Camino Family

How often do you know the exact condition of your friends’ feet?

Well I do.
Louise has three blisters on one big toe and a few on the rest.
Dave has a couple of blisters that keep coming back because he always cuts the badges too small.
Marg is blister free (and we hate her for it).
Anita’s got a few sore spots, but she has magic foot wool that keeps the blisters at bay.
Jakob has cracks in his heels..

My feet are scarred too. The topmost layer of skin on my back left heel is replaced with silicone. My big left toe has erected a temporary wall in attempts to resolve recent conflicts with my second toe and my big right toe has seen more needle punctures than a puppy with a porcupine habit. So why the battered feet?

About a week ago, Jakob and I started a pilgrimage, so our feet are showing the natural wear and tear of about 163km of walking. We started our trek in the picturesque village of St. Jean-Pied-de-Port in the foothills of the French Pyrennes.

I have to admit, 163km ago I didn’t have the best attitude. I was pretty certain of 4 things: (1) the trail would be too busy, (2) I would make few genuine friends, (3) I would grow weary of touristy misrepresentations of medieval life, and (4) I would overall find the experience bearable, but certainly not life changing. Jakob would call me a pessimist. Of course, I know that I’m just a realist. Now after a week on the trail, I am reporting the very real fact that I was wrong on 3 of my 4 predictions. Let’s see if you can guess which ones.

No more than a few kms from the start, Jakob and I trekked past a group of three pilgrims. They were blaring music out of their compact speaker and struggling a bit with the steep incline. Just out of earshot we began a somewhat self-righteous critique of “those people.” “Why not just talk to each other?” “Who gives you the right to set the soundtrack for everyone?” “Why can’t you just wear headphones?” We quickly forgot their faces and remembered only the stereotype.

A few kms later, another group of three pilgrims passed us as we sipped water. We chatted briefly. Aussie? Kiwi? Jakob was sure they were from New Zealand. I shrugged my shoulders. A few more kms and they were snacking as we passed. A few more and we were waving at their familiar faces once more and commenting on the beautiful views over the valley bottom.
“Where are you staying tonight?”
“Orisson.”
“Us too!”
“See you at supper then.”
“Yes, see you at supper!”
And just like that, we had our first pilgrim date!

The end of our first day’s hike came quickly and before long, Jakob and I were huddled at a rough wooden table dealing cards and rehashing our day. A short woman with a purposeful walk entered the common space of our hostel/cabin.
“We need to build fire,” she stated sternly.
Jakob and I glanced at each other. Usually we are quick to claim that we are capable Canadians, but at the moment neither of us felt compelled to chop damp wood and kindle reluctant flames. We played dumb and continued our card game. The woman left, apparently deterred by our disinterest. To our surprise, she returned moments later with an armload of wood and explained that she found it under a shelter, protected from the rain. Dropping the logs on the floor, she looked expectantly at Jakob, the only man in the room. Jakob sighed and set down his cards.
“There’s no hatchet. No axe,” he gestured a swinging motion to add emphasis.
“We cut with knife,” the woman explain, hurrying to the kitchen.
I followed, surely she couldn’t be serious. The elderly woman examined the knife drawer with a practiced eye. She selected a large cleaver and handed it to Jakob. His face gave away only the briefest moment of confusion before he got to work peeling thin layers of wood fibres away from the log. The woman shook her head and demonstrated. Smaller strips. She got to work immediately emptying the ash from the fireplace while I hovered helplessly. An elderly German man entered the room, taking in the scene, he dropped his pack and offered his fireplace expertise. Half an hour later, Jakob and the German fellow were busy building an elaborate flammable structure. There were few words exchanged, but a clear master and apprentice hierarchy emerged instantly, with Jakob seeking a nod of approval before placing most of his pieces. I sat at the long wooden table with the project foreman, Lubmila from Latvia.
“I grew up under the Soviet Union,” she explained seriously, “I was taught that when you see an opportunity to improve your life, you must take it.”
I nodded gravely.
“Here I saw opportunity,” she cracked a smile and we both began to laugh.
A few long minutes later, the fire was roaring and we all cheered. The German gentlemen stood up, brushed of his hands, and summarized succinctly:
“Now women happy.”
Jakob nodded in agreement and the French pilgrims upstairs shuffled down towards the glowing common room, bringing all of their socks and laundry to dry by the flames.
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That evening we walked the 1km up to the next hostel for dinner. After a quick scan of the dinning hall we spotted a few familiar faces and invited ourselves to join them. Marg, Dave, and Anita introduced themselves. Yes Jakob was right, they were from New Zealand. After some friendly interrogations we found out that Marg and Dave are on a year long trip around the world, celebrating a “significant birthday” and enjoying some empty-nester freedom. Anita is an Aussie turned Kiwi and a close friend of theirs with an equally bold sense of adventure.

