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Hospitality

Palace Ostromecko

Isn't the view of Palace Ostromecko beautiful?

Few weeks ago my husband and I had to attend a social for his work.  Let me tell you it was rough having to put on a nice dress, do my hair, eat someone else’s cooking and finally meeting a few of my  husband’s work buddies.  But the best part was where this social was held at.  It was held in one of the oldest buildings in this area, Palace Ostrecko, which is just outside of Bydgoszcz about 3 kilometers.

This is my first palace in Poland that I have been to and it did not disappoint me!  As you can see by the pictures below that place is AMAZING!  We were told by several people that we needed to go there and now I can see why.

The palace was built in 1832-1848.  Over the years many rooms where added to it by different owners.  There are actually 2 palaces on this location along with a magnificent park with lots of greenery.  Throughout time Polish freedom fighters, Napoleon’s Army and the Prussion Army have all used the main palace at one time or another.  Today it is owned by the city of Bydgoszcz.  During the spring and summer is hosts music concerts, open-air events, exhibitions and many other activities.  The palace also has a restaurant and 22 hotel rooms.

I can’t wait until the weather gets better so we can what it looks like when everything is green!

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Categories: Bydgoszcz, Food, Hospitality, Outdoor Fun, Poland, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Do you have your flowers and chocolate ready?

It’s Miedzynarodowy Dzien Kobiet

Attention men: Do you have your chocolate and/or flowers ready for all the women in your life today?  Why? Because today, March 8th, the women receive flowers and gifts from their loved ones.  In Poland the International Women’s Day was an official holiday, but was a working day. After the fall of communism, it has been abolished as an official holiday in 1993 by the government led by a woman – Hanna Suchocka, crazy huh?

However, it is still observed in Poland and men and boys buy flowers to their wives, lovers, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, teachers and even women colleagues at work.

So how is this different than Valentine’s Day’s,  It is celebrated on March the 8th of each year. Women’s Day is the old Polish version of the Valentine’s Day with the one difference that all women are on the receiving side while all men are on the giving side. While the Valentine’s Day is more privately celebrated between the lovers, the Women’s Day is celebrated more as a national holiday for all women, whether they are 8, or 80 years old.

So what kind of flowers and/or chocolates do you hope to get?

For me tulips and any polish chocolate will do! (hint, hint Jim!)

Categories: Family, Holidays, Hospitality, Poland | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Well today is the day!

Jim and I.

22 years ago my husband decided to enlist in the United States Air Force.  But luckily at his very first military assignment to Minot, North Dakota, he met me and swept me off of my feet and we fell madly in love.  Well over the last 20 years that we have been married the  Air Force has been really good to us by sending us to Germany, Panama, The Netherlands, Florida, Illionis, and Nebraska.  But unfortunately every chapter must come to an end and as of today, this chapter of our lives is done.  My husband is offically retired from the United State Air Force after 22 years of service, on March 1st, 2012.  Most people when they retire from the military do a retirement ceremony.  We did one for Jim in November right before left to move here to Poland to start our next chapter of our lives.  So for all of those friends and family that are reading this, “THANK YOU,” for making the 22 years of Jim’s career a GREAT one!  And to my husband when he reads this, “I am so proud of you for the last 22 years of service that you did in the Air Force and I love you!”

 Here are few of the pictures of the day out of the 250 that were taken.

So what is one of the proudest moments you have of your spouse or loved one?

Categories: Family, Food, Holidays, Hospitality, Military, Uncategorized | 154 Comments

Valentine’s Party Time!

