Showing posts from February, 2013

Public Transportation

I'm really enjoying using public transportation here. For about $34 each, we bought 30-day passes that allow us to ride the metro (subway), trams (electric, above-ground streetcars, like Trax in Salt Lake City), and buses all over Prague. Mira rides for free with her very own ID card. (We were delighted that they were willing to use a four-year-old passport photo of her for the ID, and it's good until she turns 10.) This totally beats what we were paying for gas in Idaho (usually $400-$500 a month), which of course doesn't count the other costs of owning cars -- oil changes, tires, repairs, etc. Granted, we traveled a much larger area in Idaho, driving to Idaho Falls and Rexburg at least a few times a month. Here, we're enjoying the advantages of living the city life, too, so the comparison isn't really fair. But I'm not trying to be technical here, I'm just enjoying Prague's public transportation! Here we are on the bus to Zličín yesterday. There…

A movie with the girls and walking with Phin

On Saturday, the girls and I went to see Hledá se Nemo (Finding Nemo) in 3D and dubbed in Czech. First, the dubbing was excellent and the Czech-speaking actors sounded just like their American counterparts. Dory still sounded exactly like Ellen DeGeneres, just in Czech. Second, we didn't understand much, but many parts were still very funny. Third, it's a beautifully animated movie and looks great in 3D. (I don't usually choose to see a movie in 3D, but this was only available that way, since 3D is the point of its re-release in theaters.) The boys thought about going to see The Hobbit dubbed in Czech, but I think they were probably wise not to go. I enjoyed watching Hledá se Nemo, but by the time it was over, my brain felt pretty mushy and I couldn't bring myself to speak Czech to anyone. It was just a bit taxing. And of course, The Hobbit is almost three hours long and probably had way more difficult language in it. Sunday night, Phin and I set out to go to mass a…

Some things that aren't perfect

Lest everyone think that everything is absolutely wonderful, here are a few things that are not: It has been several days since we saw the sun, and even though I'm in beautiful Prague, day after day of an overcast sky puts me in a funk, just like it does in Idaho! And if Idaho has been getting sun, I'd rather not know about it. In the 8+ years we lived there, we had a few six-week stretches of hardly any sun and I'd like to just assume that's what they're getting this year, too. (Don't destroy my dream!) As I mentioned in my video tour of the apartment, the kids fight just as much as they usually do! Maybe even more, now that our quarters are closer. And it matters more now when one of them stomps off or slams a door, because we have neighbors! Who live below us! I imagine them gazing up at their ceiling as they listen to us drag kitchen chairs across the floor, walk heavily across the floor, drop things, and argue and play (both of which tend to be loud act…

Understanding Czech (or not understanding Czech)

For your enjoyment (maybe), here's what I hear at church: Now ... something something something ... we can ... something something something something ... God ... something something something ... maybe ... something something something ... amen. I feel like the dog in that Far Side comic: The missionaries translate sacrament meeting and Relief Society, and there is a whole Sunday School class for English speakers, so I'm not missing anything really. But I want to hear the Czech, so I put one earbud in and leave the other out and try to understand as much as I can. I think I understand more in Relief Society than in sacrament meeting, and I think it's because in Relief Society, someone's teaching a lesson and there's more repetition. (I'm really enjoying Relief Society, partly because the Czech ladies crack each other up and I love to hear them laugh, even if we English speakers don't get the jokes.) Being in Prague and hearing Czech is not quite like w…

Ирония судьбы, или С легким паром (The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!)

Erin and I watched this 2-part Russian TV movie from 1975: Ирония судьбы, или С легким паром = The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! I enjoyed it a lot. Good acting, clever story, funny situations, great music (one song has lyrics by Boris Pasternak!), and a nice period piece.There are articles about it on IMDb and Wikipedia, both with fun details. In Russia it is apparently shown every New Year's Eve or Day and has become a seasonal favorite in the same way It's a Wonderful Life is in the United States.We watched it on YouTube, in part 1 and part 2.

