Another month is whirring by. Soon to be nothing but another list of memories. Thoughts of moments spent and celebrated. So it's time to share a bit more of what has happened this month before the month is totally gone. I bring to you, once more, a visually aided recollection.
Now, I've never really been a fan of Valentine's Day. Not that I haven't enjoyed handing out little cards, or eating chocolates, but the theme or the day has generally been something I found more depressing than uplifting. I can also agree with all the skeptics who say things like, shouldn't we celebrate the ones we love every day, rather than having a particular day set aside for it. But there is something about being in a relationship that shifts my perception on the topic. I still think it's predominately a marketing scheme, but there is really nothing wrong with finding a reason to express love. True, we shouldn't need to be told to do so more on one day of the year than on another, but there's nothing wrong with using the day that has been set aside to remind us that it's important to hold tightly to the ones we love.
This year I really appreciated the opportunity to share the day with someone extra special. There were no chocolates or flowers, but instead acts of thoughtfulness. A conscious effort to remember why we do the things we do, and to express our thankfulness for time spent together. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day of life, and to forget to show deliberate time and care, and having a holiday around as a reminder is helpful. So while Mark and I spent a truly lovely day together, and enjoyed the beauties of God's creation by going for a walk in the snow.
It's really worth taking a closer look at the photo with the snowflakes because you can see the individual flakes and it was really impressive. Usually snow all just molds together quickly, but these flakes maintained their shape and were delightful to see.
As we walked up through the town we were blessedly under the rays of the sun, but were allowed a very impressive view of a black sky as a backdrop for the lovely buildings of Marianske Lazne.
It was all truly lovely. And Mark topped the day off by making me some yummy pasta for lunch as well. Super sweet ;)
I've been enjoying the opportunity to get to know Mark's family a bit better as well. It's challenging because they don't speak English, and my Czech skills are far below what I'd like them to be. But we find our ways to communicate, and one of the ways they've discovered works well is to feed me :) So on the 13th we went out to dinner in a town near where they live. We went to a very interesting restaurant that is situated beneath a hill. The Chodovar Brewery makes beer here, and in earlier days I'm pretty sure the caves were used for some sort of mining operation. As you can see by the sign over the doors the caves have been in existence for a LOOOONG time! We had a nice dinner and I had Svickova, a very popular and famous Czech dish, for the first time. I was only able to make it through about 1 1/2 dumplings because they're so heavy, but the food was quite good. It takes a little imagination to get beyond the fact that you're eating meat with whip cream on top, but it works with the sweetish sauce and the cranberries. In all a very interesting eating experience.
This past weekend Mark and I went with his sister to her house in Germany and once again I had a chance to hang out with his adorable nieces and nephews. The language stretch was a challenge, but I managed to have some little conversations with the girls, and his sister as well. They're quite patient with me, and when I don't understand they find new ways to say things until I can mostly understand and try to respond. By this point, the boys who turned three a couple weeks ago, are used to me coming with Mark, and have lost most of their shyness, so it's a lot of fun. Exhausting, but fun.
So that pretty much sums up my past couple of weekends. The days are really flying by, as I mentioned before, and soon and very soon Mom and Dad will be here. Hopefully I'll have some place to put them and some interesting things for them to see. It will most definitely be interesting :)