happy 2014! the new year’s sun is shining through my window…. a wonderful first sight of this first morning of the year. it seems like just last week that it was january first and i was wandering around my neighborhood of mala strana in the fog. it scares me a little how fast the year passed, which is a great reminder to “live in the now” and savor every moment of life. it tends to pass at a normal and much more acceptable time when i’m doing that.
2013 has been a very exciting year for me. to blindly move away from lovely prague in january just because of the promise of a job was tough, and i am really pleased at the ballsy risk-taking on our parts to make it where we are today, living in south bohemia. i experienced the first feelings that inevitably comes to any expat of wanting to go home (to visit) but not being able to. i got used to doing things outside my comfort zone on a weekly basis, if not daily and it became much easier for me to step outside the comfort zone and try new things, talk to new people, and take risks. other things that happened in 2013….
moved to a new city into a fabulous apartment, got my first teaching job in europe, moderated two childrens’ english competitions, obtained visas to live in europe, stayed warm in a winter that snowed until mid-april, rode segways on my birthday and loved it, obtained a guitar, went camping twice, studied two languages simultaneously, learned how to cook awesome things, worked as a teacher at a kids summer day camp, acted as a princess in an actual castle for 50+ children, swam in an icy glacial lake, sang onstage with “ABBA”, kayaked around an island in the baltic, made some new friends, missed some old friends, reconnected with a friend i haven’t spoken to in 10 years, lost a friend to stupid cancer, found english yoga, stopped being broke, was visited by my mom, GOT ENGAGED to the love of my life, took any opportunities that came my way, and so many great travels………………..
these were work related trips but i enjoyed getting to know more of the understated city of bratislava. it felt like a really livable place– easy to get around, with many cool cafes, pubs, and shops waiting to be discovered. if the opportunity allows, i would like to explore more of this country, like košice or the high tatra mountains.
our close proximity to austria made it possible to visit FIVE TIMES this year! i am always so fascinated by vienna– it’s one of those HUGE cities with so much going on and so much history. the people are friendly and there is always more to do that you haven’t done yet. spent an overnight in the city of linz in upper-austria, and got to explore the salzkammergut in great detail with camping at lake hallstatt and my holiday family foray into salzburg, where we also explored some of the adorable lake villages to the east of the city, like mondsee and wolfgangsee (post soon to come).
welp, i live here of course…. so there were many visits to prague and explorations of our new home in south bohemia: trebon, jindrichuv hradec, hluboka, rudolfov, cesky krumlov (countless times), hiking around klet in the blansky hills, and really getting to know this region through long, leisurely walks and hikes. our trip to karlovy vary for KVIFF was unforgettable and something i will consider repeating in 2014!
this was my dream trip! after visiting iceland in 2011, sweden was next on my list. i booked a ten day trip, not quite understanding how weak the czech koruna is against the swedish kroner. but this wouldn’t stop me from getting to know the stockholm area in the wonderful mild august summer weather. in addition to getting to know this great city, i also unplugged and soaked in the nature on the special island of grinda, visited viking burial grounds in uppsala, and visited a friend i hadn’t seen in years. it was a hard place to leave– i actually felt as if i had gone home.
after sweden, i had one more free summer weekend before classes, and simply needed to show alex the magic of summer berlin. ahhhh. it was much too short of a trip, but certainly better than no berlin at all. in autumn, we visited the three river city of passau, bavaria– a pretty little city with the best doner kebap we’ve ever tried.
right now we have difficult decisions ahead of us: whether to stay here in south bohemia or whether to try to move to germany. this decision will largely affect my travel plans for the year, but i do have a lot of travels in mind. i want to explore more of the czech republic that i haven’t seen (moravia, north-central bohemia) and hopefully another visit to karlovy vary for KVIFF 2014 might fall into place. in terms of a big trip, we’re dreaming right now of traveling straight through poland (from south to north) and maybe even taking a ferry somewhere in the baltic…. i can dream, at least. if we decide to move, i imagine there will be a bit of work-staying/vagabonding in germany in my future.
let’s see what happens. wishing you a beautiful new year and all the best in 2014!