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Poland 2006 - Weddings and Mountain climbing with the Polski's

Wedding in Zakopane |


This needed its own section I felt since I seem to have written a lot for the first half of the day. We arrived at the hotel where Ana, her sister (3rd bride’s maid) and brother’s girl friend were helping Ana get ready. I obviously left them to it so carrying the wedding gift (heavy cherub statue) and looking after Karsha’s brother Matoosh who didn’t really want to leave Kasha’s side. He couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand him so it was a bit of a stalemate. That and I didn’t actually know where we were meant to be. I didn’t know if the wedding was in the hotel or what and in the excitement the girls hadn’t told me. So took my cherub and went down stairs to the foyer. Matoosh decided he wanted to hang with the girls so I let him.

There seemed to be a very long delay. I thought something had gone wrong with the girl’s side f things as the tradition at home is that the bride meets the groom at the wedding. Apparently in Poland the tradition is for the groom to collect the bride from the parents place (in this case hotel as they lived out of Zakopane) and take them to the church. Bradley was about an hour late because for the earlier bridge collapse. So for once it wasn’t the groom waiting on the bride =).

I was charged with looking after Matoosh during the service as obviously he could be up the front where I think he would have preferred to have been. The church isle wasn’t long, maybe 15m, but the second terrace gave the church enough capacity for the family and friends. The wedding march was the fastest I’ve seen and it wasn’t just the length of the isle. I think the girls and groomsmen just wanted to get to the front. Bradley and Ana were the same but similar to the Carnegie/Goodison wedding the organ player played on. Not nearly as long and this one was in tune =).

The service was a long one due to the fact that the whole lot was done in English and repeated in Polish. Depending on what language was in use differing sides of the wedding congregation paid attention. It was amusing to watch. It seems it takes twice as long to say things in polish as it do in English. (Dad and Cam can you imagine the implications if mum spoke is Polish? =)).

The American’s were 7 days Adventists, from Tennessee of all places. They’d brought their own minister with them as he was also a family friend. He conducted the main service with the charisma and energy you’d expect from an American minister. The polish translator was a little more reserve and even the girls commented afterward they weren’t that impressed.

I was sitting opposite the camera man filming the wedding and his spot light was shining directly at me so I didn’t get that many good photos in the actual church but you get the idea from the random collection of photos. Having the camera man there meant I had to stay focused and look interested that didn’t stop Matoosh however and he nodded off. Don’t blame him we’d already had a long day with the trip down. Aga and Karsha both admitted to me that they had to stop from yarning as they would have been caught on camera and it just wasn’t a good look.

The service concluded and the wedding party left the church as usual. Now most people know you don’t leave the church until the ushers invite you to. However Matoosh having seen his sister leave was anxious to follow. He was indicating me to come to but I was trying to explain we needed to stay where we were. He wasn’t having a bar of it and ran off down the aisle. About 30 seconds latter, and obviously after Kasha had told him off, he came running back in, fell over in the middle of the isle and returned to his seat looking very sorry for himself. Wasn’t much I could say to him to make him feel better sadly. I think his pride (and him bum) was hurt.

I found out after the service that Aga’s dress strap had broken when she exited the car. The head scarf they were wearing was worn around the shoulders to hide the wardrobe malfunction. I think the American were surprised when this polish looking lad asked in a Kiwi accent for a safety pin. Sadly on one had one on them only back in their room.. It came with the sly line ‘but I wouldn’t get you back there.. .’

After quick family photos we all heading off to the reception on the bus. The driver had the England Portugal semi final playing but it was in Polish and the reception was poor. I spent the bus ride back talking to one of Bradley’s friends from Italy; she’d been in London for about 6 years, and a guy from Brussels and another from the Netherlands. Oh and still nursing that damn cherub =P.

Because the bus couldn’t get up the drive way the guest had to walk the last bit in the rain. I was glad I had a suit on at this point. It wasn’t hard rain but enough to cause the ladies discomfort.

The reception venue was literally just up the road from where we were staying so I took the time to memorise my way home. As soon as I got through the door I found a table for the cherub and a glass of bubbles. The next step was to talk to the wait staff and get a safety pin. Easier said than done as of course they spoke no English but with smiles, hand gestures, my little bits of Polish and some demonstration as to what had happened I managed to get what I needed. In fact I was so good I got given a needle and thread in both white and green just in case it was the brides dress =).

