happy new year!
this year i didn’t feel much pressure to ring in the new year in any particular style. we went to our friend (and czech teacher’s) house in a nearby village on the afternoon of the thirty-first and had a frosty walk before we made it back to the house for punch, snacks, and chatting. in my memory, i cannot remember trying slivovice before (i know) until that day and i quite liked it. after many drinks and coming back home at a reasonable hour, i just couldn’t summon the ire to go out “on the town”, and even better that we could see loads of fireworks from our living room!
in my sleepy state, alex told me that it was actually snowing too! what could be a more perfect sign in the first moments of a new year?
before january first, i was spending most of my hours trying to finish a book to complete my goodreads book goal for 2015. annnnd it didn’t exactly happen, because when you’ve got a kindle, sometimes you don’t notice that the book you’ve just picked up is over seven hundred pages long! (still trying to finish it, trying my book goal again this year, third time’s a charm… getting closer to the goal each year!)
but i do have to recommend it to you, friends, especially if you are a foreigner living in europe, especially in the former czechoslovakia, or you’re just interested in broadening your knowledge about the historical events that shaped the czech republic as we know it today. the book is called prague winter: a personal story of remembrance and war, 1937-1948 by former united states secretary of state, madeleine albright (korbelova), whose family fled czechoslovakia during the second world war, and then again a few years after the dust had settled for the united states. i have heard lots of things and visited many history museums, but not until now have i come across a book that tells czech history (from a czech perspective) in a way that is so easy to understand for a foreigner. (maybe it helps that she has also lived in both the united states and england and can relate to foreigners). i can fancy myself as some kind of expert now… sort of!
yesterday, the second day of the new year, i took advantage of those fantastic online january sales (damn you, cath kidston! you got me again) and alex and i left the house and braved the cold into the 29°F/ -2°C afternoon to head north to the very borders of the town at almost the end of the line to visit makro, which is a huge cash & carry store like a cross between costco and walmart. they sell the most types of items under one roof than any other store in the country, and you need to have a membership card to enter. (which i do have, don’t ask me how i managed to pull that one off!)
out of the three things i was hoping to buy (sheets, a shower curtain, and towels), i only found towels (the sheets quest goes on, sigh). i get to the register and try to pay with a credit card, and the cashier is yelling something at me. so i try something else, wrong. she keeps yelling the same verb at me. so i try something else. keeps yelling the verb again like i’m an idiot…. so flustered and down-trodden, i mumble, “malý česky……..” which i’m sure makes very little sense, but was the only thing i could think of.
and then wait at the bus stop for ten more minutes to go home with not even half a load of goods. barely even a soul on the street because it’s tooooo cold, and everyone in their right mind is in their warm houses. expat real talk: not everything is happy and fuzzy, especially in the freezing first couple days of january in central europe.
on the happier side, in 2015 i was able to practice yoga consistently about 3 times a week (with some breaks for vacations and the like). feeling pretty good about that and now armed with a travel yoga mat alex got me for christmas, i’m ready to take on the #30daysofglo challenge, which is essentially just practicing yoga (on yoga glo, the service i use) for thirty days in a row, even if just for a few minutes each day. january first was extremely rough getting back into the routine and feeling incredibly week, but already the second day was a bit better. looking forward to what will happen after thirty consecutive days!
in terms of cooking, soup is just the thing for a cold weekend like this one! asian noodle soup yesterday, hopefully duck & dumpling soup today. (what are you cooking up this weekend?)