• Autumn,  Czech Republic,  Herbalism,  Lifestyle

    Mushroom Foraging on St. Wenceslas Day

    “Our Czech forests are overflowing with mushrooms.” — an actual line from a local news report St. Wenceslas Day (Sv. Václav) is one of my favorite Czech holidays. It’s right after the official turn to autumn, the school year’s right about to get into the usual swing except for this last holiday weekend to enjoy the simpler things about the start of the season. Normally, I like to visit some sort of happening to watch folk-dancing, browse the craft markets, have a glass of wine or if I’m lucky, burčák (Federweisser aka “fermented alcoholic grape juice” – a wine byproduct). I had every intention of doing that as we started…

  • Summer

    festival magic + my top 5 films seen at this year’s KVIFF

    ahoj all, i’ve been in the middle of summer camps (sotiredomg) just wanted to pop in after our annual trip to karlovy vary for the film festival. even if it took me all dang week to finish this post. in case you’re new around here: hi, i’m cynthia and i like to have film festival vacations in beautiful hilly spa towns where we get up at 6am to go stand in box office queues! joking aside, we’re getting into a real routine when it comes to this festival, but the most notable change this year is when we arrived to the box office on thursday shortly after getting in, we bought…

  • Summer

    travel, living abroad, and a more ecological lifestyle.

    travel + an ecological lifestyle – can these two things belong together? it’s a hard thing to reconcile for any traveler – how to lessen your personal impact and be a more responsible traveler? there’s carbon offsets you can purchase, either as you make your flight purchase or separately from a few different organizations. there’s booking a trip from a company with a ecologically-responsible policy. (in the past week, rick steves just announced all his tours will be certified carbon neutral) there’s opting to take the bus or train more vs. flying. we live without a car here and do almost all of our errands on foot (including grocery shops, hoofing it…

  • Summer

    find your spring bliss {south bohemia easter hiking weekend}

    hi all, i hope you had a nice easter! it’s our tradition to go on a trip every easter (as here in the czech republic, we have a nice long four day weekend – five if you’re lucky!) and as this year it fell deliciously late into the season, we opted for another countryside hiking trip. last year’s trip was much too cold and bleak, and this year, all i wanted was sun and relaxation with a bit of hiking, which led us to the czech/austrian borderlands, basing ourselves in vyšší brod, a kilometer or two from the border. we had been to vyšší brod once before as we started…

  • Summer

    april, lately

    i’m writing this from a place of calm. something about the weather lately, maybe. every day, noticing new buds, green leaves unfurling, cherry blossoms starting to make themselves known. or possibly it’s because these april weeks have felt really nice and slow – it’s that strange and unexplainable cancellation time of year that many language teachers seem to be feeling right now. life is starting to feel lighter again. it has meant a lot more leisurely time spent with a nose in the book on cushy sofas, hiding under blankets, nestled between pillows. i’ve been reading michelle obama’s ’becoming’ (after being on the library wait list for months) and the…

  • Summer

    we are permanent residents.

    the reason we decided to apply for permanent residence is, simply, that it’s a longer visa. we have been on the two year freelance visa for ages and as many of you know, our last go-around was rough. it kicked our asses. after five years of residence in the czech republic and passing a basic language exam though, you may qualify for permanent residence. well, this was our first chance to apply (now having lived here for over six years) and the language test wasn’t so difficult, seeing as we have lived here long enough to soak up loads of language and had three full years of czech lessons by…

  • Summer

    the first spring days

    i think many people feel the need after a long winter cooped up at home to seize those first beautiful warm early spring days and do something to make the most out of them! i sure do. last weekend, we had our annual garden day which involved me carrying some new plants and pots home in a big red basket and alex hauling a gigantic bag of soil over his shoulder, walking home from the garden center. (side note: we are still perfectly happy not having a car here in europe, even after trips like this! really.) i still haven’t planted my seedlings but with the lighter evenings and daylight…

  • Summer

    at winter’s end

    maybe this is far too optimistic for me to state at the beginning of march – this time last year when the ponds and rivers were frozen over – but the forecast here in the czech republic now seems firmly rooted in comfortable temperatures… dare i say it, springy? march has never been an easy month for me, but i actually see spring is on its way. 17°C (or warmer!) days becoming more frequent, wearing the shoulder season jackets in favor of the big bulky winter coats, sunglasses, drinking a cappuccino outside … i can feel it! although winter has treated me very well this year. it was one of…

  • Summer

    small czech businesses & brands i love

    my first installment in what i hope will be a series of wonderful czech brands that deserve recognition and customers. i’m not a big shopper but for my cosmetics, food products and other needs, i try to go local (if not DIY). here are some of the best i’ve come across… oli divisova– ceske budejovice’s own oli divisova is an artist and sculptor who makes absolutely beautiful minimalist and artist wares, especially pots, mugs and anything ceramic (above) ! you can check out her goods at her etsy store, oli’s cupboard. mcely bouquet – based in central czech republic north of prague, mcely makes gorgeous natural cosmetics (such as oils, balms…

  • Summer

    february city hangs | prague & linz

    it’s been such a great month so far! i thought january was good, but february seems even better and the fact that we just had our semester break and i enjoyed most of a week off work was just the thing. i was thinking i’d head to prague on sunday, the second day of the month, until  there was a “severe snow advisory” (??!) warning and decided not to mess with that. (besides, a friend of mine had to spend the night on a train last autumn when she insisted on traveling in heavy winds! trains + inclement weather = not going there) instead we went on monday when there was…