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!!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Hi Everyone!

I hope this blog post finds you well. :) It's been a good past few days, and I've got some new pictures up to prove it...

Like I mentioned before, my friend Emily came to visit me for a few days! This time away from home has definitely shown me that I have some of the the best friends a girl could ask for, and I have been so blessed to have so many people come to see me while I've been gone! (I know part of it is the fact that I'm in EUROPE, but I like to think they wouldn't have necessarily come it if I wasn't included :) I also know there are many more of you whose hearts are here with me, even if your bank accounts are not. :)

I took some time off of school and spent some quality time walking around the city. We also took a day trip to Karlovy Vary, a spa town about 2 hours north west of Prague, close to the German border. It was a quaint little place with lots of pretty buildings, a river running through the middle, and lots of natural hot springs with fountains to drink out of. The water temperatures ranged from warm to really really hot, and all of them tasted pretty nasty. :) Anything for one's health, I guess... We almost missed our bus home, but after running at full speed once we realized/saw where the stop was, we climbed on board and relaxed the rest of the way home.

Classes and tutoring are going well. It's hard to believe the end of the school year is almost here! I also just realized (as I am writing this) that this is my first year completing it as a TEACHER rather than a STUDENT... crazy. I guess teaching over here has often felt like another one of my practicums in college, maybe because of the different schedule that I have, including private tutoring, etc. But in reality, I really am a "first-year" teacher, and that first year is almost at it's end...

That also means my time here is quickly closing. I'm not really letting myself think about that yet though - both because I will get too excited to come home and homesick because it's still a ways away, but also because I will get too sad, thinking about saying goodbye to the beautiful city and good friends I've made here! Everything in it's own time...

This past Thursday I gave a Veggie Tales DVD (in English) as well as both an English and Czech Bible to the family that I tutor. I wanted to say thank you to them for inviting me into their home each week, and teaching me things about the Czech Republic. I've enjoyed my time with them so much! I also thought this would be a great way for them to practice their English, and simply give them the opportunity to read something that I'm pretty sure they've never read before. You can pray with me that God will speak to them through His Word and reveal His love to them in ways they've never experienced before! And also that He will continue to use these last few weeks that I have with them, to show them more of His love.

Anyway, that's all for now. Have a wonderful rest of your week!!

P.S. And here's the link to some more pictures:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Things I love about Prague...

Looking out my bedroom window and seeing the beautiful sky, Castle and Petrin

Lazy mornings drinking coffee and catching up on our TV shows

The best hamburger place around the corner with the waiter who knows our order

Riding the bus to school

Sun bathing on our terrace

Delicious meals with wine by candle light at 9 pm

Michelle, Talitha, Jess, Lucie, Kara, Betsy

My kids

Tram rides through the city

The metro

Quality time with good friends

7 Kc coffee machine at school

Cute/fun/unique cafes

Fresh bread and cam. cheese

Parks with lots of green grass, trees and benches

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hello loves. Just a quick note to let you know you're not missing anything on this side of the ocean. :) (I know you've been wondering, since you can't fly over at the moment to find out for yourselves!)

It's been a pretty normal week and a half. Classes have been going well - the kids are a little bit more control-able than the week after spring break. :) We've been trying to come up with new ideas though, to get us through the end of the year. I think we'll be ok. I've also spent plenty of time relaxing and enjoying the nice weather we've had. It still could be a bit warmer, but we've been able to get out and enjoy some of the parks and the beautiful trees that are in bloom. I'm planning on going up to Petrin (big, famous hill/park) each weekend to see the new flowers that are springing up for the next month. The rose garden will be in bloom soon too!

My dear friend Emily (Cochrane) Boys is coming next weekend as well! (You're famous, Em :) Please pray that everything with the flights to Europe clears up by then (and sooner, for everyone else we know who's stuck either here or there)!! I'm so excited to see and talk with her, and show her around my city. :)

That's all for now. Hope you all are having a wonderful week!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mr. President

Well, I told you I'd let you know if I saw him walking around our neighborhood - I was pretty close. :) Walking home from my tutoring I noticed helicopters in the sky, police EVERYWHERE and a large crowd on the corner of our street by the Ambassador's house. I wandered over to see what was up and this is what I found.

A few minutes later he arrived, along with with 11 or so other important people for a dinner at the U.S. Ambassador's house. I saw him in the back of his limo, however, he didn't see me because he was looking down at some papers or something. :)

The only disappointing thing was that Talitha got a police escort to our house, since the whole street was blocked off, but I didn't. :( I guess I came in on the corner that was closer and they just let me through when I told them our number. Sigh. Oh well. Still a pretty exciting day if you ask me...

Thursday Morning

Well, I wanted to give you another post before the week was up, but whenever I had time I was just too tired, so I had to let it wait until today.

