20 September, 2011

Tolerate the uncertainty

Okay, so I was being a little dramatic yesterday. It happens to the best of us, right?

I know that God really does have a plan and that he will provide. Home will come soon.

19 September, 2011

Homesick for a place that doesn't exist

For those of you who have grown up and moved out of your parents house, you will know the feeling I'm speaking of. Visiting Mom and Dad's on the weekends feels a little like visiting your middle school when you're in high school. The walls seem very familiar, but then an empty feeling strikes you in the stomach. Of course Mom and Dad's is never as foreign as that school feels, but you get the idea.

Coming back to USA feels like I just walked back into Portsmouth Middle School. The streets are so familiar. The People have the same faces, smiling the same way. The rooms look the same, but everything is different. Them and me. A year has passed.

I just want to go home. Where is home though?

29 August, 2011

See you later... never goodbye.

Oh Brno, how you've stolen my heart.

I leave for Praha in three and half hours and leave from the Czech Republic in ten and a half hours. Boo! I miss it already. The last week went by incredible slow and fast at the same time. Too many emotions or worse, at times the lack there of.

I could type a hefty list about the things that I will miss, but I will only name one and that is the relationships that I have created with the people here.

I'm not sure if I am looking forward to being home as much as I thought I would. I am happy to see my family and friends, but I know that Brno will be jerking my emotions.

Miluju tě, Brno.

20 June, 2011


I've missed a few entries, I know.

It's been a busy past few weeks. Spain, work for a few days, then Italy and back to Brno with the accompaniment of Grandma Sandy (Kelsey's grandmother). She farewelled on Saturday after being with us for 18 days. I had gotten so used to her being around, I feel like a piece of home was taken away from me. While I will miss her presence, I think the lack will be beneficial to my focus these next few weeks.

Bienale. Dutch Exhibit. Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

One of the many churches in Italy. Rome, Italy

Colosseum. Rome, Italy

Swinging on the swings across the street from the Sagrada Familia. Barcelona, Spain

21 May, 2011

Word of the Day

Skoro pronounced like score-oh (make sure you roll that R) means almost or close. I like this word and use it a lot because the kids, they try so hard at basketball or table football (Foosball) or anything and often times they don't make it.

20 May, 2011


Saint Nicholas Day (Mikuláš)

The charming tradition of St. Nicholas falls on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, December 5th. If you find yourself walking the streets that evening, you may run into a group of strange characters: St. Nicholas-Mikuláš (not as commonly seen as the other two characters, the Angel-anděl who represents the Good and the Devil (čert) (the Czech people would say devil, but it's more like a demon- they feel that the word demon is too scary for children and I think to myself like a man dressed up as a demon that's called a devil isn't scary...) representing the Evil. All three will be wearing costumes.

All three characters walk the streets, stopping children and asking them if they were good in the past year. Most kids say yes and sing a song or recite a short poem. They are then rewarded with sweets, candy or other treats, which are handed out by the Angel. Bad kids would be put in the Devil's sack and taken to hell, or would only get a sack of potatoes or coal instead of candy - of course it does not really happen! The Devil will often carry a chain and scare or persuade the children to be good for the next children. Then the Devil, Angel and St. Nicholas get rewarded with a shot of alcohol.

17 May, 2011

Confessions with Jessie

Every Tuesday, I facilitate a mother and toddler club. There is a large wooden train set, where you can build the tracks, I think I enjoy this more than the children. I often find myself building them even after the tots run away for other toys.

I am very nervous to speak Czech in front of adults, really any adult, other than in stores, shops or restaurants. I sound like someone speaking under water.

16 May, 2011

Děkuju za.../Prosím za...

I am thankful for holidays (or vacation for those Staters) and for how work allows for you to both have and appreciate time away. Kelsey and I are going to Barcelona, Spain (thank you tax return) and we are very excited! Please pray for us while we are gone that the centers and clubs will run smoothly and that we will arrive, stay and come home safely.

15 May, 2011

Word of the Week

Nefunguje-pronounced: nay-foon-goo-yay. Meaning: it/he/she doesn't work/function. Sounds good, works in every situation and always makes people laugh! The most common way I use it (improperly or course) is by pointing at some one's head (mine included) and saying nefunguje implying the brain doesn't work.

13 May, 2011


Name Day

In the Czech Republic, each day of the year corresponds to a personal name (or several names). People celebrate their name day (svátek or more formally jmeniny) on the date corresponding to their own given name.

