Upper Silesia

What is “Oberschlesien”, why I call it home and why my Parents hate my guts at four o’clock in the morning.

It is 4 AM. I wanted to start this post by saying that I’m sipping my coffee and enjoy the bird’s morning concert out my Parents house window. Instead, I’m sipping my coffee and listen to my parents going back to bed after I offered them a rude awakening. Going down the stairs I forgot about the security system installed in the house. Normally, at night the upper two levels of the townhouse are defined as a safe zone, free for everyone to roam around, while the lower two are guarded by movement sensors and therefore off-limits, unless deactivating the security system. It’s been two years since my last stay at the house and frankly speaking, I forgot all about it. The kitchen is downstairs, and trying to get there I didn’t switch the damn alarm off. The sound of a siren was loud and it waked up everyone in the house. Well, except my Father, who needed to turn it off. I could tell he wasn’t happy, when he finally got out of bed. He had to call the security company and explain the situation, so that they don’t expedite a commando to the rescue…

We arrived yesterday. The trip was good, excellent in fact. Flight from Rochester was one hour delayed – no surprise. The one from Newark arrived in Munich 20 minutes early and to my delight, there’s been no queues to the immigration booths, no security checks, no customs. The gate for our connecting flight was on the other side of the terminal, but after a brisk walk we arrived there in time to have a cup of a good European coffee before boarding the last leg of our trip. My Father picked us up at the airport.

Even though I grew up around here, I couldn’t recognize the surroundings. There’s a lot of new developments going on, especially roads. The predominantly industrial identity of the region is nowhere to be found. The coal piles, the shafts, the smokestacks – they’re all gone. The region is promoting it’s tourist attractions instead – old castles, mountains, natural resources. I never thought about Upper Silesia in those categories before, but it is a very diversified region.  Rich and complex  history, multicultural influences  over centuries slowly shaped it’s today’s unique identity. Before the second World War as an autonomous region, with it’s own treasury and parliament, it’s certainly still capable of managing it’s destiny today.

In the afternoon we took a walk to my in laws apartment, which is within half an hour from where my folks live. I didn’t take a camera with me, but this part of town isn’t the nicest anyway. It’s the type of neighborhood we will try to avoid in our travels. The houses are old, the streets narrow and dirty. Plenty of filthy joints selling cheap beer, some passing doorways smelling like urine. It would definitely not be a good idea to walk around here after dark. The “hood” always been like that,  it always will be.

There are things that change rapidly in my hometown,  others seem to be stuck in the past for eternity. It’s now 5 AM in Chorzów. I sip my coffee and listen to the sounds of my Parents trying to go back to sleep. It’s hot and I wanted to go outside and enjoy the morning breeze, but I’m not going to risk that the security system is not fully deactivated.

I’m back home and it is my birthday today…

14 thoughts on “Upper Silesia”

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY  Robert.  Glad you all made it home safely; and that everyone is sleeping well…lol. 😉   

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