A celebration abroad

16.2.17
T-2 Days until Moravia

Czech word of the day:
cheers//na zdraví

Honesty hour—not every day is easy, but every day is an opportunity for growth.

About a week ago I got to do something exciting. I got to celebrate the big 21 abroad! After knowing the other students in my program for about a week or so they had made reservations at a local Italian restaurant for a birthday dinner! It was down a couple side streets and one narrow set of stairs, but it opened up to a beautiful underground Italian escape in the heart of Prague. I ordered pasta (of course), but this wasn’t just any pasta. This pasta was mixed inside a giant wheel of flaming parmesan cheese. Yes, you read right—I said flaming parmesan cheese. To say this pasta was delicious would be a major understatement. Though I wasn’t surrounded by the comforts of family or old friends I was surrounded by an air of something new—something exciting. At the end of our evening as we were paying for our delicious meals our waiter mentioned to the owner that it happened to be my birthday and he gave us all little goodie bags filled with tiny pastries! It will definitely be a birthday I will not soon forget.

Sometimes you really just have to go into a day being flexible before your feet hit the ground. You see, that sounded like a wonderful birthday—but it didn’t come without its share of obstacles throughout the day (or rather the week long birthday). The day of my birthday there was a bit of chaos and confusion in regards to the restaurant for the evening. Then the birthday package my parents sent had gotten held up at customs and I received it the day after my birthday. The birthday celebration continued into this past week when I received some chocolates and flowers my parents sent for my birthday, though they did conveniently arrive the day before Valentine’s Day. But let’s look at the big picture—it ended up being a week long birthday celebration. Cheers to celebrating birthdays for a week, not just a day.

Today we had our Czech final—cheers to the end of late nights studying and doing úkol (homework). This afternoon we celebrated by doing our laundry at our favorite laundromat in Prague—Andy’s! Today we were extra blessed because THE Andy himself was there. Let me tell you—he’s a cutie (he’s a dog). You see, I have found that in everyday, both good and bad, there is a reason to celebrate. Yes, there are challenges every day, but there are also victories every day—even when it’s just a successful trip to the laundromat or to buy groceries. I have even found that these small victories have become more exciting—like ordering “horká čokoláda a croissant” (a hot chocolate and croissant) on the way to class completely in Czech.

This past weekend some friends and I also travelled our way over to Bratislava, Slovakia. We booked our bus and hotel all on our own, got ourselves to the bus station, navigated our way to our hotel, and got transportation passes for the day (shout out to the English speaking man who helped us at the bus station). We walked through ancient city streets, found a mural, found a castle, found an awesome restaurant, and most importantly found some delicious hot chocolate that had a consistency somewhere between pudding and melted chocolate. The sun came out on our second day of exploring and it was beautiful to see the castle basking in the sunshine along with St. Elizabeth’s Church (an awesome blue church) in Bratislava. We wrapped up our trip at a super hipster coffee shop near the bus station and considered it a success. Though we may have gotten turned around a couple times we found amazing food, delicious hot chocolate, and we made it to and from Bratislava in one piece with all our belongings. Cheers to safe travels, new adventures, and new friends.

You see, newness and change can be overwhelming, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and a chance to do something new. It’s a chance to step out in faith and to follow Christ on a new adventure—to walk by faith and to trust in His plan, not yours. So here’s to celebrating every day, and remembering that there is a reason to celebrate every day as we journey through life with Christ.

Na zdraví!

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