• Autumn,  Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Thoughts

    October, Lately

    This October – different from all other Octobers. The last of the warm early autumn weather has faded away and it definitely feels like fall now. I caught a bit of a nostalgia wave this week, as I am wont to do in the autumn. Eleven years ago I was visiting one of my best friends in Berlin for two weeks, having the time of my life. Ten years ago was another one of the best Octobers on record with epic festivals, parties, being one of maybe twenty-five people to see one of my favorite bands play Sunset Tavern in Ballard, Seattle. Eight years ago, living the Scottish life as…

  • Summer,  Thoughts,  Yearly Recap

    At Summer’s End

    Someone recently asked me “What did you do this summer?” and when I told them, they proceeded to sort of frown over my answer. Better put into a metaphor: This summer was like having a best friend come to visit for three months, but finding that you don’t get along as well as you always have, and when they leave, it’s sort of on a weird note and you don’t quite know how you feel about it, compared to their previous visits. Our holiday in Croatia in early-mid August was really the only concrete thing or the easiest to mention, but this summer was more full of small moments of…

  • Life Abroad,  Summer,  Thoughts

    This Fourth of July

    As we moved from the United States to the Czech Repubilc, I assumed we’d be trading one country’s national day for another. Turns out, which is not altogether surprising if you are familiar with Czech/Czechoslovak history, the Czech Republic doesn’t exactly celebrate their national day – there is none of the fervor that is associated with American Independence Day. The history of the 20th century has made things a lot more complicated. There is Independent Czechoslovak State Day (October 28th) when Czechoslovakia declared their independence, maybe the closest thing to Independence Day there is here, but also Restoration of the Independent Czech State (January 1st), when the Czech Republic as…

  • Daily Life,  Spring,  Thoughts

    The Earth is Shifting

    Hello, friends. What a strange but impactful few weeks it has been. In the days leading up to last week of May, I had rare bout of anxiety about the world opening up again after the worst of Coronatimes had wound down here in the Czech Republic. When the director of your school e-mails you and starts into “good news! we can go back to school!”, it’s incredibly unsettling because for the previous two months, we had all been unlearning how to be and teach at school. How to do everything from home. How wonderful having no commutes were, let’s be honest. That first week back, I was a little…

  • Czech Republic,  Easter,  Minimalism,  Spring,  Thoughts

    On Silencing the Noise

    If there’s anything that has come of this whole self-isolation (today, April 20th being Day 38 for me), it’s that I envy the heck out of people’s sunny backyards and garden spaces. I am ever so grateful to live in a flat with a nice balcony, but not having my own outdoor space is a hard pill to swallow during these times. I suppose it’s inevitable when you want to do and see everything, when you want to live everywhere. I was lucky enough to grow up with a huge backyard at my disposal. In the nicer months, there wasn’t a day I wasn’t out there. I never realized until…

  • Czech Republic,  Life Abroad,  Spring,  Thoughts

    Surviving March, Pt. II: Embracing #MaskLife

    Well, that escalated quickly. From the time I published the my last post on March 11th, the day after the first of our emergency measures (which was the school closure announcement), only ten days ago, the situation in the world has devolved rapidly (I predict ten days from now at the end of the month, we’ll be able to say that once more, sadly). No longer are people even speaking about traveling (and if they are, they shouldn’t be). I have since learned new Czech words necessary to understand for everyday life that I haven’t had to know before, like vláda (governance), nouzový stav (emergency measure), and omezení (restriction). Where…

  • Budějovice,  Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Life Abroad,  Thoughts,  Winter

    Keep Smiling

    A conversation occurred this week (which I mentioned in this Instagram post) in which a certain secondary school-aged class of mine, when asked what they liked about České Budějovice could think of almost nothing, but then finally offered 1) The train station is near the bus station. (this is the case in almost every Czech city ever) 2) There are a lot of things and services here. (in comparison to a small village) And that was literally it. No single teenager in my class likes České Budějovice. This is something which I take with a couple grains of salt, of course because one, they’re teenagers and they don’t like anything,…

  • 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…

  • Austria,  Autumn,  Language Learning,  Thoughts,  Travel

    Language Progress + Thoughts on Solo Travel

    “That was a really good lesson. I felt like we sort of… are getting it now, you know?” A moment Alex and I shared after our Czech lesson today. We started taking Czech language seriously in autumn 2015 – that means it’s been now over four years of really studying the language. Before that, I had taken a couple classes sporadically the year I first arrived although they didn’t amount to much as I was a total beginner in a class with people who clearly had some sort of grasp on the language and a teacher who couldn’t explain Czech grammar in my native tongue. Four years of serious study!…

  • Summer,  Thoughts,  Travel,  TravelTips

    Notes From the Road: Poland

    twenty two days is a heck of a length of time to take a trip. woo, boy! certainly our most ambitious to date, save for the time that we were actually vagabonds in late 2012. but this is a different story: fitting in a big summer trip before the school year starts up. the transport: we’ve been mostly taking buses and booking on the road a couple days before. i didn’t anticipate this much bus-riding, as buses tend to make me a bit nauseous. i look forward to train trips when they happen so i can read books and walk around in a generally unrestricted fashion. also, trains are unimpeded…