Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Jonah & his Czech grandpa :


Yesterday we returned from a week-long vacation in Greece, my father's treat. How lucky we are! We spent our time swimming in the sea and the pool, eating tasty food, and taking in some sights.

Kerkyra, or Corfu, as it is known in English, is one of the greenest Greek islands, because it receives quite a bit of rainfall in the winter. The island has it all: bays and rugged beaches, valleys and mountains, tiny villages as well as resorts. Its main town, Kerkyra, has a beautiful center with Italian-style renaissance buildings with shutters and narrow, windy streets with laundry crisscrossing them up high like Tibetan prayer flags.

I took more than 700 photos! Here is a selection of the best pics.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Jonah's first year of pre-school has come to a close. His school held a little graduation ceremony and party for all the parents and kids. Jonah received a completion certificate. Look at this proud "graduate"! Here is the school's director and founder giving Jonah his certificate:

When we said goodbye, his teacher had tears in her eyes. She grew quite fond of our little boy and he of her. Too bad we can't take her with us to Portland.

I won!

In late June, my employer held an end-of-the-year party for all the instructors. The wine, beer, non-alcoholic beverages, and cold-cut buffet were free. A contest was announced and teachers encouraged to enter funny quotes by their English-learner students. I couldn't think of one, but finally jotted down the first that came to mind. And guess what! My quote won me a bottle of champaign! The quote was:

"I work for the lover department."

In reality, my student meant to say: "I work for the law department." But she mixed up the pronunciation of "lawyer," saying "lover" instead. When I explained what error she made, she turned beet-red. Poor woman! Little did she know that later I would be getting tipsy thanks to her "funny" English quote.

Monday, July 06, 2009

visitors galore

The last two weeks have been mostly about entertaining visitors from the US. Tim's cousin Nate stayed with us for several days on his way to study in Russia. We enjoyed getting to know him better now that he is no longer a little boy but an adult with his own interests and observations about life.

Nate got to see me sing with my choir and to meet my grandmother during that occasion. They both had a nice time talking. My grandmother was charmed -- and I know this because she told me so -- by Nate's intelligence, sensitivity and good looks. Jonah didn't give Nate a minute to rest, constantly showering him with questions and showing off his weapons and warrior/robot maneuvers.

After Nate left, our good friends Megan and Stefan with their four-year-old son came to stay with us. Jonah loves Finn so those two were inseparable for a week. We spent half their stay enjoying Prague and then for three days opted out to leave town and enjoy the summer in the Czech countryside. The place where we went by train was a small town where I used to spend my summers as a girl. It still is paradise: wild strawberries, blueberries and raspberries; edible mushrooms and woods, creek and a lake to swim in. A perfect place for kids and adults who love nature.

More photos here (scroll down the page).

mama sings

As a girl, I was part of one of Prague's children's choirs. Ours was called Mládí, meaning Youth.

Interestingly, this spring the conductor and women members from all eras past happened to get together to rehearse for the choir's 40th anniversary concert. I was invited to attend the weekly rehearsals.

On June 26th we had our concert at the National Museum, the famous building at the top of Wenceslas Square. About fifty of the past members sang under the leadership of our conductor, the founder of the choir. My whole family came to see the event, even Tim's cousin Nate who happened to be visiting. We sang Mozart, Dvořák, Smetana, some medieval and renaissance music as well as Czech folk songs arranged for the choir.

All went well until the last encore number when I accidentally shouted the final "hooray" a verse early. Oops. The conductor gave me a dirty look, the choir girls laughed, but, fortunately, the audience didn't notice. That's what everyone I asked said anyway. Phew. I pretended the accidental "yooo" sound, signifying "hooray" was my tribute to Michael Jackson who had died the night before.

P.S. I'm just next to the lamppost on the right hand side.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

the June quotes are here

I have just added Jonah's quotes from last month to the list of his quotes of the day.

The highlights include:

"My poison makes people hard like salami."

"Does America speak magic?"


"Mom, I put dad in jail. You'll stay with me. You're my friend. You're my police girl."

More quotes here.