Once a year I return to Havířov, the city we first moved to 25 years ago here in Czech. I have a doctor there, so see her every year for an annual check-up.
After I finished at her office, I headed to a few favorite stores in the area to do some Christmas shopping.
And on the way, saw this in town.
If you're in the States, you're probably thinking to yourself, "KFC? What's the big deal about that?!" It's true that I can't remember the last time I went to a KFC in the States. But trust me, it's a different experience here!
But aside from the food, there are actually a number of reasons why this stuck me so deeply today.
From every direction I turned in the parking lot, I saw something that provoked a very strong memory.
That orange apartment building is the very first place I ever spent the night in this city.
The Czech family that we partnered with when we first came lived here in one of the apartments. Dave and I drove into Czech from Germany (where we were living at the time) in September 1993 to find a place to live. It was my first visit to Havířov.
I remember standing outside the building, just down the street a little bit after having taken a walk with Dave to talk through the decision about where we'd live.
So many of my first impressions were formed right there in that very spot!
From the same spot where I stood to take the picture of that apartment, I turned to the right and saw this building.
Though it's hard to tell what this is exactly, it's the first place our kids came to take swimming lessons as 4 year olds in pre-school!
One teacher, and an assistant, would walk 20 kids here every week, help them put swimsuits on, and lead them out to an instructor in the pool. Then they'd help them dress again, and walk them back. This would take at least 2 1/2 hours each week. Parents only came when it was time for them to "graduate" from the lessons!
I'm sure our kids have even more memories there than I do.
Again, staying in the same spot, I turned again to the right and saw this.
In that far parking lot used to be the circus that came every spring!
I especially remember the time it came over an Easter week-end, and we went, in the snow, to see a performance on Easter Monday!
I also have a memory that some college students from the States, whose parents had some connection to us, came and spent that Easter with us and went to the circus that day. I have no idea who that was now! But I wonder if they ever think about that memory?
It's crazy to me that there is now a self standing KFC in this parking lot that is associated with so many memories from the time we first moved here!