On our trip, our group of 8: Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle Stash, Aunt Lorraine, Uncle Ray, Katie, Mom, and myself, are called the “Ciemniecki Clan.” We also found out that in Polish, Ciemniecki is pronounced Chim-nyet-ski.

One of the biggest mysteries to all of the other people on our tour is how we are all related. Just in case you’re confused too, let me clear it up for you.

Uncle Ray and my mom are Grandma and Grandpa’s kids and I’d hope you already know that Katie is Uncle Ray’s daughter and my cousin.

Uncle Stash is Grandpa’s younger brother by 10 years and Aunt Lorraine is his wife.

However, because Uncle Stash is so much younger than Grandpa (and looks much younger as well), many people think Grandpa is Uncle Stash’s dad! It also doesn’t help that when explaining our family dynamics, Uncle Stash finds joy in telling people he’s Grandpa’s son.

Since they all think Uncle Stash is Grandpa’s son, they also think he and Uncle Ray are brothers. Another very common misconception on the trip is that Katie and I are sisters instead of cousins. Which in turn, means people also think that Mom and Uncle Ray are married instead of being siblings.

Everyone is so confused and turned around by our family so we just go with the flow.

For some people in the group that we talk to more often, we’ve explained all of the relationships in our family. For others, we just let them think what they will.

Generally if someone asks me about my “sister,” I just go with it because if you correct them on one thing then they’re going to want to know everything else and really, who has time for that?

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