Name days are commonly of less importance than birthdays to Czech people. However, name day celebrations can be, and often are, held together with friends or co-workers of the same name and in this way it can grow in size and importance.

In the past, by law, parents were not allowed to choose just any name for a child. This has changed, although it is still common to choose the name from the name day "calendar" and any highly unusual name has to be approved by a special office. The original list was the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, but changes have been made to reflect the present-day usage of names.

Check to see if you have a Czech name equivalent here: http://www.namedaycalendar.com/czech

12 May, 2011

Photo of the Week

Kelsey, in one of the neighborhoods in Brno, Zebetinska.

He's handsome, yeah?!

11 May, 2011

[insert name here]


There is a very lovely man that attends the corps named, Luboš. He was the first enrolled soldier of The Salvation Army Czech Republic after TSA was allowed back into the Czech Republic after the fall of communism. He speaks no English and his hearing isn't so good, but he loves God and has a joyful soul. As my Czech has been getting better, a friendship is being made. Very simple things are said and it seems like we know each other's mannerisms best.

He seems to me to be the most familiar thing about the corps. When I see Luboš and hear him muttering Czech so quickly, I feel at peace, like today will be today and it will be good. I will miss him, his smiles, his hand shakes and the way he says, "ahoj" always!

10 May, 2011

Confessions with Jessie

Every Tuesday, I facilitate a mother and toddler club. There is a large wooden train set, where you can build the tracks, I think I enjoy this more than the children...

I am very nervous to speak Czech in front of adults. I sound like someone speaking under water.

I still can't fully grip my head around actually living in the Czech Republic. It's strange, every once in awhile it really hits me that I live in Europe... Nutty!

09 May, 2011

Děkuju za.../Prosím za...

I have a lot I can thank God for, really an undeserving amount.

Yesterday was Mother's Day (same here in the Czech Republic) and I am so thankful for mothers, for good mothers! I don't know how I was so lucky to be born to the mother I have, but truly she is a blessing in my life. She has made me who I am and believe it or not, I feel okay when I hear the same things from her mouth coming out of my mouth. One of the many blessings of marriage, is your in-laws and I think I won the in-law lottery because I have a great Mother-in-law.

Please pray for the Bible clubs that Kelsey and I started at two of the children centers. Pray for continuation after we leave and pray for the children in them, that their lives will be positively affected by it.

07 May, 2011

Word of the Week

Jako- pronounced: YOK (like the beginning of octogon)-OH meaning like. The way you used to or still do get in trouble by your teachers for saying like to much. Like... what? ; I was like... ; I guess like... ; etc..

I was talking to a boy (17 years old) and he said that he was getting in trouble in his English class for saying like too much and I told him I suffered from this same problem when I was in school. He then proceeded to tell me that he gets in trouble from his Czech teacher for saying jako too much. Funny how we have so many little things in common.

06 May, 2011


Easter is celebrated here on Monday, the Monday after the USA's Easter Sunday. And I'm not talking about Church and the resurrection because that is pretty standard across the board, Good Friday or in Czech, Velký Pátek (directly translated to big/large Friday) and then Easter Sunday or Velikonoce (directly, big nights); I'm talking about Easter Monday. This is a day that is a bank holiday, meaning no one works- anywhere. Instead they have a day with family and friends (pretty nice, yeah?) and tradition. Tradition is still held firm here, with wheel spinning and superstitions (more to come on this in later weeks), but my favorite-well my second favorite-is the Easter tradition.

From a young age the boys are taught to braid the branches of willow trees together to form a whip. Once they have their whip, they proceed to find their female friends. They whip the girls and receive in return for their whipping (why not, I would love to give gifts to the boys who came to hit me, especially the fifth, sixth, tenth and so on... maybe it's not a good thing to be a popular girl here...) she must give them a decorated egg, she must tie some ribbon on the end of his whip (so he can show how many times he's whipped girls, of course), and give him a shot of alcohol (depending on the age of the boy). This is all done in the morning and as soon as afternoon begins, the girls can get revenge (if the boys aren't too drunk and passed-out by then) by throwing water on them or spraying them with perfume. Apparently, the boys get quite stinky after being sprayed by ten or so different smells.

The whipping isn't extreme at all, it's more like a soft tap for the younger kids and maybe hard if the boy knows the girl really well, but it is all quite civil. Legend has it that getting whipped on Easter will bring you health and help you maintiain your beauty for the coming years so maybe getting hit a little is a good thing...

