• 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,  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…