Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Easter

Catching up seems to be my middle name for the past few weeks... April is December all over again for me! EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR!
I shall start with this weekend past and move backwards until my documentation is complete!

Friday I remembered Elder Basha mentioning that stores are closed for 3 days and the country shuts down at Christmas and Easter and the missionaries eat at McDonald's for 3 days because nothing else is open. I was thankful he mentioned that one day! I am more thankful that I was listening. I am most thankful that I remembered that at the most opportune time... Friday afternoon. So I loaded my grocery bags and headed out for Tesco.
I had Easter baskets to make, fill and food to prepare for our invitations to Easter Sunday brunch and Easter Monday dinner.

But when I got to Tesco, this is what the produce section looked like. The dairy coolers were nearly in the same condition... NAKED! Bare naked like a hurricane warning siren had just alerted me that I wouldn't be eating for another month and so I should stock up! But everyone else beat me to the produce isle. So I had to settel for frozen produce... First time for everything. I am certain I will not forget this lesson next time I hear the words, "everything shuts down for 3 days..."!

I went to Real, another grocer in town, and found much more food stocking the shelves... and we partook. I also found basket goodies... Not cute baskets, just baskets, rubber flowers, bunnies galore, eggs o plenty, chocolate everywhere, and real feather covered styrophome chicks that were to die for! I invisioned a date with these Easter essentials and my glue gun. What else would you do with rubber flowers? I had been feeling badly that I didn't bring plastic eggs for my children and that they were not going to get their cute little baskets from home. Huge Easter egg hunt is my middle name... and it wasn't going to happen this year.
#1) No plastic eggs in Poland. Well, that isn't true... There are some in the store but they already have toys in them and they are American toys which means that each egg is 3zt.
#2) All the eggs here are Kinder eggs which are chocolate with toys in the middle but you wouldn't hide 500 Kinder eggs unless you had more money than sence, though I did pick up 32 of those Kinder eggs for our egg hunt at the Gladun's on Sunday.

Grandpa and Grandma Mecham sent a plastic egg full of jelly beans and dried fruit. We nearly wept at the sight of such a gift... the plastic eggs and jelly beans. We were beyond grateful for their kindness.

Saturday we colored eggs from an egg coloring kit that the South's gifted us last week while Mr. Mecham was in England. It was nice to have since I'm not quite certain what it was that I purchased in way of Easter egg dye at the store. The kids had a blast.

We opted to forego new Easter Sunday clothing this year, since we knew that the members in our branch would not be able to purchase new clothing. Sometimes it is so uncool to have new things when others around you are just trying to survive.

However, we pulled out some colorful clothes and ties and we fit in fine with the other springy Easter church going folks around here. I loved that Nate and the missionaries looked like Easter eggs with their ties! It was awesome!

After church we were invited to the Gladun's for Easter brunch. The Easter tradition in Poland is that the women go to 6:00 a.m. mass and they take with them their food in a basket. The priest blesses their food and then they go home to prepare the food. The men wake up and go to 8:00 church and then come home for an Easter brunch feast! The food is traditional; soups, meats and salads and cakes galore... It is a day reserved for family gathering and celebration (so you can imagine the honor of an invite to celebrate with another family)... then in the evening the family goes back to church together.

Beata cooked for days preparing for Easter brunch, which is traditionally eaten aroudn 11:00 a.m. But our church starts at 11. So we didn't eat until 3.

We were joined by Beata's nephew, Macek,

and the missionaries in Lublin, Elders Kennedy and Mikolyski.

Then we hunted the Kinder eggs in the frozen yard.
Nate had noticed that the tire was getting low when we pulled into the driveway of our dinner appointment. He checked it during the hunt to find it deflating quickly. Insert reminder... EVERYTHING IS CLOSED!

But Czarek had a friend whom he pulled a favor from. We pulled in to the tire change driveway and out came the old style jack, pumped up the car, changed the tire which had a nail in it, paid the 50zt... all the while Bailey is announcing that we shouldn't be doing this on Sunday. Which she is right, but we had a flat tire. And wouldn't you know it, when we started that car up to leave the gas line had been broken from that old style jack. We were leaking gasoline all over the driveway. It was happy. We hurried home anyway in hopes that miraculously the fuel line would scab over like road rash does. But it didn't.

Monday, today, I went outside and smelled a whiff of gasoline. It was as if I had it on my own clothing and I called for Mr. Mecham who confirmed that not only was that gasoline but that our fuel line did not scab over and that it had drained our full tank of fuel all over the ground. And so our Easter weekend almost comes to an end... Do not take your tire to be fixed by favors on Easter Sunday. The rav went to the repair yard via tow truck.

Meanwhile, Easter Monday is "wet day"! A national holiday dedicated to throwing water on single women. Leading up to the holiday there were more squirt guns in the stores than there were easter baskets. So you can imagine that water fight that took place in the yard. The kids were freezing... but it didn't stop them!

