hi all, i’m at you for the monthly ‘friday things’ on the last friday of february! this has been such a busy (yet good) week full of hardcore language studies, teaching, chatting at a čajovna drinking the freshest japanese green tea, and thinking about some great books and stories i’ve read over the past week (and one terrible one, haha).
onward with some happy things & a piece of news! i suppose the news part is…
1) summer plans!
i can say now that we are officially heading back to the united states for over a month this summer – it will be our “big trip” this year! we’ll be starting out in chicago (a city i’ve never been to but am very excited to explore as a tourist!) to hopefully visit some family and friends as well, then onto michigan (east side) to attend a wedding and visit alex’s family, oregon (portland, bend, & hood river) for the wedding of one of my best friends (my first time in a wedding party other than my own – i’m excited!) and visiting friends, then northwards up to seattle/fidalgo island to spend some good quality time in my hometown(s).
a trip back home every other year is definitely a long time to go without visiting home, but it works for us… of course we always welcome our friends to our little corner of czech republic so it’s not so long between seeing one another. summer is the best time to be out in the pacific northwest so i’m sure i’ll have a massive to-do list by travel day!
2) an important visitor!
which brings me to my next happy thing – my mother-in-law is coming to visit in a week! first visitor from alex’s side of the family and we’re pretty ecstatic and have been for months. she’ll be here for a week and a half hanging in south bohemia, prague, and popping over to germany, where alex’s family has ancestral roots. we’re also really excited to have her meet our ferdinand, see what our daily lives are like here, and experience some czech culture.
3) oscar-nominated films
as per usual, our winter pastimes have included plowing through as many oscar-nominated films as we can manage before the winners are announced at the ceremony on sunday. (or, which i will find out on monday because….)
How to have an #expat Oscars party:
1) Watch recording Mon night after work
2) All crowd around a 10" netbook because the bigger one died.— Cynthia (@cynthj)
over the past two months, we’ve seen la la land, moonlight (probably my favorite), fences, jackie (second favorite), arrival, manchester by the sea, and most recently lion, which i unexpectedly straight-out bawled during a good portion of the movie. i don’t usually do this! it just pushed all the sad buttons! so i give it the declaration of being the second saddest film i have ever seen. (in case you’re wondering, the saddest film i’ve ever seen was this one, that i could not even describe the plot of without breaking into tears at the time).
this weekend, it’s likely we’ll see 13th, a documentary about racial inequality in america… a topic often discussed in our household. if you’ve been watching a lot of films this season too, what’s been your favorite?
4) DIY food projects & creative cooking
i received a few cookbooks as belated christmas gifts and studying the DIY projects in them has really had me upping my cooking game lately, in addition to just cooking loads of interesting plant-powered dishes. the first thing i did was make ghee (clarified butter) to use as one of my main cooking oils alongside coconut oil, which i’m a bit loathe to buy a lot because it’s so expensive. the reason it’s good to have ghee (unless you’re vegan) is that not only does it taste kind of like a lotus biscuit, but unlike almost all other oils, it has an extremely high smoke point, which means you can heat it quite high before the oil breaks downs and transforms into smoke – something that is carcinogenic and harmful to human health.
my next DIY venture is to try sprouting! i tried it last spring but failed because i didn’t know how to keep my sprouts from molding. this time i’m going in armed with more information and better techniques so i feel like it should pan out! i really miss using sprouts on almost everything.
i’ve also been upping my pantry-stocking game with plant-based essentials that are relatively hard to find here in the czech republic: red lentils, french lentils, and nutritional yeast! i remember when i moved here, i couldn’t even get chia seeds. in the past year, they’ve been everywhere! the health food movement has been hitting us and it’s been totally embraced by the residents here – health food stores are more and more frequent… i think i can name three or more just in the center of my little city! these little essentials are sometimes more expensive than average, but i’m considering it a health investment.
(in case i haven’t outed myself as kind of a hippie now, this should about do it)
masopust is upon us! this honestly doesn’t mean much to me, to be quite honest – i haven’t yet participated in any ‘carneval’ type traditions here yet, and there are some events going on, but nothing too crazy. the thing on the radar for me is ’fat thursday’ – the day where every pole statistically eats two and a half pączki donuts! so now, naturally, all i can think about is [the polish] pączki, which are very similar to a pfannkuchen (berliner) in germany or a kobliha here in czechland, so i went out to one of my favorite area cukrárna to nab some for alex and i this morning!
another tradition i could get into: britain’s pancake day, which is also what us americans call ‘fat tuesday’! i only heard about this tradition through a) people gloating about their delicious pancakes on social media in years past and b) teaching materials and lesson plans i have that detail this holiday. it definitely sounds like something i’d get on board with, so i’m planning a ‘pancake day’ lesson in the kitchen with my students next week! food plus learning equals love.
have you ever celebrated mardi gras, carneval, or masopust?
have a lovely end of this love-filled month! see you in march.