Sunday, January 3, 2010

Family Christmas Letter

We should update you on where we are and why. It seems like the entire year we were trying to figure out where we would be next year. Our plans have changed too many times to count. Dan finished his Masters Degree at Charles University in Prague. We planned on going to graduate school in the U.S. where we could visit home or at least call whenever we wanted, but this didn’t work out. So we planned on going straight to a career and getting a PhD later, but this didn’t work out either. So we are prolonging our Prague adventures for 3-4 more years while Dan continues his studies and gets his PhD from Charles University.

Dan finished his thesis (Adventists and Mormons in Czechia: Distribution, position and manifestations of social capital) and received high marks and glowing reviews. Dan is really enjoying his studies and is getting more work than ever translating his professors’ articles and books into English (so technically he gets paid to study). He’s interested in studying religious identity in Central Europe for his dissertation. The PhD program is intended to last four years, but we’re hoping to finish in three!

Val is finally comfortable with Czech, though far from fluent. She does really well with children Czech, pregnant Czech, and religious Czech, but can hold a one on one conversation with anyone who is patient enough. The boys keep her busier than ever with play dates, going to the zoo, an at home preschool with Vinson’s friend Lolo and we also volunteer at a family center once a week. This way Val can practice her Czech and the boys can play with the toys.

Vinson’s favorite thing to do is to play pretend. He would rather act out Dora the Explorer or Franklin than watch them. He is several different animals every day and if I call him “Vinson” when we are playing he always responds with, “No, I’m baby tiger” or whatever he is at the time. We signed him up for an art class once a week and he loves it. He also enjoys playing games on the computer and has become expert with the mouse.

Benjamin is amazingly mobile and aggressive for a 1 year old. He runs, climbs, and defends his toys. This is fine when he is playing with Vinson, but I have to watch him closely when we play with other kids his age or older. He loves to dance and be involved when Vinson is playing and loves reading books with his dad (or anyone for that matter). He says “mama” and “bye” and is absolutely adorable.

We were able to go to Utah and San Diego this last summer and enjoyed seeing the family again. Being away from them and knowing they are missing a lot of the fun from watching the boys growing up is the hardest part about living so far away. We also miss seeing our friends from Utah enjoy spending time with our amazing friends in Prague. Other than that we love living in Prague. The scenery is beautiful, the parks are amazing, we love the people and enjoy having the opportunity to see more of the Czech Republic and Europe.

Love, Dan Val Vinson and Benjamin Reeves


Q said...

Well we are glad you are still in the Czech!

Bryan Weight Family said...

loved your Christmas letter! You are on a great adventure!

Liesl said...

Wow. In some ways, it's too bad you weren't able to finish school in the U.S., but how nice it is that Dan gets paid to study. Happy New Year!

hannah said...

Great update! Glad you guys found a program that works for your family, even if it means you are far away. PhD programs don't last forever (even if they feel that way sometimes). Way to go with learning Czech! You are awesome. Love you much.

Katerina said...

Wow! John and I were just wondering about your plans, so thanks for the update! John's jealous that Dan gets to live as a normal person in his mission country. :-)
It's awesome that you're almost fluent in Czech. You are amazing! Your adventures in the Czech Republic and Europe are neat to read about, so I'm glad you'll be having more of those. Good luck with everything, and to Dan, let me just say I'm really proud of knowing him as the first missionary I met in my life. I hope our ways cross again. We aren't planning on a trip to the Czech Rep. soon, having a third baby on the way, but we'll see what the future holds.
Take care and keep enjoying the beauty and life you have there!