D.

Day Two in Krakow

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

Our second and final day in Krakow has been a lot of fun. We had our first uninterrupted night of sleep in…well, since Titus was born? I can’t really remember, but it was amazing. The apartment where we’re staying has an incredible shower where it has the shower head on the ceiling and the water falls on top of you. It’s amazing what a nice shower (or shower head) will do to kick off your day!

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

We skipped breakfast (aka: slept in) and grabbed lunch in the town square. Afterwards we went around for another stroll through the Christmas market. We saw a lot of it last night, but felt a little rushed, so it was nice to take more time today and find some things for our kids and just take it all in at a slower pace. I had my camera this time and the the daylight, so here’s a few photos of our time today (as always, captions are below each).

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

Don’t tell Titus but we ended up buying him a knight’s shield and a sword for Christmas. They are all made of wood by the neato blacksmith guys that we saw last night. I may just have to buy one for me so we can battle!

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

We bought these amazing cinnamon and sugar things to snack on while we were walking around. The little shop had Italian flags out front and the people that worked there were really friendly. The little roll things were yummy!

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

Here’s Bethany going for a bite of some cinnamon and sugar goodness!

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

The square wasn’t as busy during the day, but even on Monday there was a good amount of foot traffic.

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

As we were browsing, we could watch the horse and carriages make their way around. So…

A photo posted by Shay Thomason (@shaycam) on

We went for a 30 minute carriage ride! Above is a shot we took on the carriage. It had nice, comfy seats and they gave us a lap blanket to keep us warm. But you and I both know it was really our love that kept us warm….awwwwwwwww.

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

Here’s a photo of our carriage that I took while we were walking away. It was really fun and we almost wish we could’ve brought our kids with us…almost.

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

We took a little break this afternoon and went back out this evening for a walk and some coffee. The town square comes alive at night with lights and shows. Actually, they had a bunch of Polish dancing and doing something on stage that we didn’t understand, but it was still fun to see.

Christmas Market Foods (12/15/14)

Christmas Market Foods (12/15/14)

Above is the dinner we created from the street vendors. The chunks of meat you see were basically the most tender pieces of ham I have ever eaten. Bethany and I split those and added mushroom, veggies, and potatoes as sides. We brought it all back to our apartment and enjoyed a little meal inside. For dessert we got waffles at a little shop topped with powdered sugar and raspberries. We didn’t finish it all, but it was fun!

Tomorrow we’ll head back to pick our kids from the Millers house, but we have had a great time the past 24 hours. Right now we’re watching a favorite TV show and just hanging out together. Even though we’re in a great city in Poland, it’s just nice to rest and enjoy time together.

D.

Day One in Krakow

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

Thanks to kind friends, Bethany and I are spending today and tomorrow in Krakow, Poland. Our 9th wedding anniversary is this coming Wednesday and we were hoping to do something fun and get away for a little rest. Yes, I guess “rest” is the theme of the 9th wedding anniversary when you have two young kids and another baby on the way. Our friends, the Millers, are watching Titus and Avery for the next two days so we’re staying in a little apartment here in the old town square of Krakow.

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

We arrived here around 5:30pm and after figuring out the apartment rental situation (which, by the way, is the only way to travel!), we started walking around the town square. The whole square is lively with Christmas things and a big market. Oh, and as you can see in the photo above, apparently a huge semi-truck with a Coca-Cola logo and a picture of Santa (ironically, not pictured here) with a huge Christmas tree behind it really says, “Merry Christmas from Poland!”

We enjoyed a great meal at a place in the square that a friend recommended to us. Both of us tried traditional European dishes that we really liked. Afterwards, we roamed around the Christmas market just enjoying all the different things the little shops. Below are some photos of what we saw (captions below each).

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

I liked these blacksmith guys. That is all.

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

Handmade Polish ornaments were readily available.

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

This wood shop was amazing. But hey, nobody light a match!

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

We spent way too much time in the Polish pottery shop. They had some incredible stuff, especially these little Christmas trees which we really liked.

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

Notice just how they pack in the Polish pottery at the shop. You have to really dig through stuff, carefully of course, to find what you want but it can actually be fun. Bethany stressed me out just a little with her gloves and picking up pottery. She was kind enough to take them off after about the third or fourth time of me saying, “…be careful.” Oh, marriage…

On our way back to our apartment we considered taking a horse and carriage for a spin, but our cold hands had other plans. We’re staying up a little late tonight enjoying one of our favorite TV shows and we’ll see how tomorrow goes!

W.

Why History Matters and Working on Our Home

Today is a holiday in the Czech Republic. Schools and businesses were closed and people were celebrating what is known as the Velvet Revolution. Twenty five years ago, in 1989, students were holding a demonstration in the capitol city of Prague. As BBC News put it, the students were holding a “peaceful demonstration to commemorate International Students’ Day. Little did they know that their seemingly innocuous protest would trigger the momentous events which would in effect end the rule of communism in the country a mere 10 days later.” It truly was a historic day and one that has today led to more missionaries working here and giving us the opportunity to openly share the Gospel with many who have never heard it.

I have always enjoyed history. It’s a subject I did well in and I owe a lot of that to amazing teachers who taught me to enjoy and learn from the past. I’ve even reminded of that famous quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Obviously, not all of the past bad, but I think we get the point. That’s why I was struck by something I read today in regards to the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Czech. In the same article I quote above, BBC News later writes, “But as both countries [Czech and Slovakia] prepare to mark a quarter of a century of freedom, a survey conducted recently by the Public Opinion Research Centre suggests a full sixth of Czechs still long for a return to communism” (my emphasis). Wow. Really? That’s just hard to believe, and honestly as a foreigner it’s definitely difficult to understand. The article continued by adding, “…84% of Czechs are aware that 17 November is celebrated as a national holiday to remember the Velvet Revolution, only 30% of people below the age of 30 are aware of this.” Yikes.

History matters. I don’t know what they’re talking about in Czech schools, but to ignore one of the most significant moments in their history is just sad and dare I say wrong. What’s scary about those statistics is it’s mainly about the young generation here. If the young people don’t know their history they are very likely to miss things in their future and even revert back to the past. My hope and prayer is that God would continue to work among that young generation. I hope they do learn from their past, but more importantly, that they would hear about the most important Person in history, Jesus Christ.

Now for a change of subject.

The Dining Area (11/17/14)

Bethany has been saying for months “if we had two full days, we could finish unpacking and get the house in order.” Well, today was definitely one of those days. With today’s holiday and a birthday party for Avery coming this Saturday, we worked hard getting some final boxes unpacked and getting the house organized. It has been an uphill struggle, but I think we might have made it to the top today. Above is a photo of the hutch in our dining room area which we decorated a little bit today. Those Los Angeles and Seattle prints are not final, but we had them so we’re using em’ for now. Beyond the dining room, I spent a lot of time in our storage closet. We really only have one, maybe two spaces for storage (besides our garage) and we have maximized our capacity. Below is a photo of the little storage closet we have that I finally completed organizing today. It’s floor to ceiling full, but it fits and we can find things!

Storage Room (11/17/14)

With all the transition here, our house has just taken a back seat and I was really thankful to get some time today to just focus and help get our place feeling more and more like home. There’s still some work to do, but this was a huge step forward today.

Now to get some much needed sleep!