Friday, October 14, 2011

The Past Few Months

Hi Everyone,
It’s been a while since I’ve made a post about my expat existence here, in the Czech Republic. I have to say that Life has been extremely busy, and sometimes complicated, in the past few months. Even so, I’ve been working through everything and finally have a chance to sit down and update you about my expat life here, in the Czech Republic.

Double Graduations

Back in May, Jiri and I flew to the US to join my family in celebrating the graduation of both our daughters from university. This was a very exciting time. We enjoyed spending about two weeks with my whole family, and traveling to both kids’ graduations. Can you imagine—both girls graduated on the very same day, but in two different cities in two different states? What are the odds of that happening? 

My family had to make an important decision as to who would travel where for which graduation. We finally let the decision fall to the head of our clan, Dad. Dad did a great job in dividing us up. Both girls had a lot of support from family and close friends that day. We all had a great time. Later in our visit, Mom had a party for the girls’ graduations, and my birthday. That was also great, aside from the fact I was very ill with asthma and allergies. We had a wonderful visit with everyone back home, and all too soon it was time for Jiri and I to come back to Prague.

Milestone Birthday

During the summer, I also celebrated a milestone birthday. I will leave it to you to figure out which milestone I passed. And please, any friends who read this post, don’t mention my age. I’m not horribly sensitive about it, but would like to keep this information a little bit closer to home. This birthday year has been full of challenges on many levels and of all kinds. I’ve had a chance not only to look back over past years, but also this year, to see exactly where I’ve come from and what I’ve accomplished. I am not so happy with all my accomplishments, and so continue to improve on those. Even so, I have come a ways from where I was even ten years ago. I’m grateful for my years, though not happy with the fact that I turned my current age, and then ended up with a cane—more on that later.

Sněžka and a Cane
In July, we had planned to spend a week with friends (Ricky & Sybille) in the Krknose Mountains here, in the Czech Republic. Everything had been planned and reserved, and when it came time for us to leave, one of our gerbil clan (that’s another story) came down sick. Here, I will link back to Ricky’s post about our trip to the mountains, to where he makes a reference to our sick gerbil, and that he would leave that to me to explain. 

One of our little guys (gerbils) came down with a nasty infection, and needed to be treated with antibiotics daily, along with a special diet and a urological tea treatment. Some friends had offered to take care of our little clan while we were gone, but we couldn’t ask them to give the little guy medicine every day, etc. It also wasn’t logical to take our little sick guy with us on the trip. So, Jiri and I stayed home that week, but decided we would join Ricky & Sybille in the Krknose on the weekend.

All went well with our little gerbil guy that week, and by the weekend it was safe to leave him and the rest our clan for a day or so. We met with Ricky and Sybille in Pec pod Sněžkou, where we all stayed at the Nikola penzion. The Krknose are beautiful mountains located in the north eastern part of the Czech Republic, sharing a border with Poland. I’ll write more about this mountain range in another post, but suffice it to say, my mountaineering husband was determined to get to the top of the highest peak, Sněžka (the highest peak in the Czech Republic), with me in tow that weekend.

This was the easy part of the trail up.

Ricky, Jiri and I, plus Sam (Ricky and Sybille’s beautiful golden lab) began the trek Saturday morning. Sybille couldn’t join us as she had a calf injury that precluded her from making such a trek that weekend. Our trip up was a good walk/hike, and I was mostly doing OK, but had developed some horrible leg and back pains along the first rugged part of the path. My asthma was also acting up, but my inhaler saved the day. I’m thankful for emergency inhalers, and the walking sticks I chose to bring on our hike. By the time we made it to the first bouda, I was sure it would be impossible for me to make it up to the top of Sněžka. 

I wanted to stay there and wait for Jiri, Ricky and Sam while they made the trek up and back, but Jiri was not for that at all. He said it was only a little farther—surely I could manage that. OK, and I had a harder climb from then on with the pain and breathing. The way up the switchback is like a “lady’s walk” for some, but the steps are tall, wide, unevenly shaped rocks. This was quite a challenge for me, even though I have long legs (being 5’7.5”), my legs are still shorter than Jiri’s and Ricky’s, both of whom are over 6’. I took the “lady’s walk” at my own pace and finally managed to make it to the top. 

What a glorious view! Then we rested and started down. I can’t remember how many kilometers we made that day, but by the end, suffice it to say I couldn’t walk too well. I thought it was just muscles that were tired and out-of-shape. Eventually, I learned that I had a herniated disk, along with a birth defect called spinal stenosis. Eventually I was also diagnosed with a complex labral tear in my hip, which took 1.5 years to diagnosed. (Update 2016: I eventually went on to have hip surgery, and things are much better now--no cane!). This is when I ended up with a cane and had a long run with many MRIs and PT, etc. after.

Going Forward
As you can see, the past few months have been pretty busy for me. There have been times I wanted to write, but then when sitting in front of the computer, I found it wasn’t quite the right time to make a post. Sometimes it’s necessary to just experience Life and ponder a bit. My hope is to get back into posting on a regular basis once again. This coming Sunday, October 16th, this blog is participating in Blog Action Day, on the topic of food. This will be a fun project. After this, I’ll be posting about various trips Jiri and I have taken and about expat life, in general.

Have a great day!

God bless,

Czech Off the Beaten Path Website
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Photo Credits
Graduation Cap by nisia915 at
Birthday Cake by DeborahWhite on


Duni said...

Hello Sher,

you certainly have lots going on in your life at the moment! The double graduation must have been exciting! Congrats to both girls!!
I'm sorry to read about your back pain and having to use a cane. Thankfully you found a doctor who diagnosed correctly. I do hope you are receiving some treatment to help alliviate the pain!
And I truly hope your gerbil is all better again.
take care,

Sher said...

Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! It's great to "see" you!

Thank you for the congrats--it has been very exciting. Both girls are now on job tracks, with one soon to be leaving for her new assignment and the next stage of her life!

Yes, my GP is the one who diagnosed me, and then sent me to the neurologist. The neurologist has done a good job so far, and is treating me for the pain. Pain level remains high, but I'm doing OK. I'm just not quite as mobile as I would like right now!

Our little guy is doing great--he's grown a lot, and is now an adult! We have 8 gerbils, after starting with three. You can imagine the rest of the story from there! :)

Thanks, again, for your comment! I hope all is well with you, too!

Have a great day,
Sher :0) said...

Hi Sher

Good to have you blogging again. No posts for two whole months & then two in two days!

Thanks for the link back to my blog & the explanation about the gerbil (but not the nuclear reactor!). I do hope & pray that your back pain gets sorted out very soon.

Sher said...

Thanks for stopping by! Yes, it's been a while. I wrote this post Friday, and thought I had scheduled the Blog Action Day post for Sunday. Somehow I got the date/time mixed up...therefore, two posts in two days :)

I forgot about the nuclear reactor! I'll have to add that in! :)

Thanks for your prayers that my back will be sorted out soon...I'm very ready! I am a firm believer in prayer!

Have a great day,
Sher :0)