We don’t speak the local language, we have three kids, and we only stay in a town for a month or two at a time. The result: we have very little social life. We recognize it as part of the trade off in taking on this nomadic lifestyle, but for a family of fairly outgoing people it can get a little old after a while. On many occasions I start to tell Brian or one of the girls what I consider to be interesting information or a funny anecdote and I get cut off with “I know. You already me.” Of course I did. I have no one else to tell!
So, you can imagine how ludicrously giddy I was when we were invited to the home of the Jirkal family. Linda and Rostislav invited us to join them and their two children, Lada and Sebastian, for a Czech family dinner. I felt a little like I did when I was 12 years old and got invited to a popular girl’s slumber party. “Me? Really? You want me to come? Gee thanks!”
I had met Linda a couple weeks ago at a Rotary International meeting. She and I didn’t get a chance to talk much, so when we drove out to their home it felt a little like a family blind date. Would the kids get along? Would we grown-ups have much to talk about? Would the girls like the food? Would the evening go smoothly? The answers to these questions quickly revealed themselves to be Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes.
We had a great time – and by great I mean we talked and laughed all night, the kids put on a musical cabaret, the adults went through several bottles of wine (as well as a variety of wine glasses), and our family departed their house late in the evening with the assistance of a Prague transportation service which drives your car home for you (no drinking and driving for us). So, yeah, I’d say it was a successful family blind date.
We’ve definitely been missing this kind of thing since we left Andorra and said goodbye to Brian’s stepsister and her family. Hanging out with fun people, sharing stories, talking politics and having a drink (or two) while the kids play has always been a regular part of our life. We sacrificed our friends for this experience and at times we really feel the absence of those connections. While we’ve gotten to know some wonderful people in the communities we’ve visited, our dinner with the Jirkals was the first time we’ve spent an evening with another family we’ve met on this trip. It was a reminder how important friendships and social connections are to us.
We send out a huge thank you to Linda, Rostislav, Lada and Sebastian for their invitation and hospitality. We will definitely be keeping in touch with them and hope to find more friendships like theirs as we continue this journey.