Category Archives: Prague

The Most Beautiful City in the World

I have travelled quite a bit over the past few years and while I haven’t seen a lot of cities, I have seen enough to know what I think, in my eyes, is the most beautiful City in the world.

 

For anyone who knows me, they already know my answer.  It’s the city that changed me forever.  The city that touched my heart and soul and will forever live there, no matter where I go and what I see.  The city with a magical and mystical feeling to it.  The city where so many people made me feel like I belonged and I truly found myself.

 

That city is Prague – the city of 100 spires.  Set in Central Europe, it is a city that is drenched in medieval history and yet has a modern touch to it.  The amazing sites to see, the friendliness of the people and of course the cheap and delicious beer!!!  In my opinion, this is the City that EVERYONE should see in their lifetime.  It is forever etched in my memories as one of the most memorable times of my life.

 

10414496_10152770820430339_5014601649986567671_n10432109_10152802426270339_4991205043395455391_n11127815_10153090594910339_4733116268775509703_n

Advertisements

How do you cure the travelling blues?

It’s a warm rainy winter day here in Canada – yes you are reading that right!!  Today hit a record temperature of 17 degrees Celsius!!  Rained all day – but it felt good to not have to wear a heavy coat today!  It was a blue feeling day though – I am missing Prague a lot lately.  The beautiful sites, my friends, walking through the gorgeous scenery.

10414496_10152770820430339_5014601649986567671_n

I know the feeling will pass, as will as my missing of China.  Yes, I miss China (I NEVER thought I’d say that!).  The quirkiness of the city I lived in with all its crazy signs, the food (okay – this is really what I miss the MOST about China!  Why can’t I find a noodle place here???).  It was quite pretty in the area that I lived too – and I miss the sparsely decorated apartment I lived in.  The solitude.  I like my alone time very much.

 

20170430131353_IMG_0288_1493542960445

So how do I cure the travelling blues?   I scope out hotel websites, Wikipedia for different countries to travel to and read about, look up flight information for the best deals – does it help?  A bit – at least for a while.  If the sun would shine a bit more when I was off work, I would be less melancholy – I would be able to get outside and walk.  Take pictures of new areas.

IMG_20171018_113718_HDR

Life in Canada is good – I am happy to be back.  But I will continue to have the travelling blues until May when I will head to Ottawa for a few days!  In the meantime – I will dream of the beaches of Chile, the beauty of Prague and the food of China!!

IMG_20170922_142936_HDR.jpg

19629_10153090597055339_4800918291335555615_n

94547757be62e679b8670632c2dc86d2a6df0eba.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Battling “travel-sickness”

Being homesick is natural – you go off travelling, or get married and move away, or just move away from your hometown.  You eventually miss certain things of your home, the comfort of having family nearby, the comforts of familiar places to go to, whether its a shopping mall or favourite restaurant.  You get homesick.  It is normal.  But travelsickness?  Is that even a thing??

 

I believe it is.  I have heard this from fellow travellers who have experienced this.  They are away from home for a year or more, come back home and adjust to being back home, and then experience “travelsickness”.  That feeling of being on the road seeing new things, or living in another country and missing walking to the Castle in the evening (yes – I am talking about me!).

 

I am excited and happy to be back in Canada.  I truly am.  But I would be lying to say that I don’t miss being in Europe, or travelling through Chile, or teaching the kids in China.  I must state here that while I miss the kids in China a lot, I do not miss being in the country of China!

 

I miss Prague.  Especially now that the Christmas season is almost here – walking through the Christmas markets, the hot wine, the sounds and smells of Wenceslas Square, the serenity of Prague Castle at night, the busyness of Karluv Most, and the amazing friends I met there.  I miss Prague.  A lot.  I look back at my pictures and reminisce of my time there, and feel nostalgic.  Prague was my home for almost two years.  Living so close to Prague Castle was like a dream come true.  One day, I will go back and visit.  To inhale the aroma of the city.  To envelop myself within the city.  To see old friends and enjoy a beer in Letna Park, people watching, chatting and enjoying my time there once again.

