the people you meet

Today we encountered the best “why are you here” story.  Andy and I had dinner in a real Czech pub with real Czech food and real Czech beer and very American conversation.  Our Americanisms were overheard by a fellow yank who invited herself to join us. As-per-usual, the getting to know you questions started to flow.  The first one we asked was “What brings you to Prague?” which she completely brushed aside stating that it was a “long story” in the “I’m not going to tell you” sort of vein, and quickly turned the question right back around at us.  We obliged, continued the conversation, but eventually asked her for the abridged story of her finding herself single & alone on her first international trip and in Prague on a half-week vacation.

She flew from Denver to Prague to get pregnant.  More specifically, to have in vitro fertilisation in a small southern Czech town.  She went on to explain that her eggs were fried in an unfortunate bout with cancer at a very young age, and that she’s planning to be the oven for a bun for which she didn’t mix the dough.  This led to a discussion as to why the Czech Republic; apparently the procedure costs around $36k in the U.S. and only $8k here.  Plus you get the adventure of a European vacation as sort of a pregnancy honeymoon.  The woman had done her research, and other sources have confirmed that this is a growing trend.

The questions that didn’t get asked were along the lines of why is this single, attractive woman is essentially having someone else’s child?  How does picking both the mother and father work in a doner situation like this?  How do you go about making that kind of choice, where you are essentially shopping for all of the traits of your to-be-born child?  All-in-all, it was none of our business, but it got me curious.

Obviously, there was more today than just that… Andy and I spent the day with Greg and Andrea exploring again, this time mostly at the Prague Castle and in the Jewish district.  The picture below is outside the castle standing next to one of the guards in his designer uniform.  There’s obviously more I could write about that part of the trip, but I think I’ll save that for when I post all of my pictures online.

 Castle Guard, Prague

exhilaration & exhaustion

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

It’s 2am in Prague, and I’m up surfing the interwebs because my body is very, very confused at the moment about where it is and what it should be doing.  For the last 24 hours or more I’ve been living in a sleep-walking coma of joyous exhilaration (I’m on vacation!) and tortuous exhaustion.  By the numbers, a person really ought to have a conscious-to-comatose ratio of around 0.29-.33 (7 or so hours of sleep a night divided by 24 hrs in a day) meaning that you’re spending at least 30% of your existence asleep.  During the weeks leading up to my vacation, my ratio was much-much lower.  Try something in the 0.23 range (8hrs*2days + 6hrs*4 + 3hrs*1)/(24hrs*7days).  And as for this very moment, the ratio between the moment when my vacation started (i.e. I gloriously informed my boss that I was in fact done with everything and strolled leisurely out of the office) and now the ratio has been a scant 0.18.

But what a glorious vacation it has been so far.  I’m counting my date on Thursday with night as part of my vacation since I was technically done with work.  I’ll probably say more about that later; for now it suffices to say that it was the perfect way to start a week off.  But the amazing part was that I had completed all my packing two whole days before I left.  Usually I leave the stuffing of the suitcases until almost the last minute.  Being preped well before leaving (and before going out Thursday) freed me of the guilt and trappings of my frantic mind wondering if I packed enough underwear and what random thing that I’ll never use but pack anyway I had forgotten.  It absolutely set the tragectory for the rest of the trip…

Friday morning was a leisurely ramp up to leaving.  A perfect pre-flight brunch at our local diner-o’delight with Andy.  A taxi cab that was on time taking us to the airport.  Two international flights which were perfectly scheduled.  Beer and pretzels in the Frankfurt airport.  All of the luggage making it without incident.  Realizing that Andy is an awesome travel companion, and an even better friend.  Greg and Andrea being the perfect hosts; giving us enough time to decompress and catch up after getting off the plane and to their apartment, while encouraging us not to waste a minute while we’re here.  They’ve taken the next week off so that they can play tour-guide, host & hostess, which I really appreciate.  It’s awesome that they can take the time off to visit with us for the duration.

We’ve already gotten the walking tour of a good part of the city: several churches (from the outside), the town-hall complete with a gianormous coo-coo-clock that was built over 600 years ago, and the Charles Bridge.  Tomorrow we really don’t have set plans, which is great.  The plan is to get up and do whatever we feel like, and given that we have an entire country of options, I don’t imagine that it is going to be a problem to do. 

Now if only I could get back to sleep…

5 star weekend

Well, I think the fortune cookie was wrong, because every day this weekend was fantastic for it’s own reason. 

Friday was great because I got to help make a fantastic homemade Italian meal at DD’s house and watch the Godfather in its entirety for the first time.  I know how to make Ravioli from scratch!  I still need to acquire DD’s grandmother’s pasta recipe, and the required tools to roll pasta, etc. etc.  The food was amazing (ravioli, cannoli, wine, wine, and… more wine).  As for the Godfather Part I, even though I think I had seen most of it before, it was great to see it in its entirety.  The problem is that Brando was the best part of it for me, so I’m not as excited to see Part II & III.  However, I will be excited to enjoy more homemade Italian…

Saturday was great because I got to spend the morning/afternoon doing things for myself and then a rock’n good time with Mister Miyagi.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from the band.  I mean, how can one band cover the entire 80’s?  Well, apparently one can!  It was one of those nights where you got to hang out with some of the best people you know while dancing your ever loving ass off.  And nothing makes me happier than shake’n tail.  It’s been a long while since I had that much fun out, mostly because the people I was with were crazy fun dancers.

And today… well, it was great.  I got to catch up with friends/family on the phone and spend the afternoon out in Ballard with Andy.  We hit up the farmer’s market and grabbed a cup of coffee.  Nothing really out of the ordinary or special, but that’s kinda what made it great.

And now back to work… and there’s less than two weeks until I leave for Prague!  Yikes!