Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Saturday Out…

Our bathroom was being gutted, so Rachel and I decided to go out for breakfast and a walk on Saturday. We started at Cafe Faux Pas, a place that does crepes really well. We split a savory crepe of egg, bacon, and camembert, then we each got a sweet crepe. Mine was, of course, chocolate and Nutella because that’s always what I go for. I loved the way they put things on top of the crepe to show you what was inside. Both were delicious.

We then trekked down to the river to go through the large farmer’s market there. We got macrons, and gingerbread, and cider. Rachel also bought earrings and a coat. There was much to see and it was crowded. To get away from the crowd and take a nice walk, we climbed the stairs to Vysehrad. The beautiful basilica of Saint Peter and Paul is nestled next to the national cemetery, which is unlike any cemetery I’ve ever seen. The sculptures and mosaics here are beautiful, and instead of slabs, there are often plots filled with flowers and plants. It was very peaceful to wander through there.

We then walked around the perimeter of the park, enjoying the views of the city and the river. It was a gorgeous day, and a group of sailboats was on the river. I photographed some ruins from around the 10th century as well as the lovely river scene.

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Lastly, my favorite photo of the day: a narrow doorway in an old wall. I just love everything about this image.

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Art with Kids

Some of you may be curious as to what I’m doing with these children I’m teaching. Four days a week, I teach them English. On Fridays, I get to really enjoy myself, teaching art in English to second and third graders. Here’s a glimpse into a typical Friday as well as some of the work my students have produced.

We began with some basic color theory and a study of Piet Mondrian. Students then completed their own Mondrian-influenced piece. Here’s an example by one of my third graders:

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Those kids really loved using their rulers. Some even tried to work in Mondrian’s technique, which was without a ruler. Either way, students made really unique pieces and enjoyed the project. I’ve also taught the third graders about background, middle ground, and foreground. They created still life pieces using oil pastels to work in a background, school supplies to draw a still life in the middle ground, and paper flowers to place in the foreground. This project was completed over a couple of hours and students did really well:

Our first Friday in October saw our class interrupted by a theater production, so creation time was very short. Kids worked in watercolor to create an autumn background. They then used marker, colored pencil, or oil pastels to draw in trees and leaves. Here is a work in progress, created by my newest student, a boy from Russia:

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And here are my beloved third graders in action:
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One of my second grade classes designed mandalas on Friday. They seemed to really enjoy this project, using our study of lines to guide them. Some were very intricate for second graders. Others added spiders to their pictures because the mandala format reminded them of webs. These kids have great imaginations and love creating art.

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Dinner in Mala Strana

A group of us ventured to Mala Strana to have a drink at a beer garden and eat dinner. Here’s a view from the beer garden:

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We ended up at Luka Lu, an amazing restaurant celebrating Italy and the Balkan nations. The restaurant is vibrant and colorful, the walls covered with photographs from the various countries the menu represents. This is the room in which we sat:

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Anyone who knows me will assume I began my meal with a fine wine, and that is exactly what I did. I settled on a glass of Vranec, a dry red house wine from Skopje, Macedonia. I should have purchased a bottle of it before I left because I liked it that much. We were served homemade bread that was soft with a chewy crust and had two cream cheese spreads with it. My main course was lamb roasted in the oldest method of Balkan meat preparation. According to my brief research, it is a common dish in northern Montenegro. The lamb is chopped into chunks and put into a clay pot along with onions, peppers, and carrots, oil, salt, and pepper. The food is covered with a domed lid and buried in hot ashes or live coal to slowly cook in its own juices for a few hours. It was so rich and comforting after the chilly autumn air. It was quite a delicious meal.

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Luka Lu is quirky to say the least. Apparently, it’s a thing somewhere in the Balkans to have a piece of furniture attached to your ceiling for luck or something. I couldn’t find any information about it. Luka Lu continues in that unique tradition, and there is always something fascinating to look at, whether it’s the walls or the ceiling.

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With excellent service, delicious food, and a unique atmosphere, we will definitely venture back to Luka Lu.

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Divoka Šarka

Last Saturday, we ventured out to this lovely park in Prague 6. It’s rocky and hilly, and you forget that you’re in a city. It was the first day of fall and there was a crisp chill in the air. It was nice to hike around and get out of our stuffy apartment.

