Precious Moments

Another Christmas tradition here in Czech is to take a walk with the family on Christmas Eve.  In our case, it became a post Christmas activity.

Since we were celebrating with the extended family, and the boys love trains, we took them out for a short train ride in a neighboring city.  We then went on the back roads that connected one train station to another.  I was lucky to snap a couple of pics of my little boy with his cousins.


Precious little moments….


I tried to coax them into looking at the camera, but wasn’t very successful.


Someone is always looking away.


A simple thing can also be a reason to play.


In this case, a simple bottle cover became a soccer ball.


Although the walk was not in the nicest part of town, it is one of the most memorable walks we’ve ever had.


Happy New Year, everyone!

‘Twas a Merry Christmas

Whew!  It almost seems like such a long time since I have updated this blog.  After moving to our new house 2 weekends ago, most of my time has been spent cleaning and fixing up the new place….and we are not finished yet.  With Christmas just around the corner, I found myself even busier.  Needless to say, life happened.

I will have a separate post regarding the house.  Meanwhile, here’s how we spent our Christmas.

On Christmas day, we drove to my in-laws’ place in Moravia in this weather.


Just looking at the frozen fog was enough to frighten me a bit, but it really is a way of life over here.  Everything seemed normal.

That same day, my husband’s brother and his family also came.  It  was a time for opening the gifts from Ježíšek (Little Jesus).  Instead of Santa, Czechs believe that Ježíšek is the one bringing gifts.  In our family, the children were asked to go with Grandpa and watch a pohadka (fairytale).


Meanwhile, the adults prepared the gifts and staged the room to appear like Ježíšek just left.  This was done by opening one window and tolling the bell.  When the children ran to the living room, they found presents under the tree.

Since they were too young to read, the adults helped tell them who the presents were for and they distributed the gifts.


Everyone was then busy opening their presents.


My little boy was very happy with the biggest gift he got from Ježíšek (a.k.a. grandma) – a toy digger.


At around 5pm that same day, we went to my husband’s grandparents to celebrate with the rest of the family.

There was another set of presents to open.  But the best part was just bonding with the family.


While the kids were busy distributing presents from the tree, the adults were doing their thing.


The kids got toys, candies and chocolates, the men got wine…..


…. or slivovice (plum liquor).


No matter what generation, it is always a hit.

In one corner, I was chatting with my father-in-law and his mother.


Although there are a lot of nice material gifts, I guess that the best gift of all is family.  Even though, my own Filipino family is too far away and I didn’t get to spend this Christmas with them, my Czech family provided me the necessary “warmth” I needed this winter season.


Yesterday, it was -4C (25F) outside.  But I found myself enjoying my homemade guláš and downing it with a mug of cold beer.    A year ago, the idea of drinking cold beer on a cold day was quite repulsive for me.  Having been raised in a tropical country and spending a lot of time in a temperate country with very mild winters, snow was very foreign to me.   But the longer I stay here in Czech, I am starting to appreciate it now.  Somehow, dealing with the cold temperature has become a way of life.  I guess I am now integrating.

Another tell-tale sign is that I am starting to dig Czech humor.  Although I still don’t understand everything, I somehow get the drift.  Here is one popular Christmas commercial that touches on a Czech tradition and is presented in a very humorous way.

During Christmas, some people still practice the old tradition of fasting prior to midnight.  Little children are told that if they don’t eat anything, they will later on get rewarded with a sighting of a golden boar.  In this commercial, the little girl is asking her dad what the boar looks like.  She further mentions that she doesn’t need to wait for later since she is already seeing one.

I hope to awaken the Christmas spirit in me, as we are moving to our new place this weekend.    After the long wait, it is finally here.  The place is not fully furnished yet, but it is already “habitable.”  But we don’t have a tree yet.  I hope we don’t end up like the dad in the commercial.  Ironically, we live close to the woods.