Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wrapping up with Miscellany

Maybe it's because I'm feeling edgy that I'm suddenly posting so many blogs. It's that strange waiting period when you know the moment is almost over and you just want to be on the plane going, but you still have to wait another day. It's that halfway sort of place. Obviously if you could stick around longer you'd enjoy it. You could keep living life as usual. But when you get beyond the point of really being able to do anything else it's hard to know what to do with yourself. That's sorta where I'm at. My bags are mostly packed. And I still have a day before we leave. It's night time, and I could be going to bed, but instead I have all these thoughts inside my head, and I'm sure I wouldn't sleep yet anyway, so I figured I might as well add one more blog to the November list. Keep my mom happy after the long silence the first half of this month or something like that.
So I thought I'd fill in some pictures from the past few days to sorta tie up some lose ends. We'll start out with my birthday when Laura was here. Since she wasn't able to be here for the Bridal Shower in June she decided to bring a little showeriness to my birthday instead with this stunning pair of glasses.

Yes, I did look this positively ridiculous in public, and it was totally worth it. We had quite a laugh and enjoyed talking shop about weddings and whatnot. Having been a primary planning helper for her wedding last summer, planned predominately while she was here and carried out two weeks after her arrival in the states, it was fun to have a chance to turn the tables in my direction :)
I'm not sure if I mentioned that we have snow here now. Well, we do. Can't say it's exactly how I would have chosen to end my time, since it makes flight delays a question to ponder, but it does make the place beautiful. At this moment I'd say we have between two to four inches. It's crusty underfoot at this point, but super beautiful. The first day it snowed it wasn't quite so solid, which meant our last trek to the garden was a bit gushy. There was just barely enough for Mark to make snowballs that he enjoyed lobbing at me. However, I got him back pretty good when he was bending over and a little skin was exposed. Evil, well, maybe I am a little ;)
It now has windows, which is pretty cool. This was on Wednesday when it first started snowing so you can see there isn't too much yet.
As promised before, here is a picture of my Thanksgiving lunch.
It was quite the tasty little number. Sadly I didn't remember to take a picture of the Pumpkin Cheese Cake. It was also pretty dreamy. I'm still looking forward to having Thanksgiving dinner with my family when I get back to the states. They want to show Mark a bit of American style. Should be fun.
After our lunch we had to take Eva back to her school. I was really so glad to have had the chance to catch up one last time.

Then Ann and I climbed the tower in the square and enjoyed the view from the top.

We also enjoyed the door at the bottom :)

She had plans to go on a general free tour the next day, so we decided to go someplace that she wasn't likely to see. We made our way over to the Jewish Quarter. So crazy, I hadn't been there since I went with Nicole back my first year in Czech. Once again it was staggering to enter the first synagogue and see the list of names written on the walls of all the Jews from Czech who were taken from their lives and never returned. The devastation is so eerily felt as one cannot even begin to grasp the numbers accounted for there. Especially considering the fact that they are only the Czech Jews, and there were oh so many others. Not a "fun" sort of tourist attraction, but definitely a powerful testimony to the horror that took place. Even more overwhelming was the room full of the artwork of children who lived in the concentration camp at Terezin. I'm truly amazed that so much of it was kept and marked. For many of these children this is all that really ever was of their lives. A small handful survived, but most lived and died in the camps. Certainly makes the miseries of my own life look paltry.
We then moved out into the cemetery. While cemeteries aren't generally taken as "cheerful" places, it was definitely far more peaceful than the hall of Holocaust memories. Especially because this cemetery is in no way connected to the war, but is far older than that. We paid for photo passes, so even though I'm sure I took a lot of very similar pictures before, I still had to get my money's worth.

We then finished up by going into a few other synagogues which were mostly dedicated to the actual lives of the Jewish people who lived in Prague in the past.

This Franz Kafka statue was near one of the last ones we went into. I have yet to read any Kafka. It's one of the things I've been meaning to do for as long as I've been living here, but still haven't managed. Strange how that works out sometimes. But there is still time. It just won't happen while I live here is all.
It was such a great day of catching up and I'm really thankful I was able to have such a unique Thanksgiving day.
My last pictures are from yesterday. It's funny how I tend to forget I have things in the kitchen. Probably because I don't often take the time to make anything there. A couple weeks ago Mark pointed out that we really should use up some of the stuff I'd been given in the past so I started with baking. First there were sugar cookies. Then two batches of apple cinnamon muffins. Next I made chocolate peanut butter chip cookies for my birthday. They were pretty spectacular taste wise, but not the most beautiful cookies. Mark thought they resembled elephant dung...hmmm...I'm not quite sure I agreed, but they were a really dark brown, so no pictures.
Yesterday I decided to use up the Andes' Mint chips my mom sent to me. This was the second bag of the crumbles that I had. The first bag I just mixed with normal chocolate chips and make my usual chocolate chip cookies with a mint infusion. This time, however, I decided to try the recipe on the bag. Not being a frequent baker, I was pretty impressed with the fact that I succeeded in making them. They were quite a bit different than my usual fare, but they turned out really good, and I thought rather beautiful.

These pictures were taken while I was still in the process of baking them. In the end I did get nearly the 4 dozen they predicted I could make, much to my surprise. Typically I think I just make my cookies bigger than the recipes expect. I got them finished just in time so I could deliver a few to Tammy along with a bunch of my excess stuff. It was sad to see it go. The soft egg crate that has made my bed in Czech sleepable, as well as the body pillow I've had since I was a Junior in High School, are now no longer in my possession. Believe me, my body feels it after last night's sleep. Here's to hoping tonight will be better. They also got my other kitchen left overs and a random assortment of other things.
It was quite sad to say goodbye to Tammy. After three years of being part of a team, it's weird to know the time is over. While I'm definitely ready to move on with life, it's always hard to close chapters, especially when you've spent so much time in the process of writing them. What a blessing the internet is to be able to still keep the connections alive even when there is added space in between.
Now today has been spent packing and sorting, and deciding what can stay, and reminding myself that we really will be coming back. This is not the end. It is only a new segment of the story. Now if we can just make it through tomorrow we'll be heading for the plane. I'm hoping I'll be able to breathe better once we're in transit, but I really don't think I'll be able to fully relax until we've gotten through all the immigration stuff and I know we're good and clear and free. Okay, probably I don't be wound down until I'm actually safely with my family again. Soon and very soon. What a wonder.

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