Praha and It’s Funny Buildings

Back again! This time from a trendy hostel right off of Old Town Square in Prague. Y’all, this city is BANGIN’! Happy Easter, by the way! Prague has adorned herself for this celebration with blossoming trees (note: the blooms are all fake), dripping with streamers and flowers in all of the colors. It is so spectacularly beautiful, and rightly so. We’re celebrating a Risen King, people! Hallelujah! He is risen indeed!

This was my first Easter away from home, and it was so surreal. Easter is one of my absolute favorite times of year, and being away from the people I love most was difficult. My sweet dad sent me a picture of an easter basket that he hid for me. Unluckily for him, that means that I know exactly where it is and that chocolate is gonna be gone within the hour that I return home. Suckers… 🙂 More than that, though, this was my first Easter not being surrounded by my blood-bought brothers and sisters – at least, not physically. But let me tell you something, the Body of Christ isn’t only efficient when all the parts are in the same room. No, I’m sure that biblically (and logically) that would mean that the Body was totally ineffective. But what I’m saying is that I was SO encouraged on Easter, even though I was worshipping on my own here in Prague. E-mails, text messages, instagram pictures (especially the one of my David in that powder blue sport coat..phew!) and even bits of fellowship gold here.

I had the blessing of entering into a Baroque cathedral close to a communism museum with my classmates, and this place was unreal. The high altar is my favorite part of cathedrals. I learned when I visited St. Paul’s in London that the decadent ornamentation of the high altar is meant to represent the glory of God, His splendid holiness. Now, each cathedral I enter, that’s where my soul (and thus, my body) gravitate. And in this particular little cathedral in an obscure corner, I knelt on the bare boards, where the paint had been worn off by the knees of saints old and new for years and years, and praised King Jesus. I’m crying just thinking about it. What a faithful Lord I serve! What a beautiful family into which I have been adopted!

We leave Prague tomorrow and board a plane to Paris. I’m sad to leave, but so anxious to see this new city! Our stay there is shorter, which is okay with me, because traveling is difficult for me emotionally, and physically, and spiritually..I’m exhausted, y’all. It will be nice to get back to island life, naps every day, coffee with my sweet barista friend, Eleni and familiar faces. Though, it still isn’t home. Bittersweet, so much of my current reality is bittersweet.

Here is a list of my favorite things about Prague. Ready? Here we go. In no particular order..

1: The baristas at Starbucks stores here are by far the most friendly human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of ordering a vanilla latte with skim milk from. Ever. Ever.
2: Everyone here is so well dressed. I love looking at them. But it makes me feel like a bum. Oh well.
3: All the streets are cobblestone. So quaint! And labor intensive!
4: There is this traditional dish, I don’t remember the name. but it’s this roasted beef tenderloin that is served with Czech dumplings, which are more like dense pieces of potato bread than any dumpling I’ve ever had, and it’s all soaking in this unbelievable sweet but savory gravy/sauce and it’s garnished with cranberries. You guys. I would eat it every day if it didn’t mean diabetes by age 29. Holy delicious.
5: A lot of the cafes are decorated in Art Deco style, so I perpetually feel like I’m living in the Great Gatsby – I can’t wait for that movie to come out.
6: The skyline is littered with tall gold roofs. It’s so sparkly and dreamy. In the morning, the fog drifts up from the river and it’s hazy and perfect. I’m in a post card.
7: My sweet friends Rory and Jess bore with my antics the other day and we ventured to find a tea house that Agnes recommended. From the outside, this place looked like an abandoned orphanage..maybe an asylum..and when we walked in we feared we would be arrested for..something or other. But we found it! And it was so cool! Thanks Agnes!

That’s all for now. Paris tomorrow. I love you Prague! Thank you for loving us back this week!

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(Unbelievably) Early Morning in Piraeus

As I write, five of my dear friends rest their eyes and bodies in rather uncomfortable chairs in a cafe in this dingy little corner of Athens. More and more locals join the line for their daily cappuccinos, gazing curiously at our dreary bunch (probably judging us, but..YOLO). We’ve been at these tables for an hour or so, before that, on a boat for roughly 6 hours – we’re all exhausted. Today, we’ll board a plane to Prague for our spring break trip. We’ll stay there a few days, then to Paris, then back home to our sweet little Paros. I’m starting to love that island more and more each day. It has a charm all its own and that reminds me of Oxford and of my family. I’m forever thankful for that.

I’ve finally adjusted to life abroad, I think. More than “life abroad”, it was island life that took the most adjustment. Siesta time every day — EVERY DAY! No one’s in any hurry. Running for exercise doesn’t even make sense, but I’ve been doing that anyway. What a blessing to sweat all over the world! #meatheadprobz

Here are a few things that I’ve been learning/experiencing/living that I didn’t expect:

1: I LOVE CAPPUCCINOS! I thought I hated them at home, maybe they’re different, but I’ve been getting (at least) one, almost every day. Uh oh.
2: I’ve started being able to communicate – in the most elementary, one and a half year old manner – in Greek! I ordered a donut and a cappuccino at this cafe this morning all in local language. I’m loving that.
3: A band called Wake Owl. Look up their song “Wild Country”. I’m listening to it now and it’s smoothing out the rough edges of my tattered, tired soul. Also look up “No Silver” by Chris Bathgate. In love over here!
4: Greek women’s style is so interesting, and I’m buying into the trend. I went shopping for the first time the other day and bought a “greek sweater”, which isn’t really a thing, but I bought one anyway. A few things are hard for me to understand, such as the abundance of sweatpants, at least in Paroikia (the city in Paros where I live). Everyone wears sweats, all the time. Still not used to that. But they all look so cool! One day, maybe..
5: I’ve learned that when I get excited, particularly about a landscape (i.e. a visual representation of the greatness of my Creator, which are all over the place in the Cyclades) I start running. For example, last weekend we took a trip to Naxos, a neighbor island. We took a bus up into the mountains and parked about half way up the tallest peak, Mt. Zeus. Our plan was to check out an artisan fountain built at the foot, but I couldn’t help but jet up the side of the mountain on a trail covered in sheep tracks (and evidence of the efficiency of their digestive systems..). I made it about half way to the peak before I turned around to see the most beautiful, majestic, God-filled landscape I’ve ever had the honor to behold (Behold!). Tears filled my eyes, and I didn’t run anymore, because I was alright and I didn’t need anything more than knowing just that. I am alright.

I’m about a third of the way through my stay here in Europe. A month has gone by, can you believe it? It’s an odd reality, the one I’m living. It’s an adventure, and I’m having so much fun. I am learning, however, that I value so much my home and a routine and familiar eyes to look into when I come home. But my God is faithful and faithful and faithful, regardless of my circumstance and THAT is my comfort and joy.

Kisses from Greece (and Prague, and Paris, and wherever else I end up today). And look up those songs!