 

I miss Chile.   The walks on the beach.  The warmth of the sun.  The amazingness of the Atacama desert.  The feeling of peace that I felt while I was there.  The feeling of joy that I experienced.  I discovered a lot of myself in Chile, and I treasure the time I got to spend there.  I have become an even more positive person from that trip through Chile.

 

So yes, I am happy to be back in Canada, but I miss my adventures of the past three years.  My adventures aren’t over – I am starting a new chapter in my life, which I know will be a positive one for me. But for now, I am going to accept the fact that I have travelsickness.  And it’s okay.

Bucket list dreams

Growing up in a small Ontario city, one dreams of having the chance to see and maybe even live in exciting cities of the world. But how many of us actually get to do that?  I am sure people would be surprised to hear that many of us do!

I am one of those people. I grew up in Welland, Ontario ~ a small industrial city in Southern Ontario, close to Niagara Falls.  I enjoyed growing up there. I had lots of friends, school was fun for the most part, but then I turned 16 and I started dreaming of moving away. Toronto and New York City were the big cities that I wanted to see and live in! 

I did end up moving to Toronto when I was 19. I stayed a few years, moved to London, Ontario and got married. Yet I still had that itch to see more than Southern Ontario. I just could not see myself being brave enough to get out in the world. 
A few years ( and a divorce) later found me and my daughter heading to New York City. One of my bucket list items came off my list!! 
Single motherhood became my most important job then and so the bucket list had to wait.

A move to Calgary and discovering a new confidence in myself found me looking at European opportunities to work. A trip to Italy in April 2014 took another bucket list item off and added so many more to it!!!  I knew I had the courage to make a move.

In November 2014, after quitting my job, I moved to Prague to start a new life.  Teaching English was never on my bucket list but its enabled me to see London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, and now China. And I have a career now ~ not just a job.

I loved growing up in Welland and I wouldn’t trade my memories of my childhood for anything, but I am so proud of myself to have made it as far in the world as I have.  I can only hope that I inspire my children to live life with all their potential and to see just how far they can go, with hard work and a bucket list!!

​39 years old, with 13 years experience!

Happy Birthday to me!!!
This is birthday number 3 for me traveling abroad, and my 52nd in this awesome world.  It really has been an amazing journey, these 52 years, and while I know deep down that I am NOT middle aged (because, really, who lives to be 104 ~ not many of us!), I do not feel my age at all. And I attribute this to doing what I want and loving what I do!  

I turned 50, a milestone birthday, in Prague, and while it was not exactly the day I had in mind, it was definitely memorable turning 50 in Europe! A weekend trip to Cesky Krumlov on my own was just what I needed after that monumental day.

At 51, I was on my way to Berlin for a short holiday to celebrate my birthday. I enjoyed celebrating on my own as it gave me a chance to reflect on my life, what I had endured and how it had turned out at the time. Celebrating one’s birthday may sound lonely but it really wasn’t. I was in an exciting European city, enjoying new sites and sounds and food.  This was when I made the decision to make a change. China and other Asian countries were on my list but obviously China won. And while China can be challenging, I don’t regret it at all!

So now here I am, turning another year older in another country and it really is exciting!  I have made many friends here who I know are going to be lifetime friends. I have discovered a side of me that I never would have found had I not jumped into this new life ~ that side being the incredible patience I have for teaching young children, and loving them all so much.

I don’t know where I will be next year to celebrate my 53rd birthday but no matter where I will be, you can be sure that I will make it the best day possible and that I will be grateful for being there!

Choosing a better life

My life has been anything but easy. I have experienced challenges with every turn in the road of this life. It has only been recently that I have chosen to embrace every challenge and conquer it.

Czech Republic was one of my biggest and most challenging roads to take. Leaving my family, my comfortable job and a steady pay cheque was the scariest thing I have ever done. With a strong desire to succeed and to show everyone, especially myself, that I could do this, I put my nose to the grindstone, worked hard, worked long hours teaching, and succeeded. With the willpower and determination I knew was needed, I gave it all my all and was rewarded with amazing students and great new friends.

