To the left of Carrie in this picture, you will see Viktorija and Polonca.
Viktorija is pronounced Vic tore ee yuh – like Americans say Victoria.
She is Slovenian.
Viktorija and I share the same great-great-grandfather (That’s two greats).
Grandma went to Slovenia more than 20 years ago with my Aunt Kerry.
Speaking no Slovenian, in pre-Internet era, they managed to track down some of the relatives who had continued living in Slovenia.
Grandma’s parents (my great grandparents) had come to the US, but both died when Grandma was young.
I don’t know how Kerry and Grandma did all that tracking down and communicating without email.
I assume they showed up in the town and asked around a lot.
A few weeks ago, I asked my grandma for the address of her known relatives in Slovenia.
Grandma emailed me the address of Martina.
Grandma didn’t actually meet Martina when she was in Slovenia, but I assume that somehow Pepca (one of Grandma’s cousins) introduced Grandma to Martina in letters.
(I’ll ask Grandma to clarify it at some point.)
Martina is the daughter of Pepca. Pepca has now passed on, but had 12 children. (10 of them are still living.)
I sent Martina a letter, and got a response from Viktorija (Martina’s daughter) via email, in English.
Martina had given my letter to Viktorija, since Martina doesn’t speak English.
Viktorija arranged everything for us in Slovenia, which included staying the night at Martina’s small winery, overlooking the town of Kostanjevica, Slovenia.
Staying at a winery is something Carrie and I have wanted to do a long time (since learning about the idea in Mendoza, Argentina in 2008.)
Viktorija definitely helped us make the most of our time by scheduling us to meet with lots of the family of Pepca.
In addition to meeting quite a few of the descendants of Pepca, we also met Albina (another of Grandma’s cousins), and a few of her descendants, including two great-grandchildren.
I will talk more about the beauty of Slovenia in a different post, but it was amazing.
Our time in Slovenia was made even more amazing by the depth of the care and hospitality we were shown by everyone.
I’m just disappointed our time was so short (this time), but it’s amazing to have made this connection.
We will definitely be back to spend more time with distant cousins (who are suddenly not so distant) in Slovenia.