Three years ago today I first set foot on Polish soil. It was the realization of a lifetime dream, and it began purely by accident. In March, my sister Mary sent me a flyer–a friend of hers was leading a trip to Poland. My first thought? “Yeah, right.” But I could not get it out of my mind, and so three years ago today I found myself with my first view of Poland, in Gdańsk, on a tour with about 20 others, including two of my mothers’ cousins. It was the start of an amazing time.
At the time, I wrote about my first day in Gdańsk here: http://poland.leonkonieczny.com/blog/?p=50. I had my first opportunity there to walk around, to see Poland, to experience Poland. And, as you’ll later learn, it was not my last visit to Gdańsk, either. Because of that, it holds a special place in my heart, and I know I’ll be back there again and again.
I published some of my pictures from Gdańsk here: http://poland.leonkonieczny.com/images/2010PolandTour/01-02%20Gda%C5%84sk/index.html. It was a memorable visit, we were there on the 30th anniversary of the agreement signed between Solidarność (the Solidarity trade union) and the government, an action that in some way led the way to the downfall of communism and the establishment of a free Poland.
My love of Poland and my blog named after it, Moja miłość do Polski, really took root and first blossomed on this day, three years ago.
But, as if that wasn’t enough, two years ago today I was also on the most amazing journey, my second visit to Poland, staying and travelling with my cousins. Two years ago today we were driving from Warsaw back to Gdańsk, the culmination of a rich tour of Ukraine, and a visit with my cousins there. I am still learning more and more about the places I saw on that trip, the history, the culture, the heart and soul of Poland and what it means to be Polish. In my heart, I know and feel what it’s like to be Polish, and in my heart I can proudly say “Jestem Polakiem“–I am a Polak.