‘Tis the Season
I’ll admit, not being home for the holidays is a bit weird. It was hard to see everyone’s pictures on Facebook about going home for Thanksgiving Break and seeing their friends and family, knowing you’ll have a 3 hour class the morning of Thanksgiving. But the ECES office went out of their way to organize a great Thanksgiving Dinner for all of us here at a fancy restaurant on the river. It was sort of like a Czech take on American Thanksgiving food, but nonetheless it was yummy. I Skyped my family in the afternoon, and everyone at the dorm got dressed up, then went to the restaurant where we met up with the kids from the other dorm for a combined dinner. Zuzanna, Eva, Ivana, Jitka, and the Dean of Charles University were all there too and we ate turkey, stuffing, bread, corn on the cob, potatoes, and some other foods. There was strudel instead of pie for dessert which everyone agreed was the thing we missed most from home.
Last week it snowed for the first time all semester, which I was very excited about. The only problem was that the night before there was freezing rain which froze the lines above the trams. They were sparking all over the place, which was actually pretty scary to watch. As a result, on Tuesday, every single tram in the city was out of service. Every.single.one. It wasn’t a problem because we just took the bus and the metro all day, and they put 100 more buses in service to make up for having no trams. Apparently, that was the first time in the history of the city that this has ever happened!
December 5th is when Czechs celebrate Saint Nicholas Day here. Some friends and I were in Old Town Square at the Christmas Markets that night and there were people dressed up in angel and devil outfits everywhere, even a few dressed up as St. Nick! Tradition here is that kids sing a song or recite a short poem and are asked if they’ve been good that year. Good kids get candy from the angel, bad kids are stuffed in a sack by the devil and taken to hell-or so the story goes. It’s a bit more extreme than just getting coal in your stocking! My family has celebrated Saint Nicholas Day my whole life so it was interesting to hear about Czech traditions.
Also, the city is completely decked out for Christmas and I absolutely love it! There’s markets all over the place and giant trees throughout the city. Also, there’s lights strung across almost every cobblestone street and on the light posts. It’s like a fairytale, it all looks so magical. I’m hoping to get a chance to check out some of the other markets this week. I can’t believe in 2 weeks I will be leaving Prague. This semester went by faster than I could have ever imagined. It has been such an amazing experience and I already know that I am going to miss this city incredibly once I am gone.