Thanksgiving in the UK

As an American sojourning in a foreign land, I felt that it was my personal responsibility to introduce my fellow students to the happiness and joy that a genuine spirit of thankfulness can bring to a person (especially when that spirit of thankfulness is expressed in a large turkey!) In other words, I really wanted to cook a whole bunch of food for my friends over here, and let them know what a real American Thanksgiving is like!

It makes sense that they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving over here. After, Thanksgiving is a celebration of a first harvest in the new world, and Scotland is certainly part of the old world. It’s a little more surprising that none of them seem to know what Thanksgiving is about, and many seem to guess that is has something to do with Lincoln. (A fact that I find quite interesting, Lincoln was the first to declare Thanksgiving a national holidays, but US citizens are more likely to think of pilgrims.) What really got me, though, was my friend Rachel declaring that she had never even heard of Thanksgiving! I wondered to myself, what do they DO in Northern Ireland??

Every Thursday evening here in St. Andrews, I take part in a wonderful small group with some of the best people I have met here in Scotland. The group is diverse; we have two Americans, one person from Singapore, three Northern Irish, as well as a healthy blend of Scottish and English students! 🙂 And of course, because small group occurs every Thursday, the two Americans (Vannah and I) realized fairly early on in the term that we needed to introduce our small group to a proper Thanksgiving!

Our Thanksgiving actually happened the day before Thanksgiving, on Thanksgiving eve. Vannah was super amazing, she was the one who really made it happened and organized everyone! She invited all of the guests: all I had to do was show up and help prepare. She and I spent almost the entire day in the kitchen! We made homemade pies, chickens (since most people don’t like turkey 😦 ), green bean casserole, dressing, and sweet tea. The kitchen was exploding with ingredients! I think the best way to describe to you how messy our kitchen was is to tell you there was a point where we LOST an ENTIRE CASSEROLE! That’s when we knew we needed to think about straightening up! J

The most hilarious thing was watching all of the British students see all of our food for the first time. None of them had ever had green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, or even heard of dressing (stuffing!) They wondered at sweet tea and asked if they were supposed to add milk, or if it was alcoholic. They stared at their plates and made comments about how they had never had so many strange foods on their plate at the same time! It was basically hilarious! J  One of the best parts of the evening occurred at the end, when everyone around the table shared what they were most thankful for! It is always amazing to take time to give thanks to the Lord for all of His amazing blessings, and I certainly know I have MANY things to be grateful for!

A wonderful meal with wonderful friends! :)

A wonderful meal with wonderful friends! 🙂

homecoming 2013

Erskine’s Homecoming, the last of my undergraduate career, was 26 October.  I do not think that finality sank in until just now, as I write this.   Does anyone know where the homecoming tradition came from?  I was on Skype with Aaron, my best friend from St Andrews, the morning of homecoming and in the process of telling him about the day’s events, he asked me what homecoming is. 

How do you describe such an American tradition to one who has never experienced it?  Apparently I did a sufficient job, but he still laughed at our odd ways here on the other side of the Pond.  That was an interesting cultural realisation for me: something which I have always sort of innately understood is an alien concept to most of the world.  But I digress.

This year, Erskine combined Homecoming with our Fall Fest–organised and sponsored by the Erskine Entertainment Board–and parent’s day.  Between the families, friends, students, faculty, and alumni present, it was the busiest I have ever seen the campus.  Breaking character for a day, this quiet little academic village was buzzing from dawn well past dusk.  Also a big deal this year: 2014 marks the 175th anniversary of Erskine College, in case you didn’t know.  On the 24th, we were lucky enough to get to hear about life as a member of the centennial class from Mrs. Dot Simpson Wise, Erskine class of 1939, in a special convocation ceremony.  After the interview, Erskine gave us free 175th anniversary t-shirts, which you will see in a few of the photos below.  Anyone who has been to college understands the excitement of a free t-shirt.  I think I could go a month wearing only Erskine shirts.  This is not a complaint.

classic car, classic shoes, classic Erskine. and the free t-shirt. I love my college. (and my mum-she let me borrow her old saddle shoes!)

this year’s homecoming theme was 1950s; classic car, classic shoes, classic Erskine. and a free t-shirt. I love my college. (and my mum–she let me borrow her old saddle shoes!)  [photo by Evan Gursky]

Traditionally, Erskine holds an event called Fleet-o-Rama the night before.  This involves music, food (often including fire for roasting marshmallows! s’mores, anyone?), float decorating, and other activities.  Despite the chilly weather, it was a fantastic time.