That first night, we probably should have given them fair warning: you won’t be able to shake us off. We should have told them that we would likely interrupt our travel schedule if it meant staying on the same itinerary as them. We might even slow our pace or delay a departure. Upon arriving in a new village we might even ask anxiously if any other pilgrims have seen three Kiwis looking somewhat lost or lonely.
“Oh you’ve seen them?” we might say, “yes, they are looking so sad because they have misplaced their Canadians.”

On our second day on the trail we traversed the Pyrenees and rescued a damsel in distress or a jomfru i nød (a mermaid in need). We had just made the steep descent into Spain and were dusty and exhausted, waiting to check-in to the hostel. A lone pilgrim ahead of us seemed to be having some trouble. She had no cash and there was no ATM in town.
“This is going to be a problem,” she mumbled under her breath.
The clerk looked sympathetic, but remained resolute. He suggested that she begin the 4km walk to the next town.
Jakob leaned over and whispered, “we should pay for her.”
I gave him a skeptical look. Twelve euros is a lot to just throw around. Jakob ignored my hesitation and marched towards the counter.
“We’ll cover her stay,” he offered nonchalantly.
She spun around, surprise and gratitude written across her face.
“You need dinner too don’t you?”
She hesitated and looked down, “yah.”
“No worries! We got this.”

Her name is Louise, she is 24 years old, she is from Denmark, she’s got a crazy sense of humour, she’s served in Afghanistan, and she’s barely left our side for the last five days. For the first few kilometres there were some indentured servitude jokes, but even after the money was settled up, we still couldn’t seem to part ways. At this point we rarely make decisions around food, accommodation, foot care, or travel without consulting her. The deal works something like this: Louise makes sure we don’t starve, Jakob makes sure we don’t get lost, and I keep everyone well informed with useless facts and inspirational quotes from the guide book. Needless to say, we are all quite content with the arrangement.
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A couple of days ago our camino family, Dave, Marg, Anita, Louise, Jakob, and I were inching past the 20km mark for the day when Dave pulled out a compact bluetooth stereo and offered to lift our spirits with a little country music and rock and roll. My eyes widened as I put it all together. Those hooligans blaring music the first day were our beloved Kiwis. We laughed awkwardly and admitted to our snobby prejudice that first day. The Kiwis seemed pleased to have rocked our boat a little. So we turned up the volume, picked up our tired feet, and sang along to George Ezra’s “Barcelona.”

The only prejudicial assumption we regretted more was the time we ran into our Latvian grandma again and she gave us another one of her classic bossy pieces of advice.
“You must skip down the hills,” she stepped one foot in front of the other and demonstrated an awkward lope.
We smiled and laughed, immediately dismissing her suggestion as the crazy ramblings of an exhausted pilgrim.
“No, no,” she insisted, “I am not joking. It is really better to skip. I fly down the hills. Passing everyone and they ask me how I do it. I tell them I skip down the hills.”
The next time our knees were straining and our shins were aching from a restrained downward descent, we heard Lubmila’s stern words in our heads and decided that if anyone knew how to ease suffering, it would be someone who survived the Soviet Union. So we gave it a shot. Louise tried it first. Then Jakob. Then I joined in. We’re now known as the crazy pilgrims who run down all the hills and I have no doubt everyone else secretly wishes we would fall flat on our faces. Still, at every opportunity we try to convince others to convert to our skipping ways. Dave and Marg are the most recent converts. Anita is next.

While our camino family is pretty tight (Jakob and Dave bought matching shirts and have been known to call each other “young bull” and “papa bull,” we do have room for a few extended family members including a couple of Britts, a few other Canadians, and some Aussies. We call it the Commonwealth plus Denmark. In a typical day we each leave at our own pace. Jakob, Louise, and I get up at the crack of dawn and usually stop for breakfast about 5km down the road. Just as we are finishing our café con leches and hot chocolate, a couple other Commonwealth pilgrims are bound to stumble in. Of course, we stay and chat and just as we are finally strapping our backpacks on a few more familiar pasty faces will likely find their way to our table. It is in this rhythm of ‘hello’s and ‘see you later’s that we pass most of our days. In the evening we track each other down in some sort of central square, bring out the wine, and munch on pinxos (basque version of tapas). Even the bustling city of Pamplona started to feel like a small town when we strolled past bars full of familiar looking pilgrims and eventually managed to gather the whole Commonwealth gang together.


