july things


hello all! i’ve been a bit of a summer camp haze for a little while, but i got up today and realized that it is july twentieth and it weirded me out a lot. my favorite month full of all thing summer and fun is flying by! 

you know what i got up to at the very beginning of the month, in karlovy vary! i spent an uneventful independence day (because, let’s be honest, it’s usually not so much fun abroad unless you’re traveling or at some kind of expat party). although, one of my favorite fourth of julys so far was spent nine years ago in switzerland at a party thrown for us american college kids by our english professor in which his family actually faced off against us in a heated volleyball match. (yep, americans vs. the english. on fourth of july… eesh)

we spent a lovely weekend away at a friend’s family cottage (above) in the wilds of south bohemia and i so enjoyed being surrounded by energizing nature all weekend. if i could in the summer, i would just be outdoors for twenty-four hours. picking berries, reading in the sun, dipping toes into the stream, enjoying the company of good people… and seeing fireflies for the first time! remember that i am a pacific northwester and fireflies do not exist where i’m from. i’ve never been able to relate! or to that one fireflies song! i was enchanted. 


another highlight: introducing s’mores, a uniquely american campfire treat, to a group that has never tried them before. for those who might not know: s’mores (which are called this because you always want “some more”) are a toasted marshmallow + a piece of a chocolate bar (most authentically, hershey’s chocolate which we actually had – thanks diane!) between two graham crackers. i couldn’t procure the graham crackers, but i found some kind of vanilla biscuit that were quite an acceptable replacement. because we’ve had leftovers, i may have been making them a couple of times over the stove…. 

summer camp, as i mentioned, has been in full-throttle mode and i can’t believe that this is our fifth year as camp teachers! i almost love it more and more every year because it’s so different from what i do the rest of the school year. i love hangin’ with these czech youngsters (many whom we are watching grow up over the years) and trying to infuse as much english as possible into the week as to be a useful immersion experience! favorite moments so far include one of my favorite campers who turns out, is an incredible artist (even though is only six years old), and draws incredible depictions from memory, including my favorite, the sinking of the titanic in six parts. unbelievable.


other favorite camper from this week came up to me the other day and started perfectly humming the american national anthem. ohhhh, you are quite a suck-up, kid…. and it’s working! much respect.

between playing games and sitting on a bench in the shade quaffing instant coffees during camp, i am dreaming about our travel destinations for next year and doing a bit (okay, a lot) of planning already! you gotta start early, then you can budget for the school year. isn’t that how it works? i don’t know, but planning never hurt anyone!

i had a thought back to my childhood summers of yore and realized my favorite summers were the ones where i just listened to the rolling stones on my headphones and did sudoku. not necessarily the jam-packed summers of travel, but the simple ones with plenty of reflection time, listening to good tunes, and relaxation. so i finally bought myself a sudoku book. as a member of the “must be productive at all possible times” crew, it feels so good to just do something, well, useless. although, of course it’s not totally useless… the usefulness is in the uselessness, ‘naw mean? thought of the day.


i can’t believe we’re heading back to the united states (as our big annual trip) in less than a week! four states (one totally new to me– any chicago recommendations?) in five weeks. it’s gonna be good. this time, i’m not worried about how i’ll feel… or if i’ll still be able to drive a car or pump gas. i am expecting a touch of weirdness (after almost five years in europe) and i figure it’s better to expect it now in case it ends up happening.

unless i have a sudden bout of blog post inspirado, i’ll see you on the other side, although i do have a post planned as i battle jet lag… if you’re into czech / european history. hope you have a beautiful month and do all of those useless things (that actually are unexpectedly useful for your mind) that you want to do.