• czech culture,  Czech Republic,  Daily Life

    Is the Czech Republic the Dog-Friendliest Country in Europe?

    When you live across the world from family and you have a dog, you can pretty much just plan on bringing your dog everywhere with you. Face it – you have little other choice. (I love my dog, but I’m not bringing him everywhere because I necessarily have to have him near me) This was the first consideration we had when deciding which breed – it had to be small and incredibly portable. Also, it helped that we knew from four years of experience living here just how dog friendly the Czech Republic really is. If we had to bring our dog everywhere, there is no better country to do…

  • czech culture,  Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  South Bohemia,  Teaching

    Czech School Curiosities

    What a month! In the middle of February, it was supposed to have been our half-term break week, but several months ago we agreed to teach most of the week at a primary school waaaay out in the countryside, about an hour from where we live. I mean, we didn’t really have any plans and we have an ambitious travel year ahead, so why not? The wind storm Sabine which ripped through Central Europe made it impossible to start teaching there on Monday as absolutely no trains or buses were leaving the city, but for most of this week we were up on the early train north. Although Alex isn’t…

  • Austria,  Christmas,  czech culture,  Life Abroad,  Thoughts,  Winter

    This Festive Season

    Sometimes people ask me if I’m going back to the States for Christmas and the answer always seems to be… no. Don’t get me wrong, I deeply enjoy being back in my hometown for the holidays, away from the big city bustle. Every year when we would get on that on-ramp away from Seattle, there was something incredibly peaceful about driving north on I-5 and watching the sprawl slip away. Driving around the island on Christmas Day, Sufjan Stevens‘ album always playing on the car stereo. The white skies, tall evergreens, the sea. Again, I have to use the word peaceful, but a certain, specific peace only this kind of…

  • czech culture,  Czech Republic,  Expat Life

    Coffee in Czechland

    this morning, i had my first cup of coffee in almost a year. okay, maybe that’s a bit over-dramatic since there’s been cups of nescaf instant, plenty of espressos and cappuccinos, and an iced latte or two in the summer. but this… this is my first black, freshly brewed from grounds, american style cup of coffee in way too long. the last time i had freshly brewed coffee was in scotland (above, isle of eigg), when we were still living the high(lands) life and staying with some wonderful and generous hosts with french presses in every kitchen. good brewed coffee left our life with our departure from the glorious british…

  • 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…

  • czech culture,  South Bohemia,  Spring

    tre-bon! & a witchy holiday

    on tuesday, alex and i were invited to celebrate witch’s night with a couple of our students and their families. i don’t think anybody really knows what kind of holiday this is, and almost no one can describe how it came to be like it is. but i do know that it is primarily celebrated in small villages and in the early evening, most of the men in the village help to erect this giant may pole called “maika”. here it is at dusk…. then when the maika is erected, the children burn witch effigies in the bonfire and the men sit around the fire near the maika drinking beer and are…