School days.

It's been a big week! First week of school! Thankfully, they went easy on us- 2 days of  registration and information, and only 3 full days of Czech study. I don't know if our brains could hold anymore!

The day is long- 4 1/2 hours of language study. The first day I cried in class. I don't think anyone noticed but Clay, but there were tears. 

Real, frustrated, what-have-I-gotten-myself-into tears. 

It was SO much information on a topic that neither of us had even scratched the surface of before. So different from our experiences with Spanish and French, where atleast there are comparisons to be made to English. This is a whole other realm.

But then day 2 was so much better! We left class being able to count to 20 (!) and with a pretty good grasp on the alphabet and its sounds. It was encouraging and just what we needed.

And then with today's class we were back in the mire. I think this will be the theme of our Czech language learning tale- really good days followed by really hard days followed by really good days. And so on.

Our walk to school is pretty slippery right now- lots of snow and ice on cobblestones.


Today, we both fell down stairs. And then almost had to sit back down on them we were laughing so hard :) I am so glad we are together on this adventure.
Here's the view from our classroom. 

And here's a quick shot of the classroom before class began. We're 6 Americans, 1 Chinese, 1 Austrian, 1 Colombian (that I speak Spanish with in the bathroom), and 1 Swede. And a Czech teacher named Jana.

 In other news- I have a new phone!!! Courtesy of some sweet friends in Texas- thanks ya'll!! My heart couldn't have been more blessed. Yay!
Also, we are getting close on securing housing for the whole team! Can't wait to show you our new home!

The rest of the group purchased their tickets and are set to arrive in March. We will be so happy to see those 11 faces! What a joyous day that will be!

In the meantime, we will continue with language school, getting to know new friends, navigating the visa renewal kingdom, and exploring these beautiful (albeit mushy) streets:

*Exciting update (for those of you playing my game with me)! We found the first female installment of our graffiti name game!!!

Rachel, Prague is ready for you!

 Add that to these guys, and we're off to a pretty good start!


Gluten-free restaurant in Prague

Last night, to celebrate beginning Czech school today, we went out to dinner at a place I've been wanting to try a really really long time. It's a 100% gluten free restaurant that has been all over the Prague forums since it opened in April 2011.

What do I think of it? It has changed my view of living in Prague. It is so good that it makes this city even better and more beautiful to live in. With a restaurant like this, where I can get incredible gluten free meals any time- life just got really good, people.

It kind of makes me want to cry. It is a true gift from God. There wasn't even a gluten free restaurant in Tomball like this. And God provides it for me here. He truly goes before us and behind us and hems us in so incredibly.

So, the restaurant.

It's called Na Zlaté Křižovatce (The Golden Crossroads) near the Florenc metro station (for those that might visit Prague).

We split a chicken caesar salad appetizer and it was huge. And it had strips of bacon and crunchy toasted parmesan croutons. The waitress actually commented on how fast we ate it. And I said something brilliant like "I haven't had bread in weeks!" which is not even true- it's been a lot longer than that, AND that is a lame thing to say :) I was deliriously happy at that moment and beyond caring. I have never stuffed croutons in my mouth so quickly.

Clay had a pork loin with parmesan risotto and I had my first Czech pork schnitzel. It was just as good as I'd imagined. It is so exciting to finally be able to enjoy Czech cuisine!

We split a dessert (for research sake ;) and decided on the Czech cheesecake. Wowsers.

They even had a  shelf at the front selling some gfree pantry items. Even muesli cereal!!

I cannot tell you how happy we were to have found this place. It is at the top of the list of Trip Advisor's restaurant in Prague, so we are hoping that that will guarantee it sticks around awhile!

Just wanted to share this huge encouragement. It is truly such a gift.



The exploration of our new city continues.

We took the metro out to Ikea one day to take stock of what they had and what we might like to have in our eventual apartment. 

Ikea is nuts. 

It's the magical place you most want to be and the place you most want to flail your arms at and run away from. All at the same time. They sell duvet covers, washing machines, and cinnamon rolls. Ikea takes time. And energy.

We used one of their baby strollers to haul all our winter gear around (we've got to figure out how Czechs handle the temperature change from outdoors to indoors) while we searched out housewares for our future home.

Clay thinks he might have found his chair. 

We ended up buying just one thing (which is deserving of an Ikea medal, I think, but then you'd be leaving with 2 things...), and it's something I've wanted since my farmer's market days in Belgium. A grocery pull-cart!!! I haven't seen many people my age with one, but I do not care!! Who wouldn't want to effortlessly pull their heavy load instead of carry it with their freezing, windchapped hands??


She is proving herself most handy at the grocery store.

At the laundry mat.

And trudging home from said laundry mat.

In our further wanderings, we found this gluten free shop! It's small and doesn't offer too many products, but they have tortilla chips and really good cookies. "Bez lepku" means gluten-free. 

On the opposite side of the block from the gfree store is a restaurant that is 100% gluten free! What?? Yes. It's true. 100% gluten free, from its pork schnitzel to its chocolate cheesecake. Further research required. We're on it.

Last night we had our first real introduction to Czech. Keri and her sister Marketa have been so helpful over the last few months as we made our transition to Prague. Keri had us over last night for tea and a little Czech lesson before our first day of Czech class (tomorrow!). She took us through the alphabet and all the sounds of the language. So cool. We are so thankful to have such friends.

Yes, Czech language school starts tomorrow! We are ready to dive in and begin the journey towards communicating well in this culture. It's exciting. And scary too. School. It's not my favorite. But back again we go! We'd love it if you'd pray for us as we begin learning Czech.



One, we are officially registered in the Czech Republic! The building looked ominous and the language flew over our heads, but with help we received what we needed quickly. 

Two, we ate our first homemade meal in Prague a few nights ago. It felt so good and right and like home. I felt like it was a big step in settling in.
Three, I lost my iphone a few days ago. Gasp. I know. It was horrible. It still stinks, but does not feel as horrible any more. I realized as I cried that night that it wasn't so much the iphone I was crying about (though I will miss texting my family at home on it :( ), but just the added complication that this occurrence added to our already complicated first days here. It hurt me. But I am feeling better.

Four, I went on a sweet walk with my new friend Carrie yesterday. She took me to a part of the city I haven't been to yet (there are a lot of places like that :) and we just walked and talked. It is so good to have a friend here. I am so thankful.

Here are some pictures from our walk:

That's Charles Bridge down there. How gorgeous is that?

This is a great playground area that overlooks the city. I got excited picturing the Wilkins and Keller kids running around up there this summer. Like most Prague parks, there's a beer garden in the middle where people meet their friends, watch matches, and just hang out on summer days. Summer is going to rock. I am already looking forward to it :)


This is a big metronome (it actually works) that sits atop the hill in the park. It's viewable from down in the city too. This hill used to hold a huge statue of Stalin looking out across the city. Now it holds a giant metronome to symbolize 'change.' I like it.

There will be picnics had on top of this hill. Count on it.

So thankful for a new friend :)