Summer

december, lately: a lot going on at the moment.

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whoa, what a big few weeks it has been! in the wake of receiving our visa extention in october, alex and i had been furiously studying to make sure we aced our elementary level czech exam, which is far too expensive to re-take (not that we even have the time to do so) but fortunately, three and a half hours later, we victoriously walked to the bus stop with our certificates! we did it!

not going to lie, but this little (big?) victory has instilled some major confidence. i think it is deserved confidence, for all those times that i doubted myself and didn’t want to try speaking czech, or felt my ability was poor. since the test day, i’ve been under the (false? who knows…) impression that i can say pretty much anything i try to, not only in czech, but in german too.

i’ve been putting my best language face forward these days in a new tactic which i call: “just try it.” as long as you think you have the words ready, why not try? so far, i have not gone wrong using this tactic and have not once been misunderstood.
i even tried it the other day in german, even though all i knew how to say was essentially the direct english to german translation, the man i spoke to gently corrected my wording, then answered my question. i learned something, and i got the information i wanted.

little victories in confidence!

yes, we recently had a wonderfully festive weekend again with parties, tree-getting, and popping over to linz, austria for the day. i can’t believe i haven’t been to linz in over five years even though budejovice is almost exactly between linz and prague. the price to prague is certainly nicer, but deals are certainly possible, especially if you buy your ticket at least a week in advance – that is indeed the key.

linz was all dressed up in lights, glittering bulbs, and fresh trees to welcome us! as we wandered the old town, we found several different christmas markets i hadn’t even planned on seeing! strolling along the blue (or, green?) danube, doing a little bit of christmas shopping here and there, and down the busy streets as the sun went down, masala chai in hand from madame wu’s, i couldn’t help but actually sing “silver bells”.

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“city sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. in the air there’s a feeling of christmas”

i love how the streets of linz weren’t as busy as prague or vienna this time of year. it was the perfect big(ger) holiday city escape for a bit of shopping and austrian christmas market magic.

one funny thing was that we stopped for lunch at my austrian favorite akakiko, sort of sneaking our ferdie into the shopping center, assuming as usual that dogs are generally not allowed in places like these. still feeling self-concious about our dog when we got to the restaurant, we were seated, and suddenly noticed a giant bernese mountain dog parked next to the table near us! it was so big, the owners surely had to forgo the escalators in favor of the elevator to take this gigantic creature into the third floor up to this asian restaurant. i had to laugh. soon after, the manager himself came in with a bowl of water (this is in a somewhat nice to casual busy restaurant setting at lunch time) and we found out that he shared his first name with our dog = ferdinand. when in austria!

kudos to you austria and your laid-back dog attitude (sorry to readers who aren’t a fan of dogs in restaurants, but this is just my life now).

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on another note:

do you know people who pick one word in january to sum up the year?
i admire it, but i know i can never do it because i never know exactly how the year is going to unfold for me. how can we really predict the future – to stay the course on an old word that may not have the right meaning for how the year ends up developing?  this year, as it comes to a close, i think all the events in each month have been leading up to the word: progress. that’s how i’d sum up the year.

2018 has been an incredible year in terms of progress – undoubtedly my best year spent abroad thus far. i have come so far in my journey abroad, my foreign language ability has gone to new, unforeseen heights, and our own integration here in this southwestern czech city. the travels have been the best yet and my personal, financial, and thoughts what direction the future might take us have grown and developed. i have well-documented our setback which occurred smack in the middle of the year, but we’ve overcome it and are taking steps to right the ship and set us on the best path.

as for now, i am one of those “busy people”. a far cry from starting to build our life here almost six years go (“not a lot going on at the moment”), everything comes to a head in december. from time-consuming hobbies, to applying for permanent residence, to rehearsals and concerts with my choir, i am definitely a certifiably busy person. some people thrive on that. i’ll just be refusing any extra invitations until i make it to the fourth advent weekend!

now, looking forward to enjoying this best time of year – christmas in europe! this year we won’t be going far, just enjoying another czech christmas at home in budejovice and with friends.  i was a little miffed initially to have not a lot of funds around christmas – black friday/cyber monday has more than annoyed me this year – but i’ve taken it as a challenge to have a “simpler christmas”. isn’t that all that people actually strive for anyway? have currently got orange slices drying in the oven for a garland and am excited for more simple celebrations this upcoming weekend.

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what are you getting up to the for the holidays? hope you are enjoying this magical season!

ps, you might like our most recent czech christmas or our first time in linz, austria.

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