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A Chance to Unplug

“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.” – Harper Lee

This summer has been beautiful. Here in the U.S., Labor Day is the official end of summer. For me, the end of summer is a bit sad, as it’s the season I love most.

dock

This year, to cap summer off, I spent a few days away in Tennessee on the River with family and friends. Yes, it was all about docks and water fun and sunshine, but one of the best parts was the chance to unplug.

Tennessee River
Tennessee River

Luckily the cell service is sporadic and the wifi doesn’t work outdoors. With great weather, we spent the entire weekend outdoors.

We saw a mother deer with her twin spotted fawns dawdling about several times, a Bald Eagle taking flight above us, and smiled so much from the water fun — skiing even for me — that we all wore permanent grins from all the laughter.

Labor Day fun

There is no better way to unwind than with time to unplug.

sunrise over the Tennessee river
sunrise over the Tennessee river

I hope you had a great Labor Day, too! Onward now to fall … have a great week!

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5 Reasons Coldplay’s Concerts Are the Best

Coldplay, Chicago Soldier Field, July 23, 2016

“Look at the stars, look how they shine for you…” – “Yellow” from Parachutes, Coldplay

It’s no secret I’m a Coldplay fan. Well, maybe not even a fan — their songs and albums form a large part of the soundtrack of my life. I blame it on “Clocks.” It’s genius, I think — played on almost all black keys on the piano. And then the lyrics. It’s the first Coldplay song I loved.

My family and I saw Coldplay in Prague when we lived there in 2012 (I wrote about it here), and this past weekend I had tickets to see Coldplay in Chicago with my oldest son, 17.

In Prague, a newspaper there wrote an article about how the Coldplay concert in 2012 was the first concert post-Communism that the Czechs really got into, really celebrated. That really spoke to me then, and it still speaks now.

After my second Coldplay concert, this time at Soldier Field, I can now say that it’s true. Coldplay has the best show. It’s impossible not to become caught up in the music.

5 Reasons Coldplay Performs the Best Concerts on the Planet

  1. Lights everywhere.

Everyone gets a lighted, automated-to-the-music wristband —

Lighted wristband at the Coldplay concert
Lighted wristband

Coldplay, Soldier Field Chicago, the fun! from Jennifer Lyn King on Vimeo. (30 second video)

2. Fun!

The band, its lights, its music, and the sound is irresistibly fun.

Coldplay, Soldier Field Chicago, July 23, 2016 from Jennifer Lyn King on Vimeo. (30 second video)

3.  Audience / band participation.

Sing-alongs. The band is authentically having fun, too.

Coldplay live at Soldier Field, Chicago, The Scientist, July 23, 2016 from Jennifer Lyn King on Vimeo. (30 second video)

4. Confetti, lights, music, dancing …

All of it equals one amazing time. This was my favorite part of the concert (– 53 seconds of pure joy):

Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall, Coldplay live at Soldier Field, Chicago, July 23, 2016 from Jennifer Lyn King on Vimeo. (53 seconds)

5. The energy —

The whole stadium was electric. And I’m not talking about the thunderstorms that wiped out the first two opening acts with about 300 lightning strikes and 3″ of rain, or the thunderstorm that stopped the Coldplay set about 5 songs early and caused the entire stadium to evacuate.

No, the feeling of being in an atmosphere of color, joy, happiness, sound, and fun is almost irreplaceable. I’ve been to many big concerts at giant venues. None equals, so far, the amazing feeling of being at Coldplay.

Lights, Color, Sound: Coldplay in Concert

The Coda:

Rain and lightning overpowered the show about 90 minutes in, and officials called for the stadium to evacuate. By that time, most of us, especially on the field, were swathed in cheap plastic ponchos. The $3.33 I spent on my poncho was the best purchase I’ve made for a long time. The heavens truly opened up and dumped down rain by the stadium-full.

