The Friday after an unbelievably beautiful (and slightly terrifying) week in Italy, we drove back to Kroměříž so that I could attend my English teacher’s (formally Kristina Hamšiková) wedding at the church attached to my school. She married a German man, so the sermon was translated into both Czech and German to accommodate both sides family. Besides the fact that it was unbelievably cold inside the church, it was a beautiful ceremony. My class of 2B sang and was the band, so I actually got to be a part of the whole shebang. Then afterward we took pictures with the newlyweds and wished them luck before they left for the honeymoon.
That night, I went to my councilor’s house in Zlin so that I could go to a Christmas ball organized by his daughter/my friend Nicole. It was very nice, great decorations and a fun atmosphere.
I spent the night at the Lukovicovi house and the following morning we cleaned up the dance and went shopping, followed by an… eventful, lunch at the mall. Following lunch we drove back to Kroměříž for my first lacrosse practice. It was really cool, and I was finally glad to be doing a little physical activity. After practice they invited me to go to the Cerny Orel (a pub on the main square) for their Christmas party. By the time I got home that night I was ready to take a bath and go to bed, but when I opened the door to my bathroom, I found a kaper (Czech for carp) swimming around in my tub. Turns out, this was to be Christmas dinner J
Monday we had the Rotary Christmas dinner. One of the Rotarians is married to a professional singer from Japan, so she put on a small show before dinner, and was super. Then, we had the traditional soup, carp filet, and potato salad. Afterward, I gave out little snow men ornaments I had made, and Rotary gave me a present. It was a silver and Czech garnet bracelet for Christmas. It is B-E-A-utiful J on the off chance any of them read my blog… THANK YOU! I was also informed I would be switching to my next host family on the 29th…
Tuesday there was a half day of school, half of which was videos, and the other half a Christmas party J Wednesday was the start of holiday break. So I did the rest/most of my Christmas shopping and made sweets with my host mom and sister. At night I went to the Christmas party with my scout group, there were a lot of new faces and fun things to do. As a present from the whole group, the Mafia gave me a bandana with the scout name on it. They told me it was so I wouldn’t forget them :P There was a scavenger hunt, a present exchange where everyone got random thing, and then we sent up a hot air balloon type thing for good luck for the New Year. The carp in my tub, had acquired an even larger friend :D
Thursday the 24th was the day we celebrated Christmas. In the morning we played Christmas carols, made more sweets, cleaned apples, decorated the main tree, and I made smaller trees in vases and decorated them. For lunch we had carp sushi, and then at four o’clock we went to Christmas mass at Panne Maria. After church we came home and had prepared for our feast :D we had a short reading of the Bible then had our potato salad and carp by candle light. After dinner, we all got an apple. We cut them in half, and supposedly, if there is a star in the middle, you will have luck for the coming year. So I asked what would happen if you didn’t get a star, and my mom told me that then it doesn’t mean anything :P
After apples, Ondrej lit some sparklers in the kitchen (another tradition), and then a small bell rang, meaning that baby Jesus had come with our presents. We gathered around and presents were handed out. I got some cosmetics, and some small girly things, plus a pair of garnet earrings to match the bracelet I had gotten from rotary. The rest of the night was spent watching movies and playing with presents J then, spat…
Christmas morning I skyped my family back home and opened presents I had gotten from back home.
I guess it is traditional to spend the 25th with your grandparents, so we headed off to Stramberk to spend the next two days at the Ranch with the Debef clan. We had a smaller version of Christmas, and had another present exchange. I got some lotion and MORE chocolate :P I have really enjoyed all the time I have spent with Ondrej’s family, I have my fingers crossed that they might continue to take me along to family get-togethers even after I switch families :P
The 27th was fairly laid back, we laid around most of the day, but did go to see a pretty cool are exhibits at the local museum featuring photos from the communist era. There was also a History of Kroměříž that we looked atm. My host mom showed me a necklace she had donated, that she had found in her backyard garden. In the evening we had one of Martin’s old teachers over for drinks and to look at Martins pictures from Australia. Monday was also a relaxing day. Nothing really happened except for a visit from an old family friend who now lives in England.
Tuesday was my last day living with the Eliska and Ondrej Debef, so in honor of this they took me out to lunch at the restaurant we had eaten at for their anniversary in Přerof and then we did some sigh seeing in the city. It was a really nice day, and I was sorry to have to pack up and leave that night.
Now I am living with the Hrabalovi family. I live with Jana and Zdeněk and their daughter Eva (19) and son Tomaš (17). Tomaš was the exchange student from Kroměříž to Alaska last year. So far I’m just spending some time getting use to being with a new family. New Years Eve Eva had some friends over to the house and we sat around, talked, played games, and then walked down to the main square for midnight. We lit some of our own fireworks and wished each other a “Stěsty Novy Rok” Down at the square we met Dina who was there with some of her friends and all went to Slady before calling it a night.
Yesterday we had a special new years day lunch. We had a chick-pea soup and beef fillet with potatoes. It is said that the more chick-peas that are in your soup the more luck you will have this year. We had beef because something about eating something that could fly means your luck will fly away. And as for the potatoes… well they just really like potatoes in CZ :P
This morning I woke up to snow (:D) and went swimming at the pool about a quarter mile from our house. It was very refreshing, but reminded me just how out of shape I am… hopefully I’ll get to go there more often to improve that :P I also google map’ed my commute to school. Its 1.25 miles to school… Mondays should be fun ;)
Some things familiar, some things peculiar:
1: When you give and receive gifts from under the Christmas tree, you don’t tell anyone who they are from. All presents are said to be from “Baby Jesus”.
2: If a little kid needs to use the bathroom, it is fine to take them to the nearest grassy spot and let them do it there. I have seen many parents dangling their pants less child in public areas waiting for them to do their business.
3: Fire detectors are neither mandatory, not common in homes. No matter why this is, im sure it helps that most houses are almost entirely made of stone.