Easter Monday and Why I Hate Self Checkout

Today was Easter Monday here in Czech (and other countries). It’s a normal holiday, so Titus was out of school and the Josiah Venture office was closed today so we were all home together which made it very nice. But check out how Wikipedia describes the traditions,

All countries practice a unique custom on this day. In Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic traditionally, early in the morning boys awake girls by pouring a bucket of water on their head and striking them about the legs with long thin twigs or switches made from willow, birch or decorated tree branches.

I’ve heard mixed reviews from Czechs here about these traditions so I can’t comment with any kind of authority on what they really think about it. However, for us, this meant that Avery and Bethany didn’t leave the house because getting hit by a branch or group of branches just doesn’t sound like fun. I think for most Czech women, the weather worked in their favor because it snowed on and off all day today so there weren’t many people walking about the town.

Snowing on Easter Monday (4/6/15)

Even though I was home, I spent most of the day studying the book of Galatians as I’ll be teaching the international team Bible study tomorrow morning. I pretty much studied straight through from 8:00-3:30pm today, with the exception of the half hour the power went out this afternoon. Normally Dave Patty (the president of Josiah Venture) teaches, but he’s already got a lot of teaching commitments through the next month or so. I joked with another friend that they decided to call in a minor leaguer for the day so we’ll see how it goes. Speaking of baseball, I’m excited that today is opening day at Dodger Stadium! We’ll be rooting for the home team from 6,000 miles away and hoping they’ll beat the San Diego Padres. Go Dodgers!

Blowing Bubbles (4/6/15)

Despite the snow and rain, the sun did manage to peak through the clouds again this evening and I took the kids outside to play with the bubbles they got in their Easter baskets. Above is a video I got of Titus doing a good job making bubbles. It was still in the low thirties, so we weren’t out there long, but they had fun pretty much emptying their little bottles.

I Hate Self Check Out (4/6/15)

It’s been a longer weekend, so I decided to hit the store for Bethany tonight because we were low on food. Since it was a holiday, I actually called the store before I went to see if they were even open to my surprise they were. Titus and I left the house and Bethany texted me her list. When I pulled in to the parking lot it looked like a ghost town. In fact, I had a hard time believing they were even open. Again, to my surprise they were. Titus grabbed a cart (you know, the one with the little car on the front for kids) and off we went. I was so excited how few people were there because it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves.

I loaded the cart up, got everything on the list except for two things they were out of (strawberries and pear water) and headed towards the front where I was sure to find a lonely cashier waiting for me. Upon arrival I looked down the aisles and saw no such cashier. Then I looked further. Oh no. The only lanes that are open are those things they call “self check out.” You know the ones. They have beady eyes and a digital voice with a mocking tone. I rolled our completely full car-cart to the lane. The helper lady just smiled at me and I began the long process of unloading and scanning each item, one by one. About half way through things got worse. It didn’t like my bags, it didn’t like the weight of the items, it didn’t like that I chose an orange pepper and not a red one, it didn’t like that I was male, it didn’t like the clothes I was wearing, it didn’t like that that I’m a foreigner living in Czech and trying to buy groceries on a holiday for my wife! AHHHHHHHH!!!

After a few sessions of counseling I will be fine, but I hate those self check outs. They are of Satan. The work of the Devil is in them to deceive us in to thinking that machines are more efficient than humans. This is a life from hell itself. But I digress.

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

On a happier note, when we got home Bethany had things ready for the kids to do a little egg coloring. They did. It was a really fun. Here’s some photos to finish off the night and this blog.

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)


Paying Rent and Still Learning How to Shop

I’m proud to say that I didn’t forget to pay the rent this month! Now don’t think that means it’s easy. Bethany and I started putting our plan together about it last night with notes, account numbers, amounts, phrases, what to do if we don’t understand what they’re saying to us, etc. I even got an email from our Czech friend Katka with the phrase “I need to make a cash deposit into someone else’s account” translated in Czech just in case I needed it. And I did! The bank teller could say a few numbers in English but for the most part she spoke a bunch of Czech that I just didn’t understand. I was looking around the room like a baseball pitcher checks the runners on first and third for anyone to help me and even though my American friend John was there we were still struggling. I tried showing her my phone with the amount I was trying to deposit which helped, but I still didn’t feel like we were on the same page. By God’s grace it all worked out in the end and the rent is paid!

Trust me…I realize that my victory at the bank may seem small, but I’m telling you for us this is a big win. It’s bad enough not being able to say anything more than “good day” to our landlord, and me forgetting to pay the rent on time last month just made me feel terrible. So actually getting it all done at the right time was especially encouraging. As it was, I found out today that I overpaid last month’s rent…yikes. Two steps forward, one step back.

Shopping Like Americans (8/8/14)

We’re still learning how to shop here. Bethany usually goes to the store by herself because that just makes things easier. Finding things in an unfamiliar store in an unknown language is not easy. Add to that a few kids and a mom could have a mental breakdown just trying to find the butter in the mildly cold section. Tonight we decided to go to Kaufland as a family. Basically this means I take the cart and the kids and find random things (like a mouse pad, batteries, and windshield washer fluid) and Bethany goes on the hunt for the necessities. There’s a lot of picking things up, trying to read what it is, and then putting things back (at least for me). At one point Bethany said, “I need to get some meat” and we walked by a huge refrigerated section of red colored meat and Bethany just kept walking. Thinking she just missed it I said, “Hey, we just passed a ton of meat!” She said, “You mean a ton of pork.” Oh. The pork section here is like the entire meat section at an American store. That kind of tells you what they like to eat here, I guess? In the end we get what we need, but no doubt it’s still far from feeling natural.

Tomorrow we have a guest coming to stay with us, but I won’t spoil it on tonight’s blog. You’ll just have to wait in suspense. So tune in tomorrow: same bat time; same bat channel.