While moving to China can be seen as a huge move, and it was, because of the experience I already had moving away from my family, the transition was much easier to cope with.

If you have a strong desire to see the world, if you are willing to sacrifice the comfort of the known, if you want to be challenged, then you can have this life too. You just need to reach out and grab it.

For the love of food!

​”There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”  George Bernard Shaw

Food. I love food. All kinds of food. Growing up in Canada, I ate the usual food. Hamburger, chicken, vegetables. Nothing overly exciting but I enjoyed it all. 

 
Once I moved out on my own, got married, etc.. I discovered a whole new world of delicious food. 
I have tried many Czech dishes and many Chinese dishes. But which cuisine is the best?  This is strictly my opinion but here are my comparisons:

1. Czech dumplings v. Chinese dumplings. No comparison. China wins hands down. The dumplings are little pockets of heaven with so many different fillings to choose from, including fruit, handmade while you wait. They melt in your mouth, dipped in soy sauce and garlic, and fill you with happiness. Czech dumplings don’t do any of this.
China 1 ~ Czech 0

2.  Czech coffee v. Chinese coffee. 

Another easy choice. Czech wins. The coffee is rich, aromatic, hot and served in adorable cafes. Chinese coffee is mediocre at beat.
China 1 ~ Czech 1

3.  Soup ~ this one is more difficult to choose. Czech republic has delicious soup ~ garlic soup, potato soup, mushroom soup, all so unique and so delicious. The garlic soup has such a distinctively bold taste yet does not leave you with garlic breath. The potato soup and mushroom soup are flavourful, and filling, and a perfect way to start a meal. China has noodles. Big beautiful bowls of chewy noodles bathing in a delicious swirl of broth, laden with vegetables and an egg. The egg confused me at first but oh my goodness it makes the soup even more delicious. This is a tie for me ~ kudos to both countries for making stupendous soups.
China 2 ~ Czech 2

4.  Produce ~ this is another easy one. China surprised me by having such an astounding variety of produce. Fresh juicy watermelon in the summer, sweet mandarins in tbe winter, with a glorious assortment of other fruit available. Vegetables abound. Leeks, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, onions, mushrooms (okay Czech has amazing mushrooms too). The availability of so much good produce is one reason why I have managed to stay so healthy here. China wins this one.
China 3 ~ Czech 2

5.  Breads and pastries ~ this is close for me. Czech has pastries, from apple strudel to chocolate filled croissants, cakes and cookies everywhere ~ well it is Europe. But don’t dismiss China. They have very good bread ~ soft buttery bread. They have these custard filled tarts with the pastry so light and flaky they melt in your mouth. Wafer cookies, fruit filled cakes ~ all so delicious. Czech wins though for this one big reason ~ chocolate. Need I say more?
China 3 ~ Czech 3

6. Signature dishes ~ this is the deciding category. Czech has sausages. So many mouth watering sausages, on chewy rolls with mustard, sizzling and popping in your mouth with that first bite. My mouth is watering just thinking of this!  Czech also has svickova, a dish containing meat, with bread dumplings, cranberries and whipped cream, with gravy poured over it all. It’s not a healthy dish but it is delicious. Even the dumplings are good served this way (probably because it is drenched in gravy!).  Czech is famous for its meat dishes ~ all kinds of meat. Pork knuckle, beef brisket. All so very good!!  China also has a wide variety of dishes to try.  Dumplings and noodles of course. Ma la tong. Chicken with peppers and ginger served with rice. Rice dishes! Pork, beef, fish (I am not a fan of the fish dishes though ~ too bony for my liking). They all have their own unique quality and taste. And all served with vegetables.  This one is going to China. With the healthier dishes and the wider variety to choose from, it is definitely the winner.
China 4 ~ Czech 3
China has a healthier cuisine, but I still miss the Czech coffee and pastries.