I know Valentines was almost a week ago but on Saturday at our church we had a Valentine’s Party for the adults.  It was small but the nice thing about small parties you really get to have great conversations.   BUT the bad thing about small parties is there is LOTS of food leftover.  Needless to say, my American cupcakes were a hit with the Polish but then all the food was a hit because they were not used to American cooking.  I cooked ham in my crock-pots with a bit of apple juice (which is not eaten over here very often) and another American who is serving a mission for our church here cooked funeral potato’s and corn. Then we played picture Valentine Bingo so there wouldn’t be a language barrier (remember we don’t speak any real Polish yet!), made love coupons, and then played the Newlywed game. If you have never seen the TV version (70’s & early 80’s) of this game you need to Youtube is it is hilarious to watch and even better to play with friends.  Yes I got the question wrong of what my husband’s favorite food was.  I said pierogi’s when I should have said cheesecake (which is the first word he learned in Polish).   But I did know where his dream vacation would be….Australia!   It was a great night to send it with our new Polish family that has so graciously welcomed us with open arms to make us feel at home.

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The next party I need to plan for church is the Easter party.   So what American traditions should I bring to it?

Categories: Church, Food, Holidays, Hospitality | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

I think I gained 5 pounds!

One of the things that has made the transition to Poland an easy easier move is our wonderful church.  As many of you are aware a great church family no matter where you move to can either make you or break you.  Well yesterday we went and spent half a day with one of ours.  They live about and hour and 15 minutes from us in a neat town called Torun.  The great thing about Artur and Kornelia is they are truly dedicated members of our because every Sunday they drive that same distance to come to church.

 

 

 

First polish housing is a bit different the American.  In big cities they tend to look like this.  I guess during the communism days these buildings were all gray with no color.  Can you image?

 

 

 

 

 

Then we were off to climb five stories of staircases.  All I can say this  would be my daily work out if this was our house. Then we finally got to their apartment, all chaos broke loose!  So what if between the 7 kids they don’t speak the same language, a toy is a toy, that and sign language works too!

 

 

 

 

 

Before long it was time to eat.  So I was thinking this simple little meal.  Boy was I wrong!!! Kornelia and Artur made this 5 course meal of traditional Polish food.  First up…..

Soup.  She had made both tomato and cabbage.  In Polish they are called Pomidorowa and Kapusniak.  All I can say, if this was just the first course we were in for trouble because this was AMAZING!!! As you can see Ella enjoyed every bite. Then it was on to the second course….. This was Mieso Wiepporzowe Schab. In english this was a pork loin rolled and stuffed with kielbaska and cucumber with gravy. She also made mashed potato’s and served beet pickle relish.   I think after eating this course Jim and I were ready for a nap.  But NO!  it was time for the next round of food…. Birthday cake!  Their littlest one turned 3 years old.  And yes, Kornelia made the cake too! Just when you think you should have worn your jogging pants instead of your jeans, out comes more food!  This time it was polish peach cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies.   Sorry I didn’t get a picture of these because I was in calorie overload by then. So right when I thought is was going to be time to go, out comes MORE food. This time I made sure I had room, because it was the famous Polish sausages!

We had a great time with Artur and Kornelia. So needless to say we are already working on dates when we can teach other how to cook our foods.  She wants me to teach her to cook chocolate cake, brownies and anything else American.

So what do you think I should teach her?

Categories: Food, Hospitality, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

European Hospitality

The other day I hosted a monthly board meeting for an international spouses club that I am the Chairperson for in Bydgoszcz. Yes, I know I have only lived here 9 weeks but if you know me, I LOVE to be involved in the community and elections were held at the 2nd meeting that I attended and a few ladies said I would make a great Chair (and I fell hook line and sinker for it!)

Being involved in groups like this helps make living in a foreign country that much better because…

  • A great way to make new friends
  • I get to learn about other nationalities
  • Charity work is usually a key element in clubs
  • A wonderful social outlet

The one thing that I find interesting in this group versus the other spouses club’s that I have been active in that were typically made up of American spouses is their hospitality.  I have hosted other meetings at our house before but never was given gifts like this just for having a bunch of women over.

 I got lots of different types of chocolate for 3 different countries, Czech cookies, a Czech cookbook(and it’s in English!), tea, and fruit.  So there is defiantly a difference in European hospitality and American hospitality.  So I guess I need to put on my thinking cap and figure out what unique American thing I can use as my hostess gift!  Ideas anyone?

Categories: Hospitality | 4 Comments

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