Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 24th 2009

Yesterday, the 24th, is when all the action went down. I went upstairs to see everyone at about 11am, and we started to decorate the tree. Bara and Pepa were cooking the carp soup & chicken soup. It seemed like they were cooking throughout the day... but really I think that was just my imagination.

The night before Christmas eve, I was getting to ready to take a late shower when Jirka (family friend/guy I rent from) came home and told me to hurry because he needed the tub for the carp. He ended up putting the fish in the sink (in a plastic bag) while I showered. They would randomly freak out and have spasms while I showed, it freaked me out because I was pretty close to them. It would have sucked if one flew out! Thank goodness though, that did not happen...
This side table was set up with all sorts of treats and goodies. All month long Bara has been preparing the Christmas cookies and saving them. I also pitched in and helped her make some. I also made chocolate chip cookies and peppermint cookies. People must of liked my cookies because I had to refill the plate. :)

Traditional Czech Christmas cookies!

Yes... I made Bella wear her Christmas outfit. She looked so adorable in it. Everyone thought it was pretty funny and cute. I think Bella's gaining some weight here though, because it was pretty snug on her. Halfway through the day, Bara's brother came over and brought his pitbul with him. Yoshi and Bella went crazy! They met the dog one other time and the bigger dog never attacked them, but he would try to play with them. They're so tiny that they'd just get pushed around. This means lots of screaming. They would bark &scream the whole time. SO annoying.

Here is earlier in the day where everyone is helping putting decorations on the tree. I though it was so weird that we waited til Christmas eve to up up a tree. I'm not sure if this is just because, or if they do it so every year... The guys selling the Christmas trees outside waited until about mid December to start selling, so perhaps in the States we're can be early birds with getting trees (or maybe it's just me).

Below is Bara starting on making the meat & carp in a batter, and then frying it. We all had to wait until 5pm to eat... I got so hungry! I did munch some on the cookies, but I didn't want to eat all of them, plus they weren't really satisfying my hunger. Nikolka and Bara were telling me that soon I'll see the "golden piglet" (zlaté prasátko). It's almost like a Czech custom to fast all day and wait for dinner... Then you get so hungry, in the evening you see the zlaté prasátko.

A very traditional part of Christmas dinner is the fish soup. Pepa also made the chicken soup because the kids don't like the fish soup as much. I tried it and it was weird. I couldn't really decide if I liked it or not. I think that I can be really spoiled when it comes to fish (since I used to live on the coast and carp are raised in man-made ponds in Southern Bohemia). Bara also made the potato salad, which was very good. She actually made it a day or two before hand. Last minute Pepa added in caviar. Yucky... But thank goodness I was not able to taste it in there.

I was so glad to finally eat! So was Eric, he wanted to get done fast because he wanted to get to the presents! He has been hanging around the Christmas tree all day begging to open the gifts early. Everyone would tease him that they could do it like the Americans and wait until the morning. He was not happy about that comment.
All the kids loved their presents. Eric was especially excited when I gave him the Nintendo DS. I'm glad that it is being in use instead of being packed away somewhere in my stuff. Mom sent me a TON of hats and scarfs, so I gave one to Nikolka (and made sure to say it was from my mom), and she loved it! They always wear random hats/scarfs since it gets so cold out.

Cindy and Nicole both got spoiled this year. They got laptops! Overall, things went great. I did get pretty tired early though and went downstairs to lay down and catch some fairytale on TV. My favorite one was on:) I still am a little sad that nobody could come visit me this Christmas. But oh well. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas time in Prague

Christmas time is here!
Personally, winter time in Prague is one of my favorite times. Prague radiates Christmas spirt.
Every year I do everything I possibly can to obtain true & happy Christmas spirt. I'll decorate like crazy, put lights everywhere, bake Christmas cookies, and listen to holiday music... Here, I don't have to try. Everything is so naturally beautiful and glowing with Christmas! Perhaps this is due to many things. Let me make a list:

