Sunday, December 26, 2010

Heading Home

The trip home went okay.  The big flight from Germany to California was 12 hours long and crowded.  Every seat was taken so there was no extra room for Matthew.  He is at a busy stage so the first few hours on the plane were a little difficult.  But once he settled down and was ready to sleep we laid him on a blanket on the floor under Benjamin's seat.  He slept pretty well there.  All the kids slept on the plane for a few hours.  We arrived in San Fransisco with a 10 hour layover overnight.  So we headed to a hotel for a little sleep.  The boys and David slept well, but the girls, Kylynn and I didn't sleep much.  Back to the airport we went super early in the morning to catch our 7am flight to Idaho.

The kids have all adjust well with the jet lag.  An extra nap or 2 and they are back to normal.  David and I are slowly making our way back to a normal sleep time.  While it is nice to be in our home, we loved our time in Poland.

Things we will miss...
     yummy pasteries, bread, cheeses
     the beautiful old building and architecture
     the people, teachers, and friends
     trams, buses, trains
Things we are happy to have at home
     a washer and a dryer
     a dishwasher
     family and friends

Monday, December 20, 2010

Polish Creche

This is a traditional Peasant Creche unique to Poland.  In Krakow every year they have a festival and contest of szokpa or creche.  They are hand made and often contain images or scenes of the surrounding area.  They do include a manger scene, it is sometimes hard to find admidst the colorful castle images.  It was neat to see all the different variations made for this years contest.

Friday, December 17, 2010



A few days before we left Poland, David and I took a day trip to Zakopane, which is a ski town in the Tatra Mountains, about 1.5 hours from Krakow. It is a beautiful town. We took the cable car upto the top of the mountain range, which was beautiful. This is the southern border of Poland. Behind me in the picture is Slovakia. We hiked a few feet in just so we could say we had been to Slovakia. It was sunny and clear, but terribly cold; the wind was blowing and just froze any bare skin. We rode back down the cable car and took a ride in a one horse open sleigh back to town--and of course we sang "Jingle Bells" along the way. We had fun exploring the little town and their Christmas market. I bought myself a poofy white snow hat and some fun shoe laces to bring home for Delsey. We caught the dinnertime bus home so we could arrive as the kids were headed to bed. It was a fun winter getaway.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grandpa Arrives

My Dad flew over to visit us during our last weeks there.  He first flew into Frankfurt Germany and drove a few hours into eastern France to the area where his great grandfather was from.  He was able to work on his family history and find some documents relating to his family.  After a week in France he flew to Poland.  David and the 3 boys and I went to the Krakow airport to meet his plane to find out it was delayed a few minutes.  The Krakow airport is very small.  We asked at the info desk when the plane would be in and were told it was going to land any minute.  The kids needed to use the bathroom, and after we came back from the bathrooms we found out that the plane was not going to land, but had to fly to a nearby airport because there was too much fog in Krakow.  The plane landed in Katowice, which is 1.5 hours away.  We decided that David should take the kids home, as it was almost bedtime, and get them to bed.  I stayed at the airport waiting.  We were told that they would bus the passengers from the Katowice airport to Krakow.  3.5 hours later, he finally arrived.

While he was visiting we went back to Auschwitz so Grandpa could see it.  We also visited Schindler's Factory in Krakow.  If you have seen the movie Schindler's list, this is the factory where Oskar Schindler kept many Jews employed and safe from being murdered.  He saved around 1000 Jews from death.  The factory has recently been turned into a museum about the life of the Jews during the Nazi occupation of Krakow.   We also went to see the Jewish Ghetto area of Krakow where the Jews that were allowed to remain in the city to work were kept.  Having this opportunity to learn about the holocaust and to visit these sites has left a mark on our hearts and minds.  We have given much thought to how we treat others and have a greater desire to remember that we are all children of the same Father in Heaven, and that he loves all of us no matter what our differences are.

We also visited a new museum in Krakow under the the Rynek or town square.  A few years ago they excavated a large portion of the Rynek and then built a museum under the existing ground level of the Rynek and the Cloth Hall building there.  The Cloth Hall building is over a 1000 years old.  The ground level when it was built was many meters below the current ground level.  As they excavated they kept it intact so it is now viewable under ground.  It was fascinating to view the original cobblestone roads built 1000 years ago, and then view the many layers each time they rebuilt.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

They have several outdoors markets all over Krakow. The best produce was at these markets, it always looked so fresh and yummy, better quality then in the grocery stores. It was fun to wander thru the markets to see all the different things for sale.   If I went without David I found that I could only buy one type of produce at a time because I could read the amount due on the scale. If I bought multiple items they would add up the price and then tell me the total and it wasn't until the end of our trip that I could start to understand the large numbers in Polish. So without David i would wander from table to table buying a different thing at each one.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Isabel turned 5 in Poland. We had a fun time celebrating her birthday. We went to the Bakery and bought her a cake that was shaped like a star. She had told us that she "wanted the things that cover the ears to keep them warm." So we found these "things" and she loves her white furry earmuffs!

Isabel is a fun girl.  At five years old she is learning to read and write.  She has big beautiful eyes, that are the darkest brown I have ever seen.  She loves to dress up like a princess and dance and sing.  She is a sweet girl always willing to share her things with family and friends.  She is very outgoing and makes friends easily.  Even in Poland, she would make friends easily.  It didn't matter to her that she couldn't understand them, or they couldn't understand her.  She would smile and together they would run off and play.  She is a great big sister and loves to play with her little brothers.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Drinking Water

I can't believe I haven't posted about this yet, as it is a constant topic here for me.  As modernized as Poland is, almost everyone here drinks bottled water.  If you ask a Pole if you can drink the tap water, they will tell you "NO!  it is not good and tastes terrible"   Even when David and I were here last winter, we stayed in a 5 star hotel in Warsaw, and I asked, thinking surely this worldwide 5 star hotel chain would put in a water filter for the entire hotel--like they do in Mexico, but the answer was no, we will give you free bottled water, it is not good to drink from the tap, you must boil it first for coffee or tea.  I think it is a huge part of their culture here to either not drink water, as most people just drink tea, coffee, soda, and juice.  And if they drink water, it is always bottled and often mineral or soda water, they don't even drink their own tap water.  In Mexico the people there drink the water, and are use to it.  We have to make sure to request "no bubbles"  in a restaurant, but this is common in many parts of Europe.  And in the restaurants it is expensive.  I think a small cup of water in a restaurant here is the the same price as a soda at home, only it is not refillable like in the US.  So usually we bring our own, unless it is David and I out on a date night in a nice restaurant.

Knowing this, we brought a water filter from home with us. David said it is what they did on his mission.  The mission home provides each apartment with a water filter.  It hooks up to the kitchen faucet and we have drinking water.  At the school they also have a few sinks with filters for the kids to use, and no drinking fountains anywhere. 

