A Czech Christmas

So while every Czech family does it a bit differently I'm going to tell you about my Czech Christmas and why it was so wonderful! Ok so I will start with the 23rd of December which is the day before Christmas here because we celebrate on the 24th. It was basically like any other lazy day: wake up, eat breakfast, watch a film etc. The only major differences were decorating the tree and a trip to the hospital (don't be scared, it's not nearly as bad as it sounds).

the tree

So in my family we decorate the tree the day before Christmas. For some reason at the beginning of the decorating process I wasn't quite in the Christmas spirit. This is due to a silly thing called home sickness. I didn't want to decorate the tree because in my head I was thinking "it's not the same, we always do it in the evening as a family with Christmas music blah blah blah." so then I went to my room for a bit told myself it wasn't meant to be the same, went back and began to decorate the tree. The tree looks the same as any tree in the US but the one wonderful difference is that in Czech we have chocolate ornaments! Isn't that just so fantastic?! I was very excited about this. However, it is yet another reason I will gain ever more weight... Later that day my host sister informed me that we will be going ice skating. That's usually how it is with her. :D "Hey we're going ice skating today..." "oh by the way we have a prom after school..." "mom's going to be home in an hour and we need to clean the whole house" and the general response from me is "great." This great comes in two forms: sarcastic or not sarcastic. Anyways, when we go ice skating I am usually slow and a bit wobbly so Domca will sometimes pull or push me along and I trust her and it's tons of fun. Well when we went ice skating this time it was raining so the ice was a bit strange and for some reason when Domca began pushing me alone like always I became scared. And when someone becomes scared they usually try to hault the situation therefore make situation worse. Yeah, not a good idea on my part. In the process of trying to remove her hands from my back I fell on my bum and left hand thus putting my bum and wrist into a world of pain. Magically her father had this notion that something wasn't right and he like appeared out of nowhere and decided we should go to the hospital. We went and everything is pretty much fine except for something with the ligaments and so now I just can't use it for three weeks. I don't even think it will be that long. I can't go without playing some musical instrument for a whole three weeks. That just won't be possible. It's already feeling better so I have faith that it will be around two weeks instead.

Me and my wrist...
When I returned home I was welcomed by the Christmas spirit. My host mom held me and hugged me and my host dad pet my head and told me everything was ok etc and given the fact that I haven't had that in awhile I made no attempts to stop it :D. Actually, I kind of felt like a dog. "Love me! Love me!"
 Christmas day: So my Christmas Day went like this. I woke up at about 9' o clock. I would have gone ice skating with my host sister but due to the hurt wrist I couldn't. So I decided to sleep again (everyone else was still dead to the world so why not me too). Then around noon we went to visit the grand parents and after we went to the aunts (where there was an adorable baby) and then we went home. This was when my host mum returned from work and the cooking began. We all sat around, waited for dinner, chatted, watched Christmas films, helped cook (except I couldn't again because of the wrist) and then FINALLY we ate. I was incredibly hungry because in Czech tradition on Christmas day you are not to eat anything until dinner. Well Domca and I didn't make it but all we had were two small pieces of bread and a small pastry! So we had a traditional meal. Carp soup, potato salad and more carp. It was delicious for me but unfortunately not so much for Domca. She doesn't like fish but this tradition is so strong in her family that for the past sixteen years of her life her parents didn't even know that she did not like it. She simply never told them because she knew she had to eat it no matter what. I accidentally told them once so now they know.
Dinner with my family <3
 Normally after dinner we would go on a walk through the city but this time we decided to take a trip to the wine cellar instead. My host mom stayed home because she was "ill." We tasted wine, drove around the city, looked at the lights and then went home. At this point walked across the street to the garden and lit a candle for Domcas deceased pet rabbit. In Czech Republic many people on Christmas day go to the cemetery and light a candle for those who have passed away. I think it's a very nice tradition and a great time to reminisce as a family. After this we went inside to see that Baby Jesus arrived and gave us our presents! We opened the gifts and it was great! I got some new clothes, some jewelry, slippers, lots of perfume, "Peter pan" (my favorite Disney film) with Czech dabbing, a photo album with photos and a small video that my host sister made for me telling me how that she loved me and would miss me (because I go to my next host family on  New Years). It is a bit personal so I won't put it here. Also, my host family surprised me by framing a photo of their children (including me of course) and putting it on the wall. It was very lovely. They all really liked the gifts I gave them especially one in particular. I made a film for Domca and they liked it so much they cried and of course laughed... A LOT. I was so happy they liked it.

The wonderful thing about this Christmas was that I didn't really want anything in particular. I felt the true Christmas spirit of just wanting to make others happy and I succeeded so that pretty much made my Christmas great.

Other fun Christmas things:
-One day in school there were angels and devils casually walking around. If the devils got you they marked your face and it meant you were bad and if the angel found you she gave you sweets and I think she put you on the good list for St. Mikuláš
-On this same day when I returned home from school there were loads of chocolates resting in my window sill!
-There are delicious fruits and sweets everywhere you turn during this season.
-The Christmas markets are great
-The displaying of all the funny old Czech films
-The tree and nightly concerts in the town square
-Every gift is from Baby Jesus. We don't put "to" or "from" on the gifts. When we say thank you for the gifts we say "Thank you Ježíšek"

Marek, me, Jitka

A decoration

Domca and I

Family :)

Me looking dashing in Domcas new hat (our host parents really thought it was cool so now it's my host moms :D)

Some new earrings :)

The photo of us on the wall!

This was part of my host sister gift :D Disregard the strangeness....