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Weeks 23-26 of 2024 (In Review) – The Month of June

Happy summer, (Northern hemisphere) friends! I’m lumping the update together into a nice and tidy June bundle so I get on track with the seemingly impossible-to-complete Year in Review challenge.

June has been lovely this year, with Alex off work, things are just going nice and slow. Lots of time for playing in the park, naps, cooking, visiting and just all the good things in life. But first, let’s get to the important thing as our little one turned two a couple weeks ago!

We went to the zoo to celebrate and some friends of ours met us there on that completely rainy June Monday, still a perfect way to celebrate such a special birthday for our Mouse and to enjoy a nearly empty zoo after the school groups came through. (Top tip: Go to the zoo in June or September on a school day! Can’t recommend enough) Mouse napped outside (covered) in the rain and later joined us for a birthday lunch in the surprisingly nice restaurant that overlooks the petting zoo, goats and alpacas. He is old enough to be really interested in the animals there now (not so much at 15 months old!) so it was a much more enriching experience. In fact, he’s been “barking” like a tiger ever since he heard what one sounds like! Funny the things that stick out. On the gift front, he’s been enjoying his new things from his grandmas and this Duplo garbage truck from us very much. From one of his grandmas we ordered him a box from Lovevery.

I’ve been eyeing this company and their products for a year or two now as I love their philosophy. If you don’t know, they sell toy boxes for specific months of a baby or toddler’s life specifically chosen to promote age-appropriate skills and development. I was particularly interested in picking out the Super Sustainable Sink which comes in the Month 25-27 box (so he can run the tap as much as he wants because the water just cycles through) but I would say he has loved the other toys that come in the box just as much, honestly. I have only good things to say about these toys. The only downside is that it is quite expensive but for a special occasion or birthday it could be very much worth it.

Otherwise, it’s been a music-heavy month, singing with my choir in many rehearsals and some concerts. But there is one special one to talk about that I was very lucky to have taken part in this month: a massive city-wide project called Óda na moje město (Ode to My City). This was put on by the Budejovice 2028 (Capital of Culture) organization in which they enlisted different choirs and musicians from all over the city to come together and perform this one eight minute song, which has the music of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy with lyrics specifically about our city, České Budějovice. Finally, it was performed on Thursday, June 20th (the summer solstice) to neighbors and fellow citizens of Budějce.

It was particularly interesting for me, taking part in this performance as a foreigner of Budějovice, but I’ve realized that, to this city, I am no more a foreigner here than someone who has moved here from a different part of the Czech Republic. I’ve lived here for eleven years. I know this city better than some locals who have lived here their whole life in some ways. Taking part in an “Ode to My City” has really cemented how much a part of this city I actually am. For better or worse, it is one of my home cities now (of which you can have more than one, of course). I couldn’t help grinning ear to ear as soon as we filed out on the church steps and I saw how many people came to watch our Ode. Afterwards there was a a real block-party atmosphere, getting to know neighbors better and chatting with others I haven’t seen in awhile. It was a truly beautiful coming-together for Budějovice. If you want to read more about this project, take a look here.

Folks, June is just a month you don’t leave town. Truly, why would you? There are multiple festivals going on every week, the weather is good and warm – the city is truly alive. Junes here make me happy. I hope you’ve enjoyed yours, too.

Now that all of our lessons are done for the year (save tomorrow’s last Czech lesson) and we are still straight-chillin’, it’s time to go to… you guessed it, Karlovy Vary. The 58th edition of the film festival kicks off tomorrow and we are raring to go (yet again) to one of my favorite places, dare I say, in the world. With a toddler and dog, naturally. The next update will contain lots of festival & film stuff.

Don’t forget to take a load off and enjoy what summer has to offer! Make a list. Go to a festival. Enjoy a slice of watermelon or popsicle. Jump into a pool. It’s time. See you in July!