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Showing posts from April, 2013

A month is short

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We are leaving Dresden on tomorrow morning (Wednesday) and heading to Berlin for a couple of days before we fly to Liverpool Saturday night. It turns out that a month goes by really fast! Well, I knew that before, but it has been confirmed yet again. There's a lot we didn't do, but I'm happy with what we did do. We took a tour of the Volkswagon Transparent Factory, which was really cool (and now all the kids are planning to buy a custom-made Phaeton someday, for somewhere between 70,000 Euros and 180,000 Euros). We took the ferry across the Elbe River just a mile from our house and wandered around the beautiful gardens at Schloss Pillnitz. We walked around Altstadt, went into the three main churches there and checked out the cool courtyard and walls and fountains of the Zwinger. My brother Colter came to visit us (and I have another post all about that in the works), and Jon, Zed, and Phin went to Warsaw, Poland. Jon took a few kids to Oybin to see the abbey ruins he rem…

Brush with fame

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Last Sunday, we met Rachel Willis-Sørensen, who is an American opera singer currently at the Dresden Semperoper. She gave a talk in the Dresden ward right after I gave my testimony (her German is fantastic!) and I thought she looked familiar. That's because I read this article about her in BYU Magazine last fall. It's a really good article! It's not really accurate to say she's an opera singer -- she's an opera star. She sings the biggest roles and all over the world. It was fun to meet her -- she's friendly and funny and lovely and really nice! I wish I was going to see her in the opening of Don Giovanni tonight at the Semperoper, but it turns out I'm too cheap to buy the only tickets that were left. I hope to see her perform someday.

Couple of short videos

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Here's a very short video of the kids dressing up in armor near the Fürstenzug. The guy behind Mira is the Polish man who was doing this unique kind of busking -- dressed up in homemade armor and letting kids dress up in the extra stuff he had with him. My brother Colter came to visit last week. More on that later (I hope), but in the meantime, here is a video of him singing, with Mira doing percussion. They were having a recording session -- Seth joined in later with some interesting background vocals! (I'm trying to train myself to take videos the wider way, rather than the taller way, but I guess you'll have to be patient with me, because I keep forgetting.)

Dresden Verschiedenes

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Today we went to church in the Dresden ward. The bishopric member conducting sacrament meeting invited Erin to give her testimony and me to give the closing prayer. Erin got to meet with some people she knew from her mission time. Our kids got to hear some parts translated into English by ward members.(Besonders für Bruder Frank Fuchs in Görlitz: Schau mal! Meine Frau und andere Kinder sind doch sichtbar!)On Prager Straße there's still a die-hard missionary of Soviet Communism who's out most days willing to talk to people and distributing literature:And sometimes we still run into Trabis in the wild:

Terezín aka Theresienstadt

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I visited the Terezín (Czech) or Theresienstadt (German) concentration camp on April 2 with Zed and our friend Ian from Brazil. Terezín was not an intentional extermination camp, but more of a detention and transition point. "Only" about 33,000 people died there. It's a very sad thing to consider and very affecting.There's national cemetery outside the fortress:We went on an inexpensive paid tour and had the inside explained to us by our tour guide, seen here walking ahead. There are various monuments, some of which mention the other Nazi death camps, because none of these existed independently of the others.That last one was where the "eternal flame" was lit in remembrance of the victims. Our tour guide said the eternal flame is no longer lit due to security or safety concerns. Which is a sad statement about our times in itself.Here in the first photo is where the guards and their families lived, and in the second, their swimming pool:Most of the fortress …

The Frauenkirche

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I have some photos of the inside of the Frauenkirche, but this video from the dedication of the organ has some great shots of it that show amazing pastel colors of the marble. There's also a shot from above the congregation, which is pretty cool. The organ sounds great, too, but for some reason the people in the audience look unimpressed.

Video tour of our Dresden apartment

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To clarify some of the video: Our apartment is on the second floor of an older, nicely renovated house. In Europe, the second floor is called the first floor because it's the first floor above the ground floor. In an elevator the button for the ground floor will say 0 or, in Germany, maybe E for Erdgeschoss ("ground floor"). The floor above the ground floor is 1 or the first floor. It's Seth's 11th birthday today! For his birthday, we went swimming at a local pool, which is why our swimsuits are hanging all over the bathroom in the video. It turned out that the pool was only open for lap-swimming, so it wasn't loads of fun, but the kids learned that swimming laps is actually exercise! Apparently they didn't know that, which is embarrassing and I'm glad they know it now. Also because it's Seth's birthday, the kids are watching TV and playing video games. Phin thought he was very funny to hit the table and yell something about being killed. …

Dresden. And organs.

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A couple of pictures to prove that we're really in Dresden. Der Fürstenzug (the Procession of Princes): I feel like I have to prove to myself that we're really here, sometimes. Many parts of it look so different from when I lived here 20 years ago, and even the parts that look the same are disconcerting because there are people everywhere! Dresden was not a tourist town when I was a missionary here, and now it is. And Prager Straße was not a super busy shopping mecca, and now it is. I've been to three organ concerts since we got here -- two at the Catholic Hofkirche, where they have free 30-minute recitals on Wednesdays and Saturdays (I think these are the same recitals that I sometimes went to as a missionary), and one at the newly rebuilt Lutheran Frauenkirche, which was literally a pile of rubble when I was here. The rubble was just beginning to be organized and cataloged for the rebuilding when I left Germany in July of 1993. The rebuilt church is really beautiful,…

Moving

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On Friday we moved from Prague to Dresden, Germany. It's our first move on our Family Field Trip, and Jon and I had both been dreading the actual moving part for a while -- getting all 8 of us onto tram-metro-train-tram-tram again with everyone loaded down with backpacks, duffel bags, and suitcases large and small. I think it went better than we thought it would, though maybe not as well as it could have. The hiccups: accidentally leaving luggage (and Zed and Phin) on the train for a bit (mostly my fault and maybe I'll tell the story sometime) and not having the right code for the lock box at our apartment in Dresden, both of which were solved pretty quickly. Here's a picture of Zed huddled in the midst of the luggage. All of the luggage is not shown. This is on the Dresden end and we were all tired and it was really cold outside the train station. I have no idea why we waited outside the train station while Jon bought our monthly passes for Dresden's public transpo…

Kutná Hora and Prague Castle garden

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We visited the town Kutná Hora, about an hour from Prague by bus. Its Sedlec area is home to the famous ossuary = bone house, a church with a still functional chapel upstairs and displays of human bones in the basement. Many others have published photos of that, including these by Zed: signature, chandelier, coat of arms, angel weirdness, etc.etc.etc.etc.etc., IHS.In the town proper we saw this Soviet war memorial:The plaque reads:Zde stanul 9.V.1945 první voják Rudé Armády naší osvoboditelky z německé poroby vděčni a věrni zůstanemeWhich roughly translates to:Here stood on the 9th of May 1945 the first soldier of the Red Army, our liberators from German bondage. We remain grateful and faithful.This was a neat church that was closed to prepare for Easter Sunday the next day, but a very nice lady who arrived to do some setup work there let us in to look around:And while I'm documenting memorial plaques, here's another one:Which reads, if I've transcribed correctly:Na tomto …

Graffiti in Prague

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This post is for my Uncle Howard, who is a famous chronicler of graffiti in and around L.A. -- he's been published and has had photos exhibited in art shows. A while ago on Facebook, he requested more photos of graffiti, so I'm trying to oblige. There's a lot of graffiti here and below are just a few examples that are pretty close to where we live. I don't have insight into any of it. These are at a tram stop called Královský Letohrádek near Prague Castle: And these two are very near our house: