Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mira's baptism

On Saturday, October 19, Mira was baptized by Jon at the LDS church building in Prague. We tried to talk her into getting baptized in the river, but she didn't find that idea appealing. We were happy to share the event with another American family, whose daughter Maleia is Mira's age. Maleia's dad works at the US Embassy here in Prague.

Even though they weren't in the river, the girls said the water in the baptismal font was really cold! When they tested it beforehand, they were confident that it was plenty warm, but I guess it felt quite different when they actually got in. I hope Maleia and Mira remember their baptism day and stay long-distance friends and someday become roommates at BYU or something. That'd be cool, wouldn't it? Anyway, here are pictures!

Jon and Mira outside the church building.

Maleia and Mira. Aren't they cute? They both have dimples! Maleia's mom Monique took these pictures and I'm so glad she did! The leaves on the vine behind them are beautiful, too.

Heading into the church.

The dads and their daughters in their baptismal clothes.

Maleia's baptism dress was also worn by her mom and by her mom's aunt, I think, when they were baptized. Pretty cool!

Jon and Mira in the front lobby of the church.

For those who don't know, in our church baptism is available to those age 8 and over, because 8 is considered the age of accountability -- old to enough to know right from wrong and to be able to make important choices. The baptism is performed by someone who holds the Priesthood, in this case the fathers of the girls being baptized. It is done by immersion, which means that the person being baptized is fully immersed in water to symbolize the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and also the beginning of a new life as a follower of him. There's more here if you're interested.

All Saints Church Pocklington

In June and July we lived in Pocklington, East Yorkshire. In the middle of town is All Saints Church, the only church we got to know that I haven't written about here yet.

We could see its tower peeking up as we looked out our front door to the left:

Here is a little history from a brochure at the church:

Christianity was brought to Pocklington in the year AD 627 by Saint Paulinus, who had been sent from Rome to preach the Christian gosepl in the north of England. Tradition says that he baptised people in the beck which still runs along the north side of the churchyard. There has been a Christian community here ever since.

Nothing is known of the first church building here, which may have been little more than a thatched wooden structure. A few fragments remain from a stone church building which existed around the time of the Norman Conquest in AD 1066.

The [present building] was begun some time before AD 1200 and was completed by about AD 1450.

(More details are on the Church of All Saints, Pocklington Wikipedia article.)

Erin, Zed, and Lillian took a couple of organ lessons from the church organist, and were able to practice on the church organ several times. Here are Lill & Zed in action at the organ:

It was neat to live a one- or two-minute walk from this church and be able to walk through the churchyard on the way to other parts of town.

Here are many more photos of the church interior:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Prague in October

It's time for me to catch up in recounting many anecdotes from our life in Prague thus far in October.

We all went on a walk on a sunny day in the park Obora Hvězda:

A few weeks ago I broke fillings in teeth on the left side of my jaw, one on top, one on bottom. I put up with it for a few days, but getting food stuck in gaps made my jaw hurt, so I brushed and flossed and stopped eating, but eventually I got hungry enough to listen to Erin's advice and make a plan to go to the dentist and get the teeth fixed. On Monday morning after our Czech lessons I stopped by Stomatologické centrum at Vodičkova 30 without an appointment, asked if they spoke English, which they do, and waited while they checked to see if any dentist had availability. Normally they don't take emergency visits, but I told them I had several weeks and wasn't in a hurry. (I would have been glad to come back for an appointment if needed, since I had learned how to eat only on the other side of my mouth and avoid making my teeth hurt.) After only 10 or 15 minutes, a dentist was able to see me. I don't remember her name, but she was great, spoke enough English, tolerated my occasional Czech attempts too, offered to let me skip getting a shot to numb my mouth which I was happy to avoid, and got things done in fairly short order. I couldn't ask for more. And the price was about $85. We don't have dental insurance, so I didn't need to fuss with that. It was great to walk in and get the work done and never schedule an appointment at all. And it's of course nice to eat normally again.