Each morning when we head out there is a brief moment of tension. How far are we going? Where will we be stopping? What if we loose track of each other? But I have to believe that our paths crossed for a reason, and they are going to stay entangled for as long as they need to be. By the time we do say “good-bye” it will most certainly be a “see you later.”
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A Good Market Day, a Grand Bazaar, and a Great Cheese Disaster

February 19-20

Our second full day in Istanbul was market day. Jakob had promised to cook dinner for Elyse and I that night, so in return we offered to help with the foraging. As we made our way through Istanbul’s crumbling cobblestone streets, we compiled the day’s shopping list: eggs, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, bread, peppers, oranges, and cheese.

This list would have taken about ten minutes to gather at our nearest Save-On Foods in Victoria, but in Istanbul this task was an entire day’s adventure.

First, we had to wander the market stalls with some level of disinterest. Picking up a tomato here, frowning at an orange there. A noncommittal attitude is the best insurance against price inflation. Finally, I found an onion I liked. I looked at the stall owner and raised my eyebrows as if to say, “how much?” Elyse took over the negotiations from there. The onion man laughed and shrugged. He had no price for selling a single onion to a tourist. No one buys a single onion. He asked for the equivalent of 8 cents and we offered him 16 (ya we barter in reverse). He nodded eagerly and then in a moment of guilt grabbed another onion and thrust it into Jakob’s hand.

“Just take another one, you stupid foreigner,” he begged (at least that’s my assumed translation).

With our overpriced onions in tow, we moved further into the market, where we found a German tourist curiously prodding an unusual root vegetable. Elyse tried to offer her translation help, but her Turkish vocabulary is more suited for telling off strangers than it is for identifying vegetables. We all agreed to call it a turnip and the man selling them insisted that Elyse take one for her trouble. At this rate, we wouldn’t need to buy anything.

As we made our way towards the tomatoes, I was struck with the calm demeanor of the vegetable sellers. There were no cat calls or demands that we buy their produce, just smiles and the occasional free sample. This was a very different experience from the more touristy corners of town, where Jakob and I had gotten used to shrugging off calls of:

“Lovely couple.”
“Hello, you can follow me.”
“Sorry. Yes. I want your money.”
Our personal favourite: “Spend your money for your honey.”
And Elyse and my favourite: “Cinderella!”

It was always easy to say no to these aggressive sales techniques, but it was much more difficult to say no to the warm smiles and outstretched arms of the vegetable sellers. That is how we ended up carting home about 20lbs of oranges, 15 cucumbers, a massive bag of carrots, and more reasonable quantities of everything else on our list.  My fears that I may have contracted scurvy over the past five weeks in central Europe were instantly quelled.

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A typically downtown Istanbul street. This photo doesn’t really capture the steepness, so you’ll have to just believe me…or look up a topographical relief map…or book a plane ticket

As we began the hike back to Elyse’s house (I kid you not, Istanbul is all hills, my calves look amazing) we heard the first strains of the afternoon call to prayer. There was no way we could tell whether the nearest mosque was using a recording or a live singer. It basically sounds all the same to our untrained ears.

Elyse offered a helpful comparison, “it sounds like the old dial-up internet doesn’t it?”
That’s totally what it sounds like!

Except instead of my one computer trying to connect so that I can MSN chat with my friends, it is like all of my friends and all of their friends are sitting in the same house, each in a separate room, and we can all hear the echoes of each other’s dial-up attempts. Imagine that each dial tone is staggered, so that the combined effect rattles the windows and creates a virtual sound storm, making MSN the only viable form of communication anyway.

But in all seriousness, I did find something beautiful about the practice of daily communal prayer at regular intervals. There’s something undoubtably admirable about structuring a day around meeting with God, rather than making God fit into your busy schedule.

We didn’t get to see it for ourselves, but Elyse told us about one time when she was shopping in the Grand Bazaar and watched as each of the shop keepers closed up their stalls, rolled our prayer matts, and bowed down in reverent prayer. Once the call was over, they stood up, dusted of their knees, and returned to their hard bargaining negotiations. Even now, when the tourist crowd grows thinner with every reported terrorist attack, making daily sales quotas is still less important than prayer.

