Ukraine–“I’m heeeere”

I made it.

I absolutely could not sleep at all last night. My bus for the Rome airport was to leave at 6:10 a.m. I made certain not to drink any caffeine or eat any chocolate after 5:00 p.m. I had no nap. I found myself fading. Yet I still fell asleep around 3:00 a.m.

I have got myself so conditioned to thinking that I’m going to screw up a trip that now I don’t fall asleep. As a result, I was exhausted on the bus trip to Rome. The day was beautiful, sunny and warm as we drove through the mountains. The sun shone in on me through the bus window and I found myself nodding off. But not enough to catch any real sleep. Continue reading

Preparing for my Ukrainian roots

Damn, my butt hurts. I’ve been sitting in Pasticceria Vittoria here in Alba Adriatica, Italy for two and a half hours without moving. Staring at this computer. Manipulating names. Understanding data. Entering family members into my family tree. Trying to figure out who is who.

I leave for Lviv, Ukraine this Thursday, April 9. I can’t wait. The weather in Alba Adriatica vacillates between sun/warmth and rain/cold. But when it is sunny, it’s glorious and reminds me of how much I adore Italy. Continue reading

I didn’t know what awaited me in Poland and I got more than I expected

Snow was falling lightly at Krakow International Airport as I waited for my flight to Rome. I had to ruminate over the previous three weeks spent in a city in which I had come to feel very comfortable.

When I arrived in Krakow, I only had an outline of information on my biological mother’s family. I had accumulated some death certificates and I had been able to get a bit of information out of through my cousin’s account.

I had felt certain that Krakow was the place to visit in Poland because it was near the Ukrainian border and my mother’s family is Polish-Ukrainian. Even though no one had ever uttered “Krakow” in my presence, it just made sense to visit this city and check out any archival information that I might find. Continue reading