Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Father-in-law

I am happy to report that I spent last week in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas getting to know my Father-in-law, Roman Sobczak (photographed above with my Mom). The week was culminated by a belated wedding reception for my wife, Yvonne, and I (we were married here in New York last year). Sadly, Yvonne's mother, Genowefa, passed away January 16 of this year as plans for the reception were just getting underway. Yvonne's father and her sister, Joanna, both live in Warsaw, Poland. I had met Joanna last fall when she visited us in New York. So hopefully she put in a good word for me to her father in advance of his trip to Kansas. While Roman speaks extremely little English, I must say his English is much better than my Polish. But communication with him was very enjoyable. More on that in a bit.

Their flights were in three segments: Warsaw to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Denver, and Denver to Wichita. Door to door their trip took nearly 24 hours. I was expecting them to be pretty tired when they arrived in Wichita, but they both seemed pretty upbeat and chatty. That first night, Monday the 24th, we pretty much just got them settled in at their hotel. The next day we took it easy, mainly just checking out Wichita and having dinner with my brother and his family. On Wednesday we drove up to Kansas City, where we spent several hours piddling around. I've been to KC many times, but never to Union Station. I heard it was pretty touristy, but I'm glad we went because they had a "Segway Experience" booth where you could rent a Segway ten minutes for five bucks. At right is a picture of me that Yvonne took. Before my Segway experience I was tired and I could have sworn I was coming down with a cold. Afterwards I felt pure exhilaration, it was awesome. I would say it was hands down the best money I spent all day (although the $7 open-faced pulled pork sandwich I ate at Arthur Bryant's was also phenomenal). After a quick pint at an Irish pub at The Plaza it was back through the Flint Hils into Wichita. Thursday and Friday were both pretty relaxed (bingo, bowling, etc.) and Saturday the 29th was our reception, which was lovely. Sunday was a chillout day for everyone, and on Monday we all left town.

As for the Polish/English dilemma, actually it wasn't a dilemma at all. Of course Yvonne did a ton of translating. But there were times when it was just Roman and I by ourselves. We had our own system of communicating. We would hammer through our gestures and there really wasn't a single time that I couldn't at least figure out what he was talking about. Obviously there are many words that sound like they're English ("dokument" "fotografia" "rekord" "telefon"). Whenever I heard one of these words I would repeat it back to him and he would sort of rephrase what he was saying and I'd eventually figure it out. I like that he would still talk to me, directly, even though I don't speak Polish. My favorite language moment was when we were in our backyard just sort of wandering around and he noticed this big black cast-iron kettle my parents have, it's almost like a planter. It was overturned so that three little legs on the bottom were sticking up. And he was talking about it, pointing at the legs, going on and on about something. Eventually he made a gesture where he slammed his hand into his fist and said "Boom!" I immediately got what he was referring to, one of those floating underwater mines. I immedately said "Ahh! Woda" (Polish word for water) and he seemed glad that I understood him. Anything pertaining to gears or machinery really caught his attention. I liked that. On the last night in Wichita he gave me his pocket utility tool that he brought with him (it's called a "Leatherman" here). Sadly, it was confiscated from my checked luggage by TSA.

Eventually we'll get to Poland, hopefully later this year, and maybe we'll have a reception for all of Yvonne's friends and family there. I'll have to get cracking on my Polish skills. Below is a picture of the "groom's cake," which my mom had the idea of fashioning after a camera. Naturally it would have to be a Leica M6. The cake was made my Cheri and Dave Kovacic. The photos from our actual wedding, seen here printed on edible icing cards, were taken by Aris Economopoulos.

3 Comments:

Blogger ptpix said...

Lovely post. I'm glad you had a nice reception. Please send my best to Yvonne. miss you guys.

pt

April 3, 2008 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Skippy Sanchez said...

Cary- Sorry I missed seeing you last week. Love your work; thanks for the comment.
-Skippy

April 4, 2008 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger Ikasob said...

I did not have to put any good words before my dad had met you. He knows you are good guy (or else I would have not married you ;-)) And he was not disappointed - he's got a son now, as was his dream all his life.
Thanks for a touching post, my eyes got watery.
Yvonne

April 4, 2008 at 6:34 PM  

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