Our experience of the Grand Bazaar was not quite so sacred, but it was memorable. It was our last day in Istanbul and I knew this was the first place I couldn’t leave without a souvenir. I spent most of my time at the Bazaar trying to choose between hundreds of scarf patterns, each one more beautiful than the next. Jakob got busy engaging his best salesman moves on the scarf-seller. It turns out, we aren’t the cold hard barterers we thought we were. As soon as the shopkeeper pulled out Facebook and showed us pictures of his niece who lives in Canada, we were easy sells. After paying tourist prices for my scarf and a new wallet for Jakob, we made our way to the alleys behind the bazaar and found a place where we could eat a kebab for a few lira while sitting on a plastic stool under a leaky tarp. So basically on that day we broke even on backpacker travel cred.

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A not so busy bazaar

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Happy with our purchases

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A doner place with a sense of humour (or should I say ‘cents’)

I almost got through this final Istanbul post without admitting my biggest blunder of our time in the historic cross roads of Asia and Europe. But honesty (and my guilty conscience) must prevail. Our lovely vegetable market day wasn’t quite flawless. Let me set the scene. It was 6 pm, the veggies were safely in the fridge and we had begun dinner prep. Jakob was mixing an experimental concoction of hamburger meat, eggs, and bread crumbs because he “didn’t need a recipe to make burgers.” While I agonized over the best way to make a salad when we didn’t have the exact ingredients called for in the Pinterest recipe. Elyse was hungrily hovering over the kitchen, trying to speed along the food, while still respecting Jakob’s request that she relax and let us take care of it. I had just realized that we forgot to pick up cheese, but was relieve to find a block of familiar packaging in the fridge.

I called to Elyse in the living room, “You do have cheese in here!”
“Ya, my mom brought it last time she visited”
“Ah that’s why it looks so familiar, it’s extra old cheddar from Costco isn’t it?”
“Yes, it’s my special treat. Real aged cheddar just doesn’t exist in Turkey. I only take it out for special occasions and even then I just use the smallest piece.”
“Ah ok, we will just use a little then.”
I pulled the unwrapped block from the fridge, hacked open the plastic wrap, and began slicing the precious cheese. As I moved to return it to the fridge, I asked Elyse for a bag to cover it.
“It should have been in one already.”
“Um…no..the package was unopened.”

I have never seen Elyse move so fast as in that moment. Before I could explain, the precious cheese block was in her hands and she was mumbling, “no no no no, I’m going to kill you.” She reached into the fridge and pulled out the already opened package and held the two slightly mangled blocks, one in each hand. A look of devastation written across her face.

I began a mental list of other places I could stay that night.
Elyse was quick to forgive, considering that I messed with her most prized possession and drastically shortened its shelf life. Cheese jokes abounded for the next 48 hours.

It’s much easier to make travel friends when they are just drinking good beer and seeing cool things with you. It’s much harder to accept them when they show up at your house and eat all your special cheese. Thanks Elyse for taking both our fun and our mess for five days, for sacrificing your personal space and your sanity. You are a real gem and we are so thankful that one blustery day in Budapest, you chose us to be your travel friends. We promise to pass it on.

Dinner in Prague

February 5-9

The story of our time in Prague is best told by food. Not because we ate out at so many amazing local restaurants, but because we didn’t. For the most part, our meals were had around a large family style dining table. Perhaps it was meant to seat fourteen, but we managed to fit at least twenty around its worn wooden surface.

This table was found in a warm and lively shared kitchen in downtown Prague, only a hundred meters away from a magnificent fifteenth century city gate. While I am irresistibly drawn to all things medieval, I have to admit that we spent far more time at this simple kitchen table, than we did exploring the thirteenth and fourteenth century wonders of Prague. So before you start judging my historical indifference, let me tell you more about this very special table, and the conversations that were had around it.

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The Powder Tower gate, just down the street from our home sweet home

First, it is worth noting that these experiences were only possible because our home in Prague, Hostel One Home offered FREE family style dinners EVERY night…if only all hostels were like this.

