Today was officially our 9th wedding anniversary, and it’s a good thing we did all of our celebrating earlier this week because today was kind of crazy.
I walked with Titus to school this morning in the dark. It was his first day back in over a week because last week he was too sick and this week we were out of town. So this morning we walked in the cold, but Titus was in a really good mood. He was laughing and racing me so I go the photo above of him as we were playing. Since it had been a few days he was a little more clingy to me as I was leaving him this morning, but he didn’t cry.
As soon as I walked back to the house, Bethany and Avery and I jumped in to the car and headed off to the foreign police in Ostrava. Ostrava is about 30 minutes from our house, so it’s a bit of a drive. We were scheduled to meet our friend Katka to get all of the paperwork in for our 2 year visa application. Katka texted me this morning and said, “Make sure you bring all of your passports.” I said, “Will do” and added, “Do we need anything else?” She wrote back, “Just passports and patience.” Any time you’re working with government offices in Czech you need patience! Above is a photo of Avery practicing patience while playing the iPad while we waited.
We have been working on all of the paperwork for weeks, but it’s funny how you can still forget things. There were still forms we forgot to sign and things that needed to be filled in. Above you can see Katka writing in something that I honestly can’t remember. Thankfully the man helping us was very helpful and Katka said he was very thorough. Here’s the guy who helped us, along with our passports sitting on his desk. We’re not sure if he was be sarcastic or was just unhappy, but he said it was going to take him a few hours to finish up the paperwork and said, “I guess you can go and not wait for me.” Thanks, pal!
Bethany drove me straight to the JV office where I had meetings this afternoon and she headed home to pick up Titus from school and get things ready for tonight. On her checklist: 1) find a babysitter for tonight 2) clean the house 3) make dinner for the kids and the sitter 4) find and wrap a white elephant gift 5) make an appetizer and dessert for a party tonight. Incredibly, she got it all done! I don’t know how she did it, but she drove back to the JV office around 6pm to pick me up and head over to the international team Christmas party tonight.
We had turkey and a lot of fun food that everyone brought. There was also a white elephant gift exchange that, to be honest, was a lot nicer than most I have been to. Bethany and I had a joint gift so we were working together on the choosing of the bags. We got a bag with a big pole sticking out of it which contained a curtain rod, a new curtain, a can of paint, and some ends to a curtain rod. It was actually hilarious and you can see me with the rod in the photo above and the curtain in the photo below.
Besides the silliness of curtain rods and paint, we had a good time sharing about Christmas memories and asking each other questions related to Christmas. Everyone has such unique traditions and favorite things from playing Monopoly on Christmas morning before presents to watching a Finnish Christmas movie about an orphan. It really is so fascinating to listen to people from different cultures and even missionaries who have made this place their new home and how they do traditions and Christmas. For me, it was a learning time and a way to experience other cultures.
Here’s a few photos we took at the very end of the night. Thanks to Connie Patty for emailing me these tonight, along with the photos of me opening the white elephant gift. Be sure to check out her blog for lots more photos of all the fun.