• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Autumn,  Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Thoughts

    October, Lately

    This October – different from all other Octobers. The last of the warm early autumn weather has faded away and it definitely feels like fall now. I caught a bit of a nostalgia wave this week, as I am wont to do in the autumn. Eleven years ago I was visiting one of my best friends in Berlin for two weeks, having the time of my life. Ten years ago was another one of the best Octobers on record with epic festivals, parties, being one of maybe twenty-five people to see one of my favorite bands play Sunset Tavern in Ballard, Seattle. Eight years ago, living the Scottish life as…

  • Summer,  Thoughts,  Yearly Recap

    At Summer’s End

    Someone recently asked me “What did you do this summer?” and when I told them, they proceeded to sort of frown over my answer. Better put into a metaphor: This summer was like having a best friend come to visit for three months, but finding that you don’t get along as well as you always have, and when they leave, it’s sort of on a weird note and you don’t quite know how you feel about it, compared to their previous visits. Our holiday in Croatia in early-mid August was really the only concrete thing or the easiest to mention, but this summer was more full of small moments of…

  • Life Abroad,  Summer,  Thoughts

    This Fourth of July

    As we moved from the United States to the Czech Repubilc, I assumed we’d be trading one country’s national day for another. Turns out, which is not altogether surprising if you are familiar with Czech/Czechoslovak history, the Czech Republic doesn’t exactly celebrate their national day – there is none of the fervor that is associated with American Independence Day. The history of the 20th century has made things a lot more complicated. There is Independent Czechoslovak State Day (October 28th) when Czechoslovakia declared their independence, maybe the closest thing to Independence Day there is here, but also Restoration of the Independent Czech State (January 1st), when the Czech Republic as…

  • Czech Republic,  Easter,  Minimalism,  Spring,  Thoughts

    On Silencing the Noise

    If there’s anything that has come of this whole self-isolation (today, April 20th being Day 38 for me), it’s that I envy the heck out of people’s sunny backyards and garden spaces. I am ever so grateful to live in a flat with a nice balcony, but not having my own outdoor space is a hard pill to swallow during these times. I suppose it’s inevitable when you want to do and see everything, when you want to live everywhere. I was lucky enough to grow up with a huge backyard at my disposal. In the nicer months, there wasn’t a day I wasn’t out there. I never realized until…

  • Budějovice,  Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Life Abroad,  Thoughts,  Winter

    Keep Smiling

    A conversation occurred this week (which I mentioned in this Instagram post) in which a certain secondary school-aged class of mine, when asked what they liked about České Budějovice could think of almost nothing, but then finally offered 1) The train station is near the bus station. (this is the case in almost every Czech city ever) 2) There are a lot of things and services here. (in comparison to a small village) And that was literally it. No single teenager in my class likes České Budějovice. This is something which I take with a couple grains of salt, of course because one, they’re teenagers and they don’t like anything,…

  • 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…

  • Autumn,  Daily Life,  Prague,  South Bohemia

    It’s November (Life Lately)

    Hi friends, happy November! For the first time in awhile, I did not manage to make the annual ‘Spooky Movies to Watch in October’ list. Shame, that. Just for anyone interested, we did continue with our October Movie series and watched in the following order over the course of the month: The Raven (1963) – A Vincent Price classic. Hokey but perfectly Halloweeny, and containing one of the funniest spooky scenes in cinematic history: a magic duel between Price and Boris Karloff (not in a monster role) from thrones. It has to be seen to be believed. ᇫᇫᇫᇫ The Babadook (2014) – Creepy, a bit dystopic, that feeling of losing…