• Bad Ischl
    Austria,  Budějovice,  Christmas,  TravelTips,  Winter

    An Austrian Alpine Holiday

    As it’s the last weekend of the holiday season, so a perfect opportunity to share a little bit about 2019’s holiday season and our Christmas spent in the Salzkammergut. Before we left, we had a nice relaxing weekend wrapping up the work year and taking in some tunes and last punches in our beautiful square. On our way home from doing some Saturday morning errands, I noticed a tree in the park near our house full of fruits and things tied on with a sign. (Below, with the message “Christmas tree for homeless people – Have a beautiful Christmas”) I love when whimsy and kindness intersect and to see this…

  • 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…

  • Summer

    a simpler sort of christmas

    hello all, i hope you have  had a magical christmas wherever in the world you celebrated it, if you are in fact celebrating, that is. once again, we had a truly czech christmas here in budejovice. normally we get almost two full weeks of holiday for christmas, and we opted to stay put this year mostly because 1) iceland, which i felt was almost like a christmas in and of itself, but also 2) our visa issues (from receiving it to reapplying for our next) making us a bit lighter in the wallet this time of year. but no matter, we had decided to fully embrace a simpler sort of…

  • Summer

    hello, winter

    hi! solstice greetings! do you like to do anything to observe the solstice? every year in summer, we have a picnic that i like to try and make go on for as long as possible. but in the winter, it’s about turning more inward. ideally, i would go for a walk in the woods and soak up every bit of those precious sun rays that shortest day of the year (some nature element is important here – to connect with the earth), and then spend the evening indoors watching a movie lighting all the candles in the house. one particular winter solstice (our first in europe) it happened also to…

  • Summer

    december, lately: a lot going on at the moment.

    whoa, what a big few weeks it has been! in the wake of receiving our visa extention in october, alex and i had been furiously studying to make sure we aced our elementary level czech exam, which is far too expensive to re-take (not that we even have the time to do so) but fortunately, three and a half hours later, we victoriously walked to the bus stop with our certificates! we did it! not going to lie, but this little (big?) victory has instilled some major confidence. i think it is deserved confidence, for all those times that i doubted myself and didn’t want to try speaking czech, or…

  • Summer

    christmas in the bavarian alps

    i hope you had a wonderful christmas and are still enjoying the holiday season! as i mentioned in my last post, we zipped away for five days to enjoy christmas in berchtesgaden, germany which is nestled literally between bavarian alps on every side and has a lovely and historical downtown. i’ve wanted to visit this town for years… really only a couple train rides from our little budejovice. berchtesgaden is only about fifteen kilometers from salzburg (really, just over the austrian border). you can take a regional bus from salzburg to get to berchtesgaden in fifty minutes, which is what we decided to do on the way there – it was…

  • Summer

    in the bleak mid-winter

    fair warning: this is not exactly a “feel good” holiday post, but one full of “living life vibes”. this year has been one i will remember. mostly for good reasons, but it’s been a sad past week. this was the year that i went to my first czech wedding (reception), first celebration of new babies that were born, and sadly, also my first czech funeral. (hopefully my last, but you never can be sure). what i think it means is that i am living life. life is happening right now. i celebrated new life, i celebrated the joining of two lives, and mourned the loss of a friend and student of mine.…

  • Summer

    the expat’s guide to christmas away from home

    i can barely believe that this is already my sixth holiday season away from home. at first, spending christmas in europe was an absolutely fantastic and magical thing and i couldn’t have been happier! the christmas traditions here are beautiful and even more elaborate than i can remember from childhood. however at about year four, i noticed it started getting a little harder; perhaps the sheen had dulled ever so slightly. despite not being home (again) for christmas and being away from my dear family and friends, i am a die-hard forever merry christmas celebrater and i wanted to share with you how you can make this upcoming holiday season…

  • Summer

    those magical days

    even though christmas is over, i do love that stretch of days between the holiday and the new year. nobody is really in town yet, everything is running slowly and mostly still, everyone’s playing, everyone’s happy… i am embracing it this year (as i mentioned in the last post) rather than feeling guilty for lack of productivity. if there’s any time to take it easy, it’s now! i hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! we started ours with a walk through krumlov and took ferdie on his first trip (with a bus ride longer than ten minutes). he did okayyyyy, until he upchucked on the floor of the bus! (mental…

  • Summer

    embracing a local christmas

    this is now our fifth christmas in europe. i have to say, you’d think it gets easier but that’s not necessarily true. our first christmas, we had only been in europe for a couple of months and it was all the heart eyes as prague pulled out all the stops and there was nothing but perma-smiles. the next year, my mother visited. the following year, we had a picture-perfect austrian christmas at the wolfgangsee. last year we happened to be in berlin, but a funny thing happened. while i was in my personal “happiest place on earth”, i felt a case of “the sads” as we call them, creeping in…