The encounters I’ve experienced in just one week in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, could fill multiple posts. This East Bohemia city of approximately 90,000, will be our home base for four months while Paul teaches at the local University. I’m embarking on my first blog in hopes of sharing the stories of the people who welcome us, the aged buildings that embrace us, and the local wine, breads and pastries that entice us. (Ok the beer too!) Of course the backdrop to all these stories is the history of this region, of Central Europe. I am some 6000 miles away from my own country, which is battered by hurricanes and an administration that threatens to erode its democratic values. As I write my hometown is being rocked by protests over the not guilty verdict of one more policeman charged with murdering a young black man. Here, in this region that has known calamity and catastrophe that should never again be experienced anywhere, it is quiet, peaceful. It’s as though after the horrors of the 20th century: the Nazi occupation followed by the Soviet occupation, these countries could not endure more. What I’ve learned in just this very brief time is that this history is very much embedded in the young people.