The day itself featured the homecoming parade, an auction, performances by the Choraleers and Gospel Choir, an athletic banquet, exhibition games by various athletic teams, the soccer games and homecoming court, and the concert that evening.  If you are anything like me, you get tired just reading that sentence.  I think we all slept well that night!  The concert featured a band called Air Dubai, preceded by Shane Sniteman, the talented son of one of our professors.

I love seeing the school spirit and pride that everyone shows on days like this.  As stressed out as we may get sometimes, and despite the frustrations that inevitably arise sometimes being in such a small community, I really do love this place and the people here.  I cannot think of another college that supports every student the way Erskine does.  Few outside of Due West know what in the world a “Flying Fleet” is, yet we are fiercely proud of it.

I took very few photos over the weekend, but my talented fellow student, Katie Putnam, took many for the school.  I share some of them below.  There are many more on the Erskine Flickr page.  Enjoy!

The Choraleers singing, directed by the wonderful Dr. Nabholz. It's never easy to sing outside but we were wonderful. Not that I am biased or anything. (I am the one on the front row who isn't wearing jeans like everyone else.)

The Choraleers singing, directed by the wonderful Dr. Nabholz. It’s never easy to sing outside but we were wonderful. Not that I am biased or anything. (I am the one on the front row who isn’t wearing jeans like everyone else.)

At the banquet, six Erskine alumni were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame

At the banquet, six Erskine alumni were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame

The freshmen court: Kristen Craft, Amanda Strickland, and Anna Raquel Robinson.

The freshmen court: Kristen Craft, Amanda Strickland, and Anna Raquel Robinson.

The sophomore court: Hayley Rogers, Miranda Guthrie, and Elinor Griffin.

The sophomore court: Hayley Rogers, Miranda Guthrie, and Elinor Griffin.

The junior court: Rachel Talbot, Mika Goyette, and Chelsea Ball.

The junior court: Rachel Talbot, Mika Goyette, and Chelsea Ball.

The senior court: Cate Cardinale, Corin Hallman, Leslie McGill, and April Horne.

The senior court: Cate Cardinale, Corin Hallman, Leslie McGill, and April Horne.

Cate Cardinale was crowned the 2013 homecoming queen. To her left and right are student body VP Hannah Collins and student body President Daniel Prohaska.

Cate Cardinale was crowned the 2013 homecoming queen. To her left and right are student body VP Hannah Collins and student body President Daniel Prohaska.

Shane Sniteman opening for Air Dubai

Shane Sniteman opening for Air Dubai

The lead singer of Air Dubai singing his heart out

The lead singer of Air Dubai singing his heart out

The Best Daddy in the Whole, Wide World!

Last week was one of the most difficult weeks of my entire life. A giant monster with sharp claws and a strong bite, formally known as the GRE, came down expectantly to attack me when I was least expecting it. The giant beast attacked from the right and the left throwing all sorts of touch math and vocabulary questions which I needed to overcome in order to save me life! Fortunately, I survived, although it was a rough 5 hour long battle which wore me out completely!

Taking the GRE was a CHALLENGING experience… I wrote an entire blog about it! (In case you wanted more details! 😛 )

This is the part of the story where my wonderful Daddy comes in. Knowing that I would have a hard time saying no to fun in Scotland to study, he told me that if I were to have absolutely no fun for a week before the GRE, and just study, he would take me and a few friends out to dinner. He tasked my roommate, Tiffany, with the task of ensuring that I was actually having no fun and reminding me to study for every possible second that I was awake. And Tiffany rose to the challenge! Every time I would start to talk on the phone, or text, or get comfortable in bed she would tell me that I looked like I was having too much fun and that I needed to get back to work, now!

The night before I took the GRE my daddy called me on Skype to wish me good luck and give me a few last tips before the test. After we chatted for a bit, he asked me if I had my suitcase nearby. And I think to myself, what on earth? What does my suitcase have to do with the price of tea in China??? I told him that it was on top of my wardrobe and pointed my camera at it. He asked me to get it down. I was really confused, and speculated that he had seen the mess all over my room while Skyping with me and wanted to remind me that I only have one suitcase to lug all of my stuff home…. But I got the suitcase!

