Tuesday, July 6, 2010

One for the Road

Well, here we are. Two days before my flight back to America (I leave Thursday morning), roughly 9 months and 3 weeks since I left to live in the Czech Republic. I can't believe the time is up - it really flew by so quickly.

The past few days/week has been filled with many mixed emotions. I've said lots of goodbyes to some very good friends - with the hard part being the uncertainty of seeing each other again. I am confident, though, that this wont be the last time for seeing many of them. And then the thought of leaving such a beautiful city, and wondering exactly what it will be like to move back into the culture at home has made for some mixed emotions as well...

As the time approaches, however, I am getting more and more excited. :) Mostly with the thought of seeing you all again :) and realizing that God has brought me along this path, and returning home now is just another step in it. I think I've come to realize that I have changed in some ways (living in another country for 10 months does that, I guess) and even if I can not put my finger on exactly what those changes are at the moment, they are there. At first that thought was scary too, but then God reminded me that He is the one who has been at work in my life, bringing about those changes, and that no matter what they are, he has a place prepared for me - changes and all. And that makes me feel a lot better. :)

So, the past week or so has been filled with goodbyes and final walks around the city. I do feel like I've had time to finish everything well, and have had some time to think and process a bit also. Looking back at the ways I have seen God at work during my time here is encouraging as I go home, knowing that me being here has served a purpose, and that it was significant, even if it was not for a very long length of time.

And I can't thank you all enough for the support that you've been while I have been over here as well. Just knowing that you were following along (even during my weeks of silence :) and praying for me has meant so much. So thank you!

And now I'll leave you with a review of some of my favorite pictures from the pas year. :) I love you all and can't wait to see you SOON!!

Friday, June 25, 2010


"O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.

On this mountain the LORD Almighty
will prepare
a feast of rich food for
a banquet of aged wine --
the best of meats and the finest of

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away
the tears
from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.

In that day they will say,
'Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he
saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his

Isaiah 25:1, 6-9

Father, you have done great things. You have shown yourself faithful, planning things long ago that have come to pass. But you're not finished yet. You have been faithful and you will be faithful. There is still more to come, and you will do it. Thank you for loving me here in Prague and my family back at home this past year. Continue bringing your kingdom into our lives and reminding us of your faithfulness, today and every day.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Closing in...

Hi Everyone!

Michelle and I made it back safe and sound. Really, only one thing needs to be said: Ireland was wonderful. :) I really do think it was my favorite, out of the trips that I have gone on, simply because it was so simple, and so so beautiful. The weather was also spectacular the entire time we were there! I loved the city of Dublin - it reminded me of Prague, having lots of character of its own, just not quite as old a feel. There were so many fun buildings though, and lots of places to sit and eat or drink or chat.

Our favorite pub was one we found the first night that had two older men playing a guitar and banjo and singing old Irish diddies! :) But not only was the city great, the country side was absolutely beautiful. We took a 30 min. train ride south to Greystones in Wicklow County and then hiked up to a town called Bray. It was so relaxing and absolutely breathtaking. We had a bit of a stressful time finding the bed and breakfast we had booked in the town - it was a bit farther to walk to than we expected. However, it allowed us to meet lots of very nice Irish citizens who were more than happy to help us: "Oh, that's a lovely place! Back when I was a kid there were so many new houses built there..." and "You're very welcome, have a nice day!" *with the most amazing Irish accent you can imagine. :)

Anyway, it was just a lovely time and you can see more pictures from it here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2014055&id=142700074&l=114a59a55b

And I did add a few more pictures from the week before. We had a fun night helping with a promotion for a new hostel/restaurant called Mosaic House that some friends of ours just opened up. We all walked down into Old Town Square, did something called a "freeze frame" where you (and your group) freeze for 2 or 3 minutes scattered amongst a crowd (of tourists at the clock tower) and then they all start wondering what's going on, you un-freeze and then we slapped them all with slap bracelets that had discounts for the restaurant and invited them to come watch the opening of the World Cup with us. Maybe it doesn't sound as exciting here, but really, it was so fun! :) You can see those new ones here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2013857&id=142700074&l=b96e55569c

And then we also wrapped up our classes at school last week as well. We had the parents come in for a little presentation where we sang some songs and did a play with my second graders. It was fun and the parents of my first graders brought us some beautiful bouquets. Everyone expressed how happy they were with the program and how thankful they were to Michelle and I for teaching their children this year. It was nice. :) I was sad to say goodbye to the kids, but I am ready to move on to something new next year.

