Thanksgiving pumpkin right there!
On Saturday we went to an all day "homeschooling day" where home-schoolers from all over Poland came together (luckily not too far from Krakow) and spent the day talking, sharing stories and supporting one another. The group seemed large to me but then I remembered that these people were coming from all over the country and then it seemed small. Almost small enough to be insignificant. But oh so significant are we, they, the pioneers of modern homeschooling in Poland, that I was amazed by some of the people I met. Even a German-Polish family from Germany who was seeking refuge here in Poland in order to be able to home-school their daughter. (Now she is a brave woman)! We were able to share our story of how and why we came to homeschooling, and it was so refreshing to hear many of the same common stories from Poles. So many times people here either don't understand why we home-school or simply don't know about it that I can feel rather lonely and isolated in this endeavor. It's nice to be able to share your enthusiasm and your struggles with other families. It was an inspiring and invigorating day. So many wonderful families, many right here in Krakow, that we will now be able to call on for support and shared learning experiences. Exciting, to say the least!
On Sunday we were able to join a Polish-American family we met a few months ago for a little grill on their property where they are building a new home. The area in which they are building is near a national park and it's beautiful. Their home is also lovely, and with their four children and ours, all around, it was nice to chat about the difficulties of building a house while trying to care for a large family. Especially a house from scratch. Their patience was contagious and I am newly excited about our own home which could not be taking any longer in my opinion, and we haven't even started building yet! Patience, patience... This family had a farm in the U.S. before they moved to Poland and are planning on and preparing to do the same here. A real farm, with livestock and crops and what not. We are not farmers, nor are we "homesteaders" as they say in America, but as sure as I'm sittin' here I will have a large garden (maybe a small greenhouse as well, these are very popular here), chickens, bees, and fruit bearing trees and bushes, if nothing else. We will probably always be buying something from the grocery store and I will never raise my own wool for my handknits but we will have *something*, and now I know where to go for advice and help and inspiration.
It's just exciting. And affirming.
Reflecting on my "feeling useless" post a bit more and after this weekend I realized a couple things. It's not so much that I am not "doing things" here. I am, I do. I do the same things I did in America, like shopping, driving the kids to the park, and hobbies, all that. All of them, well, almost all of them, time will take care of the rest . But what is really lacking is a sense of connection to Poland. A sense of belonging, of purpose (translated in my brain to "usefulness"). This weekend, along with being able to speak English with many people about things I really care about, which was in itself such a breath of fresh air, I was reminded of community. I have met many people since moving here, a few that I am truly grateful for, they have given me hope that there is a place for me outside of my family. For surly my family will always have a place for me, but the world, well, this is the challenge. Joining is important. Feeling like you have a place and that you belong somewhere is also important. Connection is important. I was reminded of this over the weekend and I am hopeful. This doesn't mean that there still won't be days where I won't burst out crying because the grocery delivery guy just delivered my 3 kilos of bell peppers that I ordered (true story ). But now, well, now I might just have someone to call and share the story with and then they'll laugh, and then I'll laugh, and then we'll all get together and eat bell peppers and laugh and laugh...
... dobra, no?