Croatia, Oh how I love Croatia. This time we are here in May. A quick weekend trip in the Spring. The countryside is full of bright green trees. It is beautiful. So many breathtaking moments I have experienced here, especially on the coast. I love the people, the food and the culture. Each time I come here I grow to love it more. It is our 3rd or 4th home away from home. Here with our Croatian family, the Croatian Grandparents. Not by blood but bound to one another by love and common values.
We don't live near family, we have to travel between 10-24 hours to visit either of our parents. That has opened up a special opportunity for us to grow family in other places, with those who are closer and whom we see more often. The mutual benefits of developing family in several places blesses us all. Our kids have adopted "Grandparents" in several places. They have a very special and unique relationship with each one of them. We all do. There is something really special about this set of grandparents.
In this house here in Croatia all of our beloved cultures blend in the air. I hear voices in Polish, English, German and Croatian together creating a sweet melody in my ear. Its like listening to the soundtrack of my life. The house is a hospitable revolving door. Since an hour after we returned home this afternoon friends have come and gone. Here I sit at the table, listening to traditional Croatian music and watching people come and go. People we know, people we love. Some are like family and others new friends. There are families in the yard playing and picking cherries from an enormous tree with an endless supply.
I find myself with free hands and a few minutes to sit and take it all in. I love it here. The smell of pierogi, one of my favorite foods fills the air. It reminds me of what a special home this is. There are teen girls in here learning to make Pierogi with Babcia Ica as my kids call her. They are giggling as they flatten the dough. I am enjoying every moment of this. I love being in the kitchen with a Babcia. Something so unique about that. The kitchen is the heart of the home and a Babcia makes it beat. I learned first to cook from my Mother in law. I like to think of myself as an apprentice of sorts. Now here in Croatia talking about how we make Pierogi in our own unique way. I feel so at home. Poland is the first thing that bonds us with this family. Sharing its food and stories of it strengthens our bond.
Pierogi are Polish filled dumplings, these had meat inside.
They lived in Poland for many years. They had kids and raised them where my husband grew up. Our son and one of theirs have the same name. That same son also has 3 kids. The last 2 pregnancies we were pregnant at the same time. Meaning the younger ones were born weeks apart. Ours in Vienna theirs in Croatia. It is fun to see them all together. The 2 year olds playing and the babies sharing first bread around the table. Our oldest have a special bond as well. They have always played with one another and I have enjoyed listening to them play and talk in German this trip. Two of the girls also have the same name as well. Meaning Victory. One representing the Greek the other in Roman. We laugh, share food and stories of what has happened since we were last together.
Like us they communicate with our kids in a mix of Polish and English. On occasion also in German. It is just like being in our house.
As I watch the kids playing outside on the tree swing, riding their bikes and running around. It warms my heart to know they feel at home here too. They feel safe, secure and comfortable. Early this morning when the kids came into our bed the first thing my son said was my grandma is still asleep, when she wakes up we can eat. It was so sweet.
We had such a wonderful time, it came to an end too fast. We decided we need to take the time to do this more often. It is such a special gift to experience times like this. I can't wait for our next visit.