• 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 Republic,  Travel,  TravelTips

    Czech Republic’s Must-See UNESCO Sites

    sometimes it feels like you may have all but exhausted the travel opportunities in your immediate surroundings. when this feeling strikes, turning to a list of UNESCO heritage sites in your vicinity makes for some great trip (or even day trip) inspirado. i am unofficially trying to see all (or as many possible) of the UNESCO sites in czech republic. here are some that i’ve already checked off my list, and some more that i’m hoping to see in the future… PRAGUE’S HISTORIC CITY CENTER why is it UNESCO? it’s one of the most important and best preserved medieval city centers in europe! in few other places in the world…

  • Eats,  Life Abroad,  Prague

    Starbucks Abroad: Prague

    so, i can’t hide it. i’m from the seattle area and i love starbucks. i’ve worked for them for almost four years directly preceding this adventure. in fact, i was a barista trainer, teaching new employees the low down on how to make the perfect cup of coffee or latte. so, love it or hate it, it’s with me now… there’s no getting away from it. and visiting starbucks abroad really makes me feel at home. i can have a cappuccino or a macchiato any old day, but i can rarely get a good cup of christmas blend or a gingerbread latte, so it’s something special these days. recently while…

  • Autumn,  Budějovice,  Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Life Abroad

    My Own Private Náměstí

    české budějovice is a really beautiful city and has so many lovely spots: česka street, main town square, which is actually called přemysl otakar II náměstí. but currently my favorite place is a lovely little square called piaristické náměstí– piarist’s square. i had no idea what a piarist was until i came across the term mentioned in the good soldier svejk– a nickname for people belonging to: the order of poor clerics regular of the mother of god of the pious schools. this would make sense because this city has a loooong religious tradition, as it has been the seat of the roman catholic diocese since 1785. bam. so anyway, i’m walking to a lesson sometime…

  • Autumn,  Budějovice,  Life Abroad

    Dark/Light

    day two of unexplained power outage continues. arg. yesterday evening, i made swedish meatballs to celebrate leif erickson day (instead of columbus day) in the waning daylight on our gas stove lit with matches. it was funny to sit in the measly light of candles like the vikings must of done. today i took the plunge and had a cold shower. it wasn’t quite as bad as i thought. sort of reinvigorating in the middle of the day, to be honest! not a huge fan of the heat not working, but eh, we have blankets and tea. we will survive. besides the cold showers and no heat, i’ve actually been really…

  • 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…

  • Autumn,  Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  South Bohemia

    Bohemia Autumn

    when you move to sobo (southern bohemia), the first thing everyone tells you to do is go to the top of klet’ mountain. at 1,084m (3,556ft) it is the tallest mountain of the blanksý forest, southwest of ĈB and northwest of ĉesky krumlov. to put it in comparison, mt. erie in anacortes is about a third of the height at 388m (1,273ft). they say on a clear day you can see the austrian alps! so, it wasn’t exactly a clear day…. but we finally made it there. we took the train 35 minutes south to holubov, a hamlet popular with outdoor enthusiasts and mushroom collectors (ie, pretty much all czechs). on the…

  • Autumn,  Budějovice,  Daily Life,  Expat Life,  Teaching

    Lately, Fall

    life here in czech republic is picking up again! alex and i’ve both started back up with our lessons for the new school year. i chose to stick with my job at the language school that i’ve been with since february instead of teaching only children with alex. i loved being around the kids during summer camp and i do enjoy having young students, but i thought that personally, i have a lot i can offer adults as well. so, i will continue to teach a variety of ages, 7 through 60+. what i like about this job is that i can accept or decline new students as i feel…

  • 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.…