Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We've Moved!!! Brooklyn!

After over two years of fun in Manhattan, we made the journey across the the river to the County of Kings, Brooklyn!  There's not much to show yet because we're still in the process of setting up our place, but here's the front door to our 3rd floor walk up.  Hope you can visit soon!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Czech Republic: Day Three & Four

Phew!  Made it to Prague.  I should fill you all in on our last full day with the Lobels, though, before jumping into our Prague adventure.

Monday morning we got up and went to Jonny's school.  He's a teacher at BMA, a highly academic, well reputed school in Frydlant n.O.  It's basically the equivalent of a charter school, but is also the only Christian affiliated school in the country.  Anyway, it's awesome.  It's small and has a great family feel about it, something atypical of Czech high schools.  We took lots of pix with the regular camera, so be looking for shots of it when we post all our pix at the end of this week.  We got to sit in on four classes, which was really neat.  Jonny's english class was first and Nathan and I got to give the class lesson!  We shared about two American cities: NYC and Los Angeles.  Actually, I learned a lot believe it or not, in preparing the lessons.  The kids responded well and we did a game at the end.  After that, we sat in on a computer class and two more english classes (one with 3rd year students and one with 4th year students).  At Jonny's break we headed down the street to another typical Czech restaurant.  We had a good meal and I finally tried the fried cheese.  It's probably the last time I'm doing that.  The Czech food is insanely filling. It's all meat and potatoes various ways.  Yummy, but really heavy.  Anyway, the afternoon was chill for Nate and I.  We headed back to the Lobels and did laundry, I did some school work, and such.

When Lisa and Jonny both got home from work, we headed to this retreat hotel up on a nearby mountain to enjoy coffee and play Carcassonne (again).  I got a delish latte that I drank way too fast.  We also had a typical honey cake with our drinks.  Here's a shot of my drink with some "latte art" in the foam and a picture from the resort at sunset.  Beautiful.

I didn't mess with this picture.  It really is this picturesque.

This reminded me of my friend, Daisy.  It's a daisy!  On Polish pottery no less. :-)

After we had a great afternoon of chatting and Lisa & I tying for first against the boys, we headed back down the mountain to buy train tickets for our morning trip into Prague.  A bit later, we headed to a cute Portugese restaurant that serves Portuguese and Spanish food for some Paella.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  Paella in a landlocked country.  I have to say it was delish.  The owners are an adorable husband and wife who love running their little place.  They actually only opened for us yesterday so we were the only ones in the restaurant.  It was truly a wonderful evening.  Lots of good food, wine, conversation, love, etc.  It was a very relaxing and encouraging end to our visit with the Lobels.  The free pitcher of Czech-style sangria was also a fantastic treat!  Sadly, I didn't take any pictures so you'll just have to use your imagination on that one.

We got back to the Lobels and spent some time praying together for each other, our families and our lives.  Such a great thing to have the chance to be with good friends, friends that are basically family, across the world from us.  We love them so much and already miss them!!  We can't wait for Baby Monkey to arrive!!!

I'm not going to Prague post, as it might make sense to just blog the two days together later in the week.  I'll let you know that we made it here, found our hotel and had two good meals so far! =)  Please leave some love so I know you're reading!  Home to the States in 3 days!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 2 in the Czech Republic

Today was fantastic.  My post will be quick because it's time for bed since we're rising early tomorrow.  This morning we got up and enjoyed breakfast burritos in Eastern Europe.  Hilarious. And delicious.  We then set out to a town not too far away where there is a traditional town on display as a museum for tourists.  It reminded me a lot of some of the colonial towns that are set up in the traditional way for tourists to get an idea of what life was like.  This was really a great museum.  It was full of well-maintained, Moravian-style buildings, made completely of wood. 

The grounds of the museum. Where's the snow??

A replica of the "town hall" and "general store."

We got to also try a bit of a Czech specialty, spiced warm wine.  It tasted a lot like cough medicine to me, but it’s enjoyed all over the country.  We popped into the cafĂ© and had a snack of Czech beer, pretzels and traditional garlic soup before heading out.

 We then drove to get some lunch at a very typical Czech Restaurant, and it was AMAZING.  SO good and very cozy.  The restaurant also brews their own beer, which we enjoyed together.  Well, all but the pregnant Lisa. J 

After our day of adventure, we only had a few minutes at home before it was off to church.  The service was in Czech, but luckily we had a translator so that we didn’t completely die of confusion and boredom.  The people were so nice after the service, coming up and saying hello, asking questions.  It’s a nice community of Czechs and other internationals.  After church we grabbed ingredients for a yummy tuna salad dinner (we were still feeling our massive lunch) and Lisa and I prepared the food.  After a dinner and a yummy dessert involving Bailey’s Mint Chocolate, we played another round of Carcassonne in which I did not win…again.  At least this time, I did not come in completely last.

Hope everyone’s weekend is going well.  Enjoy the last remnant of freedom before Monday hits.  This was going to be short but I guess that didn’t happen. Haha! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 1 in the Czech Republic

It's almost not fair to say that I've been to CZ before.  I was in Prague with my dear friend Christin back in 2003, but for only about 20 hours.  We took a train from Dresden, Germany and even got our passports stamped on the train.  Well, come to think of it, I think she had an EU card or something so I got a stamp and she didn't.  Anyway...I digress.  We woke up this morning and enjoyed a fantastic pancake (from scratch) breakfast with Vermont Maple Syrup.  Yes, you heard correctly!!  Maple Grove Farms syrup.  Nothing but the best here in Frydlant n.O!  After lots of chats, we decided to tour the town, despite the rain.  Jonny & Lisa showed us around to the river and through the buildings and the main square.  It was lovely.  We stopped in a local grocery store and after seeing the sausage counter I felt forced to take a picture for Natty.  Haha.  Also, turns out it's super normal in grocery stores to cut people in line if you have less items than they do....even a pregnant person! (we were cut by someone wanting to buy only bread and we had about 20 items....and Lisa is clearly pregnant.)  Just an odd difference.

