Family ties remind us who we are and where come from, even if that somewhere is a long way from home. One thing we learned from a recent visit to the Czech Republic is that family, and love, knows no boundaries. Although my wife and I were unsure about how much of a barrier communicating [...]

Family ties remind us who we are and where come from, even if that somewhere is a long way from home. One thing we learned from a recent visit to the Czech Republic is that family, and love, knows no boundaries.
Although my wife and I were unsure about how much of a barrier communicating between English and Czech-speaking sides of the family would be, we were welcomed with open arms in the three villages where we visited the various branches of the Vondracek family.
The one common theme in all of our visits was food.
Shortly after we walked through the door of my cousins' home in Netreby, we were served a delicious, traditional Czech dinner.
The next day, we traveled to meet the Vondracek (my mother's maiden name) branch of the family. Here we experienced a traditional Czech family gathering, with its vast array of seemingly never ending food. The Vondracek family in Dzbanov appeared to have spent hours and hours preparing appetizers, cakes, a main course, and desserts, prior to our arrival. At one point our newfound friend and translator, Misa, commented not long before the arrival of yet one more course, 'I hope they do not bring anymore.'
Misa explained to us how a meal like this was typical for family gatherings in the Czech Republic. We understood, of course, that to be polite we were expected to eat at least some of the food being served. Typically, she said everyone present reaches a point of being uncomfortably full.
We all had a small bit of laughter as more food arrived while Misa explained this to us.
Misa also mentioned that when she told her grandmother that she would be bringing the visiting Americans over to meet her, her grandmother's response was, 'What will I feed them?'
Needless to say, we did not go hungry in the Czech Republic, especially during those memorable days spent with our long lost family members. Yes, we felt very welcomed in the hospitality shown us by family and friends.