lauantai 30. joulukuuta 2017

Veselé Vánoce!

Greetings from Ostrava, from a happy and over-fed Iiris. I am truly overwhelmed by the hospitality and kindness I've encountered during my short stay in Czech Republic. After few intensive days of celebrating Christmas, it is time slowly get back to the routines. Just for few days though, before welcoming the year 2018 by celebrating it in Warsaw with my squad!

Just to make sure I wouldn't miss any chance to celebrate, I arranged an after Christmas to myself for the time I return back to Finland - because simply, I cannot be a year without Finnish Christmas food. It is quite hard to even think about eating now though, since I have celebrated the Christmas in typical way, by eating a lot. And I mean, a lot.
We were spending the Christmas Eve in Hradec Nad Moravicí with Ivo's family. They were kind and welcomed me to take part in their family Christmas. Otherwise I would have spend the Christmas alone in Warsaw, since I didn't have enough time to go back to Finland between the Christmas and New Years Eve. But fortunately, I could spent my holidays with Ivo's! Mockrát děkuji. <3
On Christmas Eve, we woke up slowly, and ate some Vánočka for breakfast. Vánočka is like our pullapitko, typical pastry which is offered on Christmas. With butter, for some reason, it was even better. Even though the "butter" they eat in Czech Republic is weird, because it is sweet, rather than salty. Well, on the other hand I've heard that the Finnish salty version is strange for Czechs - so I guess again you tend to prefer things what you're used to :D
We had a traditional Czech Christmas dinner, fried carp and potato salad. The potato salad I am used to eat, is rather horrible dish which you can buy ready from the stores. We in Finland are usually eating it as a side on New Year's Eve and on Vappu. It does not really help the situation that it reminds me of a certain New Year's Eve on 2010, when I was not feeling that well, because of the combination of that and salty liquorise liquor. However, the Czech version of potato salad on the other hand was self-made, and really different from the one I'm used to. There are lot of different methods to make the salad, various ways starting from how to cut the vegetables to the usage of mayonnaise - but I guess the main point is that you make tons of it. Fried carp was also very tasty, and even as a vegetarian in favor of vegan food, I enjoyed the meal a lot.
After a meal it was time for the appearance of Ježíšek. Unlike I'm used to, the gift were brought by Baby Jesus, rather than Santa. The shock moment for me was to discover that not all people know that Santa is from Finland. The image of American version of Santa Claus is rather dominant, and his real origins are often unknown. The battle between Santa Claus and Ježíšek caused lot of discussions, and arguments, which one is better. Conclusion was, they are both pretty creepy. :D
One tradition concerning the Christmas Eve in Czech Republic is that if you don't eat anything between lunch (typically polévka, a soup) and the main dinner - you are able to see a flying pig in the sky! Well, we didn't see a flying pig but actually we did see a shooting star. After the main dinner there was still place for cukroví, sweet small cookies, from which of course I had to taste every single flavour. And then do the other round with my favourites (meaning all of them).
The following days were filled with eating and spending time with Ivo's family. Everyday I would say I'm unable to eat more, and everyday I would find myself taking another and another offered cukroví until the point I could not eat more. I got to learn a lot of Czech Christmas traditions as I got to be part of them. I had a special Christmas, the first ever spend anywhere else than in home, and the first one spend in other country. Ivo's family was sweet to take me as a part of their christmas, even though I don't (yet) speak Czech in understandable way. But, to be honest, I am starting to understand it, a bit. If it is being speaked pomááálu.

In the next post I will tell more Czech stories, and explain what we did on the days between Christmas and New Years!

Na shledanou,
- Iiris

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All good here

Long time no hear! I have been extremely busy while settling back to life in Finland. Obviously so busy, that the whole January just passed ...