I have taken to asking people about the water, as I think the water is probably safe to drink, that the culture is just so use to not drinking it, that they don't know or believe it is safe.  We asked a family in our ward, he is the district president so they are hardly ever at our ward, and they live 2 hours away from the city, but when we last saw them, I asked them about it.  She is American and he is Polish.  They have lived here about 10 years.  She said that in her city the announced last year that the water was finally safe to drink.  She said they use a filter anyway.  She thought that the larger cities such as Krakow would most likely have safe tap water, but that every time she goes to her in-laws (they live in Lodz, which is one of the largest cities in Poland) she always gets sick from drinking the tap water there, or maybe the food. 

I asked the missionaries here and they said they still have filters in all their apartments, but that they have tried the water and that it is different in every area they have been in taste and quality.

Recently we were visiting the city of Wroclaw, and I asked the receptionists at the front desk of the budget hotel we were staying at if we could drink the tap water, and they said no, buy water in the machine downstairs.  But when we arrived in our rooms we found plastic cups available to use next to the sink, and there wasn't a coffee pot, or mini bar, or even bottled water in the rooms.  So I am not sure what the cups were for if you can't drink the water as there was nothing else in the room to drink.  Calvin was thirsty so he tried it, and he didn't get sick at all.

Since I am always asking people, David thinks we should call the water department here.  I think he should.  As someone who drinks pretty much only water, I would really like to know.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Neat Pictures

Kylynn takes some great pictures.  These are 2 of my recent favorites.  They are of the kids playing at a train stop on our way to Prague last month.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


 Matthew is a good baby.  He traveled well and slept many different places. He learned to sit and crawl on our trip and kept us busy!  Before we left Idahow, with the help of a good friend, I made a blanket to custom fit the stroller.  With the cold weather in Poland Matthew stayed super warm in his blanket.

Our apartment manager had a high chair and portable crib we could borrow. We were grateful to have these things to use. On the way to the school there is a second hand baby store where we found a walker for Matthew to use. Before we left we sold it back to the store. It worked out that we had the walker for 2 months for $7 USD.  We also brought our baby snuggly carrier to use. When David would wear it he would put it on under his coat to keep Matthew a little warmer.

Wroclaw (pronounced-Vrocewav)

David and I had visited Wroclaw earlier this year for a work conference.  It is a large city with a beautiful town square.  But this time since we had the kids David wanted to take them to the Wroclaw zoo.  We woke up to a little bit of snow falling.  We made our way to the tram stop which is next to a grocery store.  We checked the time and saw we had 5 mins before the tram came.  We were out of water and the kids were hungry for some breakfast.  So David ran across the road to the grocery market.  5 mins later the tram came and we were eagerly watching for David to come running so we could jump on the tram and out of the cold.  And as the tram rolled away, David came running.  So we missed the tram.  On Saturday's the trams don't run as frequently so we had to wait 20 mins until the next one came.  But we now had water for the whole day, and bananas to eat till we found a pastery shop. 

We made it to the zoo and decided we would stay until we were freezing.  We had fun.  It is not a huge zoo, but it is much bigger than Boise and had all these different animals from different places in the world than i have seen at a zoo.  We woke the bears up by throwing snow balls onto the grass near them.(the sign said don't feed them, but nothing about throwing snowballs at them)  The monkeys heard us calling them and 30 of them came out of their hole in the rock to greet us.  The seals put on a great show with their trainers showing off tricks.  There weren't many people there, as it was cold, and snowing a little, but the animals were very aware of us being there.

One of the animals I had never seen was a black tree monitor.  It is a black lizard that has this long coil like tail.  It is all black.  It is behind a plexi glass window and Kylynn was playing games with it.  It would follow her around as she would move in front of it's window.  And if she stood still it would try to reach for her thru the window.  It was weird.  As we all gathered to watch this different creature trying to get at Kylynn it made a jump towards David and crashed into it's window and fell to the ground.  Don't worry, it was okay.  It got up and moved around.

Another great show was with Bobbi the Chimpanzee.  We teased Kylynn that he liked her, but that was only because she was standing in front of his window when he started to play by throwing a stick at the window where she was standing.  He was a lot of fun.  He would beat his chest, bang on the wood logs, and then jump around, grab a stick and bang it on the bars of his cage and then throw it as us and it would loudly bang the plexi glass window. The kids would squeal and laugh and he would do it again.  One of the workers there said he loves to play and put on a show when he likes you.  We stood there for a while watching him and having a great time.  Plus it was warm inside the building.

After the zoo we headed off to see more of Wroclaw, which included the shopping centers.  We stopped at 4 different malls that afternoon.  Surpsingly they were all very close to each other and on the way to where we were going.  We made it to the Rynek (town square)  just after dark and found their city christmas market was well under way.  The rynek was beautifully decorated for Christmas and it was fun to walk around and look at the home made crafts and treats for sale.  We found a new knit hat for Savannah to keep her ears warm.  She picked it out because she said it looked like bubble gum. 

The next morning we were able to attend church with the Wroclaw branch.  While still very small, they had a few other kids for a Primary and even a couple of young women (really, there were 2).  David knew a family there and it was nice to meet them and visit.  Mariuszh also came and Isabel was so happy she got to sit by him for sacrament meeting.  After church we visited a bit and then hurried to the train station to see an old train pull in for the 5 hour ride back to Krakow.  David looked at me and said do you want to take the later train?  I agreed, and it was much nicer to wait the hour and a half.  We need to get something for lunch as our snacks would not have held out the whole 5 hours for the kids anyway.  So we were able to get some lunch and then take a much nicer train ride back home to Krakow. It was more money to ride the nicer train, but worth it.

Monday, November 29, 2010


On Friday as soon as the kids were done with school we picked them up and off to make a 1pm train to Brzeg, about a 4 hour train ride away.  David served there and taught a man there who was Baptized.  Mariuszh met us at the train station and we all walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner.  We had a great time visiting.  There was a little girl Isabel's age at the restaurant.  She was either the daughter or granddaughter of the owner and the kids had a great time playing with her.  It was only 5:30pm, but we were still a little eary for the dinner hour, so the restaurant wasn't busy.  The little girl was very friendly and she would just chatter along in polish as the kids would follow her around.  David and Mariuszh had a nice time visiting together.  Mariuszh spoke a little english so i was able to talk a bit with him as well.  If we got stuck, then David would help with translating.  It was so nice to meet him and get to know him a bit.
After dinner we made our way back to the train station to continue another 30 mins to the city of Wroclaw.  Mariuszh said he would see us Sunday at church there. We climbed on the train and found it super crowded.  There were no seats and the aisles had people standing and sitting all along it.  We ended up just sitting on our luggage at the door of the wagon.  Although the doors were closed, it is still cold in this part of the train.  We were glad it was only a 30 minute ride and not longer.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving in Krakow

We had a lovely Thanksgiving Holiday here in Poland.  We woke up at the usual time and sent the kids off to school.  On thursdays they have gymanstics at the school after school, so they stay till 2pm.  Meanwhile at home, I was busy cooking a turkey, dressing, banana cream pie. 