Jižní Město sídliště

Today I'm feeling a little better. I still wanted to take it easy, but get out a little, so I went with Zed, Phin, and Seth to the southeast of Prague, the Háje stop on the red / C Metro train, to an area called Jižní Město, the "south town". It is a panelák sídliště, a panel-concrete apartment building settlement, which we knew as a Neubaugebiet in former East Germany.The part of Prague we're living in now is older, so it doesn't have any buildings like that, and I wanted to show this to the boys and see how things look. Apparently this kind of settlement is generally called a microdistrict in the former east bloc. (There is lots of interesting history and nice photos in those Wikipedia articles I just linked to!)Here is some of what we saw. Note all the festive colors they've added which really make the buildings nice to look at!Note the terrifying hallway/bridge at the top between the two buildings in this next one!Finally, our current favorite advertiseme…

Prague Castle

Today we went to Ikea, which was kind of like trying to walk to the Ikea in Draper, Utah, from the other side of the freeway. Apparently you're supposed to drive to the Prague Ikea and not take the metro. Either that, or there's some amazing underground walkway to it and I just didn't find it. (It's possible.) There's a big mall there, too, (which is easy to walk to,) but we didn't have a lot of time, so we just went to Tesco Extra (I found Prague's Super Target!) and to Ikea, where I bought two small power strips for 69 CZK (about $3.75). Then we had to hurry back to the city center so Jacob and Phin could meet Jon and Zed and go pay for their upcoming Czech lessons that start next week! It's hard to hurry when you're taking public transportation. You really don't have much control over it. In case you're wondering, the Prague Ikea looks pretty much exactly like every other Ikea I've been to, except maybe with everything just a bit mo…

Pros and cons of being in Prague in the winter

The other day, Jon said that he's happy we're here in winter, because there are no leaves on the trees, which means we have an amazing view of Břevnov Monastery. It's especially beautiful at night, all lit up and glowing with ivory light until about midnight. The cons of being here in winter: it's cold! And a bit gray and bleak (although on the day we arrived last week, it was a gorgeous, sunny day and not too cold). And there are many beautiful gardens here that open on April 1st. We'll have only a few days to visit them and then we're off to Dresden for a month. So I'm guessing we'll miss most of Spring. There are more pros, though, like going sledding with Michal and his children today. There's only a couple of inches on snow on the ground, but it was enough! To go sledding at home, we have to drive at least ten minutes and walking up a sledding hill is pretty tough when there's 3 feet of snow. Here, we walked to Ladronka Park about five m…

Video Tour!

Here's a video tour of our main apartment. We'll do one of the boys' bachelor pad when it's clean (maybe never!) and we should probably do one at some point of the front door, entryway, etc. In the meantime, enjoy!

Sick Day!

Well, we held out against all the germs for a long time, but we are sick now! Well, most of us. Phin, Lillian, and I are mostly fine (Phin was already sick back in Idaho), but the rest are in varying stages of colds and coughs, so we stayed home yesterday and today. I've been doing laundry and some cleaning, and I went to Kaufland yesterday (two tram stops from our apartment; our landlord lets us borrow their wheeled cart to bring groceries home in). We still did our Czech lessons with Mrs. Vitvarova, who comes to our apartment and tries to figure out where we are so she can help us progress. (We are a bit confusing, I'm sure, with all the different ages, a decent understanding of grammar, and very little vocabulary.) Today it's been snowing and I just saw a couple pulling their baby down the street on a sled. I'm curious to see if this is considered a significant amount of snow or not. From Europe 2013 Lillian and Mira watched A Cinderella Story dubbed in Czech, whi…


I keep thinking that we should be over jet lag by now, but we are not. Almost every time I sit down for longer than ten minutes, I start falling asleep. Unless it's 2:00 am. At that time, I can't sleep. I'm sure we'll get over it soon enough, and I'm sorry to everyone at church today for all of the nodding off I was doing. I will now try to write an entire blog post without falling asleep. Yesterday our landlord Michal and his family took us to Petřín Hill, where we rode a funicular to the top (apparently, that's a cable car where two tram cars counterbalance each other) and then climbed 299 steps to reach the top of the Petřín Lookout Tower, a (significantly) smaller version of the Eiffel Tower. That's a lot of steps, y'all! As Michal said, "It's very nice sport" to climb them. The view from the top is amazing -- 360 degrees of Prague. (See Phin's post and Seth's post for pictures. I kind of rushed them to finish writing, so the…