This Easter was our first real holiday without our family...the first of many. Life in a foreign country is different everyday. We do things differently. We speak different languages and communication is so unbelievably difficult. Transportation is different. We use public transportation pretty much everyday. There are virtually no SUVs and people park where they can find a spot...sidewalks, half on the curbs, in a parking space (or 2). Kids go on field trips so often...and sometimes we find out after Macie is home from school. The girls are still expected to wear long sleeves and/or jackets and tights with dresses...although it is in the 60s and even 70 sometimes. No one really wears hoodies and NO sags!!!
So of course holidays will be different. Our first "holiday" that we also celebrate was Valentine's Day. There were signs and advertisements for the day but not a lot of celebration. Then we had St. Patrick's Day. You can go all day wearing no green and you won't get pinched. The April Fool's Day came. Ella LOVES to do jokes for this day and a few more days beyond, often becoming obnoxious! So as she left for school I warned her not to tell jokes just in case. A few hours later I found out our teacher's wife had told their daughter that she had to dye her bunny's hair a different color so she needed to go to the pet shop and check with the clerk about it. Haha! They celebrate April Fool's Day.
Now we have arrived at Easter. It is a very different celebration here in a strong Catholic country. They practice Lent for the 40 days before Easter. As a result the girls are NOT allowed to have candy or sweets at school during this time. Instead of Fat Tuesday, we celebrate Pączek Czwartek...Donut Thursday. The whole country eats donuts. They do not have holes like ours. They are jelly filled with rose flavored jam. Odd! But they were decent. Palm Sunday is really big. Outside of all the churches are mounds of palm branches. Good Friday is a solemn day but the country continues as normal. Saturday many stores are closed and the rest close early...grocery stores, restaurants, everything!!! And they all remain closed until Tuesday after Easter. Easter Sunday is somber as well. But eggs are big here...not as much the Easter Bunny but people eat hard boiled eggs. Then on Monday they celebrate Smyngus Dyngus. I am not really sure the background of this but it is where boys run around throwing water on girls. Again, not sure why but it is big here. It was literally a Wet Monday this year because it was raining. Living on the fifth floor and having no hose took away from us participating this year. We will see what happens next year.
On Good Friday we were invited to our language teacher's home with a couple other families. There were 8 adults, 3 teenagers, and 6 children. We had a great time. We ate A LOT!!! The kids did a fun activity with resurrection eggs. The kids had a great time. They then went and played the grown ups had a time of prayer and Bible study. It was so nice. We had some Polish and some English mixed together.
So all of the Baptist churches had one meeting on Easter Sunday at FBC in Krakow. I had been told by other teammates that the service was a bit "high church" and would last 2 hours or more. I sat on this information for a while because I didn't want this to sway our decision to go. I didn't know what to do. When James found out we talked about it and decided that maybe this year our kids were not quite ready to sit through Polish church for that long. So we decided that we would stay at home and do our own thing as a family. James had found a cute video of the Easter story told by a little child. This was our plan. Sunday morning though we were invited to come celebrate with 2 other families on our team. It was perfect. We had lunch and just played. The kids all got along so well and that makes so much difference. It helped take my thoughts away from missing home and the normal traditions we would have. It was perfect!
Here are a few pictures of the kids looking for the resurrection egg hunt...without eggs. Haha! Sorry about the quality. I used my phone and they were fast moving kids!