But the inordinate amount of stuff lying all over my dorm room floor was not what my dad was trying to point out, at least not in that instance. He had me unzip the main compartment, unzip the inner lining, and look under the plastic on the side. And there, taped to the inside of my suitcase, was a one hundred-dollar bill! My dad had put it in there a week before I left for Scotland, as a surprise to remind me that he had been planning a surprise for me long in advance! He told me it was a present from him to reward me for all of my studying and to allow me to take a few friends out to dinner as a treat from him!

Naturally, I was quite excited! Can you imagine a daddy doing anything nicer for his daughter?? I quite happily scheduled a dinner date for Tiffany, Elisabeth, Naomi, and I because I love them, and I also REALLY APPRECIATED all of the hours they spent helping me to prepare for the big day!

Tiffany and Naomi were excited for dinner, too! :)

Tiffany and Naomi were excited for dinner, too! 🙂

And what a fantastic dinner we had! We all went to the grill house in town and ordered a delicious meals. Elisabeth and I ordered Mexican fajitas, which came out on hot plates still sizzling! (We knew they were coming before we could even see the waiter approaching…. Naomi announced, ~I hear your dinner coming!” and cracked us all up!) Naomi and Tiffany had delicious burgers and chips. And we all had a FANTASTIC TIME! This goes to show, I really do have the best daddy in the whole, wide world! ❤

We had such a FANTASTIC time!

We had such a FANTASTIC time!

 

more of Mainz

You may be sick of hearing about Germany by this point; I promise that I am more than halfway done though.  Just to cheer you up, I’ll start you with a fun fact: Carnival is HUGE is Mainz!  So big that they have a statue dedicated to it in the centre of town with over 200 unique figures on it to celebrate their favourite celebration.  I would love to experience Carnival some time in my life!

Anna and I posing in front of the Carnival statue. It's actually much larger than it looks in the photo.

Anna and I posing in front of the Carnival statue. It’s actually much larger than it looks in the photo.

To continue where my last post left off, the next church Anna took us to is called Petruskirche, or St. Peter’s Church.  The baccalaureate ceremony for her high school graduation was in this church.  If I ever attended a service in this church, I’m not sure I would be able to pay attention at all to what was being said.  Pictures truly are worth [at least] a thousand words, and I think the photographs below are explanation enough for this (click to enlarge):

looking in ceiling the organ! to the left altar to the right

Of all the beauty contained here, I think the organ has to be my favourite.  I also have an immense respect for the artists who painted this church.

Never fear: we visited some Protestant churches too!  I really enjoyed Christuskirche, or Christ Church, which was built around the turn of the 19th century and rebuilt after World War II.  We also got to sit in on a rehearsal for an Easter concert the church was hosting.  It was wonderful to warm up from the cold outdoors while hearing some very talented musicians rehearse.  Not wanting to be too much of a distraction, we didn’t take many pictures inside.

Christuskirche Mainz entrance

Our last stop before the train station that evening was–believe it or not–a shopping mall.  Now, I definitely do not enjoy shopping but Anna wanted to show us what was under the mall: an ancient Roman temple dedicated to Isis, the Egyptian goddess of fertility, and Mater Magna [Great Mother], a goddess favoured by soldiers.  We got there just as it was closing but the lady was nice enough to let us down to see it as long as we didn’t take too long.  This article goes in-depth into the history and discovery of the temple–so interesting!  I began my day in a thousand-year-old cathedral and ended it examining ruins and artefacts over 2500 years old!  We’re talking Old Testament times here.  I wonder what those who built and worshipped here would think of it now.  Below are some of the photos I took; the article I linked to above has more.

Roman temple ancient artifacts temple ruins

We DID buy something in the mall after all; when we had looked around the ruins we went and got ice cream! I mixed raspberry and the Mozart flavour which was quite possibly the best ice cream I’ve had in my life!

ice cream and smiles

I will conclude with some miscellaneous photos that I took around the city.  My next travel post will focus on my final adventures in Germany.  God bless! xx

This is the Proviant-Magazin in Mainz.  I love the building and I love the sunlight in the picture.

This is the Proviant-Magazin in Mainz. I love the building and I love the sunlight in the picture.

This is the Landtag Rheinland-Pfalz, a central government building in Mainz.  [This explains what exactly it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landtag_of_Rhineland-Palatinate]

This is the Landtag Rheinland-Pfalz, a central government building in Mainz. [This explains what exactly it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landtag_of_Rhineland-Palatinate%5D

Left: a Roman column of Jupiter still standing Right: a larger-than-life hourglass that actually turns; we happened to be there just about on the hour

Left: a Roman column of Jupiter still standing
Right: a larger-than-life hourglass that actually turns; we happened to be there just about on the hour

Top: Statue over the doorway of a building.  I love little architectural details! Bottom: a random sculpture of a foot--I'm not certain whether there was actually more to it at one point, or what its significance is.

