27 April 2009

Łazenki Park

This is some stuff I shot today while meeting a friend for ice cream and a walk through the park on a beautiful day.
They are actually backwards from the way I shot them, but I don't feel like re-arranging. 
Enjoy! :)

us :) in "that's not traffic" aka, it gets worse than this - a lot worse!
pretty duck! with a not so pretty duck and pigeon behind him. Someone said his name comes from mandarin. I guess because of the orange color.
their squirrels are red instead of grey. This one let me get about a foot away and just stared at me while he ate his bread. I love his fuzzy, pointy ears!
a bad attempt at a good idea. I liked how he matched the hole in the tree with his shape, but he wasn't being a very good model. Plus I probably needed my other lens.
the ice cream :) mint - yummy

17 April 2009


First off, I hope everyone had a very happy Easter! 
I am thankful that my God had a plan and has the power and authority to raise his Son, Christ from the grave so long ago, so that I might have the ability to live in Him. 
For me, this year was a time of reflection in a way. This was not my first Easter away from home, but it was my first Easter in another country. The traditions are different. They seem more aligned with what the holiday is all about, however it also seemed quite distant from the heart. 

Easter is one of the most celebrated holidays here. For some families, it is even more important than Christmas. During the weeks leading up to Easter, I found people participating in various ways. I had seen these things being sold in my bazaar and almost everywhere I looked for some time. I had no idea what it was until shortly before Palm Sunday rolled around. With the help of a friend, I learned they were palm branches. 
We left for church on Palm Sunday, and almost every Catholic church we passed had people flooding out the doors. They each had palm branches in their hands that they had either made themselves or bought. 

Palm branches were even being sold right outside the church that day. Some walked by as they already had a palm branch and others stopped to purchase one before entering the church doors. 

After a while, once the mass had started and the church was full, people stood outside and listened.

If only people gathered like that each week...where would our world be today? What would it look like if people gathered in groups all over the world to worship Christ, not just in buildings, but anywhere?

I saw children, each with their own branch standing outside the church. Some were playing and others stood and listened.

That morning as we drove to Otwock, I saw an old lady on her bike with the palm sticking out from one of her handle bars. Not long afterward, a family crossed the street, palms in hand. 

I found out later from talking with some people that in the villages, people will go into the forest and make palm branches from what they find. They make huge ones - some as tall as a person - and take it to the church. It's almost like a contest to see who brings the biggest and best palm that morning.

The traditions continue and the Saturday before Easter, people will take baskets of food to their church to be blessed by the priest. The baskets contain sausage, eggs, bread, and a "sugar lamb" made of cake, sugar or chocolate, among other items. After it is blessed with holy water by the priest, they take it home and will eat it the following day. 

On Easter in the States, I can remember going to our favorite Chinese restaurant because it was one of the only restaurants open. Here, not even a McDonalds was open on Easter Sunday. I think that as we drove around I saw 1 small food store open and maybe 2 street vendors. Aside from that, every major store, mall and restaurant were closed. Half were still closed on Monday. So, people took the opportunity to go to local parks and enjoy a beautiful day. 
I took the opportunity to enjoy the silence locked bazaar doors brings and catch a Sunday afternoon nap. :)

There is one thing I missed about being home for Easter, that I always miss when I am away. When I was a kid, my dad brought a dogwood flower to me Easter morning and put it in my hair. It's always been a sure sign of spring, and an early bloom. Each year following, another dogwood would be placed in the clip as I pulled my hair up for our Easter service. It would last long enough, until after I returned home. I found out they do have a type of dogwood here, but I haven't seen any of my most treasured blooms from home yet.

I hope to update soon about some exciting things coming in May.