And just like that, we’re back on a train headed for home. As I write, Avery is a sleep, Titus is watching a show on the iPad and Bethany is rocking baby Karis to hopefully get her to fall asleep. We’ve had an eventful day and we’re all a little tired, but I’m so thankful for how the Lord worked today.
The day started early as we had a 9:00am appointment at the U.S. embassy in Prague. Our friends Zach and Kara were so kind to come meet us at our apartment early this morning to watch Titus and Avery while we took Karis and all of our paperwork the embassy. The embassy was actually a lot closer to us than I thought and literally took us 1 minute to walk there as it was just across the street. Honestly, I think it took us longer to get out of our building than to walk to the embassy once we were on the street.
No surprise, but there was security to go through at the embassy, but it wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be. It took us a little work to get everything through (stroller, baby seat, etc.) but once we were in things went smoothly, albeit slowly. We were seen right away, but the processing of the documents is what I think took the longest. Their Web site claims it should take “45 minutes” but we were there over two hours. The man processing our paperwork was really nice and asked a lot of questions about what we do here so we shared about being missionaries. He also had us raise our right hands and affirm that everything we submitted was true (I only mention this because we hadn’t done something like that in a long time). Of course, we affirmed all of it and when the dust had settled on the morning all the paperwork was signed, completed, and now we wait. We’re hopeful to get all the documents back in the next 10 days and we’ll head back to Prague to pick everything up at that time.
Our morning at the embassy may have been really dull had it not been for the fact that we spent our waiting time hanging out with another really sweet missionary family. In God’s sovereign plan, a family (who serve near Prague) was there that we got to spend a ton of time with and get to know. We knew they were going to be there, and the circumstances surrounding how we knew and the incredible fact that we had the same appointment time on the same day are too much for this post, but it was a joy to see them and talk with them. They have three little girls and have been here for six years. We had planned to have lunch with them, which we did at a delicious pizza place, and then we ended up heading to park to let the kids play. There is a lot I could say about our time together, but it was really sweet and I’m thankful to have spent time with this family and were encouraged by their hearts for Czech and the ministry here.
We’re halfway home now with another two hours of travel left. Avery is awake and we’re enjoying a little snack. I feel a little sentimental as we approach our one year mark in just two days. Most likely I’ll be taking a break from the daily blog, but not from blogging altogether. For those who have joined us on this journey, thank you for reading and following along. I’ll write more on Wednesday about it, but it’s been a joy to share our lives with you in this way. See you tomorrow!
We’ve lost our minds. At least that’s the only explanation I can give for what we’ve done in the past week and a half. First, Bethany delivered Karis in a Czech hospital, we stayed in the hospital for 72 hours, we went to Krakow, we went to Auschwitz, and now I’m sitting in an apartment in Prague with our family plus Papa and Nana! We came here by train today (4 hour ride), walked to our apartment from the station, met our friends Zach and Kara for dinner, and as I write I can overlook the same square where communism fell in this country back in 1989.
Above is a photo of Karis riding the train and in the background you can see Avery and Titus asleep on their seats (actually, Bethany is also asleep in her chair but she’s off camera). Before anyone judges me for taking two young children, an infant, and a mommy who just gave birth to another European city, I can honestly say that a lot of this is because Bethany was totally up for it. Her parents will leave from Prague on Saturday and they too wanted to visit this beautiful city so we figured out a way to do it all before they leave. We’ll be here tomorrow and Friday and then we’ll come back on an early morning train on Saturday when we say goodbye to Papa and Nana as they head home to Washington State. I’m hope the next few days will be a joy for us all and a great end to a really incredible time together.
I mentioned we had dinner with Zach and Kara, but we also got to introduce them to Karis. Zach was saying when he saw our announcement that Karis was born that in that moment he realized, “oh man…now they’re outnumbered!” It’s true. I’m definitely still adjusting to a third child and I realized this more on the train ride over. It’s a lot of work to pull together all the stuff we need to spend a few days away as a family. This was always true with just Titus and Avery, but with baby Karis in the mix we’ve added a stroller, car seat, baby bag, and some ridiculous amount of diapers. Thankfully she’s been an incredible little baby thus far.
It’s just past 11pm and I’m pretty tired so we’re going to hit the hay. We’ll see you tomorrow!
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.