As I sit beside the window in my dormitory at the military academy, staring out at the breathtaking view of the Czech Republic country side, I am overcome with a feeling of home.  Despite the miles and miles of land and ocean standing between Ohio and myself, there is familiarity and comfort.

I could not help but think that in a way, this could be home.  For the first time in a little over a century, someone of the Petrov family has come back to Eastern Europe.

In 1901, John Petrov immigrated to America from Petrova in Slovakia, with his future wife, Anna Perko, trailing him and making it to America in 1902. They would meet in a Slovak community in America in the years to come and have 3 sons, and a daughter. That daughter was Ann Petrov, my beloved Grandmother, or as I affectionately call her, Grammy.

Ann Petrov shared her family's love of the Christmas holiday and made sure to pass it on to her children and grandchildren. (Photo by Carla Kovacs)

Ann Petrov shared her family’s love of the Christmas holiday and made sure to pass it on to her children and grandchildren. (Photo by Carla Kovacs)

I had heard so much about my great Grandparents and I feel like the culture was passed down through my family.  We hang an ornament on our tree with “Veselé Vianoce” (Merry Christmas) written across it next to our handmade Slovak ornaments.  From making goulash, to using the term “dupa” instead of butt, we have those little bits and pieces of Anna and John’s culture in us.

An ornament that hangs on the Kovacs family tree every year to celebrate the Slovak heritage in the family. (Photo by Bronner's Christmas Wonderland)

An ornament that hangs on the Kovacs family tree every year to celebrate the Slovak heritage in the family. (Photo by Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland)

I stand at that window sill, I look over the land and get goose bumps just thinking about how I am a mere 4-5 hour drive from where my family came from.  I probably have distant relatives there, and maybe some of them even share a resemblance to my family members.

I am so unbelievably lucky for this opportunity to come so close to where my lineage started from.  I take deep breaths of the fresh air as I watch the storm from the west roll in.  Maybe I am not homesick because, in a way, I am close to home.

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