To evacuate, we slogged through rivers 3 – 6″ deep of running water almost the whole way to the north end of the park area, a mile away. The crowd on the other hand didn’t dampen. “Whoa-oh” from some of the choruses continued in song during the mass exodus, flashes of lightning and crashing thunder the accompaniment along the way. And, some turned the walk into a slip-n-slide through the water-covered grass. I had water streaming in my eyes, and it was hilarious.

I loved the Coldplay concert at Chicago’s Soldier Field, apocalyptic weather and all. When Coldplay comes around again, I’ll be there.

Thanks for the fun, Coldplay, and for bringing light and joy to so many around the world.

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6 Places to See in Prague

Prague and its 5 Bridges

In the US and around the world, travelers think of Paris, London, or Rome when they think of a European city to visit, but my personal favorite is Prague. It’s not only more beautiful than all the other cities I’ve visited, but it also is the most authentic.

Its cultural significance stems from its long history as an Imperial capital city, when kings and emperors, musicians, writers and artists have called Prague home. And, since its beginnings in the 9th century, Prague is the only major European city not to be destroyed by bombs in war.

Prague straddles the Vltava River in modern day Czech Republic. The historic central area is easily walkable, and has been marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992.

My Favorite 6 Places to See in Prague


1. Old Town Square:

The open cobblestone square began as a marketplace for merchants from all over Europe. King’s processionals to the elaborate palaces, public executions, and widespread rallies have taken place in Old Town Square since the 11th century.

The great Astronomical Clock built in 1410 is fascinating. Its Apostle and skeleton figurines dance at the top of each the hour, and large crowds gather to watch the show.

Prague Astronomical Clock
Prague Astronomical Clock

 

At Christmas and Easter and other special times of the year, market stalls dot the Square with merchants selling traditional crafts and foods like Trdlnik (warm cinnamon pastries) and roast pork pulled from an open-air spit, Czech beer and mulled wine.

Prague's Old Town Christmas Markets
Prague’s Old Town Christmas Markets

 

For a bird’s eye view of the square and Prague’s Old Town, venture up the Old Town Hall tower.

 

2. Josefov, the Old Jewish Quarter:

The Old Jewish Quarter sits near the Vltava River, a ten minute walk from Old Town Square. The Jewish presence in Prague dates back for more than one thousand years, but Hitler’s drive to exterminate the Jews crushed the thousand-year legacy within four years’ time. Josefov and nearby concentration camp, Terezin, remind us today of the struggles Jews in Prague faced during WWII.

Terezin, Czech Republic
Terezin concentration camp, Czech Republic

A small patch of ground in the Old Jewish Cemetery contains over 12,000 tombs on the surface, with tens of thousands more entombed in countless layers underneath.

Tours of the Synogogues and the Old Cemetery in the Quarter are available year round.

Prague's Jewish Cemetery
Prague’s Jewish Cemetery

 

3. Charles Bridge:

For me, Charles Bridge is the heart of Prague. It is a place like no other in all the world.

Snow-covered Charles Bridge in Winter, Prague
Snow-covered Charles Bridge in Winter, Prague

 

For centuries, the Charles Bridge served as the only bridge across the Vltava River. Some stories say the bridge was first built with whatever materials the locals had at the time, including straw and eggs. When the original structure washed away, the Charles Bridge was rebuilt in stone in 1355.

Today, thirty-one statues line the darkened stone bridge, each one with a story from former religious times.

Walk the Charles Bridge at daybreak or dusk, when the tourist crowds are thinner. The view of Prague Castle from the Charles Bridge is breathtaking, so be sure to have your camera ready.

Prague Castle at Night
Prague Castle at Night

 

4. The Lobkowicz Palace:

The Lobkowicz Palace is located at the northeast end of the Prague Castle and has one of the most impressive collections in Europe. The Lobkowicz Collections display family treasures from more than four centuries, including the Canaletto painting of Lord Mayor’s Day, Beethoven’s manuscripts of the 3rd, 5th, and 6th Symphonies, armor, and more.