I have to start this story just before our first dinner. After arriving in Prague, I had collapsed onto my carefully chosen lower bunk bed in our ten bed dorm (for the full TMI account on why I was exhausted I must refer you to my previous post). After a forty-five minute nap, I woke up to the sound of Jakob recounting the details of our life to a complete stranger: “We met when we were in grade five. I dated Meghan’s best friend in middle school. Then in grade eleven we started dating. In her second year of university, we broke up for like one week, maybe two weeks and then in 2013 we got married…” I dragged myself out of bed. I should probably meet this person who now knows far more about me than I do about her. Jakob’s new friend’s name was Kate. Like all other Kates we have every known, Jakob got along with her immediately.
“She reminds me of someone,” he told me as we walked the few steps to the kitchen for dinner.
“Ya totally, maybe Tiegan? or maybe Veronica?” I had been trying to figure it out too.
“No…not quite…Anna Kendrick! yes Anna Kendrick!”
Great, Jakob had just found the doppelgänger of his celebrity crush. Guess I’ll say my goodbyes now.

Stepping into the kitchen for our first dinner, we were each greeted with a large bowl of bacon Alfredo pasta and told to find a seat. Immediately, I felt about eight years old again. I didn’t have to cook, shop, clean, or even think. The food found me and all I had to do was eat it with a grateful heart. The table quickly filled up, there were three young American women who were on a week break from their semester abroad in Montpellier, an American computer programmer with an Economics degree from Harvard, two Americans on a long weekend break from their English teaching jobs in Austria, and Kate (also an American…but from the west coast, so we claimed her as one of our own.) So if you missed that, we were surrounded by a lot of Americans. Despite our vast differences in culture and language, we all became fast friends.

About twenty two hours later, we were back together again in the dorm common area counting down the minutes until dinner. Some of us were on couches, others on bean bags, a few seated on the floor leaning against the brightly painted walls. It reminded me of high school days, when we had nothing better to do then lounge around waiting for the bell to ring and the next thing to begin. We all had a story to tell from our day in the city. Perhaps it won’t surprise you that after the late night on the town (see Jakob’s latest blog post) everyone else’s days hadn’t been much more successful than ours. One stayed in bed until noon, two got sort of lost, and three went thrift store shopping. We all were relieved to know that dinner would, once again, magically appear in a bowl in front of our seats around that family sized table.

This time, the bowl bore chilli. The best chilli. Made with love by Nick-from-Spain (who happens to have the same birthday as Jakob). Also there was a massive silver mixing bowl with fried tortilla chips at the bottom. As we ravenously shoved chilli and chips into our mouths, an intense discussion arose.
“What are the spices on these chips?”
“I taste cinnamon.”
“Cinnamon? Who would put cinnamon on chips?”
“Maybe some paprika?”
“I just taste salt, a lot of salt.”
“They are in such a big bowl, I can barely even see over the edge. The real question is why are there so few chips in such a big bowl.”
“I think it was for mixing the spices.”
“Oh no, there are only like three chips left.”
“You’re kidding me, how can the chips be almost gone? They’re so good and the bowl is so big!”
“Quick, none of the staff are watching their bowl.”
“Hurry, hurry, they’re coming back to the table.”
“Fewf, nice steal.”

With our bellies full of chilli and chips, we waited around the table, like children, for the next thing to happen. Sure enough the same hands that had provided our food pulled out a game board and passed around some beers and we all joined in. Part way through the game, three awkward young asians walked in to the room. More Americans? Their English was perfect but slightly British. Nope, they were from Singapore. Finally, a little diversity for this crowd! One hour later, we were bundling up and wandering our way through the tourist-free version of Prague’s streets. All I knew about our destination was its GPS location (I, for one, am not getting lost in a foreign city) and that it was nicknamed “the dog bar.” I was beside myself with excitement. I pictured a massive Newfoundland(?) with a mini keg around his neck wandering around and nuzzling the patrons with his soft wet nose.

Only a few short minutes after arriving, I let out a small shriek.
A fur blanket drapped over a couch in the corner just moved. Wait, that’s an animal. That’s a massive dog! His hair was matted and grey and his sad eyes roved the room aimlessly.
“How does a dog in a bar get so dirty,” I exclaimed angrily.
“I think it’s dirty BECAUSE it lives in a bar,” Kate replied with an equal level of disappointment and concern.
“We have got to break it free.” I devised a plan using my llama herding skills and Kate’s stunning good looks. She would distract the bouncers and I would rush the dog out through the small entryway…wait is that a ladder? Are there people sitting on the rafters?It didn’t take long for Kate and I to become distracted from our plot. We shimmied our way up the rickety wooden rungs and perched ourselves above the bar going crowd.
My first thought was, “if this breaks, who do I sue?” The first thing Kate said was, “I guess insurance policies aren’t a big deal in the Czech Republic.”
No one else up there looked too concerned. After a few photos, we were ready to put our feet back on solid ground. Perfect timing, one of the hostel staff, Matt, came sprinting around the corner, “I just found a brilliant (I don’t know if he actually said ‘brilliant’ but he’s British, so in my head he said ‘brilliant’) spot for us all right by the live music stage.” We snatched our coats and raced off into the maze of underground rooms and bars.