We had a very nice visit from much of the Gottschald family I met in Jena, Germany, in 1992 when I was a missionary there. They have grown, and now have Russian and Italian contingents, and had a cousin visiting from California as well. They visited Prague for a few days and we had a great time walking around, talking, and seeing things:

I am often easily amused by small things. For example, I went to a bankomat (ATM) run by the bank Česka šporitelna. Unlike many other ATMs here, it only offers its services in the Czech language. That's ok for me, but may be a bit rough for a visitor with no Czech experience. But the fun part is that it offered 3 choices of bill combinations when withdrawing cash! My choice was either all big denomination bills, a mix of big & small, or mostly small. Useful and kinda neat.

Whenever we see these old water pumps around town we try to pump water out, but haven't gotten any to work yet, sadly:

Česká pošta (the Czech postal service) did a great job delivering a package to me in spite of the shipping label having a mangled Ř at the beginning of our street address Řeznická 14:

The kids and I had a great time one Saturday visiting the Prague transport museum. There were (literally) tons of interesting old vehicles to see: trams/streetcars, buses, trolley buses (overhead electric line powered), subway cars, a reconstructed old train station, and lots of historical write-ups. We are big fans.

Afterward we walked back towards home past the huge Prague Metronome in Letná Park. The kids were in awe of all the shoes thrown over the electrical wire leading to the metronome:

I had a nice conversation with a German man who walked up to me and asked me about the metronome in German. I guess he could just tell by looking at me that I speak German? We talked for quite a while. And at one point Lillian corrected me when I said we live in der Altstadt, since we technically live in der Neustadt. Hmm. She's decoding the secret language ...

I got to see Karlovo náměstí, a metro station I hadn't seen before even though it's fairly close to us:

We visited a church that Phin and Lillian had earlier found on a walk, Church of the Virgin Mary and St. Charles the Great (Kostel Panny Marie a svatého Karla Velikého), which is interesting in that it has a dome with no pillars supporting it, and a really neat "grotta", a recreation of the Bethlehem cave. Here are a few external views of it:

It is near a large bridge that has a metro line on its lower level, and car and foot traffic on top with great views over Prague:

On the way home we went through the old castle Vyšehrad, which has a nice view over the Vltava river:

That wasn't surprising, but this snowboard & skiing competition in the middle of the city on a not particularly cold autumn day was surprising:

Jacob, Phin, and I went to see the American band El Ten Eleven (see also the Wikipedia article on them) play at the legendary and tiny Klub 007 Strahov, which has been in operation since 1969 in the basement of a student dorm block house. The opening was by Czech band madebythefire who were interesting and very talented. After the show we got to talk with the guys from El Ten Eleven for a while. They're very nice. This was the first show of their first tour of Europe.

El Ten Eleven is a duo that uses pedals to set up loops and effects. I liked a lot of their songs, but especially fun was their cover of Joy Division's Disorder. Here's a YouTube video of them playing it a few years ago:

One day while running near the Vltava river I came across this church with the plaque that reads:

V tomto kostele působil v letech 1874–77 hudební skladatel Antonín Dvořák jako varhaník

(In this church in the years 1874–77 musician and composer Antonín Dvořák functioned as organist)

Last week Erin and I got to go to the Freiberg LDS Temple in Germany with our friend Sharon Wilkinson from church. We met in front of the Rudolfinum in Prague, and Sharon drove. We went on all sorts of small back roads and it was a rare treat for us to get out of the city for a while.

This is a school near our apartment on the appropriately-named Školská street:

Today Erin, Jacob, Phin, and I went on a walk and ran into an interesting monument honoring Jaroslav Hašek, author of The Good Soldier Švejk:

We were on our way up a hill to see a national monument to Jan Žižka, a Czech reformation war hero:

That's a ridiculously big horse statue.