Channukah in the Old Country

Well, it’s done. My visa application is officially in process. Now all I have to do is wait…

While I was in Berlin, I stayed with an Israeli artist that I randomly found through airbnb. I’m fascinated how my intuition seems to always lead me towards artists, musicians, and Jews (and Irish people). I was exhausted when I arrived, but somehow we managed to stay up until 2am talking about our family histories.

Talking with her, I realized for the first time how angry I am that I never was able to experience the beauty of a full family. I finally recognized the bubbling rage I felt while my Polish friend described her large Christmas double-dinners, and my friend from Kansas described her annual family reunions with her large Irish clan. Continue reading

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Miscellaneous thoughts in the cemetery near Flora tram station

It’s quiet here. Mostly nobody is around, and the few people that are around are either silent or talking to each other under their breath.

When I was a child, I often thought about death. Namely, my own death. It wasn’t so much the process of dying that scared me, as the fact of not being alive and not having thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

In some ways, the fact that I feared the part after death was indicative of my extreme desire to be alive. If your life isn’t pleasurable, or at least not pleasant enough to merit staying in it, then death isn’t a scary thing. In fact, it’s preferable. The only time a person would choose death is if they could not bear life. Continue reading

Bureaucracies and Fear: Part 1

I’m really scared.

Tomorrow, I’m applying for my business license so that in two weeks from now I can apply for my work visa. It took me a long time, but I finally have all the necessary paperwork: proof of residence, three reference letters from my clients, a bank statement with the necessary funds, criminal record check, health insurance, social security. Except one thing. I still need the property owner of my apartment to sign a form saying that I can use my address as my business address.

I know I say this often, but this time I really mean it: that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.

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English teaching, open mic night, and Mezipatra

First performance in Prague. Photo by Justyna Mleczak.

First performance in Prague. Photo by Justyna Mleczak.

You guys! I’m doing it! I’m living in Prague!

I have three clients–Giramondo, Barevny, and Confucius–and through these clients, I have eight regular students and plenty of spontaneous substitute gigs. Pretty soon, I’ll be legal, too! I’m going to apply for a živnostensky list, which essentially a business license for freelancers. Then, once I’ve applied for the “živno,” I’ll apply for my Visa. I hope to be a part of the Czech workforce by the end of February of next year.

Teaching English is stressful, but rewarding. I’m excellent with people and excellent with words. Teaching the people the words… that part needs work. I just need practice! Lots and lots of practice. And patience. Lots and lots of patience. Once I get the hang of it, I think I could maybe actually possibly even–dare I say it?–like teaching. No way. Me? A teacher? Never…! Continue reading

Fall nesting in my little pre-war building

The view from my window

The view from my window

Someone must have tampered with my adventure-seeking mechanism when I was a little girl, because even when I want to explore new places, I am held back by some unknown source of fear. So I say that I’m not naturally inclined to travel, that I much prefer to build roots and take trips outside my spot when I get itchy, and that deep down, I’m a homebody. But truthfully, I am filled with wanderlust. It’s just been stamped out by a voice that says, “Beware.”

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R&R on Samos, Thessaloniki: the San Francisco of Greece, and coming home–to Prague!

Flying into Vaclav Havel airport

Flying into Vaclav Havel airport. It was so funny– I must have brought wind, rain, and storms with me to Greece. But the second I get to Prague (where everyone tells me it’s been rainy and cold since I left), the sun is shining through the clouds in that beautiful godly way.

It only took 36+ hours of planes, trains, and automobiles (and a lightning-stormed ferry ride), but I’m finally back in the most beautiful city in the world. And if everything goes my way, I intend to stay put for a few years. Turns out that the best way of making a place feel like home is leaving and coming back. I wonder what that means for the Bay Area…! In any case, here’s what I did after Leros.

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Music festival in Leros

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Day 1 of the music festival in Leros. This group is from Paros.

Last weekend I had the good fortune and honor of peripherally participating in a traditional Greek music and dance festival!

My good friend, Aya, was one of the performers. So it was through her that I was able to gain the “insider’s” experience. I got to join in the behind-the-scenes meals and rehearsals with the group from Paros island, who are a group of about 30 dancers. Some younger kids, about 16-18 years old, and some adults. They were all extremely warm and friendly. Aya and I made friends with two of the teens, George and Marianthi, who are cousins. We had a small jam session one night in our hotel room. Continue reading