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Kate and I scoping the bar for hotties from the rafters

The table was situated on top of a graffitied wooden structure about three feet high and with about three feet of clearance above it. We all crawled up the stairs to the upper platform and got cozy. Wait are there people sitting underneath us too? Yup, sure enough there were people packed into the little space underneath, what is this? Jakob didn’t bother climbing into our little table cave. He was glued to the live music, which was one level below us and behind a layer of what looked like soccer goal netting. To prevent falling drinks? People? It’s anyone’s guess, but at least some one had thought of safety.

I spent most of that time chatting with the Singaporeans.
“I have my masters in French history and I want to become a professor, but the job prospects aren’t great. Nobody is hiring history professors these days.”
“Actually, in Singapore people love that shit.”
“Ya the arts are really big. They closed a court house recently and turned it into an art museum.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. There is a place where people actually value and even respect an arts degree??? By midnight I was interested in visiting Sigapore, and by 2 am I was filling out my paperwork to become a teacher in the safest country in the world.

Ok we did some things other than have dinner, here are some photos from our walking tour on day two:
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A somewhat spooky statue of Jan Hus. He was a church reformer one hundred years before Martin Luther! I love that his story is such a focal point for the city of Prague. In the words of Jan: “People gotta know what they believe, can’t be having church in Latin.”

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A cool house found in Prague’s jewish quarter. Our walking tour guide said it is used for weddings and other ceremonies.

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Twilight view of castle hill

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Some fake medieval stuff on top of some real medieval stuff

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Charles bridge

Now back to the story…

That evening, as we gathered for dinner, Jakob mentioned, “so we want to move to Singapore.” Hands flew up in defence and eye brows expressed concern.
“It’s very expensive.”
“We are not representative of Sigaporians.”
“Ya, just because you like us doesn’t mean you will like our country.”
“Not everyone is as nice as us.”
“Ya we know,” I admitted, “but you guys just make it sound so great, maybe it would be a good option for us for a few years.”
In the back of my mind I knew this would be one of just many work abroad whims, but why not embrace the adventurous fantasy and see where it goes?

Jakob’s sense of adventure came to an abrupt halt a few minutes later while sitting around the family dinner table.
“Babe, are you ok?” I probed nervously
“Ya, I’m fine.”
“You don’t like the food do you?”
“I haven’t even tried it yet.”
If I know one thing about my husband, it is that he does not, under any circumstance eat couscous. So don’t blame me for jumping to conclusions. Sure enough, ten minutes later, I was finishing off his bowl, and that of one of the Americans. I certainly wasn’t going to turn down fresh veggies. Let me remind you, we have spent the last two weeks in central Europe in January, I was beginning to forget what a cucumber looked like. Yet the saddest part of the evening was not Jakob’s inability to be gastronomically adventurous (yes I am still talking about eating couscous), but saying goodbye to the Sigaporians and most of the American crowd. I could hardly believe it had only been between 24 and 48 hours since we had all met.

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Our last day was spent exploring the castle hill with Kate. Their job was navigating, my job was making up fun historical facts.

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The view over Prague from the castle hill

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Sometimes it’s hard to take sightseeing seriously

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Doing a little bad ass graffiti at the John Lennon wall

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These Czech Trdelníks (known to our hostel crew as turtlenecks) were just as delicious as they look. Yes I got chocolate on my nose.

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Just three westcoasters checking out Prague.

The next evening there were more veggies in our bowls mixed with the tears of goodbyes. It was our last night. I ate not one, not two, but three bowls of Zach-from-Edmonton’s amazing chicken stir fry. I ate as if rice and peppers alone could keep tomorrow from coming. Tomorrow, when we would have to pack our bags and say goodbye to the most fantastic hostel we had ever stayed at. Yes we did manage to say goodbye, fortunately Kate’s train left only thirty minutes after ours, so we could offer each other moral support as we walked away from that warm kitchen full of loving people. Good bye friends, good bye table, good bye Hostel One Home. We will miss you!