Top: Statue over the doorway of a building. I love little architectural details!
Bottom: a random sculpture of a foot–I’m not certain whether there was actually more to it at one point, or what its significance is.

but wait: there’s more! (Dresden continued)

As I said in my last post, there are so many more parts of Dresden that I want to share that I decided to do a second post.  These other adventures include: exploring Dresden Zwinger (the palace), [me] singing outside of the Semperoper (the opera house), admiring the Fürstenzug and other murals, having a delicious lunch in a bakery, exploring this awesome store called Globetrotter, and other assorted adventures around the city.

I think I am going to let my pictures do the talking; as always, click on any photo to see the full-size version.  I’ve included descriptions for almost everything.

Posing in the courtyard gardens of the Dresden Palace. It was immense and so lovely!

Posing in the courtyard gardens of Dresden Zwinger, the Dresden Palace. It was immense and so lovely!

Another view looking into the courtyard

Another view looking into the main courtyard of the Zwinger.

An interior courtyard of the Zwinger; statues lined all of the walls surrounding a fountain.

An interior courtyard of the Zwinger; statues lined all of the walls surrounding a fountain.

One of countless fountains in the Zwinger; empty for winter, it was still a beautiful sight to behold!

One of countless fountains in the Zwinger; empty for winter, it was still a beautiful sight to behold!

The Dresden Opera House

Semperoper; The Dresden Opera House

Yes, I actually sang on this statue outside of the opera house. (The photo may be posed but the singing was real.)

Yes, I actually sang on this statue outside of the opera house. (The photo may be posed but the singing was real.)

I love these beautiful ladies!

I love these beautiful ladies!

The Fürstenzug on Augustusstrasse; it was nearly impossible to get this entire mural into one shot, but it shows centuries of Germanic princes and historical figures.

The Fürstenzug on Augustusstrasse; it was nearly impossible to get this entire mural into one shot, but it shows centuries of Germanic princes and historical figures.

Hannah, Anna, and Christabel posing like some of the figures on the wall.

Hannah, Anna, and Christabel posing like some of the figures on the wall.

mural

German bakery. Delectable.  (left to right: Anna, Scott, Nick, Christabel, and Hannah)

German bakery. Delectable.
(left to right: Anna, Scott, Nick, Christabel, and Hannah)

We found an awesome six-person bicycle and tried it out for size. It was quite an interesting contraption!

We found an awesome six-person bicycle and tried it out for size. It was quite an interesting contraption!

I cannot remember what this building was but it was immense and beautiful.  Have you noticed a common theme yet?

I cannot remember what this building was but it was immense and beautiful. Have you noticed a common theme yet?

Nick, Hannah, me, Christabel, and Anna posing in one of the many picturesque parts of Dresden.

Nick, Hannah, me, Christabel, and Anna posing in one of the many picturesque parts of Dresden.

Christabel showed off her gymnastic skills; unfortunately I caught the shot on her way down.

Christabel showed off her gymnastic skills; unfortunately I caught the shot on her way down.

University kids know how to entertain themselves.

University kids know how to entertain themselves.

I have a thing for doors. I found this under a giant staircase and really wanted to see what was on the other side, but unfortunately it was locked.

I have a thing for doors. I found this under a giant staircase and really wanted to see what was on the other side, but unfortunately it was locked.

A collage of photos I took inside the Globetrotter store; there was actually a multi-story climbing wall, an indoor pond, and rain falling from the ceiling.

A collage of photos I took inside the Globetrotter store; there was actually a multi-story climbing wall, an indoor pond, and rain falling from the ceiling.

history in real life: Dresden, Germany

Every time I come to write a new blog post, I am amazed at the time that has gone by since I last posted!  It seems that only upon reflection do I ever realise how quickly life is passing.

For example: this post is about my day with friends in Dresden, Germany, which was 4 months ago! I still remember it so clearly though. I am so grateful that God has given us the capacity for memories.  I am equally grateful for the beautiful people that I created these memories with!