Plan to spend an hour or two for the audio tour, then enjoy lunch at the Lobkowicz Palace on the balcony overlooking the city before listening to the live chamber performance inside the Palace, offered every day at 1 pm.

Prague and the Vltava River
Prague and the Vltava River, the view from Lobkowicz Palace

Plan to walk the rest of the extensive grounds within Prague Castle, including Golden Lane, and St. Vitus Cathedral. Link to photos and what to do in 3 Hours inside Prague Castle here.

Prague Castle's Saint Vitus Cathedral
Prague Castle’s Saint Vitus Cathedral

 

5. The Libraries of Strahov Monastery:

Experts claim the two libraries of Strahov Monastery to be among Europe’s most beautiful libraries. The collections of centuries of books below exquisite ceiling frescoes are worth seeing up close and in person.

Library at Strahov Monastery, Prague: A setting in my work-in-progress novel, Water Lily
Library at Strahov Monastery, Prague

 

After you see the libraries, wander through the gates along the Monastery’s east wall, and find the best panoramic view over Prague.

View Over Prague from Strahov
View Over Prague from Strahov

 

6. Prague-style entertainment:

Prague offers opera, symphonic, and performing arts in all of its beautiful theaters at an affordable price. Before the show, enjoy one of Prague’s excellent emerging restaurants.

My favorite in Prague is Terasa U Zlaté Studně (Terrace at the Golden Well), reached via a cobblestone lane tucked in the hillside just below the Castle. The view from the terrace, over the glistening spires of Prague’s skyline, is unsurpassed.

Plan to see a ballet in the National Theater, worth the cost of the ticket just to sit in the beauty of the theater. At Christmastime, the National Theater offers a special version of the Nutcracker with a Dickensian twist.

Prague's National Theater along the Vltava River
Prague’s National Theater along the Vltava River

 

One final note before you travel to Czech Republic, don’t forget to learn a few words in Czech to use while you’re there… please, thank you, and beer. For more on 5 Czech words to know when visiting Prague, click here.

Happy traveling!

 

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The Beauty of Serendipity

Serendipity : unexpected beauty

Serendipity (n.) : discovering something good, valuable, or pleasant without looking for it. (Webster’s Dictionary)

 

Last week was one of those which opened with sunshine and beach-like temperatures, but by Thursday, temperatures plummeted forty degrees and rain came in torrents along with a tornado. By Friday, rain mixed with hail at the top of every hour. The plans my family had made for the weekend–camping–didn’t pan out.

And yet, I can say this past weekend was one of the best I can remember. Why?

Serendipity.

How?

On Friday night, a bunch of friends came by the house and ended up staying for hours. It was mostly impromptu, a time filled with raucous laughter. I woke up the next day, my sides still splitting and sore from laughing so hard.

Serendipity : unexpected beauty
Serendipity : unexpected beauty

 

By Saturday night, after a day full of oil painting, chores, and running boys to and fro, we thought it might sound fun to try and do something different, something on our family bucket list on Sunday. The weather was clearing and the Indy 500 Time Trials ran on Sunday. Should we try to make it? we asked the boys at dinner. After a little arm-twisting and promises for time to do homework in the car, they agreed.

Indy 500 Time Trials

Indy 500 Time Trials
Indy 500 Time Trials

My backstory with the Indy 500

18 years ago, I worked as an intern for General Motors / Delco Electronics in technical sales and marketing and spent the month of May at the Indy 500 track for them. I helped with the displays, talking with spectators, and hosting corporate guests for the activities surrounding the race. The sound and rush of the race cars as they fly around the track digs under your skin when you’re there. It’s an unexplainable feeling, but it was a thrill to get to go with my husband and 3 sons all these years later.

