• 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!…

  • 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…

  • Berlin,  Thoughts

    It’s Not Me, It’s You: The Remnants of my Berlin Dream

    i love berlin. everyone who knows me knows this. everyone who knows me and doesn’t know this, should. i first visited in 2006 on a whirlwind month backpacking central europe where it was by far my favorite stop on the trip, made even more fun by the fact that i knew some locals living there at the time (uw german department professors and affiliates) and they really pulled out all the stops to show me a good time. dinner parties, city tours, an evening at a crusty prenzlauer berg bar trying different flavors of berliner weisse– i loved it all. my friends there convinced me to take german language classes…

  • Summer,  Thoughts,  Travel

    Grinda Island

    hello! i have returned from sweden yesterday. deciding not to post or really spend that much time online was a conscious decision so i could spend all of my time in the moment. and i am so happy i did! sweden felt very familiar to me– it was friendly, welcoming… and even their word for “hello” is “hej” so it sounds like everyone is greeting you like a friend: “hey!” instead of the formal “dobry den” (good day) that i’m used to here. first i wanted to share about one of my absolute favorite parts of the last eleven days… i stayed in a cozy cabin on a little island called…

  • Thoughts

    On Loss

    it has been a sad weekend here in budejovice. and washington. and michigan for that matter. one of the coolest chicks i’ve ever met, candice bailey, passed away saturday morning in seattle. she had been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer the year before i met her, but you would never know it because of how full of life, energy, and spirit she always was. alex met her in high school and they had been good friends since then (fourteen years!). in 2009, candice (who with her husband had recently bought a fixer-upper house in the madison/capitol hill area) invited alex to move into the basement apartment and help fix…