May 28, 2009

Ticks, Foreign Police and other friends

Last weekend we did a lot of hiking. On Saturday Isaiah and Miro headed out for an all boys hike with Pavel from Miro's pre-intermediate class. Pavel has a son, Dan, who is the same age as Isaiah. They had a great time walking through the white hills, so-named for the white rock of the hill.

The next day we went for a hike in the afternoon with Hana and Patrik. I met Hana at the mother's centre. She has a daughter Jasmina who is only one month younger than Isaiah (you can see them in the photo on the left). Hana speaks English very well and took the initiative to connect with me one day in the playroom at the mother's centre. Her husband Patrik is Dutch but also speaks English and German and is learning Czech. They have moved here to Litomerice to be closer to Hana's family.

They took us to a great lookout where we could see all of Litomerice and the mountains and valleys surrounding it. Then we spent the afternoon tromping through the fields and finished off at a pub back in Litomerice. It was such a great time to be able to connect with another young family and to be able to talk freely in English. We're looking forward to more hikes together with them soon.

As you can see from the picture below we were walking through really tall grass during tick season. Never being from a high tick area, Miro and I didn't really think much about it as we tromped through the grass in our shorts. It was only on Tuesday when Miro discovered a small (tiny) black creature on his leg that we realized the error of our ways. Still it wasn't until I took a shower later that night and found another that we did the all out search and found three more. Needless to say next time we go hiking we'll have our long pants on with socks tucked in.

Not to worry though, no ill effects so far and Isaiah was clear of the little guys. But it did provide for a bit of humor this morning while we were being interviewed by the foreign police. They asked Miro if we lived alone in our three room apartment and Miro said that it was just us and 5 ticks. They thought that was funny.

Oh yeah, we were interviewed this morning by the foreign police. After stopping by at our apartment on Tuesday to ensure that we really lived here they told us we would need to come to their office for separate interviews. First thing this morning we headed to their offices with Martin as my translator. I was first and then Miro. They said it was a formality but they asked us each out how we met, about our families and about our wedding. I think we were both able to remember similar details so we are expecting to hear good news about my residence permit next week.

I am hoping things go well since I would miss Czech. I'm enjoying learning the language and am growing to appreciate the lifestyle here and the new friendships we are making. This week when I headed to a local cafe intending to study Czech while Isaiah played in their toy corner I ended up connecting with the server there, Ala. She sat down with me since the cafe was empty and was patient enough to struggle through with me in my slowly improving Czech. As I was leaving she said we should do it again. It was an affirmation that my language is improving and such a great opportunity to finally get to know one of the faces that we've seen a number of times.

Miro's been connecting with more people lately as well. He had a great time with his student Pavel on the walk recently and I'm sure he will be making a effort to connect with him more as he visits the little Greek restaurant that Pavel owns just around the corner from us. Miro has also gotten up before the sun two times lately to connect with another Pavel with whom we go to church. Since he works long hours driving truck the best time to connect with him is when he is driving so they've had some long talk on the way to Liberec and back.

Isaiah watching the stream on the white hills

On the drive to Liberec
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