Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stand in the Place where You Are

Thomas is just approaching 28 months and we're learning quite a bit about each other, while we explore our new stomping grounds. I say stomping because he is a boy and he is two, so everything is loud-except, I would like to add, the word no, because I am proud of us for limiting our use of "NNNNNOOOOOOO, NNNNOOOO, NOOO, OMIGOD NNNNNOOOOO," for situations that are dire enough for it's use. We are working on, "STOP," as in "Stop running before you fall down that unmarked cliff, uncovered man-hole, broken balcony, etc. etc." The absence of internet service came at an unfortunate time, and in the future I will write more down as it occurs because looking back over the last few weeks is difficult to adequately tell our tale. We have been blessed with generosity and kindness. Thomas's godparents were in Europe on business, and spent a bit of time with our family, showing us places they discovered while living here in the 90's, and introducing us to some resident artists who have bestowed us with some modern appliances, toys for Thomas, and overall friendship and kindness. Frantisek, the director of the school Chad is working in has also been extremely gracious, and I can only hope that while he was teaching abroad, people were as accommodating. I may have stated that he took us to his summer home over the weekend south of Praha, north of Ceske Budejovice (cheska buduvitsah), I include that because it is my favorite set of words to say right now. I am somewhat jealous of the Fulbright grantee who is living there right now because she can say it all of the time, I am also jealous of her wardrobe, because she always looked great during orientation. I'm off track. We left Frantisek's lovely home on Sunday, and he took us on a first class tour of Kutna Hora, second only to Praha in tourism for it's lovely preservation of architecture from Medieval, Gothic, Baroque periods, etc. Chad wrote a bit about this in his blog & I won't reiterate, but we went to the ossuary of bone sculptures. I was referred to it because of my use of pattern and body parts in my artwork & thought only someday would I have the opportunity to travel abroad to visit such a thing, and Sunday we stood in front of the bones of 40,000 people all delicately stacked and bound in beautiful religious harmony to remind us of our place in life, death, and heaven. Thomas thought they were pirates, and wanted to throw coins at them. It was very nice to return to our small mountain, and continue the local grocery expeditions. I was urged to explore Ceska Kamenice, just down the mountain on the side opposite Novy Bor. It is a beautiful little city, with a nice waterway, and a prettier town center than Novy Bor. Unfortunately the bus schedule isn't as good for Thomas's nap. We left at 9am and didn't make it home until 2pm. He needs quiet time and a nap between 11 & 1 so we had some rough times. He is old enough to recognize playground equipment, but not old enough to accept that he is too young to attend the schools they belong to. So sad for a tired toddler waiting for the bus. This episode was not in vain though, a woman recognized English while my voice was raised, and introduced herself as a caregiver for the elderly who works between here and London. She is a Czech citizen, from Cesky Kamenice, and was thrilled and somewhat surprised at our decision to live so far from Prague in such a little town. I told her she had a large heart for working with the elderly, and she responded with, "You have a large heart for coming here with your family, it is not so easy." It meant a lot at that moment, especially after we were charged double the bus fare when I had counted out the exact change before boarding, and had to dig (while holding Thomas, a 20 ton backpack filled with groceries, eggs included, and a stroller) for 3 crown. She offered us change, but I wanted the overcharging bus driver to wait. Anyhow her Zen lulled Thomas to sleep on our hour long, winding ride through Prsk, back to Kamenicky Senov (5 minutes up the hill from Ceska Kamenice). I will continue to grocery shop in Novy Bor, and save trips to the other side for more special occasions. I hope to one day meet that nice woman again, as she said the world is quite a lot smaller than you would think. I have to remember that it is also quite large for small Thomas, and he is ready to take it all on headfirst, sometimes. He is a Gemini, and that means when I least expect it he will run to me for protection from something I don't quite understand. He is gregarious, timid, ruthless, gentle, a boy, and a baby. This morning he obliterated a bunch of lego buildings, then ran screaming, "Mommy, mommy, crab kissing lizard, crab kissie lizard, " because you see his animals like to share flowers and give each other kisses when they are in their lego homes. The lego mail truck also likes to deliver cards and presents to the snail shell we found on our doorstep.


Anonymous said...

Hi Chloe!

I was telling Deanna what a wonderful writer you are. You really capture the people and places you are experiencing - I can see a book coming out of this - Chloe's Travelogue and Vegetarian Adventures!

You were asking about cabbage - Penny at work swears by sauteed cabbage with onion and garlic (s & p to taste), Deanna said to try cooking cabbage like broccoli rabe - chopped, steamed with garlic, topped with raisins and drizzled with red wine vinegar. And I've made cabbage wraps - steamed, then cooled cabbage leaves filled with whatever goodies you like!
Oh, one more! This morning I made up 'Tofu Francais'! I pan fried tofu strips, topped that with cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts, then added a bit of sugar free syrup. Yum!
Take care!

p.s. I loved the bone story. We toured the catacombs of Paris - sounds similar!

Chloe said...

Thank you! Must try the new recipes soon! Hope you are having a spectacular fall and that your daughter is excited about Halloween. It's not a big holiday here, so no costumes or anything this year, just lots of beautiful leaves.