And then last night we went out to dinner with our community group - 9 women - who we've been meeting with from church for the past six months. It was such a nice time and such a reminder of how much God has blessed me with relationships during my short time here. Each of the ladies took turns saying what they saw in me, appreciated about me, or what they were blessed by (and also for Betsy and Jess, two others who are leaving next week) and it was just such a sweet time of blessing each other as we go our separate ways. It really has been such a short time of our paths being crossed, but they will always be friendships that are dear to me.

Like I said in the last post, I still have one last full day of work tomorrow - 4th gr. tutoring, preschool, D&L tutoring, and then a school dinner/party. But after that not a whole lot on the schedule. I'm looking forward to doing a few more things with Michelle before she leaves, having a few more coffee dates, and taking time to reflect and process things a bit more. All sorts of fun... :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hey Everyone!

It's been another crazy couple of weeks, and I don't think it's going to be letting up. Only a few more to go though! (Not counting down yet, just living it up...)

I've had lots of little fun things going on, trying to see and do everything and everyone one last time. I'll get some pictures from those things up next week! And I finished out my last week of school with my 1st and 2nd graders. It all ended well and I can write more about it later also. :) I still have two more preschool sessions and one more tutoring session next week for my three 4th grade students and Dominik and Linda.

And, the reason I am rushing through this and wont have time to post much more until next week is that Michelle and I are taking one last trip to Ireland this weekend! We're flying into Dublin tomorrow and staying until Tuesday morning. On Sunday we're taking a train farther south and doing a Cliff Walk between two smaller towns on the coast and staying at a bed and breakfast there Sunday night. I'm super excited about that!

So yes, many more pictures and stories to come, I promise!

Have a great weekend yourselves!! <3

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cold and Rainy, Welcome June...

June 2nd! So hard to believe, and that's only partly due to the fact it's been cold and rainy (constantly) for the past 3 days. :( Sigh. Last weekend was a little nicer, and this coming weekend is supposed to be better too (please, Lord). We'll see what happens.

But anyway, I did have a great time at Český Krumlov on Saturday! It's a small town about 3 hours south of Prague, with a beautiful river and Old Town just like here at home. :) It was one of those places everyone said I "had" to visit before I left, and I'm glad I did! I went with my friend Jessica, and we had a great time wandering the streets, eating yummy food and talking about life. Here are a few pictures from the day and a link to see the rest of them:


I've been working on my application for Cincinnati schools also - you can pray that I have time to finish it quickly and that it helps me get somewhere for this fall.

And that's all for now. Have a great rest of your week! :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010


So, I'm taking a few quick moments to do what I said I'm never good at doing - updating you in the moment, rather than a week or two later! You can thank my lesson plans for waiting patiently while I do this instead of writing them. :)

Really though, I had some great pics from yesterday that I just had to show you. I had a great time Friday night hanging out with some different people from church at a "youtube" birthday party. :) We basically hung out, ate some yummy cake, and watched everyone's favorite youtube videos. :) Oh, and before that I made a very yummy spaghetti-meat sauce all by myself that I was super proud of. :)

Yesterday was filled with lots of fun too. I met up with Michelle in the afternoon at one of our favorite outdoor eating spots up by the Castle where we ran into some other good friends who were there. We ended up staying there for a couple of hours before heading down the hill to stroll across the Bridge. It was just such a (rare and) nice day we had to take advantage of it.

We also stopped on our way to grab a McFlurry from McDonalds (it was the first I've had since being over here, and for some reason couldn't resist the craving!). After that I then came home and had a quick bite to eat before two other girls from church came over for a movie night/hang out. Also a great time together. We had a relaxing morning and breakfast and are about to head out to do some work (lesson plans!) at a cafe before church.

Tonight Michelle is coming over to help finish the yummy spaghetti left overs and then we'll finish up the evening with either a showing of the Czech national hockey game on the big screen in Old Town Square, or strawberry-rhubarb pie at our friend Barb's house. Or both. Probably both. :) It's days/weekends like these that I just have to stop and say, yep, this is my life right now. Thank you Jesus, for such an amazing opportunity!!

BUT the best part of it all was in the morning when I got to go Dominik's football (soccer) game! He is the 7 yr. old boy I tutor, along with his whole family (who I gave the Bibles to). I asked when and where he played his games and his parents said he would be thrilled if I came to watch. It was so fun! Not only was it fun to watch (their team is basically training for the national team, I think - seriously, very good and only 7 yrs. old!) it was fun getting to spend time with the family outside of the tutoring hours. I got some great pictures too, and I'm so excited for you to finally "meet" them! :) So here you go.

