Bethany and I had the chance tonight to spend a little time out on the town (square) in Poland. Thanks to Steve and Judy for watching our kids, we got to go to dinner and just enjoy a little people watching in the border town of Cieszyn. We found a little restaurant that we really like and this was our second time there. We sat in a window seat and just had fun people watching. There’s a film festival going on there right now so it was an interesting crowd walking by. It was really relaxing actually, just to sit and enjoy being together and talking. As much as I love our kids, it’s not always fun to take them out to eat (which we don’t do often anyway). Most of the customers at the restaurant sat outside, but we were inside and it was quiet and peaceful. Those moments are few and far between, but when they do come they are special. We took our time eating and even got dessert which was really nice. This was one of those nights where you remember you’re living in Europe…and it’s amazing.
After dinner we walked around town a bit and caught a few photos of the scenery as the sun was setting. The golden sunlight was making everything even more beautiful than it already was, and I don’t think my iPhone photos are going to do it justice, but here are two I got.
We’re getting sad that we’ll be saying goodbye to Steve and Judy tomorrow night. They’ll be taking an early train on Wednesday morning and we’ve had a really good time with them the past few days. Anyone that knows this dear couple knows that they are such an encouragement. Just by hanging out with them your prayer life will increase, you’ll be speaking Truth more, and even talking more about what you’re thankful for–at least that’s been our experience this past week. Those are the kind of people you want around!
Tomorrow we’re going to take them to the Josiah Venture offices and give them a tour and then maybe over to the JV hotel area where our conferences are held. Then I’m hoping to take them to a favorite lunch spot near there. We’ll see how the day goes and look forward to sharing that story with you tomorrow.
Don’t be fooled by the title of this post. Usually when someone says they had a sick day they really mean they didn’t show up to the office and laid in bed. That’s what I should’ve done today, but thought I could plow through the day despite my sore throat and lack of a voice. Now I’m sitting here tonight really tired and just not feeling well.
This week is a shorter week because the Josiah Venture family will be together at our training center for two days at a big Thanksgiving event. Lots of missionaries from around Central and Eastern Europe will come and we’ll celebrate together and talk about what we’re thankful for. All the festivities start tomorrow night so I figured I would finish up some work at the JV offices, but alas I should’ve stayed in bed. I guess I did get a few things done today but now I have my first doctor’s appointment in Czech scheduled for tomorrow around 4pm. Hopefully I can get some medicine to help figure out why I have been so sick for a few months now.
Despite being sick, Bethany and I had a date night scheduled tonight that we enjoyed together. Our friend Rachael came over and graciously watched our kids for the evening in exchange for some photos I did for her a few weeks back. Bethany and I enjoyed a quiet dinner at a local restaurant near our apartment and drove to a new shopping center to try and get some gifts for Avery’s actual birthday this Saturday. The photo above is of the bathrooms there…so strange. The night went relatively smoothly, but while we were in one of those stores shopping a lady who could speak a little English said to us, “We’re closed.” This after a few minutes of the employees trying to communicate with and us not understanding. We laughed and apologized and out we went. Thankfully we got Avery’s gift purchased before that so we’re excited for her to open something on Saturday when she turns 3.
Shortly after we left for our date tonight, Rachael texted us this photo (below) of Titus asleep on his bed (around 6:15pm). Apparently he cried after we left and went to his room to calm down (on his own) and a few minutes later this is how Rachael found him. I guess he calmed himself down alright.
I got an email from our landlord the other day. The subject was “Wash exterior window sills” and the email read,
Hello Mrs. Bethany on Thursday morning ie. Oct. 16. 2014 at home?
You will need to wash again sills and you have a lot of work with children, so I ordered the lady who would at 9.30 pm. Washed it in the apartment.
Greetings to all .Thank you.
What a great email. Not only is she very nice in how she words everything, but she paid for a lady to come and wash the window sills for us. I’ve shared before about the window sills, but they are big and there are a lot of them. With everyone not feeling great it’s been hard to get them cleaned. We were so thankful for the kindness of our landlady to do that for us. The only tricky part was the 9:30pm part. I assumed it was AM, and I was actually right, but she came today around 11. No biggie. We were home and she did an awesome job.