On Sunday the missionaries organized a Thanksgiving dinner.  We were going to have it at the church, but then after finding out who would be able to make it we decided to do it at our apartment, which was a much better idea than having to take a turkey on the bus to the church, since we were making the turkey. 

So on Monday David and I set out to find a turkey.  They have turkey parts, but not whole turkey's in the the stores.  You can get a whole chicken, but  not a whole turkey typically.  So after a little online research (I am so grateful for the time that we live in) we found that a grocery store about 20 mins away by tram does have whole frozen turkeys.  So off we went and sure enough, they had a couple of turkeys.  We bought the largest one at just under 6 kilos, so about 13lbs, not very big, but a good size for us.  There would be 12 of us total. Our family, Kylynn, 4 missionaries, and an exchange student.

I made the turkey and stuffing, and then decided to make an extra dessert just in case.  So we made a banana cream pie.  The pudding mixes here are not instant and need to be cooked on the stove.  After making the pie we had a little extra pudding and as we tasted it, we found it to be a little different.  The consistency was different and the vanilla flavor was lacking.  It still turned out fine, just different then home. 

Savannah's Turkey Costume

Kylynn made a fruit salad.  The missionaries brought juice, and mashed potatoes and carrots.  The exchange student Alexis brought rolls.  We had a nice dinner and enjoyed the company in giving thanks for the many blessing we have. 

As the missionaries left they told us that on the way over on the bus an older lady had asked them what they had in their pots.  They told her they were celebrating an American holiday of giving thanks and that they were taking food to a dinner.  She looked in their pots and pulled out a plastic bag and a knife from her purse and began scooping mashed potatos into her plastic bag.  Then she asked to see in the other pot and they showed her it was carrots and so she started scooping those into her bag too.  very weird.  I guess i was glad to hear this story after dinner, otherwise i am not sure i would have eaten any potatoes or carrots.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Birthday David

Today was David's birthday, so I picked the kids up from school and we set out to find him a cake.  Finding a cake wasn't too hard, but we wanted to find the right cake.  So we went to a couple different bakeries.  We had to walk a bit, which I thought was great, but the kids were a little worn out from school and not so excited about it.  As we looked in different shops, we found a few chocolate iced cakes which looked yummy to me, but it was hard to tell what is on the inside.  Normally we buy pieces or sections of goodies, but since we were looking now at a whole cake I didn't know what the cake or tort was made of.  My biggest concern is we would get something with either alcohol in it or coffee or espresso in it.  Since we don't drink any of those it would be a waste to us.  Finally in our third shop we found a white cake decorated with white and pink chocolate--and of course I thought--that's the cake for David.  It wasn't till later I realized i got him a pink and white cake.  Mostly I thought, it looks peppermint colored, could it be peppermint.  I didn't think it was, but i hoped.  the sign next to it said tort owocowy.  I knew what tort meant, but not the next word.  I hoped it would be okay.  I asked Savannah if she knew what it meant, but she didn't.  It had about 8 good servings to it and cost 23 zloty, about $8 USD. When we got home I looked up the word I didn't know and found it meant fruity.  So i thought, okay, not peppermint, hmm, well hopefully it doesn't have mandarins in it and we should be okay.  It turned out yummy, no mandarins, and no specific fruit flavor, but it was fruity, just as it said.  It was good.  I will have to post a picture of it.  We made homemade pizza and had a nice little birthday in Poland for David who turned 37.

Learning Polish and the kids

Every evening David asks the kids if they used any Polish words during the day and they talk about what words they used or could use at school.  Their teachers know English and often speak to them in English, which sort of defeats the purpose of sending them to a Polish school, but anyway...  Savannah and Calvin are learning fairly well.  Savannah is catching on the fastest.  Isabel the slowest.  But I guess that is a natural progression since Savannah is the oldest and Isabel the youngest in school.  In the mornings before school David tries to encourage them to say at least a few words to their friends and teachers in school in Polish.

Well this afternoon I went to pick up the kids from school and as we were leaving Isabel told the lady who sits in the front hall "dowidzenia" (which is goodbye in Polish)  and as we walked out of the building, Isabel said to me "Mom isn't that good, that is my first Polish word today"  I had to laugh, she is so cute.  After 6 hours in a Polish school, she used her first Polish word of the day to say goodbye.  It seems to me the first polish word of the day would have been hello, but that's our Isabel!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More of food and shopping

I could probably write about food everyday. I love food. There are so many new things I am learning about the food here. I have tried to find ground beef in the grocery stores, and I usually only find a mix of ground beef and ground pork. So one day when David was shopping with me (this helps because then he can translate, it makes it easier) He asked at the meat counter for me if there was ground beef. And the lady asked us how much we wanted. So we told her and off she went to grind it for us. I actually have ground my own meat at home once, but having it done on a regular basis in the grocery store was interesting. But that is how it is done here. Also, I have only bought chicken breasts one time here that there has been absolutely no bones it. Every other time I have purchased it there is still a few small bones attached that I have to cut out.

Can I tell you how much I miss Ziplock bags. We are a people of convienence and ease, I miss Ziploc bags. I haven't found them here yet, and I have checked several stores for them. Instead they use these extremely thin bags with twist ties. I am always worried that something will leak and they tear so easily.

I have been learning alot about the cheese and dairy products here. We bring home new soft spreads and crackers often to try. They are yummy. I have also learned about Kefir--anyone know what that is? I love that we live in a digital age, where I can google and learn so much! Kefir is similar to yogurt, but healthier for you. They have a whole isle of it in the grocery stores here. It has more bacteria and yeast varieties then yogurt. They drink it here as you would a glass of milk. It is a common drink in Eastern Europe. It tastes like plain yogurt but it is runny, not thick as yogurt is. I had some on my granola cereal. They use it in soups alot, so the next time I make soup, I will add some to it. We have also tried another yogurt like drink. This one has strawberries in it. And it comes in a carton like your would by cream. It is a little thicker than the Kefir in consistency, but still thinner than yogurt, but it tasted like yogurt. Well I learned today that it is buttermilk, and the one I bought is strawberry buttermilk. Also something they drink here like a glass of milk. I had been adding a little milk to it to thin it out a little more for the kids and calling it strawberry milk. The kids really like it, and it tastes pretty good. They also have alot of it at the stores here. This is something in the US that has one spot on the shelf, and here they have several varieties.