Ana and Bradley arrived to the band playing, the fiddler was.. playing and people throwing salt. (apparently the tradition). There were a few words, and then they smashed their Champaign glasses (again apparently tradition). After that we all lined up to present our gifts to the Bride and Groom. I finally got to meet the lucky couple and hand over the Cherub =P.

I took a seat close to the American as I didn’t feel like sitting by myself at a fully Polish table. The auntie I was sitting beside was apparently typical American if you know what I mean… She was also full vegan which isn’t so good considering the type of food in Poland. She was trying to tell the serving girls that she couldn’t eat this and that. Trying to work out what it had in it etc. Apparently she couldn’t even eat refined sugar.

I felt sorry for the girls as they had no idea what she was talking about and it was almost as if she expected them to understand her. Apparently her menu had been organised before hand but they hadn’t been told who it was for. I guess just one of those finer details that can get missed on the day. By the time the special menu had come out to her she’d devoured several plates of the first dish (cabbage, cucumber and beetroot) and proclaimed to the table ‘I’m full Yo’all’ classic hay seed America =).

I found it difficult to get a conversation going with her she asked me what I did in London and when I said IT I found out that she didn’t believe in computers and TV etc. It didn’t stop her using one for work but that’s another story apparently. Let’s just say she believed in her religion and leave it at that. I could write a book on it.

The other Americans were really nice and it was good to be able to speak English and be understood without all the associated hand gestures and the blank looks…well that’s not true I still got some blank looks =). They loved Lord of the Rings and kept talking about how they would love to go see NZ because of it. I guess that’s something.

The priest was really nice as was his wife. She was impressed that I’d managed to get a needle and thread for Aga and kept commenting to me how beautiful Aga looked. Since I didn’t really know anyone there I decided I would tell her we were just friend and had only met a few months before.

There was a flurry of excitement which I found out was because the weather clearing, unveiling and the surrounding mountains from the clouds. It was my first sight of the mountain and I wasn’t really prepared how close and majestic they were. I tried to get some photos but they just didn’t so it justice. There were some more family and friends photos taken then we all piled back inside for the remainder of the meal

After the eating, all 6 courses, the dancing started. Bradley and Ana lead off, with the family and friends joining later. The music was traditional for the most part with the band decked out in traditional outfits with wool leggings and waist coats and hats. During the breaks they played the standard American tunes that we all know from various parties. Made me feel like I was back home.

I gave my camera to Matoosh to keep him occupied. He came back in about 5 minute with the battery flat. The flash does that to my little camera. He got some really good random shots and also cut a few heads off, needless to day I deleted most of those =).

I didn’t actually take much part in the dancing, which is unlike me. But when there was people to meet from all over the world, beer to drink and vodka to be shared I decoded I could dance any time. I meet people form America, Brussels, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and of course Poland. It was a great mix of people.

The American left fairly early as they were dead tired from their 4 days travel from the states. They had the worst luck with connection flights getting over there. They also didn’t drink and by this stage the Piwo (peevo aka beer) and vodka was flowing freely.

Vodka is drunk straight, by the shot. But even the Polish pour themselves a chaser to follow. This is usually non alcoholic as the beer is around 6 or 7%. I was wondering why I was getting some odd looks from my fellow Polish drinkers. Aga explained for me, no point getting too plastered =)

The drinking, the dancing and of course the smoking carried on till about 01:00 when it was time to throw the bouquet. Now this done a little differently than home. They had all the single woman form a circle, holding hands, around Ana who was sitting blind folded, in the middle. The music played and the girls dance around Ana, when the music stopped she threw the bouquet. The spin comes in that the single males did the same but obviously Bradley threw his tie. Whoever caught this (no it wasn’t me) then had to dance with the bearer of the bouquet for what I thought was a long time and I’m sure for the strangers in the middle it seemed twice as long =)

The night ended with me walking a rather drunk Aga home. I was amusing when she was adamant we were going down the wrong driveway so head further along. After about 5 minutes she decided she didn’t know and prepared to let me show her the way back to the original drive. We’d gone almost half way down avoids the massive puddles in the dark before she admitted I was right. Girls just don’t change really =P. We all got home save and dry =).

Locations Visited: Zakopane

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