I must stress that it is done for the sake of fun, tradition, and "my mother said and I had to." No one is really hurt, but because it is something I could never dream of happening in the US due to equality, laws, rights and not having 1,000+ years of tradition, I must say the idea of it seems quite strange to me. This is the beauty of being somewhere different though and I am grateful for the laughs and funny stories I hear from the people.


*This is my understanding of the tradition.

05 May, 2011

Photo of the Week

My first traditional Czech meal I've made

Sunday afternoon I was inspired. I've eaten Czech food plenty of times and I really enjoy it, but I have never been able to muster the courage to actually try to make something Czech. If you want a real traditional Czech meal, it includes: dumplings (bread or potatoes), some meaty sauce, maybe some shredded cabbage and then raw vegetables cubed (any combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles or bell peppers).

The sauce I made probably wouldn't be considered traditional (a tomato-creamy-cheese sauce), but it was ridiculously good and I was pleased with the turn out.

04 May, 2011

[insert name here]

Before I begin, I think I need an intro to this topic...

My hope is that I could write about the people in my life, who directly affect my life. If you happen to find yourself on here and do not want to be, please let me know and I will take the post down.


My younger sister. I guess I can't call her my little sis any more because she is in fact taller than me, but I am okay with this because I can still beat her up (she will argue this, but she will know deep down it is true).

On Sunday evening, I was able to Skype with her; I was surprised and impressed the whole time. The Skyping relationship has been hard to maintain since she is busy with school, six hours behind me in time and I have work during different times of different days. I was sick and I couldn't sleep and I was so excited when I heard the Skype ring and saw my sister's name.

She looked so grown up and beautiful and everything she said was so well thought out. She wasn't being her crazy, spastic self, putting on an entertaining show for everyone, she was being her, and she was being intelligent and I was really shocked. This girl, that I have known her whole life, made me feel old and proud and weird all at once.

Jennifer is one of the people in my life that knows most about me, the experiences I have had-good and bad. I love her so much and I'm glad that not only is she my sister, but also my friend.

03 May, 2011

Confessions with Jessie

I am scared of the flight home. I leave in four months and going home will be sad, but nothing frightens me more than knowing I have this long journey ahead of me, where all I will think about is who and what I am leaving.

I paint my nails because my friend Dáší always has something to say about them. Usually she thinks I am being aggressive, but it is funny and I like it.

I fall. A lot. Thankfully when no one is looking, but it seems like quite often I find myself on the ground and I know I do not faint, but I also do nott know how I got there.

02 May, 2011

Děkuju za.../Prosím za...

Today is the year anniversary of the death of a very dear friend of mine, Blake Webb.

I met him the summer of 2007, the same year I met Kelsey. I remember being really curious about Blake, he had these very blond curls and this small, cute nose and he seemed like a giant! It was phileo-love at first sight.

The next three years were filled with weekends of hang-outs and lots of talks, and I still can't put my finger on everything I learned, but I know Blake's teachings and words linger on in the hearts of many and I am fortunate to be have one of those.

So today, I thank God for Blake's life. For what he did for me in those three, short years I knew him; from weekend visits to when he lived with Kelsey and I. For the love and friendship he gave me and for the things he taught Kelsey. I am so thankful for him.

I am also thankful for his family- for my family. To be blessed with another set of adults that I can call mom and dad, for a beautiful red-head that I can call my sister, and for how welcoming they are to me.

I ask God to please, lift up his family, help them to stay strong and to be courageous.

27 April, 2011

It seems I fail at blogging.

I don't have much time left here in the Czech Republic and it really hurts my feelings. I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying, trying to figure out some goals and one of those goals is to blog more. The point of this blog was/is to let others know about my experience and I haven't really done that. So with that, I have come up with a plan that will motivate me to write more. My plan is to assign a theme to each day:

Monday-"Děkuju za.../Prosím za..." (praise reports/prayer requests)
Tuesday-"Confessions with Jessie"
Wednesday "[insert person's name here]"
Thursday-"Photo of the Week"
Saturday-"Word of the Day"

Cross your fingers for me and let's hope I can do this.

PS I will start Monday.

23 April, 2011

A sunny day at the park.

The sun has been peaking its head through the clouds quite often these days and I am very happy about this.