David wanted to make rice krispy treats.  Something we all get a fix for every once in awhile.  Well, they don't have rice krispy's here.  In fact, they don't really have alot of cereal here.  Probably because they are eating fruits and pasteries for breakfast.  All the cereal comes in bags, and they are not very big, which is sort of a problem for a family like ours.  All school mornings the kids eat cereal because they can make it themselves,  but they eat a lot of cereal, so we have to buy several bags.  The largest bag of cereal they have is 500 gram size. so it is about 1 lbs of cereal.  No Malt o Meal super size here.  They have a few of the US usual varieties, cookie crisp, cinnamon toast crunch, and honey nut cheerios and a few different ones.  We have tried them all and the kids like the new ones too.  Well, we have made rice krispy treats with cheerios before so we knew we could use those, so we set out to find marshmallows.  I hadn't seen them, but David said he remembers using them in a fruit salad on his mission so he knew they had them somewhere.  I was starting to think of how to substitute the marshmallows with corn syrup and trying to remember what other ingredients i needed to go that route, when David walked over with some marshmallows from the candy isle.  They come in candy bag size, not the jet puff big bag, but a small candy size, because that is what they are here and they come in different colors and shapes.  We had some yummy smurf marshmallows.  And bought some white and pink ones to make marshmallow cheerio treats with. 

I am sure I will have many more posts on food, markets, and shopping as it is something I love.

Polish Money

The money here is the Zloty. I have yet to find some where in Europe that actually takes Euros, in fact I haven't ever seen a Euro. It seems that the countries we have been to still use their own currency. In Poland they have coins until you get to 10 zloty. the 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 are paper bills. They are kind of funny here about making change for you. If you get below 1 zloty then the coins are called grosz. They like to have the grosz portion of your bill be exact. So if you purchase some bread and it is $2.43, they would really like it if you gave them them the exact amount, but if you don't have a $2 coin, then give them something a little higher, but please give them the 43 grosz. And if you are buying something that cheap, then don't try to pay with a higher bill to make change for yourself. We have had to do that several times and I always have to gear up for the stares and looks i get from the shop keepers as i shake my head when they ask for smaller change. They really don't like to make change. It can be a little overwhelming as i am looking through my handful of change for the exact amount and i have had many cashiers reach into my hand and just take the right amount. I suppose they can spot the right coins quicker where i have to turn them over looking at the amounts. So often I just pull out my bigger coins and then just tell them I don't have the smaller ones. David was in a small shop where the shop keeper turned away a customer because he didn't have small change to pay for what he wanted to buy. He only had a larger amount.

The exchange rate is a little under $3.00 US dollars per zloty.

In Czech the exchange rate was around $18 US dollars per Czech Crown. Their money is so inflated, I can't imagine adding up my spending amounts each day. It was 55 crowns to buy a yummy pastry. Although it sounds expensive because of the high numbers, it is only about $3.00 US dollars. We went to the ATM there and it gave us money in the $1000 crown bill range and we thought, who is going to break down $1000 for us, as in Poland they would not like to do it, but in Czech we never had a problem. They easily gave us change and never asked for exact amounts.

The Language Barrier

I have been asked several times about the language barrier. Obviously David speaks Polish and that is of course helpful when we are out together. But we aren't always together. I haven't learned much Polish, but enough to get by on. I know my numbers 1-10, and can figure out some higher numbers on a good day. I can say please and thank you, hello and goodbye. Many people do speak some English, but there are still many that do not. The Poles are fairly friendly. When you enter the stores and shops they greet you with a hello, and they say goodbye when you leave. When i am ordering at a counter in a shop I can point and try to sound out the words, as most things have signs, and they are helpful. Some items are to be sold by the kilo and need to be cut and they are patient with me as i try to communicate how much i want. One time I took Savannah to the store with me, mainly to help carry a back pack of groceries home, but it turned out she was a big help, because she knew more words than I did. It helped to have her tell me how to say "more" as I was ordering sliced lunch meat.

There have been times when someone will approach me and as they are speaking to me in Polish I will tell them I do not understand and ask if they speak English. Often in these scenarios, they don't speak English, and they just keep talking to me in Polish, like I understand them. But I don't. I just try to be polite and then I carry on.

So I could and hope to learn a little more Polish, but I still venture out on my own, it is fun! Kylynn heads out on her own as well and seems to get by fine with her limited knowledge of Polish as well, although she may know more than me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Long Weekend

Where to begin.... The kids had Thursday and Friday off from school so we decided to travel around. I have wanted to go to Prague since my first trip to Europe many years ago as I had heard it was a beautiful city. As we had looked at what to do there with the kids, we decided that there wasn't enough to see and do for us over a 5 day weekend. So we decided we wanted to go to 2 places, Prague and somewhere else. Only we didn't know where else. We started looking at what else was close by. Vienna is close, but I had been there many years ago, and while it is a beautiful city I wanted to go somewhere new for me. We had thought about taking the kids to Rome, but it was too far by train and too expensive right now by air. So as we talked some more David mentioned that he thought it would be fun to ride a train through the Swiss Alps. So after some research we decided that was what we were going to do. The next few posts will have details about the trips as it was long and we saw so much! The plan was to pick the kids up a little early from school and catch the 12:30pm train to Prague. Spend Thursday sight seeing in Prague, then catch the night train at 6:30pm to Zurich. Hop on another train through the Alps. Spend the night up in the Alps in Chur and Ride the train Saturday to the other end of the Alps. Spend a few hours near the Matterhorn, then take a train back to Zurich for the night. Church the next morning then the night train back to Prague. Then take the afternoon train back to Krakow arriving late Monday night. As you will read in the following posts our plans changed a little, and we had a great time

Sunday, November 14, 2010


When we arrived back in Prague on Monday morning we decided to find out how much it would cost to switch our train tickets so we could stay in Prague, or rather the Czech Republic another day. Our tickets were good for any train(s) headed back to Krakow for the next month, but we would lose what we had paid for seat reservations and have to repay for new reservation on trains. This was about $150 total in losses and new reservations for all of us. So we decided that we would spend another day in Czech Republic and take the night train home to Krakow arriving at 6:40am with enough time to get the kids ready for school.

We wanted to spend another day in the Prague area because in a little town about an hours' train ride away is a Church that is decorated with human bones--literally. It is in the town of Kutna Hora that an Ossuary was built in the 13th century. The preist there had made a trip to Palestine and brought back a handful of soil. He sprinkled it over the grounds. As word of this circulated through the area many people wanted to be buried there as they felt it was now a sacred place. Over the next 4 centuries thousands of people were buried there that there was no where left. So they exhumed the remains and stored them in the church. They believe there are over 40,000 bodies there. In the 1870's a woodcarver was commissioned to "decorate" the church with the bones. He washed them and bleached them, and then decorated. It was interesting to see. I guess you can make "art" out anything.

As we journeyed out of Prague I discovered that this is the Czech experience I had thought I would have. While Prague is beautiful and extremely modern, these hours outside of Prague seemed like Poland. The older trains and the eastern European feel of the area.

