I’m Back!

It has been almost a year since my last entry and now that I am trying to write again, I honestly don’t know where to start.  It was a very eventful summer that I barely had time to pen down my thoughts.

Anyhow, I guess one of the major highlights of this year is the camaraderie I formed with some moms who are in the same situation as I am.  That is, married to a Czech man and raising children in a Filipino-Czech household.  After all, this is what this blog is all about — me sharing my experiences as a Filipino mom in the Czech Republic.

It was also very interesting that our children are almost the same age, so we were able to go out and have fun and the kids were able to play together.

We did two major trips this summer.  The first one was in Cesky Krumlov.

Photo courtesy of Raquel M.
Photo courtesy of Raquel M.

It was a very hot day the day we went, so we weren’t really able to walk around a lot.  But despite that, we still managed to have fun.  It was a 3-day, 2-night trip so we were really able to bond and get to know each other.  So did the kids.

It was no wonder that we decided to repeat it again in Doksy.  Doksy is a town located in one of the biggest man-made lakes in Czech, Macha Lake.  The lake was named after the famous Czech poet and avid hiker, Karel Hynek Macha.  Macha was believed to have walked through the area where he found inspiration for some of his poetry.

But for us Filipinos, it was a taste of the sea.  As you may already know, Czech is geographically located in Central Europe and really far from the sea.  The lake provided a a quasi-beach for us, and it was great to feel like we were in the Philippines again.

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While my little daughter was very clingy, her older brother blended right in.  He immediately raided the first beach structure that he saw.

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It was not a very bright day that day, so most of us decided not to take a dip in the beach but just enjoy the sights, the air and the stories.

fmc in stare splavy

The next day, we decided to take a touristic trip around town aboard one of its trolley cars.  With Czechs being on the conservative side, it was very unusual to see a large group of foreign-looking foreigners in this part of the Republic.  Thus, we were not able to escape from the stares of those we met along the way.

fmc doksy

It was another fun trip that not only the moms enjoyed, but the kids as well.

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Personally, I was happy that my kids bonded with the other Fil-Czech kids.  Finally, it is a group that they  belong to.  They are Filipinos, but not only partially so. They are also Czechs, but only partially so.  If it ever came to a point where they would see themselves as different from the Czech kids around them, it should provide comfort for them to know that there are others like them.  And it’s fun to be different.

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Palačinky Saves The Day

It was a little bit rainy today, so Jakub and I stayed indoors through most of the day.  Since it’s Thursday, and we normally do shopping on Fridays, the food supply in our household was quite depleted.  He already ate up his favorite snack.  Thus, supermama had to make something for this picky little eater.    I checked out the cupboard to see what I have and was lucky to find that I had flour, milk and eggs –  the main ingredients for palačinky.

my palacinky

Out of all the Czech foods I’ve ever tried to make, palačinky is my favorite.  Not only is it very easy to make but it is also very flexible.  Palačinky is a thin pancake very similar to French crepes.  It is very popular in Czech and almost every housewife knows how to make it.    Palačinky is normally eaten with jam/jelly as a filling.  It can also be made fancier with whipped cream on the side and chocolate syrup drizzled all over it.  It can even be made as a main course when it is stuffed with meat and veggies.  But the best palačinky variation I’ve ever seen was at my in-law’s house where it was made as a birthday cake.  I thought that was pretty innovative.

Birthday cake made out of palacinky

It was very simple yet delish.  I would never have thought to make it for that purpose.

So, to appreciate this awesome food even more, I am sharing here my Palačinky recipe:

Ingredients:

2 eggs

200g flour

400ml milk

pinch of salt

Procedure:  Mix all the ingredients together.  Pre-heat a cooking pan. Add a little bit of oil to prevent the dough from sticking to the pan.   (If you are using a non-stick pan, there is no need to add oil.)  Take 4-5 tablespoons of the mixture and spread evenly on the pan.  Turn when the sides turn brown.

Yield: 10-15

Whatever the occasion, whether it is a simple afternoon snack, a main course or a party, rest assured that palačinky will always save the day.

Another Award

At the same time, Crazy Train to Tinky Town, also nominated me for the Versatile blogger award.  I am equally thankful!

The rules of receiving this award are:
1. Add the award to your blog
2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you and include a link to their blog.
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4. List the rules.
5. Give the award to 15 or more bloggers.

Now for my nominees….in no particular order.

http://vanessa-chapman.com/

http://www.rainydazeee.com/

http://sierralei.com/

http://alternateeconomy.wordpress.com/

http://allthatmakesyou.wordpress.com/

http://running4martinandmymind.wordpress.com/

http://patinaandcompany.wordpress.com/

http://teaandbiscotti.com/

http://mollymadonna.com/

http://momentmatters.wordpress.com/

http://revolutionarybeauty.wordpress.com/

http://appleboatexpress.wordpress.com/

http://jennifercrites.wordpress.com/

http://gusgus64.wordpress.com/

http://jennysserendipity.wordpress.com/

Check out these blogs too.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Afternoon Coffee

I like flavored coffee. Now that my son is at a stage where he tries to imitate everything I do, it is quite difficult to keep coffee away from him.  I always try to trick him by giving him milk, but he is starting to get smarter and cannot be easily fooled.  But I found a solution.  I found Caro.

Caro is a drink composed of barley, barley malt, chicory and rye.  The origin of this drink can be traced back to the Napoleon era.  During the war between France and England, there was a scarcity of goods from overseas, one of them being coffee.  To compensate for this, people experimented on ground cereals and grains as a replacement for coffee and thus came up with Caro.  Due to its popularity, with a taste closely resembling that of coffee, it stayed as a regular product.

