Dr. Irena Eris

Posted on 22. Mar, 2012 by in Cosmetics, Health, Investments, Medicine, Nature, Science

Does the name sound familiar? When it comes to cosmetics (kosmetyki), Dr. Irena Eris knows how to make people look and feel beautiful. A driving force in the Polish beauty business – with numerous high-tech factories, an arsenal of top-quality skin- and personal care products (produkty do pielęgnacji ciała) and a fast-growing network of spa centers and resorts, her eponymous company has proven that success is little more than skin deep.

Beauty is a serious business, one that needs to be handled in a forward-thinking fashion, with sensitive care and the wisdom of long-range experience. No one understands that better then Dr. Irena Eris, Poland’s grand dame of the beauty industry. Having built up an enviable and prestigious cosmetics enterprise (przedsiębiorstwo kosmetyki) around the cult of cosmetic innovation and premium quality beauty products and services, her 25-year-old brand has become a household name in Poland and just about everywhere else in Europe.

The company’s grand future commenced from very humble beginnings in the 1980s, from a makeshift laboratory set up by Dr. Irena Eris and Henryk Orfinger, a spirited husband-and-wife team. Eris was studying at the Medical Academy of Warsaw when she met Orfinger, a graduate of the Department of Transport at the Warsaw University of Technology. They shared the same vision of building a nimble and smart company (zwinna i sprytna firma) that would design cosmetics and hygiene products based on comprehensive research and the best possible ingredients. That vision was turned into reality in 1983, at the height of Socialist power in Poland, when they kick-started the business in a small one-room workshop in Warsaw. At first, the dynamic duo employed one single worker and produced one type of cream at the plant and the monthly output of 3000 cream containers where distributed personally to each buyer by the family car. Acquiring satisfactory materials from foreign producers was painstakingly long and difficult under the strict Communist control, especially given the massive amounts of compulsory paperwork and the limitations of transport and communication, but their motivation and drive to develop their brand inevitably yielded positive results.
Women now in Poland are highly active and well-educated professionally, and there’s a growing number of us vigorously seeking new business opportunities and taking leadership positions in companies. Dr. Eris knows how to seize whatever opportunity arises. Now in her fifties, Eris effortlessly exudes a blend of charm and confidence that undoubtedly played a part in turning her eponymous empire into an exemplary picture of success, harmony and wellness.
Determination (determinacja), passion (pasja) and desire to pursue your own dreams (chęć do realizacji własnych marzeń) is absolutely essential in business, and if you are strong, revered and respectful to the people around you, success will be at your fingertips!

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

Relaxing day in Zakopane

Posted on 20. Mar, 2012 by in Geography, Nature, Places to visit, Transport, travel, Vacation

Are you thinking of a relaxing afternoon? A cold beer in one hand and a beautiful mountain panorama before you. I have an idea – the most beautiful panorama in the Polish and Slovak Tatra Mountains, an unforgettable view of Giewont and the Zakopane valley, traditional inns, restaurants, ‘highland electric tea’ and mulled wine…

Giewont – Probably the best known mountain peak in Poland (6263 ft). Its shape resembles that of a sleeping knight, who awaits a sign to rise in order to defend his homeland (according to the legend). Giewont is located between Dolina Strążyska valley, Dolina Białego valley, Dolina Kondratowa valley and Dolina Małej Łąki valley. Contrary to its seemingly timid appearance, Giewont is regarded as one of the most dangerous peaks in the Tatra Mountains. It is topped by a 39-metre high iron cross which attracts lightning. It is also known for the wonderful view from the top, which includes the Western Tatra and High Tatra Mountains, Zakopane, Bukowina Tatrzańska, Biały Dunajec, Chochołów and other neighbouring towns and villages.

Are you in Zakopane? Are you ready?

Walk down Krupówki Street to the cable train station to Gubałówka hill (1120 m). The train leaves every 5 to 30 min. depending on demand. It is really fast – it only takes few minutes to go up.

Besides those inns and restaurants which have been mentioned already, (the further you go from the upper station the more interesting the offer and the more original the highland welcome) some time must be spent just enjoying the Tatra mountains panoram . So you are going to see Giewont. Then, to your right there are the peaks of Czerwone Wierchy and to your left Kasprowy Wierch (1987 m). A precise map of the mountain peaks, and viewing binoculars, can be found on the summit of Gubałówka.

After dinner or a pleasant afternoon stroll you can return by cable train or walk down through the woods which should take no more than 1 hour. An interesting alternative way down is to follow the trail crossing Gubałówka peak (go left along the road). After half-hour of easy walking you will reach Butorowy Wierch (1160 m) with its chair lift which will take you down over the trees in splendid silence. The views over the mountains are impressive.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

The Genealogy Assistant – A Family History Detective

Posted on 20. Mar, 2012 by in Uncategorized

I am a genealogist, but what are genealogists anyway and what do they do? Well, first of all, they do not study rocks – that is a geologist, nor are they in the medical profession for women’s health – that is a gynecologist, nor do they study genes i.e. DNA (indirectly maybe). A genealogist is a person that researches and studies family ancestries and histories.

My father was born in Oświęcim, Poland in 1942, but my grandparents left Poland with him and my aunt when he was six months old. He had always tried to find someone with the same surname in the US during his travels, and was never successful.

I had little to no knowledge of my roots when my adventure in genealogy began when I met Łukasz Firkowski from Dąbrowa Górnicza, Poland on the Internet in August of 2002. Łukasz & I wanted to know how we were related and the research began. I have been doing genealogy research ever since.

Within the first two years of research, over 1300 members of our family were located and by 2006 the family tree had grown to over 2300.  It was an emotional time at the first Firkowski Family Reunion in Poland in 2004, which included 202 people from six countries. I now know family members in 22 countries around the world.

Despite studying Spanish & French in school and learning German while I was stationed in West Germany for 2 years, I had not considered learning the language of my father’s ancestors until that amazing day in 2002. When I was young, my father had only managed to teach me how to say Merry Christmas in Polish (Wesołego Bożego Narodzenia) and that phrase took me a number of days to get right. He was insistent on correct pronunciation.

Language plays a major part in genealogy research. Almost all of us will encounter the language of our ancestors at some point during our research. Many people rely on translators to allow us to navigate the information contained within documents that help us in our genealogical quest, but why not consider learning the language on your own? You may not become fluent, but at least take a first step and gain a new perspective into your family’s life story.

I am still learning Polish (a complex language), but what I have learned has become an invaluable tool not only for myself but also in the research I do for others. Łukasz was able to help me learn some Polish, but I needed more. In my search for software to help me learn Polish, I came across BYKI (Before You Know It) by Transparent Language and found it invaluable in augmenting the tutoring I received from family and friends living in Poland.

Years after I began researching my family, I formed The Genealogy Assistant in 2008 to research Polish and American-Canadian ancestry for clients out of a deep desire to help others discover and experience their own rich family histories just as I had. Given the fact that not all records are available in the US on microfilm or on the Internet, I have had to travel to Poland to research in churches and archives, and locate living relatives for clients. The Genealogy Assistant is ready to document and build your family tree.


About the author

Tim Firkowski is a Professional Genealogist. As a member of APG he was the 2010/2011 President of the New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG). He has been a volunteer librarian at the local Family History Center, and a genealogy research consultant at “Ask the Expert” Ancestry Road Shows.