After picking up some essentials for dinner later on, we dropped off our things at home and headed off for a surprise location: a typical Czech tea house!  So great.  Jonny warned me that I would need to be a bit quieter than my normal level of speaking because Czechs are quiet in indoor restaurants.  Boy was he correct!  I had to whisper...until the young people in the section over from us started being quite loud...but anyway.  We sat, shoes off, at a low table and enjoyed various kinds of tea and then some pita, hummus, and baba ghanoush.  Delish!  Perfect snack.

Mine is a chai tea in a glass cup. They yell "chai! chai! chai!" when they serve it. I'm serious.

After chilling at the tea house for about three hours, we headed home to make homemade pizza (Lisa-style!) and play a game called Carcassonne.  Here's a cute Lisa with an apron on her preggo belly.


Okay, so that's it for today.  More later!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Goodbye, London! Hello, Poland...and CZ!

Well, we made our first visit to POLAND!  I got a passport stamp to prove it!  I also ate a meal there, which of course makes it even more official.   I should step back for a second though and mention the events leading up to our arrival to Eastern Europe…

 Nathan and I had a good last half day in London.  We gave away all the foods stuff that we had left as well as some paper towels and cleaning spray by putting them outside our door with a sign that read: “Leaving London tomorrow.  All items are free.  Please take them.  Please!  FREE!”  They took everything but the bag of coffee, which, honestly, was a good option b/c that coffee was wretched.

A high point of yesterday was that we got to see our sweet and dear friend from Boston for breakfast.  It was a joy to see her happy and settled here in Europe.  It’s also fun to hear about her various adventures, etc.  Loved every minute, and it was only about an hour. Sad day.  Anyway, below was my croissant with Gruyere and tomato.  Indulgence.  And a pot of coffee.  Necessity.   

My last class we had a guest speaker that was pretty boring until the last 45 minutes (of a 2.5 hr total talk) when they shared their own stories of how they acquired HIV and their lives now as a result.  It went 30 minutes longer than planned which meant that everyone was fidgety and wanted to kill the girl who asked FIVE questions in a row (per usual) at the very end when we wanted to ship out.  Argh.

After class, Nathan and I met up and hopped on the Tube to the Liverpool Station and caught the Stansted Express to the airport.  We made it with a perfect amount of time to spare.  I’m proud to report that we were UNDER the weight restrictions for our two bags on Ryanair which is really a feat.  We also managed to only have one carry-on each (that’s also a strict Ryanair rule).  Thankfully, Arup agreed to hold onto our larger suitcases for this next week of travel so we didn’t have to pay to store them.  When we land in Heathrow, Nathan will go fetch our bags before we fly out to NY.  Anyway, we grabbed Pret for lunch and went through security. 

I’m not sure what to say about our flying experience other than to say that it was like flying on Hulu or something…an advertisement every 10 minutes.  Seriously.  There were automated messages that came on and the flight attendants had various motions and actions to perform each time an announcement was played.  For food purchase, Duty Free items, discounted phone plans and SIM cards, and my personal favorite…. lottery tickets!  Here’s our flight attendant showing off the special lottery cards:

I have to say that all these things were a good distraction from one of the most turbulent flights I’ve been on in a while.  Thankfully it was a short 1 hour and 40 minute hop over to Katawice (Cat-ah-Vee-CHey).  We deplaned and got onto one of those shuttle buses with everyone from the plane, only to drive a could hundred feet to the arrival terminal.  It was hilarious.  An older Polish couple sitting next to us laughed and said well, this is Poland!  It was cute.  A passport stamp and bag grab later, we were with Jonny and Lisa, bumping along the Polish highway toward the Czech Republic!  Only one stop for petrol and a bite at a Polish McDonald’s made us realize that Poland is certainly not how I ever imagined.  Maybe more on that later…dunno. 

So, we’re here.  It’s awesome.  Today will be fantastic.  Signing off. 

(It’s now after the whole day is through that I’m actually posting this online, so more posts later in the day. J  Lucky you, reader!)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

High Tea...and Sad Goodbyes

Tomorrow we leave London.  It's actually really sad for both of us.  We've loved every minute and I can't say that there are many things I miss about NYC while being here.  Of course I miss my friends and I miss my bed, but honestly there's something so inticing about this city I can't really put it into words.  You kind of just want to wander all the time...just to anywhere.  You're on old streets with rickety clanking stone sidewalks, bustling old ladies with hats and bags that look like they came from another era, and the charming taxis where drivers actually know every single road b/c of that gosh darn exam they're forced to take.  Anyway, it's just addictive that's all.  I'm excited to leave for the Czech Republic and some sweet times with Jonny & Lisa so I'm grateful for that.  I'll be sure to post lots of pix from that part of our trip, though I've been told the snow has melted away. (Major bummer.)

Yesterday I had afternoon tea with my classmates at the British Museum.  It was lovely and I'll definitely do it again.  I liked it much better than Harrod's--less pretentious and more yum.  Here's a shot of my treats.  I only had the scones because I was so stuffed after them that I couldn't think of eating the sweets...shame...

Doesn't it look to die for??  Yes, that's clotted cream! Woot!

Anyway, I really need to head to bed, but I did want to mention that Nathan & I ate yummy Indian food on Brick Lane, something I've always wanted to do.  I was warned it's terrible and for tourists but after much research, one of Nathan's coworkers and his wife found a great spot and was full of Brits.  Brilliant!  Off to bed.  Much love to you all.  Thanks for reading!