While we were waiting for a connecting train to take us back to Prague we got separated from David. The train board said the train we were waiting for was late, David went to find out more info and when the next train was coming in. While he was gone, the train came, so the kids and Kylynn climbed aboard. I was standing just off the train looking for David, hoping he would make it. When the train stops, it is for no more than a minute or two. You have to be quick on or off. The conductor was down the train line watching me so I climbed on, all my kids were on already, so I had to go. We were watching and hoping David would come running up from below the platform, I reopened the train doors just as it started moving looking for him, but no such luck. We were on the train and he wasn't. Well, I figured he would see the train, and then see we were gone and know we were on it. I hope. And I figured he knew where we were going and that he was smart enough to get there too. The worst case scenario is that he would be an hour behind us and we would have to eat dinner at the Prague train station. When we arrived back at the Prague train station we headed inside to wait for David, and less than 10 minutes later we saw him come walking by. Wahoo--we could still go out for dinner before our train back to Poland.

We didn't walk too far from the train station, but we found a restaurant near by. They even had fried cheese on the menu which we had been hoping to try. Kylynn's boyfriend served his mission in Slovakia and suggested she try the fried cheese. She and Calvin ordered some and it was yummy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Night Trains

Well, I was definitely nervous about riding the night train. We ended up riding 3 night trains over this trip. First off, I don't sleep well in my own bed, and when i don't get enough sleep I get cranky. I wanted to enjoy this trip, not spend it feeling ill from not enought sleep. Second, I was worried that the kids wouldn't sleep well, or not at all. Third, I was worried that the trains would be icky and i would want to scrub us all down afterwards.

As it turned out, all went well. On the trip from Prague to Zurich we rode a German train line, City night trains. As far as icky-ness goes, they were pretty decent, i wasn't grossed out by the compartment. And as far as train bathrooms go, these were on the nicer side. Small, but clean. We purchased 6 couchettes in a whole comentpartm. What this means--we had 6 narrow bunks in a compartment. Technically we only had to pay for 5 beds with the ages of the kids, but we didn't want to end up with some random person in the small space with all of us, so we purchased the extra bed-we needed the sleeping room anyway.

The comparment is a small rectangle room with 3 bunks on each side. Savannah and Kylynn each had a top bunk. Calvin had a middle bunk, Isabel and Benjamin shared a middle bunk, and David and I took the 2 bottom bunks. Matthew slept in his portable bed (it's like a box that folds up) and we slid it under my bunk. All the kids slept well.

On the train back from Zurich, it was exactly the same, so again the kids slept well, and I put in my earplugs and slept rather well too.

Then came the train from Prague to Krakow. I was again worried. Trains going into Poland never really look nice. And as we boarded the train, my worries were on the mark. This train wagon was old. It wasn't too icky in the compartment, but the bathroom was definitely icky. The bunks were old and hard and didn't have much railings for the kids. I told myself I can do this for 1 night. Once we got situated and the kids safely put to bed, David went to see the other wagons of the train and found that the step up from ours, is really a nice step up. They are about $30 dollars more per bed in price, and they are nicer compartments. Well for us, the kids were all sleeping and the timeclock was counting down, so we just slept in the old train wagon and we survived. The kids slept well, but Kylynn, David, and I were tired! We took the kids home, showered them, fed them and dropped them on time at school.

Unfortunately we didn't get any good pictures of the sleeper train compartments. I meant to take some, but with all of us in a small space and getting the kids to bed, i forgot. The few we took are blurry and not good.

In the end, I think I would ride a night train again, but I would research to find out the details of the sleeper train, If it is old, I think I would upgrade. But otherwise the couchettes were just fine on the city nightline trains.


We arrived in Zurich at 9am. We purchased our rail pass and open tickets and off we went on a train to the Alps. We headed for the Southeast section first. The scenery was beautiful just getting to the mountains. There were lush green hills along lakes and rivers, with high waterfalls cascading down the rocky hills. High bridges with pretty rock arches. After an hour or so we reached the mountains and it was beautiful. We rode for another hour and decided to head a little closer to Italy to a town called Poschiavo.

As we switched trains to head to Poschiavo we ended up missing a connection and had about 30 minutes in a little town called Samedan. We decided to take a short walk and let the kids play in the snow. I wished we had more time to spend in this town. It was beautifully set on a hill and fun to walk through. Poschiavo is also a beautiful town and as the train came over the mountain and wound it’s way down to the town in the valley, we felt like we were looking at a toy train set or a puzzle. It was very picturesque. The homes, the barns, the animal shelters. Everything was so beautiful.

The sun was quickly fading so we had to leave Poschiavo after arriving and head back to Chur where we were spending the night. We awoke bright and early to get a head start on the scenic day. We boarded a train and headed west through the mountains. We went through dozens of tunnels-the longest was over 10 miles long. The highest pass we went over was the Oberalp pass. Near the top the train stopped for a few minutes. There is a train stop up near the top. There is nothing there but a frozen lake and snowy mountains all around. Since the next train wouldn’t be there for an hour we couldn’t get off, but we enjoyed the scenery out the window while we were stopped there. There are many parts of the track that only has one way, so the train would have to stop for a few minutes here and there so that trains going the opposite direction could pass. We arrived in Zermatt near the famous Matterhorn Mountain around 1pm. We walked around the ski town and went for a short hike in the hills. It was my birthday, so I got to pick dinner. Most of the time we pick up food from the grocery markets and have sandwichs, pasteries, and snacks. But I wanted to have authentic Swiss fondue. We still had to ride a train back to Zurich so we wanted to have an early dinner, but that was complicated. After 2pm, most restaurants turn off their grills and do not serve hot food again until 6pm. Many just close up for the hours between lunch and dinner. And since we were there in the off season, many places were simply closed for the month. We found a place that was serving fondue. We decided to send Kylynn and the kids to McDonald’s, and then David and I would go and enjoy the fondue. And we did; it was delicious. Cheese fondue, served with simply bread and potatoes. While Switzerland is a beautiful country, it is an expensive country and the kids spent almost $50 at McDonalds for dinner.

We rode the train to Zurich and spent the night there planning to attend church in the morning, then sight see around Zurich and take the night train back to Prague. Well we got up and ready for church in the morning and headed to the building listed on the church’s website at the specified time, to find no one there. We tried calling the numbers we had for the ward, but couldn’t reach anyone, so we don’t know if we were at the wrong place or had the wrong time. We headed back to the train station and on with our day. We decided to spend a few hours seeing more scenery and more of Switzerland. We headed to Luzern and then on to Bern, the capital. In Bern we took a bus to the old city where there is a clock that was built in the 12th century. It has moving puppets that dance around every hour and a hammer that moves to ring the bell. The old town was beautiful with narrow streets. Many of the windows in the buildings had flowers outside them. It was so pretty. I really liked Bern and would have loved to have spent more time there.

Another thing we noticed about Switzerland was the amount of bikes.  While we didn't see alot of people riding bikes, they had huge bike racks and storage places everywhere.  At each train station there were huge bike racks, some double stacked to store bikes.  There were a lot of bikes in them too.  They must use bikes here alot to get around.

