january lately

ah january, time to hunker down with a candle, cup of tea a stack of books and your favorite tv shows and films. or my favorite winter activity: i call it the ‘read-nap-read’ (or “the reading nap”) on a cold sunday afternoon with falling snowflakes outside the window. it’s typically hard to grant myself time to do those things, but winter does give me permission! what have you been enjoying? i’m making my way slowly through a little life (and all of its seven hundred something pages) as well as chunks of other books also on my nightstand. 

i’ve also been watching a bit of ally mcbeal season 4 (the best season – my favorite to watch in the winter!), the new vikings season, the bachelor, and deutschland 86 at the moment. we’ve also got a head start on oscar potential nominees, having seen the favorite and roma so far. i absolutely adored the favorite and can highly, highly recommend this breath of fresh air of a film. i have no idea why but many of the past year’s mainstream films haven’t interested be a bit…. and mary poppins returns in original version never made it to budejovice (cry).

i do have some really great expat life news, however. one wednesday about two weeks ago i got a call from an unlisted number:

“hello, this is cynthia?”
(in czech) “yes, this is the minister of the interior, immigration police, calling about your permanent residence application”

[thinking – oh shit, why are they calling me? why not call our czech friend who agreed to be our contact with them? how is this going to go?]

“oh, hello….”
“–yes, so i’m calling to make arrangements for your biometric appointment for your accepted visa”
“–so what about soandsodate in february?”
“um, yes… one moment….”
[stalling for time as i desperately looked at a calendar trying to remember that i do know how to talk about dates and times even though it doesn’t feel like it in this moment]

i was almost as surprised to successfully make this appointment for our biometrics and to negotiate a better time as i was to  learn that we have been granted permanent residence! also known as “the five year visa” – the big kahuna. one step below citizenship in the whole rigmarole of legal immigrant processes. i can’t believe it took only a week and a half. maybe no one was applying over the christmas holidays? it’s crazy seeing as just a half year earlier we were so close to, well, the opposite of permanent residence. everything has worked out. thank you guys for all of your sweet wishes and supporting me through this tumultuous time. i think (hope?) that i can put all of the problems of last year behind me.

i still haven’t properly even celebrated. seeing as our “six years in budejovice” is coming up this week, i hope we will have some proper time to!

(above, taken in early january in the falling snow before the tree came down)

needless to say, the past few weeks we have been walking on sunshine – as there has also been much sunshine down here in sunny south bohemia in contrast to last year’s dark gloomy january days. the colors of the buildings seem a little brighter, people seem a little friendlier.

i have also been enjoying completing the ’staying positive in january’ tasks from amanda and also completing my first january book, as well as a fair bit of travel planning for this spring and summer. (i had to correct “fare bit” – tells you where my head space is at right now)

i love the freshness and possibility that this month brings, to be honest. i also love that it feels, in a sort of really metal way, the dark annals of winter. so extreme, like being on a bleak isolated island of frost and cold, so far from the warmth of mid-summer. but hey, i’ve noticed that it’s now dark at 5pm instead of 4pm, so there’s that.

i’ve also vowed to plan some activities (more than last year) this winter and get together with friends a little bit more to stave off any potential winter blues before they even reach me. taking the defensive this year!

how are you faring through january? happy winter, friends.