In the Czech Republic for Christmas everyone bakes a bajillion little cookies, with different shapes, designs and flavours. These are called cukroví. On the weekend, I joined in. A coworker, Markéta extended the invitation to her home for the opportunity to learn and get involved. A chance to learn more about culture and traditions is a big part of what living abroad means to me. It was an easy yes.
We started by drinking an Irish coffee, naturally. That was followed by lengthy conversation. We then stepped out onto the balcony to admire the brilliant view of sun kissed landscape and a small village over the way. Then we stepped back inside and began.
Rolling, cutting, baking, talking, burning, oops. Seconds matter in the game of cukroví. Homemade jamming. Raisin chopping, nut crushing, piping. A couple of hours in and it was break time.
Markéta’s husband prepared a snack for us. The flavour of the cured meat was incredible. Wine was poured. More Bailey’s offered. I had already refused twice (having already had two…or was it three) but I told them I couldn’t say no three times. Bailey’s.
Then came the moment for them to light their final advent candle. They asked me to light one of the candles, which was a small honour for me. That was followed by carol singing. Her husband and two sons sat on the sofa singing and nodding along to the carols they played. It was one of the cutest things I’d seen in a while.
Our work turned out great! Everything looked super cute and tasted delicious. It was a Sunday well spent. It was so nice to be in a family home, doing family things. Things like that definitely matter and stand out to me when you’re living away from home and family and friends. If you’re lucky enough to be spending Christmas with your family, don’t let the holiday stresses overrule this precious time. Take a quiet moment to pause and soak it all in. Veselé Vánoce. Merry Christmas.
~~~The Wandering Pier