the kind of feeling I had when I first went to Italy, and during subsequent trips to Italy. During our meal, Viktor’s father, my cousin Zenovyi, called. He told Victor he had found over ten letters from my grandfather, Teodor. I was so touched. I told Viktor that it sounded as though Zenovyi was anticipating my arrival. Viktor said it was true.

I cannot wait to meet Zenovyi. He sounds wonderful. I haven’t even met him yet I feel him in my heart. We are considering a trip to Kuty on Sunday so I can attend mass in my ancestral church. Won’t that be something?

It’s 1:15 a.m. The other night I couldn’t write. Now I can’t sleep!

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