It's September...and I'm still in the Czech Republic. Not teaching mind you, just being here. It's kind of eerie. Today I was out walking the dog and watching the school children. It seems almost wrong to be here and not be teaching. But that appears to be the way things are, and now that my employment visa is finished there's nothing I can do about it. I now have up to three months in the Shengen Zone as a tourist before I must return to the US. Hopefully I'll be home before then, but it all depends on how quickly we can get the visa process finished up.
For the time being, however, I'm trying to make the most of things. The weather, which has been grim for most of the summer, has not improved. Surprise, Surprise. But such is life, and having lived in Oregon for a number of years you'd think I'd be well accustomed to this way of being.
This past weekend I didn't travel very far away physically, but I did take a journey back in time. I went for Karina's birthday party on Friday night, and stayed through for the celebration of the Waldstein Festival on Saturday. Last year we were totally out of town and missed the whole thing, but all my other years I've had a chance to at least enjoy a portion of this blast from the past.
The highlights this year:
1.) I've never been a big sausage fan. For those with any sort of background on my life, my food picky-ness is, well, epic. I'm the girl that people dreaded having to feed because you never knew what I might do. Not to mention how my poor dear mother felt putting up with me. While I did manage to put away 8 hot dogs in one sitting (not my finest hour!) anything more "interesting" than a hot dog and it's mysterious composition has caused me to turn up my nose. This year, however, I decided to be brave and join the crew in tasting "Certik" (pronounced Cher-teek) on the recommendation of Caleb (for those who know him.) This particular sausage is long and thin and totally black on the outside. It is wrapped inside a large potato pancake that has first had garlic ground on top of it. Fortunately the inside of the sausage was not black, and the taste was pretty innocuous. Needless to say, I still don't really want to know what it was made of, or why it was black in the first place, but I got the whole thing down with the help of a giant Czech pickle, another thing I had to get used to at first as they taste more like a cross between a sweet and a dill pickle from the US.
2.) The battle! Unlike two years ago when they constructed a make shift bridge to battle on, this year it took place in an old overgrown soccer field. It was a lot easier to see this time and I even managed a few good pictures.
3.) The pottery in the market was fantastic. Unfortunately, at this point in time the last thing I need to be doing is buying something big and fragile to try hauling back to the States. Fortunately, Karina bought something, so I could at least rejoice in her pretty new blue mug :)
In all it was a fun weekend, and included seeing lots of friends that I don't see much of anymore now that I live a whopping 30 minute train ride away. And, of course, they'll all be a whole lot busier now that school is back in.
Of course there are other things I've been doing to occupy my time besides the weekend travel. I've been taking pictures of mushrooms of course. Not that I've really changed my feelings about mushrooms, but there are so many different kinds here and I'm pretty fascinated by them.
To my knowledge, none of the above photographed mushrooms are edible. I think it's funny that the red ones are sort of the definitive image of a mushroom, and yet they're very poisonous. I just always picture a cute little forest mouse sitting under them. Guess I wouldn't want to eat the mouse either...
These little beauties, on the other hand, are most definitely edible.
I whipped up these delectably delicious cookies yesterday and the whole family has been enjoying them. Good to know I can still make the classics. I made Mac and Cheese last week as well. Nice.
On a final note, I've also been taking some serious time to work on my literary achievements. Not only have I been reading a lot, but I've also been writing and have made it past the 100 page mark! Pretty impressive since I couldn't even begin to tell you the last time I did that. Not since High school when I actually managed to complete two novels. So perhaps the old dream is not as dead as it may have appeared for several years...it remains to be seen if anyone will want to actually read it, but there's always hope. So while everyone else is heading back to school, at least I'm finding some way to make myself useful, or perhaps it's better to say, to keep myself busy...