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.