My morning class was cancelled this morning (school program of some sort) so I had a couple of extra hours around the house which was nice. I have to go in in a little while for my two afternoon classes and then tutoring. President Obama is here in Prague today as well - there were some signs on my bus route saying it would be detoured because of it. Our big trash and recycling cans were also removed from the corner of our block. They either want things to look nicer, or they're worried about bombs. Either is legit, I guess. I'll let you know if I see him walking around our neighborhood! :)

Anyway, the past week has been a good one too. I had lots of fun over our long Easter break (Thurs. Fri. and Mon. off of school) just hanging around the city exploring and checking things off of our "things to do in Prague" list. We went to the zoo, found the Lennon Wall, walked along the river, and visited a couple of new cafes. You can see some pics from the weekend here:


On Easter Sunday I went on a hike in the morning in a big park close by with a friend from church and then went to our church service in the evening. We've been talking about the parable of the Lost Son for the past couple of weeks which has been great. This week we talked about how Jesus is our true "older brother" who, unlike the older brother in the story, came to our rescue and sacrificed his life so that we could be reunited with our Father. And how God rejoices and invites us in to relationship with him saying "Here is my Son! He was dead but is alive again! Celebrate with me!" And that's the reality that we live with every day! It's good to be reminded of that.

Our women's Bible study has also been going well. I think I mentioned before that we're studying the book of Colossians. It's definitely a loaded book (as are all of Paul's writings) and honestly, I've struggled a bit with feeling almost silly for thinking we could just sit in our living room and unpack it, and learn the truths from it on our own. But the truth is, that's what God longs for us to do. To sit at his feet and dig deeper. And I just have to trust that He can and will show us new things about himself. There's just so much there!! It makes me wonder too, how much do we go through life missing?? But again, it just about focusing our heart and mind and saying Father, I want to know you more, and trusting him to reveal himself. I'm sure that's one of his favorite prayers to answer. :) This week we focused on the end of chapter two. One of the verses that stuck out to me was verse seventeen, talking about focusing on religious rules and celebrations, etc. it says... "These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." The reality is Christ and what he did for us on the cross. That's what's important. That's what matters. Everything else is but a shadow. Make sure you're focusing on the real thing today!! :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

And the final bit...

Ok, so now for the even more over-due update about my trip. (Scroll down if this is the first post you've seen in a while - there are 2 more updates about daily life from earlier in the day :).

The trip was wonderful. :) Like I said before I left - three good friends came to visit for the week that I was on spring break, and the week/weekend following. Jess, my good friend here came with us on the last leg of our journey as well. It was very brave of her to join us. :) Here's the group at it's largest:

So it was lots of fun renting a car (Rachel learned how to drive a stick about two months earlier, but did marvelously!) and sitting in the navigating seat for most of it. A few of the cities were a bit stressful to drive in and out of (Munich and Vienna!!) but other than that it was good. We just became very good at reading our maps, asking for directions, and finding knew ways to get to places. :) Honestly, some of the best parts were driving from place to place, oo-ing and aw-ing at the glorious scenery (The Alps). We didn't have too much of an agenda the whole time - just general ideas of things we wanted to do and when, so this allowed us to spend as much time as we wanted yelling out "Rachel, pull over!" so that we could stop and take pictures, like so...

Munich, Germany we enjoyed; however, we were ready to move on after a couple of days. Fussen, Germany was quaint and charming and the castles we saw were so fun. The weather this first week was pretty frigid - "unseasonably cold" we kept hearing with the high temp being around -14 or -12 degrees Celsius. This did prove to be worth it, however, for the day we went to the castles - it literally looked like a winter wonderland with layers upon layers of white fluffy snow, and snowflakes literally sparkling in the air against the deep blue sky. You can see pictures of it, and the first half of the trip if you copy and paste this link:


After Munich and Fussen we drove to Salzburg, Austria for our very own Sound of Music Tour. We printed off the list of sights and Rachel (amazingly) google-mapped directions to each of them. We did find them all, despite a few wrong turns and misleads and it was so much fun so see it all in person.

The back of the Von Trapp Family house (with the Hohensalzburg Fort in the background)

My favorite story from the trip actually comes from this tour of ours.

We were trying to find the Rock Riding School which is the outdoor theater that hosts the festival that the Von Trapp Family sings in at the end of the movie. This was the sight that I was most looking forward to seeing, both because of it's beauty and the significance it has in the film. The back of the theater is majestically carved into the side of the mountain with rows upon rows of arch ways. In the movie the German soldiers are standing in each of these arch ways, as they are planning on taking Captain von Trapp in for service to the Third Reich at the end of the night. After tearfully singing his Edelweiss love song to his country, however, Captain von Trapp escapes with his family through the corridors of the theater and takes refuge in the Abbey before running to the hills.

