It was another early day thanks to our good friend, Mr. Jet Lag. All four of us were up by 4:00am and we were even out the door at 8:00am to go to Target. Bethany has been keeping a list of things we wanted to pick up in the States so we decided to do that errand this morning and when you’re already up early, it makes getting out of the house a little easier. We were able to secure a bunch of things we wanted to take back to Czech, mostly clothes for Avery since they can be pretty expensive over there.
This is a picture (above) of Bethany’s dad playing with a toy we found in one the aisles. Titus and Avery thought he was hilarious.
After Target we headed to Costco where I was scheduled to have an eye exam. I’ve been wanting to get new glasses so I go that all squared away today. They should be ready before we leave which is great. We also found wool socks and a winter jacket for Titus which are huge blessings because not only were they very cheap, but they are very warm. Another great thing Costco had was allergy medicine. I’ve been concerned that maybe my allergies have been getting worse over there so hopefully the stuff we bought today will help bring relief.
Tonight we just returned from hanging out with some friends and their families. We had a really fun time and while we were there the family’s youngest daughter got engaged. We were able to celebrate with them and enjoy those first few moments of hearing the news and seeing all of their happy and joyous reactions. Unfortunately, I felt really tired throughout the night, but did my best to keep my spirits high while fighting sleep and jet lag.
That’s all for today. I’m very tired and I’m sure the kids will be awake soon. Today was the hardest day so far on them, especially Titus, but we’re hopeful they will sleep in a little later tomorrow.
Christmas started at 2:00am. At least that’s what time Avery came in to our room explain that she was awake and didn’t want to sleep anymore. I don’t blame her. She went to bed at 6:00 so that’s a full eight hours for her. We did our best to try to get her to go back to sleep, but we were all struggling so everyone was up. By 4:30am, Nana and Papa (grandma and grandpa) were up too and we were brewing coffee and playing in the living room.
We actually didn’t do a big Christmas morning today; that won’t happen until Tuesday. Bethany’s brother is a cop so he’s working and in order to do have a big family Christmas together we’re going to wait until the 30th to celebrate and open gifts together. That left today as a rest day which was good because even though we’re doing pretty well, jet lag still has it’s hold on us. Thankfully we only took short naps this afternoon and as I write it’s 7:00pm so I feel like I’m doing pretty well all things considered.
The weather was great today so spent some time outside playing with the kids and enjoying the sunshine. When not outside, the kids have really loved all the toys that Nana and Papa have in their living room. We have a few things planned tomorrow, including a trip for an eye exam for me. Hopefully I can keep my eyes open!
Here are a few photos from today.
Now I know how Santa feels. We have spent over 10 hours in the sky today (I am writing this on the airplane), and even though the miracle of flight is still amazing, it’s just a long time on an airplane. By the end it’ll be close to 13 hours on a plane, a few hours in airports, and another 3 hours in the car. The kids have done pretty well all things considered (e.g. early morning, a plane change, and basically just sitting in chairs literally all day). However, at one point about halfway through our flight Avery said, “I want to go outside.” Poor kid.
What’s really strange about today is it will be a very long day for us. Flying from Prague to Seattle means we actually gain nine hours of time during travel because of the time zones we cross. So I guess we’re just extending our Christmas Eve to squeeze in more holiday shopping? I’m sure there are a few shoppers out there that would appreciate the extra time more than I will today.
I’m finishing this blog in Yakima where it’s 7pm and I’ve manage to stay awake long enough to finish this. And before I type something weird, I’m going to end this quickly. Here’s a few snapshots I took today (a photo from each country we were in). Hopefully tomorrow’s post will be more inclusive but I am so tired right now I can barely focus my eyes to type this
This is Titus in Prague early this morning before boarding our plane.
Here’s us walking through the airport in Holland. Bethany is Dutch so it was like she was back with her people (OK, not really, but that’s what I was saying while we were there)!
Here’s the snow we saw on the way to Yakima, Washington today. And………. good night!
Oh, you know how it goes. You spend two days packing and making sure everything is ready to go. You stay up late the night before the big trip just to make sure you’ve packed everything. A few things get added to your luggage, you mark off your packing list, and then you zip up your bags and put them by the door for an early departure. Then, you barely make your train. But barely is still making it!
The train ride today was a lot of fun and I’m actually really glad we got to experience this trip in this way. It’s 4 hours from our place to Prague, but we had our own little mini room with four seats and plenty of space for our all of our stuff. The trains here are incredible and come complete with free coffee, free juice for the kids, and even free WiFi–not to mention pretty reasonably priced tickets. It’s just really nice to be able to sit and relax on the train and let someone else do the driving.
We are staying tonight in a hotel by the airport and will depart early tomorrow morning. Our Czech friend Martina sat with us on Sunday to explain just where to go and how to get around Prague and we had no trouble figuring it out with her directions. To get to the hotel we took a train, a bus from the main train station, and then a shuttle to the airport. It was a lot of maneuvering of baggage and kids but we made it work.
One of the highlights was on the bus from the train station to the airport where we talked with a young college student from Instanbul named Umur. He’s studying mechanical engineering in a town near ours but was traveling back to Turkey to see his family for the holiday. He was a really nice guy and was laughing and smiling with our kids. We talked about Turkish kabobs, which he told us were the real ones, and just chatted about different cultures and language. Near us were some young girls who gave their seats to our kids and they were from Portugal. Since everyone spoke English we had fun chatting and joking. It’s so fun to be around so many different cultures and people from different nations. I truly do praise God for the opportunity to talk and meet these young people today.
We had a simple dinner tonight and are getting prepped to give the kids baths and get a short night of sleep. We’ll be up early tomorrow (around 4:30/5:00am) to get to the airport for our 7am departure. Hopefully we’ll get good sleep and be ready for the big 17+ hours of travel ahead of us!
Here’s a bunch more photos from today.
Driving home this evening I saw a lot more houses and trees with Christmas lights. From what I have been told, Czechs usually don’t decorate until Christmas Eve or a few days before Christmas. Based on what I saw tonight, that’s definitely true because even our own landlord had Christmas lights hanging from her balcony and a little wreath on our shared front door (shown below).
I made a stop at the grocery store when I got town and the place was crazy. There were a ton more cars than normal and people were in super shopping mode. Christmas Eve is the day they open presents here, so I guess I was just caught in the middle of the last minute gift shopping. Everything was on sale, so I honestly don’t blame them. I actually made a stop at a second store for some other items and it too was full of people, and both stores had vendors outside selling live carp (that’s fish), which is a tradition here.
But as I was out, I was listening to the carol “We Three Kings” as sung and arranged by Steven Curtis Chapman. I’m sure I’ve heard the song a thousand times, but the words just really sank in tonight. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m aware of just how spiritually dark Czech is, but the song ministered to me as I saw the flickering lights and Christmas shoppers.
The carol walks through the life of Christ from His birth, death, and resurrection. The refrain ends with a line that just stuck with me today that says, “Guide us to thy perfect light.” I think I’m interpreting this correctly, but the light here is Christ. The imperfect star the kings are following is just leading them to a perfect light, the source of light, the Light of the World.
As I listened, my heart was heavy for the Czech people. So many will hang lights and celebrate this year without any knowledge of the True Light, Jesus Christ. My heart was filled with compassion for the many around the globe who will exchange gifts and travel to see family, again, without an understanding of the gospel of Jesus. My prayer tonight is that God would guide the lost to the Perfect Light this Christmas. I hope He uses me to do it, and I hope He uses many others around the world as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.