We headed back to Zurich and walked along the river through the old town before our night train. In Poland we love to get a pita sandwich called a Kebab. It is very similar to a gyro, but usually with chicken or turkey meet rather than lamb, often the sauce and toppings vary depending on where you buy it. Many countries in Europe have a variation of the Kebab, and we found some in Switzerland to try. They were delicious. The meat was cut super thin and was delicious. We also had fun trying different chocolate bars made in Switzerland too. Our favorite was a chocolate and pistachio bar.

I would love to go back to Switzerland someday. The funny thing is that previous to this trip, it was not on my list of places to see, but after going there, I would love to go back and spend more time wandering through the little towns. The scenery was beautiful, but we have just as beautiful scenery in Idaho and Utah.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Since the kids get out of school everyday by lunch we decided to take an early afternoon train to Prague. We spent 8 hours traveling on 3 different trains to reach Prague by bedtime for the kids. They did really well, working on school worksheets, playing games on the IPAD and phones, and watching movies. Plus they love looking out the window and going on and off the trains. The next morning we headed back to the train station to put our luggage in a locker and to purchase our overnight train tickets to Zurich. By the time we took care of that we had about 7 hours to tour Prague. We knew we wanted to see the Castle and the Old Town area. So we headed first to the Castle and then walked our way back to the train station through the Old Town.

First let me say, that I thought that Prague would be a step below Poland by modern standard, but I was wrong. Not only is it a beautiful city with all the old buildings and cobblestone streets, it is extremely modernized. The train station is like a mall. It is a huge city and has buses, trams, and an underground metro. The kids had fun riding that! Tunnels all the time.

The Castle sits high on a hill above the city and has a beautiful view. The castle and city grounds up are so beautiful. We had a great time walking around. The cathedral at the castle is incredible. It is large and with huge stained glass windows. Isabel had a wonderful time looking for a princess at the castle. She was a little upset that we didn't get to see the princess' bedroom. The castle was lovely, but the view from just outside the castle walls is just gorgeous. It overlooks Prague.

We walked from the castle to the Old town square. Along the way we had a few Eurodogs. Which was a hot dog served in a small french baguette for a bun. At the town square we found they were having a little fair with yummy Cezch food. We went to the different booths and tried different things. We continued to walk and wind our way through the streets headed to the train station. We arrived in time to collect our bags, pick up food for the train, make a few calls over the internet, and board our night train to Zurich. At this point we decided that when we return to Prague on Monday we would spend another day there.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wawel Castle

After school last friday we took the kids to see the castle here in Krakow, Wawel Castle. While it has been remodeled, it is was never destroyed and is the genuine castle. Many of the city castle's were destroyed in the war and have been rebuilt to look as they did centuries ago, but this castle and most of Krakow were untouched by WWII. We had fun walking through a few of the rooms in the castle and seeing the decorations from centuries ago. This picture was taken in the courtyard of the castle where people once roamed about.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

All Saints Day

November 1st is a big holiday in Poland. Equivalent to Christmas in that most shops, stores, and places are closed. The streets were very quiet during the day when we went out for a walk. November 1st is All Saints Day, and November 2nd is All Souls Day. According to Catholic tradition the graves of dear loved ones should be visited on All Souls Day and the grave sites are left with flowers and candles burning bright. Since November 1st is a holiday in Poland, the Poles travel far to visit their family and loved ones burial sites to light a candle and leave flowers. The Candles will burn for several days. If they can, they will visit the graves again on November 2nd as well.

After dinner on the 1st we ventured out to an old cemetery in Krakow. It is one of the largestin the area and has several prominent Poles buried in it. The cemetery was beautifully lit with thousands of candles. At the church in the cemetery a musical program was held and you could hear the monks singing over the speakers as you walked through the glowing grounds. Some grave sites only had a few candles and flowers and others held dozens. The prominent people buried there had hundreds of candles surrounding their gravestones or monuments built for them. It was beautiful to see and we are grateful we were able to experience this part of the Polish and Catholic culture. How grateful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ that teaches us about the resurrection and eternal life. I am grateful to know that through the gospel we can live with God and our loved ones again someday.

Monday, November 1, 2010


In Poland they do not celebrate Halloween. Before we left home I had prepped the kids for this so it wouldn't be a shocker when Halloween was upon us. They had asked if they could still trick or treat, so i then had to explain that because there is no Halloween, there is no trick or treating. So I had told the kids we could still have it as a family. In school the week before, in their English class, they got to help their teacher teach about Halloween to the other kids. They thought is was fun to be able to share with them about our culture. When the weekend came, the kids asked us about what costumes could they wear, so i told them they would have to get creative and make them. So they did! And they did a great job. Savannah made a mask and colored it to be a pink bird. Calvin wanted to be a mummy, so we wrapped him in toilet paper, and Isabel of course wanted to be a princess, so she wore Savannah's sparkly dress and made a crown to tape to her head band. And then they knocked on the bedroom and bathroom doors inside our apartment to go trick or treating, where they recieved yummy european candies. They even recieve a surprise from Kylynn who opened her door dressed as a ghost.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Food and shopping for food

There are many similarites and many differences when it comes to the food here in Poland. Shopping can be different. In the city there are tiny and medium grocery markets all over. There are also several outdoors fruit and vegetable markets. I would like to know where they get their fresh produce, as it looks incredible fresh and beautiful, but i am pretty sure they are not growing kiwi or bananas in Poland in October. It is fun to walk through these area's looking at all the different vendor's all selling mostly the same thing and decide who has a better price or better product. At the mall there is a larger grocery store and that is where we have gone to stock up for 2-3 days of food. It is about the size of a smaller Albertsons, but is huge by Polish standards. We have really only bought food for 2-3 days at a time for a few reasons. 1-we will be moving apartments and it is better to have less on hand when we move. 2-it has been fun to eat out here with all the different foods. 3-we are walking, so we can only buy what we can carry between us. There are alot of helping hands, but alot of mouths to feed as well. A difference here is you have to buy your grocery bags, even the cheap plastic ones cost, but they also sell larger, better plastic ones. Or you bring your own bag, which is what most people do. We bring our backpacks and load them up, then we still have hands free to carry something else or to help with kids, or push the stroller, which we also stuff with food next to and under Matthew.

It has been fun trying to figure out what certain foods or products are. I'll ask David to translate the package, but he sometimes only translates part of the package. In one instance we were looking for plastic sandwich bags and i asked David what the box said, and he replied "small bags, 150 count" so we bought the box. I remember thinking at the time, why is there a martini drink on the box. Well when it came time to use a bag I pulled the tear away strip to open the box, and under the tear away strip was the directions on how to use the bags--with pictures. I couldn't see this part in the store as the strip was covering, but when i saw it I knew exactly what the bags were for-and it wasn't sandwiches. So I took the box to David and asked him again to translate the box without showing him what the strip had covered. And he read the box this time and said " Oh, little bags for ice." Well, now i know why there was a martini drink on the box, and if he had just read the whole box at the store we wouldn't have bought it. But these are the fun things of being somewhere new!