We had the location pinpointed on our city map, but when we got ourselves there, all we found was a very large and very long modern-looking building. On the side of the building, however, we found a picture of the theater (advertising tours of it) and the same stone that it was made out of. There were actually lots of old steps that led up to a walk-way at the top. All of that, however, still did not get us to the actually theater. We knew it had to be there somewhere, so we kept searching. Eventually we walked back around to the front and concluded that what we were seeing was actually a modern-day theater that they had build around the one we were looking for, so that it could be used for shows in everyday life. Having concluded that what we were seeking was just inside, we did what anyone would do - we tried to go inside. We soon found, however, that as it was the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week with no shows playing, the likely hood of finding an open door was not very high. But not being the type to give up, we kept trying and eventually found that one of three doors in a large gate was open. Very pleased with that discovery we stepped into the gated area and tried the door of the building. This too was opened, so we made our way inside.

As we had thought, the building was a modern-day theater with large, open halls and tall ceilings. My heart was beating rather quickly at this point, but we were so close that we were not about to turn around now (did I mention that I was leading this exhibition?) We heard some voices and saw a man walk by talking on his phone, but just pretended like we had every right to be there, obviously. So we walk farther in and down the hall and come to some more big wooden doors. I tried one of these, and sure enough it was opened. At this point we just peaked our head inside and saw that it was yet another large hall, with a long counter bar on the side and two staircases on either side at the far end of it. It was the place where people come out for refreshments during the intermission of a show. At this point we knew that we were getting even hotter, but still did not know quite what to do. We also heard more voices coming our way. Rather than doing something crazy like hiding, I decided to be on the offensive and stop to ask them if they knew where the theater was. The voices were that of two middle-aged men speaking German, but when I asked if they spoke English they were eager to help. They said that they too were wishing to see the Rock Riding School theater, and that it was indeed behind the rooms we were standing in. The doors to it, however, were all locked they said, due to it being under construction (we found this construction to be common theme, touring in the off season). I was very sad to think that we could be so close and yet so far. "You can't even peak your head in to look at it?" I asked. But no, they said. All locked. We thanked them and they went on their way, leaving us to decide our next step.

Well, the only thought I had was that it couldn't hurt to try it on our own. That mentality had gotten us this far at least, what would be the harm? Rachel and Jamie being in agreement, we went back into the big hall and this time walked down to the end with the stairways. We could look back and up and see/hear some construction working going on with the lighting, but those men didn't seem to notice us being there. When we got to the end of the hall we saw that there were doors at the top of the stairs on either side. A bit more excited now, we tried the door on the right, but quickly found it to be locked. Not deterred in the least I crossed over to the door on the left and found that it was not only unlocked, but it was partially opened with big electrical cords running out from it. And along with the cracked door came a cool outdoor draft and this point my heart was pounding.

I whisper-shouted for Rachel and Jamie to join me, pushed the door even more ajar and stepped over the thresh hold. Directly to the right were some stairs leading down with an old music stand at the top of them. In front of me and wrapping slightly more to the right were about ten more steps leading up and beyond those I could see the stone arch ways of the theater on the opposite side. I was too shocked to go any farther at this point, so Jamie took the lead climbing up the steps and snapping pictures. Rachel followed close behind, and then me. Standing at the top of the steps we were actually in one of the archways of the theater looking out at the stage and everything else. There was lots of construction, and a big tarp covering the seating area (which is where we would have come in, had we done it the right way, from the front of the theater) but the whole back of it, built into the mountain where we were standing, was the same. It was pretty freakin' cool. :)

We snapped a few pictures and then turned and ran back down and out. At this point I had the scene of the German soldiers chasing the family through the theater running through my head, but I tried to push that aside as we calming left the building.

So there you have it. Again, there are many stories from the almost three weeks we spent together, but I'll spare you any more details unless you specifically ask for them. :)

After Salzburg we drove to two other small towns close by - Mondsee and St. Gilgen which were both set beautifully on a lake in the mountaints and then back to Munich and Oberaummergau, another small German town. From there we headed back to Prague and had a very enjoyable time here. The girls did lots of exploring during the day while I was teaching and then we spent our evenings either taking in the beautiful night time shots of the city, or making dinner and giving each other massages. :)

The next weekend we drove to Vienna and then back to Salzburg, St. Gilgen (to share with Meagan) and Munich to drop of Meagan at the airport. Rachel and Jamie drove me back to Prague, rested up for the night and then headed out the next day. You can see the rest of my pictures from the second half of the trip if you copy and paste this link:


Well, I think that's enough of an update for you for now at least. :) It's at least as much as I can type at the moment. Thanks for reading! <3

(Sound of Music pose we forgot to do at the scene) :)