Today was a bit difficult to start. I didn’t sleep well because I kept thinking about Chris and how I was finally in Poland. I wanted to make sure I honored him properly in the country of his father’s side.
The day began with a city tour. First we went to a beautiful park where there was a statue of Chopin in the middle. There was beautiful greenery everywhere and flowers blooming. I thought this would be a great place to spread Chris’s ashes so I found a bench removed from the group and I let go of some ashes. I felt very at peace, and felt this was the right place to release Chris.
We moved on to the site of the Warsaw ghetto. The original buildings had been destroyed and only monuments remain where the ghetto once stood. I found a bench, again removed from the group, and I spread Chris’s ashes. I felt this honored both his mother’s side and father since he is half Jewish from his mom’s side.
Our group continued to the old part of town in the city center. This is mostly old buildings and some replicas of old building (since a lot of Warsaw was destroyed in the war). We were give free time here. It is very beautiful and full of churches and statues. I walked in to an old Catholic Church that was originally built in 1370. During the war it was destroyed and once again rebuilt in 1956. I went inside and sat in a pew and cried. I prayed and spoke to Chris in my head. I don’t know how long I sat there. I took inventory of the last year and realized that even though I got through it all, it was painful and difficult. I had a lot of people around me that helped me both physically and emotionally. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t have an amazing tribe with me taking every step with me. I sat at that church and prayed for everyone that helped me and my hope is that everyone be blessed a hundred time over.
After church I walked to a hidden Polish restaurant. I ordered pork and potatoes and Polish wine. It was a wonderful meal and the whole time I was thinking about how grateful and humbled I feel to be here. Two gentlemen on bicycles went by and stopped in from of where I was sitting outside. The older gentleman was speaking English and told his tour guide how he wished he could take a little table home to his wife. He was speaking English so I asked him, doesn’t it fit in your suitcase? He laughed and asked me where I was from. I told him I’m from Los Angeles, and he told me he was from Virginia. He read the shirt I was wearing which says, “Life is too short for bad shoes and bad wine,” and asked if he could take my picture. I lifted my wine glass and said, Cheers!!
After lunch I went to a Chopin concert. Chopin is one of my FAVORITE composer. His Nocturnes speak to my soul in a way no other classical compositions have. I adore him!!! This was a private concert for only about 20 people. I nearly passed out of sheer happiness. The performer was quite a virtuoso. She has an amazing Resume of accomplishments, it was wonderful to be there! If you know me, you know I was classically trained for 15 years, so Chopin and I go way back!
After the concert we returned to the hotel for just a bit of rest. Then we went out for a final farewell dinner. It was wonderful to have authentic Polish food. We had kielbasa and I enjoyed the best pierogis I’ve ever had!! We enjoyed Polish wine and a wonderful dinner. We also had live music with a guitar and accordion. When we recognized the songs we would all sing along with the music. A great time was had by all! I am so grateful for the people I met on the trip. They all made the trip memorable! Tomorrow, I have a late checkout and a direct flight back home. I’m ready to return!