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There are Shelby, Jen, and Rachel off in the distance…

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Church in a Bar and Brunch

Last Sunday I attended a church that I think will become my new church home. It’s called Do.Slova, and is located in Prague 1. The problem is I don’t know if I can find it again. Anyway, it meets in this old bar which has a lot of character. I just felt at home there, and not just because of few of my coworkers attend there so I actually knew some people. It’s a bilingual church, so everything is in English and in Czech, which I think is quite beautiful. They also do communion, which is really important to me. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

Afterward, Shelby, Jen, and I went to a place called Coffee & Waffles for brunch. We had passed it on the way to church, and we just really wanted some waffles at that point. This place offers full breakfast all day as well as a variety of waffles with all sorts of toppings, from sweet to savory. Jen’s had peanut butter sauce and Nutella, if I remember correctly. Shelby and I went for scrambled eggs and the Czech version of bacon with our waffles. This place was a sweet little find.

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Festival & Fried Dough

Jen, Shelby, and I ventured out last Saturday to find a cultural festival taking place in another neighborhood of Prague. There were a number of food stalls as well as vendors with things to buy. A couple different stages had entertainment. We walked through everything once to get a feeling for the offerings. There was American BBQ, Chinese food, Mexican, and all sorts of South American representation, like Peru and Venezuela. Guys, it smelled really good. We got Mexican food, went to the Irish pub tent for Irish beer and cider, and watched a Bulgarian children’s choir as well as a good sized Salsa dance class.

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We then wandered over to Wenceslas square. Why did we bother with a touristy, crowded area? Because the festival was lacking only in fried dough treats, we wanted something like that, and Wenceslas square has it.

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We found fried dough, everyone. It’s actually a Slovakian treat called a trdelnik chimney, and it was doughy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and covered with cinnamon-sugar. Also? You could get the cones filled with goodness like Nutella and ice cream, which is what we did. Linda, my cousin, this picture is for you! Thanks for bringing my attention to this treat.

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Just So

We stayed close to home the other day and went to a nearby coffee shop. The cute little place is called “Jen Tak”, which means “just so”. Everything was just so in here, from the sweet barista to the perfect coffee to the display case of tempting treats. We were on a mission to eat medovnik, a delicious honey cake. Jen Tak did not disappoint, and I’ll definitely be back. It was nice to find a charming little coffee shop near the apartment.

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Look at our beautiful cappuccinos! Jen’s had hearts and mine was a flower. The cappuccinos were served in the most delicate china cups and the coffee was a perfect compliment to the sweet cake.

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Finally, we had medovnik! For those who love honey, this treat is a must. The cake had rich honey flavor which was balanced by layers of cream. This is a cake I will indulge in again.

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Wandering…

Shelby, Jen, and I had to run an errand the other day, so we decided to make an afternoon of it. Once we were finished with work stuff, we ran our errand. Afterward, we just sort of wandered, taking in some of the beautiful architecture of Prague. Here we are, me, Jen, and Shelby, just hanging out on the Charles Bridge:

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We wandered into a beautiful, quiet church for a few minutes of peacefulness:

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There is amazing architecture everywhere you look:

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Below are a few images from the Charles Bridge:

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Below is the view from the Charles Bridge. Guys, I live here.

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Adventures with Rachel, Pt. 1

I’ve titled this post as such because I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll have more adventures with my friend, Rachel, to share with you in the future. Rachel and I met at Taylor University when we were are major undergrads. We both just happen to be teaching in Prague at the same time, so we’ve rekindled our old friendship. I had almost forgotten how much fun I have with Rachel. Here we are!

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Anyway, last Sunday, she took me to a restaurant up by the Strahov Monastery, which houses one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Below is a picture of the monastery, but click the link highlighted above to go to the website and do a virtual tour. It’s a beautiful place.

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Below is the restaurant/beer garden we ate at, and it was great. It’s called Velka Klasterni. The food was delicious, the beer was perfect, and we had great conversation.

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And you cannot beat the view of the city from up here:

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To the left of the image is Prague Castle, which Rachel and I walked to and wandered around. Below is a close up of part of the castle compound. We did a lot of wandering and exploring. We ended our day with the amazing gelato at Creme de la Creme (future post – stay tuned) as we sat overlooking the river.

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Hanspaulka

The school year has begun here in Prague, and those of us in UpWord English are working tirelessly to plan for our students. Let me tell you: I work with a great group of people. They’re considerate, communicative, and collaborative. (How about THAT alliteration!?) They’re passionate about what they do. If you’re a praying person, please be in prayer for the team below:

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I know some of you want to know who is who, so here we go, starting with the back row on the left side: Shelby, Emma, Annemarie, Me, Misha, Ela. Next row: Jane, Cassidy, Trisha, Jen, and Lenka. In front, we have Elaine, Andrea, and Jana. Did I mention that I already love these people?!

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Here is a glimpse of Hanspaulka, the school at which I’m teaching. Yes, those are apple trees. We ate fresh apples off the trees like crazy during our training week. They were juicy, crisp, and had just the right balance of sweetness and tartness.

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You’ll be hearing a lot from Hanspaulka and my teammates over the next two years…

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