1. Beautiful huge Christmas trees in nearly all city squares.
2. Christmas stands around every corner.
3. Snow.
4. Grog.
5. Vánoční cukroví (Traditional Czech Christmas cookies)
6. Christmas stretches over December 25 and 26. (Christmas Feast (Boží hod vánoční) and St. Stephen's Day (Sv. Štěpán)
7. Saint Nicholas Day (Mikuláš).
8. Svařák, Hot wine.
9. Delicious baked/roasted chestnuts or roasted almonds in cinnamon sugar.
10. Strudl.
11. Jezisek (baby Jesus) delivers gifts!
12. School break.
13. New Years is approaching.

I'm sure there are many things that I'm missing. All I know is that this is one of the best times
of the year.
Today I decided to make some more cookies. About a week ago I made chocolate chip cookies with Eric and Nicole. They were very excited because nobody here ever makes them. I even had to search around for brown sugar because there is none here! Czech don't use brown sugar at all in their baking. When I asked about it, they all thought I meant
natural raw cane sugar. Today I made sugar cookies with a glazed frosting with crushed candy cane on top. I'm not gonna lie, it turned out perfect & delicious! What's different about these cookies for Czechs is that they have the candy canes on top. Here in Czech, there are no peppermint candy canes! So this is my little specialty (*of course only abroad*). I also made little baggies for
Christmas gifts.

I was going to go the foreign police to register where I'm living today, but that didn't happen because I was missing some papers. So now I must wait 5 days because Czechs take off two days before Christmas, Christmas day, plus the day after... I believe. I swear, Czechs LOVE their holidays. I'm defiantly not complaining though.

Lenka (family friend) came over a couple of days ago and was nice enough to gift me Mistletoe! Here it is a larger grouping of mistletoe which is hung somewhere in the room and has two main purposes. The main one being that it is a gift of good luck from a friend. The second reason of course, is that a man may choose to kiss whoever is underneath it. Honestly I had no idea that it was mistletoe because they paint them here in silver or gold, and when I asked about them, everyone told me that it the main reason was for luck. I've attach a photo of mine!

In the photo you can also see my calender with Krteček on it. Also another very yummy Christmasy thing is the Božkov Vaječný liker, I put it in my coffee and it's a very good

Tomorrow, I think we are going to have a dinner with Vashek (my uncle). I'm excited because it will be the start of Christmas feasting! I will make sure to eat small potions so I don't get sick. I guess for Christmas Eve there will be Karp & Karp soup, plus all the other traditional Czech dishes.

I think that this Christmas season would be complete if I could see my family and friends. Mostly I wish David didn't have to leave for this Christmas! Hopefully he will be able to be here next Christmas. We are still working on how to make sure he can stay next time he comes over.

Veselé vánoce a šťastný nový rok!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Riots just around the corner.

So this is just a quick little update. I didn't exactly do a post yet on our trip here to Greece... I was planning on doing it after I came back. However... I didn't realize we would be here during a demonstration and riot!

There was a planned demonstration by anarchists, students, and others to bring up issues such as the death of a youth killed by a police officer in last years riot. Personally it looks like they are just using the boy as a symbol for their hate of the police... The demonstration began at 1:30pm, and the riots broke out many about a couple of hours later. David and I decided to walk around the more touristy areas, but then decided we had to check out the situation.

After eating we walked towards some noise we heard. This was around 2:30pm... What we came across was a huge group of thousands of people walking and chanting. As we approached, David got out his camera and started filming. Right off the bat we notice some guy smashing marble off the side of the building. Then we turn a little and a trash can is lit on fire. It was the end of the group, so the riot cops started to push along the people.

We followed the group, moved to the front, and went to the school where the more extreme rioters were. We heard the rioters breaking windows (and saw the broken shop windows), experienced the tear gas (we were close so we got a good whiff of it), saw the fires, and watched as the rocks were being thrown at the cops.

There's so much going on, I think we're going to go out one more time... We'll be careful.

