Czech, lifestyle

Happy New Year… How Did We Even Get Here?

Happy New Year! It’s January 8 and I’ve already spent several hours forcing myself to put the Christmas tree away today!

Traditionally, I keep the tree at least until the Three Kings Day (also known as Epiphany), which was two days ago. And which also means that the tree has been up for over five weeks now. But that certainly wasn’t enough!

November flew by so quick. The second half of the month was especially nice because we went to Marrakech where we warmed up a bit, and then my brother visited me here in London, which was amazing! With him we went to Winter Wonderland to enjoy some mulled wine and also got on a Yeti roller-coaster together! It was his first “adult-style” roller-coaster ride and it made us all very excited!

And then suddenly December arrived, with all festivities and necessities (yes, the endless shopping!). It was also my birthday and I had a lot of fun celebrating with people close to me, both here and back home. I’m still feeling blessed for all the well-wishes I received! Thank you again x

The best thing about the end of the year was taking some time off work and going home to spend the Christmas holidays with my family. Sadly, there is only the four of us at the dining table now, but it still is the time when we all get together, appreciate one another and try to enjoy every moment together. We remind ourselves of stories from the past and also create some new memories. All that when trying to relax, not to argue (as the stress levels are sometimes high with all of the Christmas preparations) and trying not to fall into a food coma too early. But even if the two latter happen eventually, I wouldn’t change a thing!

If you’re wondering what Czech Christmas looks like, here is a few details about how we celebrate it at home:

In the Czech Republic, we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve (Dec 24), when we usually fast until the dinner is served – that can be as early as when the first star appears on the night sky. We believe that we’ll see a Golden Pig , a symbol of good luck, if we don’t eat. Although it might sound strange, I don’t mind it at all that day, as there is usually a lot to do and knowing that afterwards there will be a proper feast, makes it pretty easy.

For Christmas dinner we have yellow pea soup, followed by deep fried carp and potato salad (please note that the way the meals are cooked and the ingredients used depend on the region where you are, and it might slightly vary). After the meal, we gather around the Christmas tree to open our presents (brought by Baby Jesus) and then we watch a fairy tale on TV. This is quite a big deal, there is at least one new fairy tale filmed every year, and people watch it with high expectations. One of the most popular stories of all time is The Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella (Tri orisky pro Popelku, 1973), which I could watch over and over again, like it was my first time!

Later that night, we go for the Midnight Mass to our local church to celebrate the famous story of how Baby Jesus was born.

The following days, December 25 and 26, we usually spend with our wider families and by spoiling our dog and cat  a little bit, by going for long walks and by giving them extra treats. It’s also time to visit cemeteries and lit candles on the graves of our lost family members and friends.

Czech Christmas dinner: Deep fried carp and potato salad

From a walk with Arny

This year, oh sorry I mean last year, I stayed at home for eight days during the Christmas period and returned back to London before the end of the year, to celebrate the upcoming one with my boyfriend. On New Year’s Day, we went on a trip to a beautiful village called Christmas Common (feel free to visit my Instagram where I posted about it).

And here we are now! Finally taking down the Christmas tree and thinking of what the New Year’s going to bring us.

Have you made any resolutions? Do you believe in them? What about this whole new-year-new-me thing? Is that anything you’d try to do? Or Veganuary and other dieting? Maybe you want to try and be more eco-friendly? I usually don’t make any list of resolutions for the new year, but this year, I have made myself a few promises and one of them is going bed earlier every night, to increase my energy levels for the next day.

Have you set any goals for yourselves in 2020? I might have, for the first time in ages. It is to see, listen and learn more and get inspired and creative again. Both in the offline and the online world.

A year ago (at the beginning of 2019), my boyfriend said that, he understands years as circles that start and finish. He was telling me how he wanted to start his new circle… and that got me thinking.

Although like I said, I don’t usually make any resolutions, the way he was talking about it made me a little sad. Yes, a calendar year may be starting or finishing at some point, but how many of us actually live in circles? Did things get so repetitive and same that it made us feel that way? In a city as fast-paced as London things turn into a routine very quickly, but I believe that we can stop it if we try. For example by making every day somewhat special and different by doing something kind, unusual or memorable. Something that will make us happier and something that will help us grow, even if it was the smallest thing or piece of experience and knowledge we gained by doing something for ourselves or for others.

Because I don’t see the years passing by in circles, but would describe them more like spirals, and those take us further, however repetitive they seem at first.

My boyfriend has stopped talking about the circle “theory” since I told him my point of view on this. Maybe he has simply forgotten, maybe he agrees.

All the best to 2020 to you all! x

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