Thursday, December 13, 2007

Who's on First

"...leave a message after the beep."
"Say hi Grandmom and Grandpop."
whispers "hi gramomgrapopnannie loveyou"
"Say it louder so they can hear you."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What to do with your glow in the dark devil horn headband.

Yippee we have contact once again. I was so lonely without the internet to connect us to family and friends abroad. We discovered Skype right before we lost the internet, and had no way to consistently communicate. We survived through the first snow, a weekend of glass tours/entertaining in our town for the fulbright folks, a really nice Thanksgiving day with friends (we totally forgot that it was Thanksgiving), a Thanksgiving celebration the next Saturday with the Fulbright folks (and a wonderful stay in Prague), the melting of that first snow, and Mikulas celebrations. Who is Mikulas? St. Nicholas. The celebration happens on December 5. Mikulas walks through the country knocking on doors with an angel and a devil asking children if they have been good. He gives them candy if they have been good, and if they've been naughty, they go to hell with the devil. Part of the fun here seems to be the fear of the devil. They also visit an advent celebration in every town square where rosy cheeked school children sing carols, and shy preteens show off their dance moves on mobile stages under brightly lit Christmas trees and Nativity scenes. Thomas and I visited several different Mikulas celebrations in the surrounding towns. Once children grow out of their fear, they seem to love to imitate the devil and do so with glow in the dark devil horn headbands used on Halloween in the US. I always wondered what other market there was for that stuff & well now I know. Thomas wasn't phased by Mikulas or the Devils, or the many men yelling devilish jibberish at small children after drinking the ever popular warm wine with lemon and honey. The drink made me want to shudder and roll my tongue too. Christmas cookies are amazing here, though, and the spirit of the advent celebrations in the small town squares transcends languages. The first week of December was filled with a lot of advent fun for us. It was amazing to feel the Christmas spirit while not really having to translate what we were seeing or hearing to something familiar.