I think the most incredible thing about touring Dresden was exploring the city centre which was completely bombed out by the Allies at the end of World War II.  Photos of the city after this happened show the unbelievable damage that essentially flattened it.  Yet the only evidence of this that we saw in person was the colouring of some of the bricks in buildings that they rebuilt.  During restoration of the city, they used as much original stone and brick of buildings as they could; it is easy to spot the old bricks because they are charred from the bombing.  I think one of the best examples of this that we saw was Dresdner Frauenkirche, the Church of Our Lady, where Martin Luther himself preached. Talk about historical!   We sat for a while inside the Frauenkirche, which was rebuilt about 10 years ago to look exactly as it did when Luther was alive.  Words and pictures cannot express how exquisite this church is, though I’ll try to show you below (click on any photo to see it full-size).  As with the cathedrals of Europe, I think it is impossible to be in this church and NOT feel the presence of God.

The outside of the Church of Our Lady. I spent some quality time with Luther there; we may have our disagreements, but he's a pretty good guy.

The outside of the Church of Our Lady. I spent some quality time with Luther there; we may have our disagreements, but he’s a pretty good guy.

Can words express the exquisiteness of this sight? I cannot find them.

Can words express the exquisiteness of this sight? I cannot find them.

In my humble opinion, no church is truly complete without a pipe organ. This one is certainly beautiful!

In my humble opinion, no church is truly complete without a pipe organ. This one is certainly beautiful!

I love how the sunlight streaming through the windows played on the life-size statues at the front.

I love how the sunlight streaming through the windows played on the life-size statues at the front.

This shows you how intricate the carvings and artistry is in the church.

This shows you how intricate the carvings and artistry is in the church.

I include this photo because the man there gives you an idea of the sheer magnitude of the size of this amazing church.

I include this photo because the man there gives you an idea of the sheer magnitude of the size of this amazing church.

Kreuzkirche, Church of the Holy Cross, was another beautiful Protestant Church we visited, though I have fewer photos of that one.

Outside of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (unfortunately it was locked so we couldn't go in). This is another example of the combined old and new stones used to reconstruct the city.

Outside of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (unfortunately it was locked so we couldn’t go in). This is another example of the combined old and new stones used to reconstruct the city.

Black & white, old & new. History intertwined!

Black & white, old & new. History intertwined!

inside the Hofkirche

This is one of hte most unique crosses I have ever seen in a church.

This is one of hte most unique crosses I have ever seen in a church.

Can you tell I love pipe organs?

Can you tell I love pipe organs?

Dresden was absolutely freezing; there was still snow and ice on the ground (especially in the shadier areas), but it was still such a beautiful place.  I think the coldest part was when we walked Augustusbrücke (Augustus Bridge), which crosses the river Elbe.  The wind was so biting! But the view was gorgeous and definitely worth it.

Enjoying a calm moment on the bridge with the lovely Christabel!

Enjoying a calm moment on the bridge with the lovely Christabel!

Nick and Scott were admiring the view by the river; I snuck a few shots.

Nick and Scott were admiring the view by the river; I snuck a few shots.

In terms of Dresden, I think I will let the photographs do the rest of the talking.  Because I have so many more pictures from to share, though, I am going to put them all in my next post.

 

 

Easter travels, part VII: Herrnhut, Germany

Summer seems to be racing by, yet I continue returning to my spring holiday travel stories.  There are so many to tell though!
I spent the majority of our two-week holiday in Germany, mostly in a small village called Herrnhut close to the Czech and Polish borders.  This town is the centre of the Moravian church (Zinzendorf, anyone?) as well as where the 26-point Christmas star was created and is still produced.
My friend Scott lived here with the Novak family for several months last summer while volunteering with the Jesus-Haus.  Jan and Ulrike were kind enough to welcome us into their home for a week, including an extra six university students for the weekend.  The boys stayed in their attic room and us girls shared the beautiful guest apartment connected to their house.

A peek from the doorway into the guest apartment we stayed in for the week.  The bedroom (with a loft!) was straight ahead, bathroom to the right, and kitchen downstairs. Beautiful, peaceful, and cosy.

A peek from the doorway into the guest apartment we stayed in for the week. The bedroom (with a loft!) was straight ahead, bathroom to the right, and kitchen downstairs. Beautiful, peaceful, and cosy.

This was the view from our bedroom window. I never got tired of seeing this!

This was the view from our bedroom window. I never got tired of seeing this!

