Showing posts from January, 2013

Feeling just a tiny bit of stress

Today I'm going through my clothes, packing some away, getting rid of some, and considering a too-large pile to bring on our year-long Field Trip. I've been mentally preparing for this for days and also expounding to the kids on how they should approach the packing. "Think versatility!" I say. And someone usually says, "What's versatility?" just to bug me. Or Phin says, "Your mom thinks versatility." (That's his latest joke, putting "Your mom" at the beginning of every sentence someone says. Isn't he so funny?) The other words I'm thinking are "practical" and "comfortable" and "minimal." I think it actually helps me to get these words into my head, so I can be merciless in my choices. I've convinced myself that even if we can't quite manage to travel with only carry-on luggage , we will be happier if we limit our checked luggage as much as possible. The idea of the eight of us drag

If you want to hear some Czech ...

Here's a five-minute video in Czech (with English subtitles) if you're interested in hearing the language we're trying to learn. It's a man's short but moving story about growing up Jewish in a town called Mukacevo: I can't understand much of it, but I hear the numbers and a few other words. I'll keep trying! :)

Finding a place to live

One reason we bought our tickets to Prague back in September was that I knew there'd be many times along the way that I'd want to say, "Never mind. This is too hard." And I was right! But because we spent that money, I'm pretty motivated to overcome all the obstacles. Finding an affordable place for eight people to live in a big and popular city has been one of those obstacles. First, an aside: I have no idea how anyone would do this without the internet! Huge phone bills, I guess? Way back when we began scheming, I found some great-looking furnished places for rent in Prague that were very reasonable, well under the budget we'd decided on. It turns out that those places were for long-term rent, of course, and the possibilities for shorter term rental are much more expensive. Jon and I agree that it might be a good thing that we allowed ourselves to be misled in that area. There's a very fine line between going and not going (as I've mentioned b

Maybe a little progress

Lillian and I had the following conversation today IN CZECH ! Okay, I know it's not much of a conversation, but I'm a little bit pleased. Lillian: I'd like to have lunch. Me: With whom? Where? Lillian: I'd like ... (runs away to ask Seth, who knows more than all of us about Czech vocabulary, how to say ...) ice cream! Me: We don't have ice cream. Lillian: But I'd like to have ice cream! Me: We don't have ice cream!

Defenestrations of Prague

Did you know there's such a thing as the Defenestrations of Prague ? I didn't until recently. I'd like to know how familiar the word "defenestration" is to everyone. I know what it means because of the German and French words for window -- "Fenster" and "fenĂȘtre" -- but I can't tell if I'd know if I didn't know that. From Wikipedia's entry on Defenestration: The term originates from two incidents in history, both occurring in Prague. In 1419, seven town officials were thrown from the Town Hall, precipitating the Hussite War. In 1618, two Imperial governors and their secretary were tossed from Prague Castle, sparking the Thirty Years War. These incidents, particularly in 1618, were referred to as the Defenestrations of Prague and gave rise to the term and the concept. How about that? An interesting way to demonstrate political outrage. There are other incidents of defenestration, in Prague and elsewhere, listed in the

Why we are going to Europe

The short answer is: Ultimate Home School Field Trip before the kids start leaving for college! The ridiculously long answer follows. I didn’t travel a lot growing up. When I was 12, my family started to take yearly (almost) vacations from our home in Ramona, California, up to Oregon, where many of my dad’s cousins had relocated over the years. When I was about 16, I think, we went to Utah and met those cousins at Lake Powell. One time when I was really young, we went down to Ensenada in Mexico with those same cousins. (I remember my dad taking me on my first motorcycle ride. I also remember speaking Spanish to someone, so maybe we went twice, once when I was little and once when I was in high school.) When I went to BYU, Provo was about as far as I’d ever been from home. I started taking French, because my major required reading literature in at least one foreign language. I chose French because even though I’d taken four years of Spanish in high school, Spanish literature d