• Autumn,  Daily Life,  Prague,  South Bohemia

    It’s November (Life Lately)

    Hi friends, happy November! For the first time in awhile, I did not manage to make the annual ‘Spooky Movies to Watch in October’ list. Shame, that. Just for anyone interested, we did continue with our October Movie series and watched in the following order over the course of the month: The Raven (1963) – A Vincent Price classic. Hokey but perfectly Halloweeny, and containing one of the funniest spooky scenes in cinematic history: a magic duel between Price and Boris Karloff (not in a monster role) from thrones. It has to be seen to be believed. ᇫᇫᇫᇫ The Babadook (2014) – Creepy, a bit dystopic, that feeling of losing…

  • Autumn,  Czech Republic,  Herbalism,  Lifestyle

    Mushroom Foraging on St. Wenceslas Day

    “Our Czech forests are overflowing with mushrooms.” — an actual line from a local news report St. Wenceslas Day (Sv. Václav) is one of my favorite Czech holidays. It’s right after the official turn to autumn, the school year’s right about to get into the usual swing except for this last holiday weekend to enjoy the simpler things about the start of the season. Normally, I like to visit some sort of happening to watch folk-dancing, browse the craft markets, have a glass of wine or if I’m lucky, burčák (Federweisser aka “fermented alcoholic grape juice” – a wine byproduct). I had every intention of doing that as we started…

  • Daily Life,  Expat Life,  Prague

    Small Kindnesses in Prague

    On a day early last month after recently having got back from the States, both of us had enough time to make it to Prague for an appointment and an afternoon of rainy cafe-going. It was such a cloudy grey day but as all of our business was to take place in Nové Město (New Town), I took it as a great opportunity to poke around a few places I hadn’t got around to yet, to stroll down some streets that I had never bothered to take. Even though it wasn’t “leisure” that brought me to Prague, I always believe in injecting a bit of leisure in everything. We passed…

  • czech culture,  Summer,  Teaching

    Summer Camp, Pt II

    week two out of three of summer camps is complete! boy these days do fly! we have so much fun even though we’re so busy, and the kids have so much fun too. we’re having them recite “double double toil and trouble, witches brew and cauldron bubble” on the thursday field trip the castle to make the princess leontynka (me) appear from the window. and one of us pointed out that that phrase is actually from shakespeare’s macbeth! WE ARE TEACHING CZECH KIDS SHAKESPEARE. best english summer camp ever, ya heard? enjoying it here in SoBo (south bohemia— i’m coining it now!) and learning so much czech language and about…

  • Film,  Karlovy Vary

    SIFF vs KVIFF; The Top 5 Films of 2013

    it’s way too easy to compare something that’s new to something you know well, and i forced myself not to think like that and just to enjoy the moment. but, somethings can’t be forgotten and i thought it would be an interesting “study” to compare these two very different film festivals. here are the main ways they differ. 1. festival passes mean very little. at SIFF, if you are a pass holder for 25 full days worth of film, you are one of the chosen few. you can get into any movie at any time and are generally looked at in higher regard than the rest of the festival goers.…

  • Czech Republic,  Karlovy Vary,  Summer,  Travel

    Vary Good Times

    hello friends. i’ve just been to karlovy vary for one of my most anticipated trips of this summer– the karlovy vary international film festival! i am a film festival addict. from the very first summer i lived in seattle (2005) i have been involved with SIFF; first as a patron, then volunteered, and finally interned for three years in guest relations.  i count down the days until the film festival catalog comes out every year, and then spend hours poring over the films and making a detailed color-coded google calendar. this year was the most special because: i’m not working!!! no job to go to, just as many films as i…

  • Czech Republic,  South Bohemia,  Summer,  TravelTips

    The Five-Petaled Rose Festival in Český Krumlov

    one of the biggest festivals of the year in this region, held in little ĉesky krumlov. it’s a city-wide renaissance fair with many stages and areas of interest for acts like juggling, snake-charming, renaissance songs, sword fighting, falconry… and a band that claims the genre “castle rock” (awesome). many festival goers wander around in traditional medieval dress– especially since free admission with a costume as an incentive. what is not to love about wandering around a cobblestoney old town drinking a mojito? as well as this, we ate at the ever lovely vegetarian joint laibon, snacked on ice cream cones, watched the canoers wipe out at rougher points in the river…

  • Budějovice,  Daily Life,  Summer

    It’s Summer! Pt. I

    backyard in the city shots of lazy beginning of summer days! lounging in the backyard, on the balcony in the warm evenings, fresh juice and berries at farmer’s markets… and yesterday’s brilliant discovery of the outdoor swimming pool complex here in town! the pool is the nicest i have been in, on par with the most luxury of hotels. surrounded by a lovely grassy lawn for lounging, also with a restaurant and did i mention… right above the vltava river! so it reminds you of one of those “infinity pools”. i know where i’ll be this season! my lessons are dwindling with the summer holidays approaching, and alex has begun…

  • Czech Republic,  Life Abroad,  Travel

    Leaving Home, Living in Europe

    when i left seattle last july–almost a year ago–i didn’t have a goodbye party… something i sometimes kick myself for. although that’s what most people do when they go away for a long time, it didn’t seem real to me then. i told everyone where i was going and when but i didn’t feel like the occasion warranted a full-out goodbye party. sometimes i downplayed my departure.  that seemed too definite at the time. when i packed my clothes in anacortes last august, i didn’t quite understand what i was packing for. even though it was august, i forced myself to pack a warm winter hat and a sweater or…

  • Czech Republic,  South Bohemia,  Summer

    Mrhal Pond Days & Kofola

    sunny warm day at mrhal rybnik (pond, also known to us as small lake) lounging about after a short hike and drinking kofola, everyone’s favorite communist era beverage! actually, kofola was czechoslovakia’s answer to coca-cola, which wasn’t available here until the revolution in 1989. it tastes like coke but much more herbal. really delicious. summer weather is now upon us after that heinous flooding period. feels like a NW summer already, except i have already been witness to a handful of thunderstorms. nothing like walking in the countryside and hearing that booming thunder! and hoping that the skies don’t open up and drench you in the next ten minutes, but…