Here is one clip that we filmed, check it out. David and I ended up getting really close, so the clip is pretty crazy.

Here it is:

Friday, November 27, 2009


This is way past due, but I just realized I never put up my Berlin photos! Here's some of them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Berlin this weekend!

So Yesterday David and I decided to take a trip to Berlin this weekend!

We found a sweet deal with 'Eurolines,' that was buy two tickets for the price of one. So our total damage was 1,700 CZK ($98). The bus ride will take 5 hours. We found a hostel with a great location called "Heart of Gold Hostel." The only thing that sucks is that we have to stay in the room with 26 beds! I just need to make sure I find some ear plugs!
Our bus leaves at 6:15am... So right now I'm getting ready to leave. Hopefully everything goes smoothly. The dogs are staying with Pepik and the family. Since we're only going to be gone for 2 night/3 days, I think they be ok. Once I get back Monday I'll make sure to post a longer blog with tons of pictures! See you later!

Monday, November 16, 2009

U.S. Embassy Warden Message: 17th of November Celebrations Commemorating the Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is a national holiday here... I can't wait to celebrate! I want to go see the reenactments and march! I'll be posting photos of this event afterward! Also, CNN will be showing a feature on the Velvet Revolution if anyone's interested...

Katie (my friend from N.Carolina) sent me this notice...

U.S. Embassy Warden Message

17th of November Celebrations Commemorating the Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

This Warden Message informs U.S. citizens that on November 17, Prague will host events to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the end of communism. There will be a commemorative march from Albertov to Narodni Trida from 3:30 pm until approximately 5:00 pm, as well as an open concert throughout the evening. Police are expecting as many as 20,000 participants at events focusing on Narodni Trida. Police will monitor this celebration to ensure public safety. Due to the size and visibility of this event, there is a possibility that extremist groups may attend as well. As with all large, high-visibility gatherings, the potential for disturbances exists at the primary venue and areas where groups may congregate (e.g., the downtown tourist area and metro stations such as Mustek). American citizens are urged to exercise caution during the celebrations and be vigilant for any unexpected disturbances.

Please note that although the U.S. Embassy in Prague will be closed Tuesday, November 17, 2009, a communist group will protest in the front of the Embassy against U.S. military bases in the Czech Republic from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm. This event is expected to be peaceful and police will provide extra officers.

We remind American citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence without warning. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution when in the vicinity of any demonstrations. American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Czech National Holiday! Nov. 17th

"On Nov. 17, 20 years to the day since the start of the Velvet Revolution, when the police beat hundreds of protesting university students on Narodni Street...

(((The protest was located right on the street one of my classes is on. Plus Pepik told me that he took me near the protest (when I was still a baby) when it was happening!!)))

"We Czechs and Slovaks have a tradition of dealing with various issues in the pub rather than on the battlefield,” Mr. Havel said at a recent news conference to mark the revolution’s anniversary.

You can get a feel for the early dissident days at Vltava (, a pub where Mr. Havel and his fellow rebels often discussed Charter 77, the anti-Communist manifesto of 1977 that was a precursor to the revolution a decade later..."

Interesting... right?!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween in Prague.

I must admit I was totally unprepared for this Halloween. I ran upstairs to Pepik's (my dad) apartment and borrowed a witch hat and Chert horns from Erik (my half brother). I must admit that although our costumes were quite basic, they were fun and turned out ok. Our friend Katie was a 1920s flapper. At first we headed to Katie's apartment to dress up and than headed out to this party where dressing up was required. If we had costumes we could get in for free and get free shots. Unfortunatly when we arrived they were already full, so we went to meet up with two other friends (Frank and Dima- who are also in our IEPS Masters Program). Even though we didn't get into the one place we had fun just hanging out in other local clubs.

I hope you enjoy the photos, some are pretty funny...

This is the first time David's ever put on make up, haha!
Before we went to Katie's to dress up, we went to the pub to talk and hang out with family. Above is David with Bara, and below is Cindy (half sister), her boyfriend Martin, and Pepik.