(Vsetín, Zlinsky Kraj, Czech Republic)- [Saturday]. I had heard of Rožnov ever since I arrived nearly two months ago in Vsetin and have never visited it ’til now. I was shaken out of my post coffee infusion decision making process by a call from Marcus on this sunny brisk Saturday morning. I was seriously deciding whether to mop the floor or sit on the washer so it doesn’t dance all over the bathroom. Looking for any way at all to get around either the washing the floor or the washing my clothes I jumped at the invitation by the Minton family to go with them to Rožnov. Problem solved. I did decide to take a shower and get ready (It always takes me time to put on my weekend face). While in the shower it occurred to me that (1) I could have worn my clothes and have them washed at the same time and (2) I could have opened the shower curtain and let the water splash on the floor. Bingo! Both jobs would have been done! However this would have taken acute mental gymnastics on my part to pull off both of those tasks (requiring great precision like a NASA moon shot). My mind was not cooperating so I said “forget it” besides the shower was too warm anyway. Maybe tomorrow will be a good day to do house work…I’ll have to think long and hard on that.
Looking at my calendar I realized I will have been in the Czech Republic two months come the 27th of October. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been here longer. Most of the newness has disappeared and it’s the routine of school which has caught me up and carried me through these weeks. It is a routine that also includes what I am going to cook on what night, even when I don’t want to cook.
(Sunday)- Yes I got distracted yesterday afternoon and put this thing down for a while. I tried making pancakes for dinner last night for a breakfast-for-dinner sort of thing. They turned out OK and I am still alive this morning (Sunday). It has been a long time since I have been a bachelor and cooking regularly for myself. My Scottish friend Susan describes all of the soups and chili stuff she makes on Sundays for the week in great detail and it sounds so damn good. I am just not that organized, besides she has a juicer and I don’t. My next quest is to learn how to make fried cheese with ham and boiled potatoes. I think I could have that dish everyday and return to California looking like a balloon.
But back to Rožnov and my afternoon with Marcus, Blanka, Sophie and Zack…I hesitate to call what we visited yesterday as a “Folk Park” but the houses tucked away in the hills above Rožnov were exactly that. Old buildings that had been transplanted from nearby regions and rebuilt to look like a working Wallachian village. I can only imagine what it may have been like with people back in the day. We did wander into a smithy while he was working at the forge and he explained what he did and why it was beneficial for him to to be toothless. He was explaining himself in Czech and a Wallachian dialect, neither of which I understood so I just smiled and laughed when everyone else laughed so I didn’t look like a damn fool. It was very cool and to have my historical experts Blanka and Marcus along with me to explain stuff (and to tell me the real explanation for why I was laughing). These are the same folks who last week cooked a great Mexican dinner for us. Have I told you just how much I miss Mexican food? As we walked through the 19th century village Marcus and I talked about the finer points of “The Walking Dead” and tested each other with random movie quotes. It was another touch of home and zombies.
Lunch was terrific as usual, sampling the local cuisine. I had little potato dumplings with cheese and bacon chunks. Simple fare to keep me going and so, so good. As is with most of my traveling adventures so far, it was stress-less and informative. I love the casual atmosphere of my new friends and enjoy their company. This, of course, goes with all the people I hang with. I think I could forgo wearing a watch and all would be right with the world. I am learning.
I have found that Sunday mornings are times for reflection and this morning is no different. I do get homesick from time to time and I know it would be a lot worse if I didn’t have such wonderful friends and students here in this town. It takes the edge off and allows me to do what I need to do. Yes I Skype with the family and that is always a treat and yes I email my wife daily or every other day and yes I am getting enough sleep so I have nothing really to complain about. So far it has been a great experience and for the time being, although I am the foreigner, I feel like I am fitting in.
and so it goes…