They have lots of cheese here, much is different than home, and if it is the same as home, I often don't know it because the names in Polish are not the same in English. But all of the cheese is white cheese. Well I have children that love macaroni and cheese made with a regular (to us) cheddar- orange cheese. So David and I set out to find some cheddar. We asked at the stores we had been to, but they didn't know what cheddar cheese was. We did find it at one store, but although it is packaged as cheddar, it is really kraft singles of american cheese. To us, that is not cheddar. After a little research online we were led to a big grocery store a little further from the city center. It is bigger the store at the mall, but not by much. And they had a cheddar similar cheese that they called mimolette. I had already made a mac and cheese earlier in the week with i am not sure what kind of cheese, it was pretty good, but next time i will be able to use cheddar for my children that would prefer it. Bacon was another thing we couldn't find. They sell it, but not packed in slices like in the US, but in uncut chunks. So last night for dinner i chopped up bacon to fry for small bacon pieces to put in with my pasta and spinach dish. It is a bit of a challenge shopping and cooking, but it is a fun challenge in figuring out how to tweak my recipes and then find the ingredients here.

Another interesting food story. We have been trying lots of different cookies, and I had bought this particular brand that was delicious, well we wanted to try their different flavors. David had brought home a different flavor and it was a yummy cherry, so while we were at the store again we looked at the different kinds, and 2 of them had martini glasses on the label next to the flavor (including the cherry which we had previously tried). I wondered why, surely there isn't alcohol in cookies that kids would eat. Well, the kind i wanted to get had a martini glass and the word advocat next to the glass and a nut. I thought maybe that is the name of the nut. David didn't know what the word meant, so we asked another shopper on the same aisle, and she kindly informed us that the word is a kind of alchol drink. So we asked her did that mean the alcohol is in the cookies and she told us yes it is. Well, apparently we tried the alcohol cookies without knowing it. We're glad that the kind we really like is alcohol free, but we won't be trying the other flavors or the cherry again. We have to watch the candies too, and many of them have alcohol in them as well. Some that we bought to give the kids for Halloween have it, and after the cookie incident I had to check the candies and found that we will have less Halloween candy then i had planned, as it had to be thrown away. There is definitely an adjustment in shopping and food. Who would think that a candy would have the same alcohol % level as a beer.

Auschwitz and Birkenau

Yesterday we rode the train to Oswiecim. It was a 1.5 hour train ride and the kids loved it! The train was older and a little loud and bumpy. The weather was nice, so it was a good day to be outside. In preparation for our visit to we had found a book written by a survivor of Auschwitz. She was 9 at the time she went to the camp. Savannah was able to read this book and learn about the war and what happened to the Jews in the camps. Calvin read part of the book and so he understood a little of what we were going to see. I wanted the kids to have a foundation before going so that they would understand why this place is significant. It is important that we study the past so that we can learn from it and not repeat it.

Auschwitz and Birkenau were the largest concentrations camp in Poland and more then a million people were murdered here during WWII, most of which were Jews. At Auschwitz many building still stand, including a gas chamber and crematorium. The barbed wire fences still surround the complex. The inside of the buildings that visitors are allowed to enter are as a museum with large pictures of the era and people entering the camps. It also contains many personal belongings of the prisoners that were kept there. There are piles of eyeglasses, shoes, clothing, children's clothing and toys, kitchen items, toothbrushes, hair brushes, and piles of hair. The Germans used the hair to make things such as rugs. Since it set up as a museum all of these items are placed behind glass, but it quite striking the amount of these items that were found when the war ended.

It is just over a mile to the Birkenau complex and the museum provides a shuttle bus to that area. Much more of this area was destroyed by the Germans at the end of the war to hide what they had done there. Only the remains of the Gas chambers and crematoriums are left. This complex was huge. The fence is still in place and splits the camp into 4 areas. Through the very middle of the camp is the train tracks where they unloaded all of the people that were sent here, 75% of which were led straight to the gas chambers after being told they were going to take a shower to clean up. There are only a few other building left in comparison to what is gone. You could walk in to several that were left to see what terrible conditions they were forced to live in. They were only given platforms to sleep on the size of double beds, stacked 3 high. In each single platform slept 8-12 people. It was striking to walk these grounds and see row after row after row of remaining chimney's from the destroyed building where these people were kept like animals. To think this only happened 70 years ago. How blessed I feel for the freedoms we have. I could not imagine how terrible it would be to have those freedoms stripped away and treated so terribly and then to have so many killed. It is sad to think that such genocides still happen in places around the world today.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Isabel's First Day of School

While reading the school's website here David realized that Isabel is old enough for school here. Back home she has to wait till next year because the cut off date to be 5 is the end of August. Here it is the end of the year. So we talked with the principal and signed her up. So on Wednesday Isabel started Kindergarten in Poland. She was so excited to go off to school like her older siblings with her backpack and school supplies. It was a fun first day for her. She said there are only 4 boys in her class and the rest are girls. She starts school 30 minutes after the other kids and gets out 10 mins later. The school provides before and after school care for free so she will go there till her class starts and then all the kids go there after school so they have time to play and make friends. There is no recess or lunch time during school hours, so the after school care is when the kids can play with the other kids. It has helped to let them spend 30-60 mins there each school day as now when we pick them up they have lots of kids saying goodbye to them.

On her first day though, Isabel did not know that the other kids go to the after school center so she thought Dad was coming to get her so she wanted to wait in the Lobby for him. When Dad didn't come she started to cry. She said she thought he was never going to come. When David showed up she had stopped crying but started again when she saw him because she was so happy he came to get her. We felt bad because we had not explained to her that we wouldn't be there right after school. The next day we all went to pick her up on time and she was happy to see us. Today she stayed and went to the after school center and played with her friends and when i went to go and get her she didnt want to go because she and a friend were coloring. She has adapted quickly.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

First apartment in Krakow

This is a video Savannah made of our first apartment here in Krakow. We move on Nov 1st to a bigger apartment Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Family Life

Tuesday night as we were going to bed, David said this is great, we aren't just having a vacation, we are living a life in Poland. That night he had attended a monthly meeting at the school. Every month the parents have to meet together with the teacher for a report on how the students and class are doing and to discuss upcomping events and needs. At this meeting the teacher reports students grades as well to each parent, in front of all the parents. The kids had started gymnastics this week, so I had to take Calvin to his class and Kylynn was back at the apartment with the rest of the kids. It was a busy night of just regular life stuff, but in Poland. Some things are just like being home in the US and other things are just a little different. Having your kids grades told to you in front of all the other parents is a little different, especially if your kid has the lowest grade.

