• Iceland,  Spring,  Thoughts

    Iceland Uncovered: How My First Ever Trip to Iceland Went

    right around new year’s day, 2011 (about a year and a half before this adventure began), i won a sweepstakes contest to win a trip to iceland. i was naturally ecstatic about this development, as i’d been dreaming about the country for years. about two and a half years ago, i went on said trip. however, after my return the photos i took never really surfaced anywhere and weren’t really shown to anyone… because at the time, the trip was not my idea of an ideal vacation. it left a bad taste in my mouth and a chill in my bones. to be fair, there were circumstances unrelated to iceland…

  • Spring,  Teaching

    A Whole Lotta Rain

    it started raining saturday morning and it has not once stopped as i write this late monday afternoon. nuts! people are like, “oh but you’re from seattle so you’re used to this”. errrrg……. not really, right guys? in case you haven’t read about it, the central europe floods are making international news. i think today will be the worst of it and the rain is supposed to let up. in prague, the city is paralyzed. schools are shuttered, transportation is at a halt. the animals from the low-lying zoo near the river are being rescued. the metro station near our old ‘hood (malostranska) is closed. here in budejovice, we are…

  • Life Abroad,  Spring

    Blustery June

    june came in all blustery-like. i can’t remember the last time the rain started in the day and rained all night into the morning without stopping. reminds me of my favorite, “winnie the pooh and the blustery day”. south bohemia really isn’t well equipped to handle this quantity of rainfall. in cesky krumlov the river is starting to flood into the city and transportation problems abound all over the country and in austria. i don’t really bat an eye when thinking about all the rain but then i realize i’m in a place with very different geography, and the water can’t just flow to the sound. i don’t expect it will…

  • Austria,  Life Abroad,  Spring

    Linz-erdays

    took a weekend jaunt to linz, austria… just over two hours south of us by train and even faster by car. it’s the third largest city in austria and twice the population of budejovice. it doesn’t have the tourist draw of vienna, salzburg, or innsbruck but it was a medium-sized city in austria that was relatively close to get to. that’s mainly why i wanted to go, even though i found out later that linz does have a rich history but it’s just not quite talked about or as exciting as the other cities. who can compete with ‘the sound of music’, anyway? it’s also where people in budejovice go…

  • Budějovice,  Language Learning,  Life Abroad,  Spring

    czech language

    today i had my first real czech language class. i’ve had two 45 minute beginners’ classes before as part of my TEFL course (thank goodness for them). but today i bicycled on up to the center of foreigner integration – an NGO that offers free assistance to foreigners, and this is the first month they’ve had the funding to begin the czech language courses. i’m thinkin’, it’s free… it’s two times a day tuesday and thursday…. it’s a close bike ride away…. it might give me some good teaching or classroom management tips… what’s my excuse not to go? i love learning languages so i was pretty excited about the opportunity of a…

  • South Bohemia,  Spring

    happy czech birthday

    turns out, czech republic is a wonderful place to celebrate my birthday, as it is a public holiday!  whoop whoop! that called for a day trip to good ‘ol ĉesky krumlov, UNESCO heritage site small town cuteness as well as being only a half hour away with much quaint winding streets, cobbestones, and a castle. it has truly sprang back to life since i visited in february. with enough asian tourists to prove that it is indeed high season again. (i’m just saying!) first off, horse-back riding was in order. alex has never been on a horse before! this had to be remedied. so we went to ol’ slupenec riding club, where…

  • 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…

  • Daily Life,  Spring

    an april week

    i have determined that i like very much living in europe. the one thing i do not like is that friends and family aren’t here. also in no particular order i miss: fresh seafood, abundance of health foods and fresh veg, good karaoke, and the beach. and a few smaller things… but really, those are the only downsides! so friends: feel free to come visit! won’t you come inside? house tour can be found here. looking down the stairs from the door to our flat. we live on the first floor and there is currently no one living in the flat next door due to renovations. no noise! this building…

  • Budějovice,  Daily Life,  Spring

    spring has arrived?

    above, facades of buildings of lannova trida, ĉeské budějovice– or “budweis”– the german/more international version everyone calls it when speaking in english. life is good here– alex celebrated a birthday last weekend and we celebrated in true low-key alex fashion: talking a walk, doing whatever at home, going out to a nice czech dinner, and watching a movie he loves (the professional). unfortunately the next morning i came up with an unfortunate bout of mild food poisoning so the past few days have been getting back to normal for me. (coulda been worse, but i’m pretty sure i have a stomach of STEEL) below, one of alex’s all-british birthday gifts… the…

  • Austria,  Spring,  Travel

    a viennese easter

    haven’t had a lot of time to post about easter holiday weekend as i’ve had to jump right into teaching madness: moderating another english competition (this one for 14-15 year olds) then zooming to three other parts of the city to give my lessons. although CB is a city of about 100,000 people, it is surprisingly compact and getting around from north to south really takes no time at all– even on the bus! so great. today i taught my first of three conversation classes at the university!  only two people came, which was totally fine by me because it gives the students speaking time.  the czech people get are taught…