Dominik is second from the left and #5 on the field

His little sister Linda is 4 years old

I love them! :)

And I'll have some of the rest of the family (mom, dad, and baby Vivien) hopefully later. :)

Anyway, that's all for now! Hope you enjoyed and have a great start to your week! Love you all!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A little bit of everything

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:10

As I've mentioned before, we're going through the book of Colossians in my women's Bible study that meets at our house on Wednesday nights. This is the first verse of the next section (so we haven't spent time on it yet) but it's been something that I've been thinking about a lot the past few months. Prayer. Really, the thing I've been thinking is that I really want to spend more time learning about it. It's something the Bible talks about a lot - it's something that we're told holds a lot (understatement) of power. It's something we're supposed to devote ourselves to and do continually. It's something we ask for and make promises about everyday - "Pray for my brother, pray for good weather..." and "I'll be praying for you!" But what does that look like in my daily schedule and how important/effective do I really believe it to be? Is it something my life is devoted to? I know there are tons of good resources out there talking about this, and the better understanding I have it, the better I will be able to do it. So, all of that to say it's one thing I'm looking forward to spending time with in the upcoming months.

I also want to start thinking about some good processing questions and such, as my time here is coming to a close. Reflecting is not something that necessarily comes easily for me - I never feel like I have a quick answer for those "thoughtful" questions that people always ask. I do know it is a good thing though, not just to satisfy the interests of others :) but for myself to have an understanding of what the past 10 months or so have meant to me and for me. So, I'll be working on that and letting you know how it goes. :) Also, if you have any "good" processing questions feel free to send them my way...

So, to catch you up on the weekend (I just never seem to have the chance to let you in on things as they are happening) I attended my very first "ball." :) The best way I can think to describe it though is really just a really fun wedding reception. It's a fun name to call it though. :) Every year the high schools in the city have a "ball" very much like a prom, only it's just as much for the parents and teachers as it is for the seniors. Many businesses have one as well - Czechs just like dressing up and having a good time I guess! And for the past three years or so, our elementary school has done one for their "graduating" nineth graders as well. So Michelle and I, along with Lucie, my assistant and her husband got all dolled up and danced the night away. It really was so much fun - with all the parents and teachers out on the dance floor having a great time. It was at one of the fanciest/most famous hotels in the city. They had a live band and played mostly English songs, including songs from "Mama Mia" and "Grease" :) It's also a big tradition for everyone to take dance lessons while they're in high school, so it was fun just to watch too (during the slow songs :) But yea, it was just a really great time hanging out with everyone. You can see more pics from the evening here:

Lucie, me and Michelle

And after a late night at the ball, Michelle and I got up bright and early on Saturday to go a neighborhood garage sale in the "American Village!" :) It's a part of Prague designed to look and feel like an American suburb - and they do a pretty good/creepy job. :) This was another thing Lucie wanted to make sure we got to see. It was a great time hanging out with her and her adorable family!

Gideon, Dominik and Destiny

Destiny and Abby

After the garage sale we came back home and took a two hour nap, and then I went to visit Jess, who had hurt her foot earlier in the week and was stuck in her house for a couple of days. We played some Phase 10 and then ventured out for a live concert in the city.

Sunday I had coffee with Betsy, another good friend I've met here and taught Sunday school in church.

Monday morning I helped get Talitha off to the airport for her three week holiday to Turkey and Greece. I've got the place to myself which is nice so far :), but I have some girls coming over Saturday for dinner and a movie which will be good.

Tuesday evening I had dinner with our worship pastor and his wife and two young kids - it was so nice hanging out with them and getting to know them better!

And in between all of that I've been teaching my classes, cleaning the flat (it gets dirty so easily, especially when we're busy!) and catching up with lesson plans and emails. Never a dull moment, that's for sure!

I have had a little bit of a break this week, since two of my classes were cancelled do to the kids being off on their "week in nature." This is something each classes does (all over Czech, I think) when they go off for a week with their class and have basically a second spring break/week of summer camp. It's a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. So today I only have my afternoon class of 1st graders and then tutoring with Dominik. That has still been going well too! I think I'm going to go to one of Dominik's soccer games this Saturday so that will be really fun! It will be nice to just spend more time with his family. Now if the weather would get back to normal it would be perfect - cold, cloudy and rainy (which it has been for basically the whole month of May) doesn't do much to motivate you to get out of the house or go to a soccer game!

Anyway, I think that's the main news for the week. :) Have a good rest of your week!!