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Date: Nov 5
Location: Prague 2 (awesome teahouse! Not the apartment! Yeah!)
Listening to: Some unique folk music?
Mood: Exhausted

Well, I still haven’t posted about Budapest and Istanbul, those are going to be pretty picture-laden posts, and I’m working on a video for the CEA blog, and projects have started to get intense in classes, so I’m not really focused enough to do the long posts. Instead you get a mini post about this past Thursday and Friday- my own personal Halloween celebrations!

On Thursday, my friend Rachel (blog, remind her to post more often, she’s a great writer with interesting perspectives) and I went to a small neighborhood pumpkin fest/ Halloween fest. There were a few miniature witches and ghosts wandering around, and some grown-ups in funny hats or wigs, but most of the attendants were just bundled up against the cold. We drank some apple cider (that had a layer of apple mush in the bottom?) and purchased pumpkins. I didn’t really realize that Halloween is a pretty American holiday- sure, some people were dressed up here, and some of the clubs threw Halloween events, but it wasn’t as intense as it is in America, where you can’t sneeze without hitting a pumpkin, a black cat, or some of that tacky fake spider webbing.

Back at the apartment, we realized we had no idea where the tradition of carving pumpkins had come from, so we googled it, found it was a fascinating story about a man named Jack tricking the devil, and then we broke into the pumpkins.

These were the first pumpkins (night 1) Vlad the Voldemort Vampire is on the left (my pumpkin) and Batty Batman on the right (Rachel’s.)

The next day, my friends Marek, Kasia, and Jeremie had asked me and our other American friend (Kelsey, who is also a blogger!) to show them how we do Halloween… most of us had been a little sick (hence why it was delayed to the day after Halloween) so we weren’t up for major revelry, but surely we could carve more pumpkins. Oh, and bake the seeds. In a variety of different flavorings. And listen to folk music and tell scary stories…. until 2am.

Here’s me scooping the insides out of the big pumpkin while Marek cuts into the little one. Together, their seeds made four batches of baked yummy treats- one with butter and salt, one with the barbeque spices I’d picked up at the Spice Market in Istanbul, one with garlic flavoring designed for chicken, and one with mysterious “americke brambory” (American potato) spices. Those last two were purchased at the corner store- us Americans are used to spices in shakers or re-seal-able containers, but spices here come in packets. They’re made of some kind of stiff, foil-ish paper so you can sort of close them, but generally when we buy spices we use them for everything to try and use them quickly. The best seeds were the classic butter and salt, then the barbeque spices and garlic were tied for second, depending on your taste. “American potato” did not taste like any potatoes I’ve had in America.

Here’s my day 1 pumpkin (left, already looking a little sad from just 24 hours sitting out) then the big Potter Pumpkin (harry potter theme, carved mostly by Marek) and the little mini owl, which I think was also carved by Marek but designed by Kelsey. The rest of us were pretty happy to assist with scooping out the pumpkin guts, but then sit back and eat the seeds/ share stories while they were being carved.

Well, I guess I wrote 500+ words about Halloween. And I thought this would be a short entry… anyways, I hope you enjoyed our little bit of American culture brought to Prague and our Polish/French friends, and I’ll see you tomorrow with my video for the CEA blog – the topic is our housing, so you’ll get a walkthrough of our apartment. Doubrou Noc!

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