The kids love going to gymnastics. The girls go on Monday and Wednesdays, and Calvin is on Tuesday and Thursdays. The price for this--about $20 per kid per month. That is a steal! Back home the kids were only going once a week for $45 per month. So to go for less then half the price AND twice a week is a huge discount.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Yummy Treats

We live above a bakery, and there are 2 more on our street. We are currently living in a very busy area of the old city, but the kids love the bakeries. A couple times a day we go downstairs or as we pass by on our way in and out we pick out new treats to try. They are so yummy. Some are more of a pastry, some are cookies, and some are cakes. Some have 2 inches of cream in the middle. The kids have fun picking them out and ordering them in Polish. When eating one such creamy treat it is hard to not get so messy!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 25, 2010

On Sunday the weather was beautiful. I walked home from church without a coat it was so nice. So after lunch we decide to go for a stroll through the park. Because of the beautiful weather many people were out and about and the park was a happening place. The playground was packed, the soccer field and volleyball courts had games going, there were several families out together. It was a beautiful afternoon.

Church in Krakow

On Sunday we went to church here in Krakow. We took the tram and arrived about 10mins early. Church is held on the 3rd floor of an office building. It is a nice building and they have about 4 rooms total for the church. There is a larger meeting room, about the size of a nice conference room. 2 class rooms, and the branch president has an office. There is a bathroom and a small kitchen and a small foyer area. A pair of Elders were there, and 2 other people. A few other people came, and then at 10am in walked a family with 5 young children. Then just after the meeting started, another family with 2 young kids came, and a young single lady came. We filled the room with about 20 seats total. After sacrament meeting we were able to meet the other members. The branch typically has 6-8 members, including the missionaries. The other large family live in Prague and were passing through. They are american and are spending 2 years in Prague to learn the language. The other family with 2 kids also just moved here to Poland. They live in a town about 2 hours away, but Krakow is their branch. They also are American. The husband is a professional volleyball player and will be here for 6 months playing on a Polish team. They previously spent several years playing in Italy. The single young woman is from the same small town, 2 hours away, she also just moved to Poland as a nanny for a Polish family. She had spent a year in Germany as a nanny before coming to Poland. Kylynn was excited to make an American friend, even though she lives 2 hours away. They hope to meet up and site see a bit together during our stay here. A polish sister was there with her 2 grand children and then the other 3 members were polish.

After we all chatted for a few moments sunday school began. David took all the kids into one of the other classrooms that had a few toys in it to play with and taught a primary lesson. The sunday school lesson, like sacrament meeting was taught in Polish with one of the members translating it into English.

The Church is very small here in Poland. There are no wards at all, only branches and Krakow is the smalles branch. We plan to attend a few of the other branches that cover the areas that David served in as a missionary.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Sabota is Polish for Saturday. We arrived on Tuesday, so this was our first Saturday and it was a busy one..
Savannah and Calvin had their first day of school. School starts at 8am so we had to get up early and it was about a 15 minute walk to school. Yes, school on Saturday. But just this week The schools had a day off earlier this week and had to make it up, so Saturday is the make up day. Different from the US. Both Savannah and Calvin are in the first grade, and the kids in that grade are 7 to 8 years old. Savannah's age. They were going to put her in 2nd grade, but since she doesn't know how to spell in Polish, much less speak Polish we decided with the Prinipal that first grade would be better. If she picks up quickly they will move her to 2nd grade.
We stopped by the school on Wednesday, and since I don't speak Polish I don't really know what was said, but they were very open and accepting of the kids attending school. There wasn't much needed to enroll them.

School is from 8am to 12:30pm, usually, but it is different on different days depending on afterschool activities. We walked to the school at 12:30pm to pick the kids up and they both said they liked it alot. We had sent them with a snack not knowing if they would eat lunch there or after and the kids told us that there is no recess, but they do have a 2nd breakfast time, and a lunch time. I am glad they at least had a snack to eat. They also have gym time, and they told us the gym is in the basement. The kids thought that was cool.

Also on Saturday, most of the street stores close early. Which we found to be a problem when we went to pick up school supplies for the kids. The stores had all closed at 2pm, and are closed until Monday.

Benjamin and the pigeons

There are pigeons everywhere here. And Benjamin keeps trying to catch one. He chases them and chases them. While we were passing through the Rynek, or town square, there were lots of them, so we let him run loose chasing them. Rather than fly far off, they land only a few feet away hoping for food, so it encourages him to keep chasing them.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Wieliczka is town nearby to Krakow. We rode the train 20 minutes to reach it. There is a large salt mine there. They no longer mine salt there, but a hundred or so years ago the miners carved statutes inside the mine out of salt and they now allow tourists to tour it. You have to walk down over 400 steps to see it and it is over 3km long. Also inside is this incredible church. On the walls are carvings out of rock salt of scenes of the life of Christ. From the ceiling hang chandeliers decortated with crystal salt cyrstals. It is very beautiful.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Flying to Poland

We left my brothers at lunch time to head towards the airport. We were flying out of Dulles airport, about an hour and a half away. We left with enough time to see the Washington DC temple on the way. It was fun to visit this temple with my children as it is the temple i grew up visiting.

Our flight left at 5pm and arrived 8 hours later in Germany. The plan was to eat dinner provided on the plane, and then put the kids to sleep. This actually worked out fairly well, Benjamin was the toughest to put to sleep. We hoped he would be tired enough to just fall asleep in his carseat. He was tired, but cranky. We had an extra seat next to us so I laid him down on it and he did finally go to sleep. All the kids fell asleep, if only it had worked out so nicely for David, Kylynn, and me. About 3 hours later, Calvin woke up and said he had slept and he was not tired anymore. One by one the other kids woke up too. And soon enough the flight attendants were turning on lights and passing out a breakfast snack. Benjamin did not wake up too happy, but he recovered quickly.

In Germany, the plane landed on the Tarmac and we had to climb down stairs with kids, car seats (2), and 5 carryon bags, and 5 backpacks, board the shuttle to ride to the airport. The stairs were a bit tricky; thankfully the flight attendents helped. We had only an hour and half layover, and our flight landed on the tarmac at it's scheduled time. so we had to unload, ride the shuttle, pass back thru security, and literally run to our gate, which was far across a large airport, to catch our plane. It was a rush, but we made it. We boarded for a short flight to Krakow Poland.

After finding our apartmentit was only noon here, so we all took a short 3 hour nap. We set an alarm so we could get up and walk around the town, have dinner and then go to sleep on Poland's time schedule. Everyone did really well adjusting, but me. But I normally have a hard time sleeping, so it took me a few days longer to adjust.

Krakow is a beautiful city in southern Poland. It was the capital of Poland hundreds of year ago, and is one of the few cities that was not destroyed by WWII. We are staying near the old town, and it is beautiful to walk through day and night. It is colder here than what we left. But we have all been warm each day walking around with our coats and hats on.