Last week, at one of the Kid's clubs, we went to the park. Honzik (little Hoziku) was more adorable and affectionate towards me than ever before. I feel this special connection with him, he doesn't speak (he can talk, but doesn't for some reason, his hearing is good and he understands things, but when it comes to speaking he won't. He has been speaking more lately though, I'll try and make him tell me his name or old he is and he'll whisper it to me, not always the correct sounds, but he's trying. Sometimes he'll point to his mouth and then shake his finger like saying I can't do it. But he laughs and he squeals when he's excited all the same.) and I still feel very limited in my speech so I feel like we are a pair.

As we were walking to the park, Honzik grabbed my hand and almost didn't let go of it the whole time; he gave me hugs (a rare thing he gives!), played with my hair, noticed that my fingernails were all different colors and made a thumbs up, he was just so sweet and it really got to me. There is something so special about him, I can't put my finger on it, but he is special.

We leave in four months and I can't tell you how much my heart hurts already. I've made really great friends, got to know some very interesting kids and the more that I think about it all, the more I realize how much I love each one of them.

My biggest goal now, is to make the most out of the time I have left here and not get into a funk from the emotions beginning to develop.

28 January, 2011

Český jazyk třída

On Monday, Kelsey and I started Czech classes. It is a two week intensive course that happens for five hours a day. There are ten students in my class including me; nationalities include: Russian, Turkish, Italian, Syrian, Spanish and Polish. Our teacher is fantastic; she is very patient and quite funny! I'm enjoying myself.

First thing Monday morning we took an entrance exam. The instructions were in Czech, so needless to say Kelsey and I were put in Beginners I. At first I was upset, I mean I've been here for more than four months, my vocabulary is large (even if I can't string a sentence together that well) and I felt like I should at least be in Beginners II. I eventually got over it and realized that while I may know a few words, the grammar is a whole other story.

The first day commenced and there we were, all ten of us (Kelsey and I were the only students that have English as their first language-sounds crazy to learn a third language via your second language...). Everyone was quiet; Kelsey and I were the only ones speaking up. I felt like a bully, a know-it-all and after a break I decided maybe I shouldn't say all the answers. Slowly people began to speak up. We were asked to create small sentences like Jsem Američanka, nejsem Česka. I felt like a superstar, I didn't need to pay attention, I was whizzing through the exercises, working ahead and helping answer questions.

Reality hit yesterday though, we were past the verb conjugation and on the the fourth of the seventh (not to say that we've conquered four, but that we were working on the fourth) case. I've mentioned the cases in a previous blog entry, but I will briefly explain again. In English, proper nouns do not change; I am always Jessica. In Czech, nouns (any proper and non-proper alike) have seven cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, locative and instrumental) which means that the endings change depending on how the main subject is "performing" or being effected by verbs or other things in the sentence. Plus there are singular and plural, and gender (masculine animate, masculine inanimate, feminine and neutral) declinations of the seven cases. For example, the word the is the no matter what in English, but there are 18 ways to say the in Czech, and all are specific to what the pertains to in the sentence. Are you confused yet? My brain began to hurt at this point. We were using verbs, conjugating them and adding an adjective and noun. We then had to figure out which case to use, either first (nominative Jessica-Jesika) or if we used the forth (accusative Jessicu-Jesiku). I will spare you the rest of the details, but let's just say, I'm no longer a know-it-all and I no longer feel like a superstar. I'm a normal, struggling student trying to figure out why a country would subject its people to so many rules so that they might communicate to each other.

Tomorrow, the class is going out to eat together. Maybe then we can put our heads together to figure out if this really is the toughest language on earth to learn.

Here is an essay I wrote about my family for homework:

Moje Rodina

Jmenuju se Jessica. Je mi 23. Jsem vdaná. Můj manžel se jmenuje Kelsey. On je hezký a intelegentní. Ještě nemáme díté. Miluju ho.

Mám dva bratry a jednu sestru. Můj nejstarší bratr je mikrofon technik. Jmenuje se Joshua. Jeho dceru, se jmenuje Ellie. Je ještě malá. Můj druhý bratr je manažer, se jmenuje Jeremiah. Jeremiah je ženaty, jeho manželka se jmenuje Anna. Budou mít syna brzy, jeho jmenujo bude také Jeremiah. Poslední je moje sestra, která se jmenuje Jennifer. Je nejmladší. Je dobrá studentka. Je velmi Krásná. Jsme samé „J„.

Moje Maminka se jmenuje Conchita, ale líbí se jí jmenovat se Cindy. Pracuje pro Armadu Spásy. Můj otec se jmenuje Gilbert. Je řidič kamionu.

Mám velkou rodinu. Miluju svoji rodinu velmi moc, jsou nejlepší.