Tuesday, July 15, 2008

From Blueberries to Monasteries

For the last two weeks I have been traveling and visiting friends, preparing for the camp and preparing for leaving as I take a last good look at this countryside and share the final cups of coffee before heading home.
My friend Debbie Fields came to visit me for a week and we ended up spending most of the time talking with my friends about Czech culture. As we visited museums and I translated for her, I began to realize how much I really know about the history of this country and the lifestyle of today. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my experiences with all of you over the last two years on my blog.

Last week I went blueberry picking with my friends Stepan(who came to Oklahoma, invited by Vikki and Dennis Paulson) and Petr(his brother). Usually the forest is a calm and quite place where you can feel quite alone. When it’s blueberry season, however, the forest is filled with laugher and noise as families come to take their bucketfuls of blueberries home for yummy baked goods. As I picked and picked during those two hours, I remember how completely peaceful it felt. Picking, picking, eating, picking for another hour, and then eating. Our hands turned purple from the juice, and as I took a photo, it struck me that these hands look the same as they would have hundreds of years before. When their grandparents’ grandparents picked in this same forest to make the same kolačy and fruit dumplings, the blueberries stained their hands as well. Although they surely picked a bit faster than we, it felt lovely to crouch next to the bush and pick, pick, pick, like the generations before.
Friday our American team will arrive, with many new faces mixed in among the one’s we know. As we begin the camp in the familiar ways, finding something that’s almost routine, we’ll be thinking of all of you who have helped us in the past and thinking about our old memories as we make new ones. Be sure to check back starting on Saturday (or Friday if you’re lucky) for pictures of our activities and the daily English camp. Wow! The fun is about to begin!
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