For lunch today we decided to get pizza to-go from a local place here in town. To give Bethany a little break, I took the kids with me. It’s a walkable distance, but with Titus and Avery it pretty much doubles the length of time I’m going to be gone. It was raining lightly when we left so I brought umbrellas which quickly turned in to “bumper umbrellas” as the kids kept running in to each other and laughing. The pizza guy speaks great English so I ordered and I told him we would be back in a few minutes and off we went to the bookstore.
I needed to look for some new Czech language books as we are pursuing a new teacher and she goes through different material. I was able to find the books after going through the store two times over. The only problem was they only had 1 set of the books in stock (there are 3 books in the series). When I got the checkout it proved very difficult to communicate that I needed another set. After a few minutes of trying to speak and trying to use my phone to translate I kind of got the gist: I think they needed to order more and would arrive in the future, maybe next week? Another lady in the store overheard me and the clerk trying to communicate and walked up and said, “Do you need help?” in perfect English. Score! I told her I think I know what’s going on but she was able to tell me that they are ordering the books and they will come tomorrow. Ah! “Tomorrow…” — that’s the word I confused as “next week.” Now they know why I need the books.
Tonight we got a babysitter and had a date night. It’s been a while since we’ve gotten away together just Bethany and I, so it was a blessing. We had originally planned to go to dinner with friends but I felt like we just needed some time to ourselves tonight. A girl from our church watch our kids and she was great. Bethany and I went to the mall in Ostrava and had–wait for it–Burger King for dinner. Don’t judge us. It actually sounded really good, is cheap, and just the small taste of America, fast food or otherwise, is a blessing. After dinner we just walked around and relaxed and ended up leaving earlier than we expected. It was a fun night together and I’m thankful for the focused time with my wife.
That’s all for today. Onward.
We broke our own rule today. Rule #1 in the Thomason Czech house is “don’t assume.” I believe I’ve written about it before, but basically it works like this: don’t assume you know how something in Czech works. Don’t assume you know how the microwave works, or how to drive a car, or that the store will have eggs in stock, and especially don’t assume government agencies work like they do in the States. This might sound easy, but in practice it’s very hard. You rely on what you know and what’s familiar and you start to make assumptions based on previous experiences. But that’s not always the right way to go and today and I did just that. I assumed. I assumed the “Foreign Police” office would be open until 5pm, but they closed at 2pm which was the time we had scheduled to leave our apartment for the office. Because of that we missed our day to register our visas and now we have to try tomorrow and pray they give us a little grace on missing our “three working day” window to get registered. I can’t believe I forgot my own rule.
On the bright side, we got to go on our second date tonight here in Czech. Our friend Claire graciously offered to babysit for us a while back and it just happened to line up with us trying to go to the foreign police. So we had her come over this afternoon and our plan was to go to the foreign police and then have dinner, but since missed the foreign police we went to IKEA and did some shopping and then headed out for dinner in Ostrava (a town about 40 or so minutes from where we live).
Date night didn’t start so great, honestly. We spent more time at IKEA than I thought we would and Claire had given us the name of a restaurant she likes but when I tried to GPS it we got lost and I didn’t take it so well. It’s not easy being a man and trying to take your wife on a date and then get lost…especially in Czech. We don’t know the language, we cant just find another place to go, and you have limited time as it is. After a 30 or more minute detour we made it to a really nice place and had burgers, pizza, and ended with coffee (photos below). The last photo is of a coal cart that was actually inside the Starbucks. I’m assuming coal mining is a big part of Ostrava’s history, but then again that would be breaking rule #1.
Claire was a champ with our kids and I could tell when we got home that they had a great time with her. She played Wii with Titus, read them books that she brought, took them outside to play, and after she left we realized she had even done our dishes! So nice. It’s too bad she’s heading back to the States this Friday to return to college because I think we would just hire her. Be sure to follow along with Claire on her blog.
We’re so thankful to have had another night out even though it didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped. I know now that I will have to do a lot more planning in the future. These are some of the growing pains of living in a new country and just like physical growing pains they can hurt a little. By God’s grace we’ll continue to grow in our understanding of Czech and how to live and adapt here.