Jacek and Kuba Boguta

Bailey and Agata
We called a cab after that. The Boguta's invited us over for Monday Easter dinner. It is tradition to share a meal with friends on Monday. We ate much the same food. Then we ate pizza. Then we drank home made juice. Then we ate cake. Then we ate. Then we ate. Then we ate. Then Bailey made beads with Bailey. Then Kuba showed us the cosmos with his scope. Then we watched movies of Agata's trip to Russia. Then we stacked the dishes to the ceiling. Then we looked at Ewa's pictures to Kroasia (now on my bucket list). Then Andrzaj took us home because you remember that our car is in the fix shop with a gas leak.
Good weekend. Mr. Mecham got off work! The first Holiday he has been gifted to celebrate in Poland. Because nothing was open, he couldn't go to work. It has it's perks!

It is a month of birthdays for the Mechams...
Happy Birthday on the 8th to Mattie and Bracken.
Happy Birthday to Braige on the 9th.
These are a few of our favorites around here! We wished ourselves in Utah today... but it didn't happen!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Warsaw and Willinow Palace

On March 16 Bailey was invited to a slumber birthday party at the Armstrongs. Grace is the only person Bailey claims as a friend in Poland. The Armstrongs are more like friends we've known since pre-existance times... they felt like family from the second we met them. This being the case, we didn't feel like we could keep Bailey from such a celebration so we drove her to Warsaw.
Although Warsaw is one of the closer major cities to us in Poland, it isn't around the corner... So we planned a weekend out of it! While Bailey was slumbering at the birthday bash, we were at Europe's biggest mall. President Nielson calls it, "The great and Spacious". Indeed it is.

This mall is enormous! Every store you can think of...

But we weren't really there to shop. Mr. Mecham promised good food and a movie. We ate at the food court and watched "Mirror Mirror" which was the only movie not dubbed into Polish. We were loving it!

Movie got out late... And as we were leaving the parking garage we ran into Stalin's tower... all lit up and looking powerful... Just as Stalin wanted.

We really Hate driving in Warsaw. It is estimated to have the worst traffic in ALL of Europe! One day I drove around for 2 hours just trying to get 2 miles. It is so frusterating! But on that enchanted night... we found the roads pleasant! If you drive around Poland after 9:00 p.m. there aren't many cars on the road and it is not only easy to get around, but also you see things that typically you miss in the confustion of traffica. It WAS AWESOME!

The next Morning we picked up Bailey from the Armstrong's at 10:00 a.m. sharp. Andy Armstrong works for the United States embassey. He has a really cool job! Embassey housing is AWESOME! But most of all, it was really fun to see them again. Bailey had a blast, which we knew she would! With only 3 hours drive to home, we had the day to blow...
so we went to Willinow Palace in down town Warsaw. It was breath taking! Willinow wasn't bombed at the end of WWII... so it is in prestine condition!

The outside grounds had the royal stalls for the animals and a nice treasure wagon which they pulled...

The detail on the Palace was impeccable and most ornate. I have to admit, I was wooed, not only by the color choice (yellow is my favorite color) but also by the detail work in every nook and craney. No expenses spared.

When we started the tour we entered from the side and immediately went down lots of stairs... There we began with the Royal carriage of King John... and his wife had a separate carriage. Being Royal didn't always have it's perks or else the carriage would have been big enough for the kind and queen to shnuggle as they rode through the town!

While the boys found the gun room pretty fascinating,

I thought the dish hutch, which was really a room, was pretty darn fancey!

and we all loved the family photo gallary. The are is stunning!

Like I said earlier... While being born as a mortal royal definately had its perks, it wasn't always the most awesome: All the royals had their own bed chamber. Who would keep them warm at night? Who would they talk to while trying to sleep? Very sad indeed... I wonder if they thought so too?

In the princesses parlor hung the only picture I have seen with somebody smiling in it. I mean one. and. only! in all the art, in all the palaces, museums, etc... NOBODY smiles for pictures in these days, you know! And so I was drawn to that photograph. It made me believe that the Willinow princess was my favorite royal! Afterall, she liked smiling people!

Here is the baby sized room (Princess bed chamber). It was my favorite of all the bed chambers I have seen.

Here is the mommy sized room (queen bed chamber).

And this is the papa sized king bed chamber. The Royal bedding made with oriental silks and over priced fabrics. It was magnificant! The ceiling skipped right over crown molding and went to sculptures of unicorns, cherubs and 3D gardens where that ceiling and wall met. These royals knew how to build a royal bed chamber... I'll tell you what!

For whatever reason, I am always fascinated to see the royal bathing quarters. What isn't fun about that?! I don't know what they did in there other than bath, but there were lavish benches to lay on, velvet carpet rugs and chandeleirs.

I must admit though, my very favorite part was the outer gardens and the stair case leading down to the river front. I love gardens... and this one took it to a new level for me. Definately a Royal breath taker... I am taking notes for the eternitites...just in case!

It was a fun weekend. We came home tired which is always a good sign.

Happy Birthday today to my seester-in-law, Chrysteil, who happens to be my fav s-i-l on my side of the fam!

Tomorrow is Coley's birthday. In celebration of his 8 years in mortality we took another little trip... this time to Krakow. Oh wow! I will say this, FUNNEST 8th birthday I've ever been to. More on that later.