It was really nice to be a part of the daily life of the family:  helping with cooking, playing in the snow, going to church, and getting to know the family.  The four children–Natti, Hanni, Joshi, and Elli–were so wonderful!  Elli is Scott’s goddaughter and the three of us spent a lovely afternoon building a gigantic snowman in the courtyard of the Jesus-Haus.  Scott did most of the heavy lifting and hard work, while three-year-old Elli chatted away to me in German and built mini-snowmen to be the family of the daddy snowman.  We did help Scott some by making the head and throwing snowballs at him.  Little is cuter than hearing a ruddy-cheeked three-year old exclaim, “Bauten wir eine große Schneemann!” while she claps her hands.

Scott & his goddaughter working together--what a sweet photo!

Scott & his goddaughter working together–what a sweet photo!

Scott was, rightfully, so proud of the finished snowman! Elli and I left him with most of the work but he did a great job.

Scott was, rightfully, so proud of the finished snowman! Elli and I left him with most of the work but he did a great job.

Another afternoon Scott and I took four-year-old Joshi to the Ethnographic Museum in town which was quite interesting despite two-thirds of the descriptions being solely in German. And Hanni and I got along quite well; we spent some quality time together playing with each other’s hair, reading or playing games, and helping Ulri with preparing meals.  Ulri is an incredible cook!  Our first night she made traditional Czech dumplings which were beyond delicious.  We had so much amazing food that I cannot choose any one favourite.  We also gave the Herrnhut baker a fair bit of business.  Aside from France, I’ve never had such good-tasting bread.  It was the week before Easter so Scott and I went one evening and bought some sweet Osterbrot, or Easter bread.

Easter bread from the friendly baker in Hernnhut! Literally some of the best bread I've had in my life.

Easter bread from the friendly baker in Hernnhut! Literally some of the best bread I’ve had in my life.

Friday night the members of the Jesus-Haus celebrate [a slightly Christianised version of] Pesach, the Jewish Passover.  Our friends from St. Andrews had joined us by this point and the eight of us spent Friday afternoon cooking and baking dishes before celebrating a trilingual Pesach.  (If you have never made an apple pie from scratch, you are truly missing something in life.)

We had so much fun making all sorts of goodies. Who says college students don't know their way around a kitchen?

We had so much fun making all sorts of goodies. Who says college students don’t know their way around a kitchen?

We met everyone in the Jesus-Haus and talked a bit before it started.  Jan and Ulri had their turn leading the celebration that night and words cannot express how moving it was.  I felt connected to God and His people through thousands of years, through all of our history.  It wasn’t just living history, it was living part of the Bible.  It’s truly an experience that I will remember and treasure forever.

Jan and Ulri have a huge heart for the Jewish people, culture, language, and history.  Both of them study Hebrew (and know quite a few other languages) and have done a lot of work with Israel.  I learned so much from them! It is always inspiring to talk to people about the opportunities they have had in their lives and to hear about their passions.  It was also really interesting to hear stories and perspectives from a couple who grew up in eastern Europe during Soviet times.  Walking around parts of the former USSR made a huge impact on me: history became much more real.

One of the most exciting parts of our stay in Herrnhut was when I learned to ski! On the Saturday we were there, the eight of us university students, Ulri and her father, and the three oldest children spent the day in the Czech mountains skiing.  None of us girls from St. Andrews knew how to ski so after everyone got fitted for boots & skis, we made our way to the baby slope.  Scott, James, and Nick took turns coming over to give us pointers; none of us were too horrid, but let me just say that learning to ski in jeans means extremely cold, wet legs.  I absolutely love snow and the day was great bonding time for all of us.  We even managed to order ourselves food and drinks from the little café in Czech! Cultural experiences for the win!

Sarah and I were all bundled up for a day in the snowy Czech mountains!

Sarah and I all bundled up for a day in the snowy Czech mountains!

This is the longest icicle I've ever seen in my life!! Don't worry, no one was harmed in the taking of this photo. (pictured: Scott & James)

This is the longest icicle I’ve ever seen in my life!! Don’t worry, no one was harmed in the taking of this photo. (pictured: Scott & James)

We were so blessed to be able to live, work, pray, and fellowship with this wonderful family and other members of the Jesus-Haus.  They were perfect examples of hospitality and love and I will always be grateful for that week.  I dearly hope to return some day!

I took this in the kitchen while we were making food. Even though it was almost Easter, I felt like we needed to have Christmas carols on!

I took this in the kitchen while we were making food for Pesach. Even though it was almost Easter, I felt like we needed to have Christmas carols on!