november, lately


hello all,
happy thanksgiving week! it started snowing sunday night and there was a blanket of snow on the ground by monday morning – and still snowing (despite what the photo above from a lovely day last month shows!). i really got in a more wintery mood in iceland as there were no leaves on the trees anymore and festive decorations all over the main streets, but there is absolutely nothing like a blanket of snow on a monday morning to get your week going! (if you like snow, that is)

since coming back from my trip, i’ve just felt like there are endless things to do – catching up on cleaning, winter gardening preparations (which i shamefully still have not done, despite the first snow), an extra work project i’ve got on my hands this week, not to mention that it’s time to start with some preparations for christmas, ordering things that need to be obtained, tickets to buy, and so on.

oh, did i mention that i am taking a czech proficiency exam next week for my visa next year? so yeah, there’s that, too. it’s a lot.

the reason why we’re electing to take this czech exam is that passing it will make us completely eligible for the grand, much vaunted permanent residence visa. even though we just got our visas good for the next year, we intend to apply for this visa as soon as possible, mostly because we already know our financial information has been accepted and that we should have no problems. and hey… a smooth visa application would be everything.

although, i was joking that i think after all of the walking around to different offices i’ve been doing this week to get my documents in order for the exam and actual conversations i’ve been having, i think some sort of švejk character should pop out from behind the desk at the examining place, shake my hand, and give me the certificate. but that’s just me.


also, it is thanksgiving week! we’re not having a dinner this year because a month or so ago, we were invited to a (non-american) friend’s on the very day we always observe thanksgiving (the saturday after). my first inclination was: “nooooo! it’s thanksgiving!” my next inclination was: “okay, but i’m bringing mashed potatoes and stuffing and no one’s going to tell me otherwise.” my third inclination was: “hooray, i don’t have to host!”

even so, i still wanted to observe this thursday, although totally normal day here in czech republic, with some meaning. my plan is to whip up angela’s lentil walnut loaf with some kind of vegetable side-dish, perhaps a squash. something doable after work on a weeknight. i have made some incarnation of this loaf before to sub as a veggie haggis for one burn’s night a few years ago and it was quite good!

if you’re an american living abroad (or have in the past), how do(did) you observe thanksgiving? i love hearing about these things.

i also wanted to share with you my very final bake off bake along project.

the last bake i participated in was patisserie week. known as a somewhat challenging week (which i imagine, is why they leave it to the semi-finals), i was waiting all season for the opportunity to try my first patisserie. as the challenge this year was pretty flexible, i chose the eclair – a standard of french patisserie, and i do say that i basically mastered it!


i made a standard choux pastry which came out absolutely gorgeously once i realized that you have to leave it in the oven for longer than you think or else it will deflate. the result was crispy and delicious, filled with a vanilla creme patisserie. no glaze. no fancy stuff. it was delicious in its simplicity, and it was undoubtedly my best bake all season.

it was good to go out with a bang.

i want to wish a happy thanksgiving to those celebrating this week! i’ll leave you with an image someone shared online that i’ve been thinking about a lot today and i think is a great way to put your head in the right place going into this holiday season.


my second iceland post soon to come!

ps, you might like musings on identity and being an american (from this time last year) or thanksgiving weekend trip to vienna (two years ago).

(photo sources one & two)