In the beginning, we bought this drink so Jakub can have his “coffee” with us.  But recently, I have found myself drinking caro as well.  The same is true with Kinder chocolate.  I bought it for Jakub so he can have his own chocolate when I’m eating mine.  But recently, I am also finding myself craving for this chocolate too.

Having a kid awakened the kid in me.  So don’t be surprised if I offer you baby juice instead of beer when you are a guest in my house.

How about you.  Do you ever consume stuff for kids?

When The Cat Is Away

He was supposed to attend a children’s birthday party last Saturday, but Jakub didn’t look very well Friday afternoon so we were not able to make it.  Saturday night, his dad wasn’t feeling that well either, so I was worried I wasn’t going to make it to my meeting and badminton game on Sunday.  However, come Sunday morning, my husband said he felt a little better and allowed me to go to Prague for the meeting and badminton.  I was a little worried leaving them both sick, but at the same time, I was also confident that my husband was serious when he said they’d be fine.  So off I went.

I was gone the whole day.  When I came home that night, things were surprisingly calm and in order.  Jakub was just falling asleep so I know everything went well.

This morning, I was going to write a different post and started downloading photos from my camera, but then I saw this picture.

Put your pants up where I can see them.

Not sure if it was him or his daddy who placed those pants over his head, but I think it’s pretty hilarious.  I don’t know what else went on that day, but one thing is for sure.  Boys will be boys!

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

This past week, we had been having great spring-like weather. The farmers were out on the square selling flowers, and people were out and about.

This was what it looked like yesterday.

But this was what greeted us this morning.  It snowed again.

This is what it looks like today.

My husband told me that this kind of weather is very common when the seasons start to change.  No wonder the weather report is so important for Czechs.  But for someone who is from a  tropical country and spent some time in California, I don’t pay much attention to weather reports since I’m used to fair weather and almost consistent temperature.

I intended to just wear a long-sleeved shirt today but I guess it’s not going to happen.  Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

What A Year It Was!

As I look back in 2011, I can only sigh. What a year it was! In 2011, My husband and I left our stable and promising US careers, packed our bags and moved to the Czech Republic. It was a total lifestyle change for me and up till now, I am still adapting to this new change. My son has grown so much since our last move.  I am glad that he has adapted better than me.

Last year, I also lost mom’s brother, Uncle Cris, one of my favorite uncles. My husband never really got to meet some of my family members other than my parents, but met Uncle Cris twice during his US travels.  For that, we will always have fond memories of  him.

And who could ever forget Typhoon Sendong.  The worst typhoon ever to hit Cagayan de Oro, my former city.

With all these events and changes this past year, I can only anticipate what’s in store for me this year.  This year, it is my goal to be healthy and active again.  I need to find my niche in this country and it all starts here.

Vanoce 2011

Vanoce….the Czech word for Christmas. It was our first Vanoce in our new home country and we went to Moravia to celebrate it with my husband’s family. They had the traditional Czech Christmas and I was glad we were there since I learned so much about typical Czech traditions.  For example,  they don’t eat the whole day and wait till dinnertime to have a full meal.  Unlike in the Philippines where we eat ham, or roasted pig, they eat fish. My husband explained that the fasting and choice of food was from a Christian tradition.  At Christmas time, they emulate the life of Christ.  Jesus was poor.

They don’t believe in Santa.  For them, Jesus is the one bringing presents to the children.  Children are told to sleep early so Jezisku (Jesus)  can come and drop off their presents under the tree.  At midnight, a bell will toll to signify that Jezisku just dropped off the presents.  In my in-law’s household, we skipped this part since Jakub was too young to understand and appreciate any of it.  We went through the traditional gift distribution and him (Jakub) being the youngest had to distribute the gifts (another Czech tradition).

Jakub giving grandpa his present...with mommy's help

What I also find most challenging is that baking Christmas cookies is a national sport.  In almost all the homes we’ve visited, the woman of the house takes pride in serving the cookies she’s baked.  Jiri’s grandmother who is already 80+ baked 10 varieties of cookies.  His mom,12 varieties.  There’s a lot of pressure for me now to make cookies next Christmas.  Oh well, I have a whole year to practice.

A plateful of mom's cookies

I will probably keep all of these traditions except for the fasting part….that was hard.

Four generations of Melichar men.
With cousins on Christmas Day

The highlight of our visit was the reunion with Jiri’s family.  Everybody went to his grandparents’ house during Christmas day and simply celebrated Jesus’ birth by being together.  It was a nice and warm feeling on a cold Christmas day.  Everything was perfect except for the lack of snow.  Most of the Czechs that I’ve talked to were sad about this.  I was the only one happy.  It seems like the Power-that-be knows that a tropical girl is here and wants to give her a Merry Christmas.

RUNNING

I miss running. I am not a great runner, but I love to run.  On this cold, dreary day, I am trying to draw some inspiration to be active again. So here I am, writing about running.

My first major run - The Disneyland Half Marathon

I have run a few races, long, short, very short.  I guess you can say that my best time is pretty decent, (2 hours and 27mins for a half marathon), but not outstanding.  I am not aspiring for greatness anyway.  I am happy with just finishing a race.

Jiri and I with our running group

Motherhood has slowed me down.  Albeit, recently I have found that my son is my best trainer.  He likes to ride his stroller on high speed.  When the weather was better, I used to run with him in his stroller.  When I stopped to walk, he would cry.  So this June, I guess it’s high time for us to join a race.   Olomouc, here we come!