• Czech Republic,  Thoughts,  Winter

    Living Through the Pandemic, One Year Out

    It was nearly a year ago that the very first Coronavirus case showed up here in the Czech Republic. About ten days later, our lives would suddenly be disrupted when it was announced, after an emergency Tuesday morning parliamentary session that schools would close, effective the next day. Those early times — from the end of winter last year through the spring, all of our lives changed. Everyone was scared and uncertain, and despite what we would consider now to be very low case levels, I did not meet with another soul for almost two months. Absolutely nothing in-person took place. As spring gave way to summer, we saw cases…

  • Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Film,  Language Learning,  Lifestyle,  Winter

    My Winter Joys, Goals, & Other Things

    How’s that for a title after that last post? Thank you for your nice words and reaching out; I’m feeling a bit better these days. The photo taken above was at our annual half-term cafe day at the mid-point of the school year, this time taking place on a bench in my favorite square. I like this photo because even though I wasn’t doing well, I wasn’t going to not participate in this annual tradition – you’d have to drag me away. It seems somehow hopeful. Typically I really like January (and this one has been lovely!), and even though it hasn’t been easy, I can’t but help still feeling…

  • Thoughts,  Winter

    One Foot in Front of the Other

    One foot in front of the other, I tell myself, as I trudge to where I need to be. Trudge trudge, trudge trudge. Things are going slower than normal on this very routine walk, in a straight line directly from the north to south of the city. I brought headphones to listen to a podcast, but I decide not to listen to anything. Listening to two people chatting obliviously would be far more painful than the silence of this moment. My mind is a blank. A freshly-painted white wall. No thoughts contained within. I feel odd for not having any. Shouldn’t I have some? I look at the recently fallen…

  • Herbalism,  Lifestyle,  Recipe,  Winter

    Recipe: Chaga Masala Chai Tea

    This past December I was all about ‘dat chai. I was constantly cooking up batches of this delicious, spicy and warming masala chai to enjoy in the evenings mostly, but even in the day time as an alternative to coffee. See… here’s the sad news. I had recently come to the realization that coffee is no friend to me. Maybe one of those frenemies, but not a true friend. I had also been doing a lot of research about healing my hormones and found that I ought to drastically reduce both coffee and processed soy consumption. I’m more of a black tea person anyway, so this wasn’t the worst news,…

  • Lifestyle,  Winter,  Yearly Recap

    The Books of 2020

    A big year for reading it was! I set my reading goal intentionally low at twenty books, but in the end I managed thirty-one! Perhaps this was because I still wasn’t sure if I would undertake any kind of formal studies and wanted to emphasize quality over quantity, and although I greatly surpassed it, I don’t really think the pandemic was the culprit. This was the first year that I really, actively considered reading books a hobby. Before it was just something I did, I guess, but now it’s gone full-out obsession, I’m either sorry or delighted to say. Ironically, I feel like I spend more time thinking about what…

  • Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Winter,  Yearly Recap

    Year of Life & Travels: 2020

    We made it! And yes, even 2020 is going to get a recap post! I love these sorts of posts and catching up with what people were up to this year, so here we are. They’re also really wonderful to look back on and see the year as a whole. I know a lot of people choose a word of the year before the year even gets going, but as I do my year-end reflections on the last few days remaining, the word to define the year that was always comes to me. This year would be adapt, of course. And now, a run-down of the year that was… Ah,…

  • Christmas,  Daily Life,  South Bohemia,  Winter

    A Time of Simple Holidays

    Well, it’s hard to write anything without a computer, isn’t it? Fortunately I feel like I have an office again, a little home again, and my brain can sort of organize itself properly. (Note: Try to avoid ever having to purchase a new computer in mid-December. It is not the time.) Here we are in December, finally at the tail end of 2020. Funny about this year. As I’ve now been quite settled in České Budějovice for nearly eight years and counting, there isn’t a lot of expat stuff or cultural differences that I feel compelled to write about. Most of it is no longer so novel. Add to that…

  • Christmas,  Daily Life,  Thoughts,  Winter

    Grieving/Healing

    Perhaps it’s yesterday’s full moon bringing all of these ripe feelings to the surface, but the turn towards Advent time hasn’t been an easy one this year – an odd, uncomfortable feeling towards something that has always felt warm, comforting and joyful. I am still grieving and feeling so many heavy things, mostly a bit different of what I choose to show on the outside, but today, the first of December, I can feel the healing begin. I woke up and tiptoed to the kitchen where I saw a marvelous pink and purple sunrise, welcoming in this new month. As I went out with the dog, the sky was doing…

  • Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Travel,  TravelTips,  Winter

    Surviving March + Thoughts on Traveling “These Days”

    Ahoj, friends. I spent much of February reading the novel, Station Eleven. I didn’t know what it was about at all when I picked it up as it was part of a book club, but man — this one was a doozy! It dealt with the topic of a worldwide influenza pandemic (not a spoiler) and really got me thinking about what I would do if the same situation happened to us now. Every night I would read a little bit before going to bed, wake up and read the news and feel like it was all starting to blur together. The timing of this read was all a bit…

  • Czech Republic,  Prague,  TravelTips,  Winter

    Valentine’s Day in Prague

    Even though this is my eighth winter in the Czech Republic, I still have never spent Valentine’s Day in Prague before. Valentine’s Day isn’t even the traditional Czech “day of love” (that would be the 1st of May) but you can’t deny that it is certainly has completely caught on! I know it’s a divisive day, with the main criticism that it is too commercialized, but my feeling is that it is whatever you want it to be. And who doesn’t love a chance to go celebrate a day of love and togetherness with someone special? After working (even during our half-term break! More on that in the next post…)…