At the Indianapolis Speedway for the Indy 500 Time Trials
At the Indianapolis Speedway for the Indy 500 Time Trials

 

The Sound (that thrills me): 4 second clip of an Indy car

 

An NBA Game:

While we were at the Indy 500 track, watching the races for the pole position, my oldest son mentioned he thought game 1 in the Eastern conference finals for the NBA was that day in Indy. Thanks to the affordability of Pacers tickets and the accessibility of modern technology, we soon had tickets for the game, the Indianapolis Pacers versus the Miami Heat.

Indianapolis Pacers stadium: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indianapolis Pacers stadium: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

My boys are 15 1/2, 13, and 11 1/2, and all love basketball. They’re athletes and are growing faster than I can feed them, so a Pacers / Heat game live and in person is like winning the lottery, no matter how high up in the rafters our tickets were. It was amazing.

Indianapolis Pacers versus Miami Heat, game one, conference finals, May 18, 2014
Indianapolis Pacers versus Miami Heat, game one, conference finals, May 18, 2014

 

After watching the Pacers beat the Heat, driving the hours home with the setting sun at our backs, we all had to shake our heads in amazement and gratitude with how it all came together. Divine, joy-filled; a gift.

This is the Beauty of Serendipity.

We didn’t deserve any of it; we simply showed up, held things loosely, and watched as the moments unfurled. It was a wow. I’m still in awe, grateful beyond words.

Serendipity.

I couldn’t help writing about it this week, because I believe serendipity is one of the greatest gifts in life. It’s a coming together of things out of our control, a time and place outside of a planner or schedule, a collision of love and beauty in the most unusual of circumstance. It is catching the joy as it flies.

Now, as I sit back and watch as the calendar spills into summer, I’m trying to remind myself of the importance of open space on those fleeting days to come, time to allow for the possibility of serendipity.

All too soon, my boys will be grown and on their own. I need and want to embrace serendipity for the smallest moments, for that is where the beauty in life lies.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  -Leo Buscaglia

My definition:

Serendipity (n.): catching the joy as it flies.

I’d love to hear your definition of serendipity … do you have one?

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Mycenae and Ancient Greece: A Photojournal

Mycenae, Ancient Greece

“Let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter.” ― Homer, The Iliad

It all began when my oldest son, then twelve years old, began to read Rick Riordan’s young adult series with the character Percy Jackson, who is notoriously the son of Poseidon in The Heroes of Olympus. The series begins when 12-year-old Percy goes on a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of his teachers attacks him, and he begins to discover his ties to the gods in Ancient Greece. My son devoured each book in the series, and soon began begging us to go to Greece.

My family and I lived in Prague for four years, and during that time, we traveled to as many European countries as possible. It was a dream come true to get to see and experience places we’d never imagined we’d get to go, especially as a family. When our son showed such interest in Greece, we decided we had to go. It was one of the most interesting places we were able to see — all of us loved it. This is why: history came alive in Ancient Greece.

Homer and The Iliad:

The ancient Greek writer, Homer, wrote the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey around the 8th century B.C. The Homeric poem The Iliad is the oldest piece of Western literature, and is set during the Trojan War (12th century B.C.) and involves the King Agamemnon and a warrior Achilles. King Agamemnon ruled from the ancient fortress at Mycenae and lived quite a story. At Mycenae, that ancient story written in The Iliad and The Odyssey comes alive in full color.

Ancient Greece and Mycenae:

Mycenae is the definition of beautiful.

The high hill where the Mycenae archeological site is located is about 55 miles southwest of Athens on the Peloponnese peninsula.

Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece

 The Lion Gate

The Lion Gate marks the entrance to Mycenae and was built in the 13th century B.C. The Lion Gate is made up of two majestic lionesses and is the only surviving piece of sculpture at Mycenae. It is the oldest relief type sculpture and also the largest of prehistoric art.

The Lion Gate, Mycenae, Ancient Gre
The Lion Gate, Mycenae, Ancient Greece

Mycenae:

The archeological site is vast and encompasses a large area atop a high hill. Walking paths lead throughout the site.

Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
A deep well, Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Beautiful terrain, Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece

From the citadel site where King Agamemnon’s palace stood, the site overlooks hills and plains striped with olive and orange groves across to the Aegean Sea.

the view toward the Aegean from Mycenae, Ancient Greece
the view toward the Aegean from Mycenae, Ancient Greece

The colors are breathtaking.

Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece

 

Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece
Mycenae, Ancient Greece

At its peak, around 1350 B.C., Mycenae had a population of 30,000 people. Around the 12th century B.C., Mycenae declined and was eventually destroyed and abandoned.

Greek archaeologist Kyriakos Pittakis began excavations in 1841 when he found and restored the Lion Gate. Since that time, the citadel and lower village have continued to be excavated.

Even more than the Acropolis in Athens, I highly recommend visiting Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Nafplio while traveling in the mainland of Greece. It is one of the most memorable, colorful, and meaningful sites I saw during my four years living in Europe.

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It’s a Wonderful Life: 40 Years of My Story

With once-in-a-lifetime friend, in Prague

“Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! How could it be anything else?” – the movie It’s A Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life has always been one of my favorite movies. I love Jimmy Stuart and his story of enthusiastic youth turned to despair, and being lifted back out again by taking stock of his life with the help of the angel Clarence. The story has many truths, about family and friends being the best parts of life, and about how as we use our gifts we take part in some form of a divine dance. Without our parts in that dance, there are holes in the stories of others, and life is not the same. In essence, we are here for a reason.

Tomorrow is my 40th birthday, and as I take stock of my life, I can only do so with wonder. It has been amazing, this story I’ve gotten to live out. My 40th wouldn’t be complete without a photojournal …

It’s a Wonderful Life: 40 Years of My Story

 

Growing Up
Growing Up

This photo was taken in the backyard of the house where I lived in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. (Proof that my hair has always been wild!)

At the Olympic Trials with my synchronized swimming team
At the Olympic Trials with my synchronized swimming team

In Pennsylvania in middle school, I had the privilege of swimming with these lovely ladies under the direction of legendary synchronized swimming coach, Ms. Betty Hess. This photo was taken in Indianapolis at that year’s Olympic Trials. I was in 8th grade (I’m the last one in the photo).

Swimming in the Olympic Trial
Swimming in the Olympic Trials

We came in 13th place for the nation. It was one of those WOW moments in my life.

Soon after the Olympic Trials, my family moved again to a small town in Ohio, where events came about that I began modeling with Elite Model Management out of New York City and traveled to Paris and lived in Tokyo, Japan, for three months during high school. This photo is with my roommate for those three months in Tokyo, Leslie Bibb, of Iron Man fame.

During My Modeling Years, in Tokyo, with my roommate, Leslie Bibb
During My Modeling Years, in Tokyo, with my roommate, Leslie Bibb

We had a blast in Tokyo.

In Tokyo, touring with Leslie on a break between work
In Tokyo, touring with Leslie on a break between work

These years were another of those WOW moments.

On the runway in Paris
On the runway in Paris

I met my husband during my stint in engineering school at Purdue. Obviously, he was and continues to be one of the biggest WOW moments of my life.

At College, with my soon-to-be husband (middle) and brother
At college, with my soon-to-be husband (middle) and my brother

My grandmothers influenced me in many ways. My maternal grandmother, pictured below, infused a spirit of adventure. She was a pilot with the Women’s Air Service Patrol in World War II.

At Purdue with my Grandmother
At Purdue with my Grandmother T

My other grandmother instilled tenacity and faith and boundless love for family and friends (pictured below). Her father immigrated to the US from Sweden and settled in Western Kansas, where they began their lives in a creek bed and later a sod house.

On the Western Kansas prairie with my Grandmother W
On the Western Kansas prairie with my Grandmother W (head tipped back from the wind?)

Another grand woman has had a powerful impact on my life for over twenty years, Dr. Emy Wadsworth, pictured in the center, below. Her friendship has helped me to learn to look for serendipity, to realize the importance of friendships, for nurturing healthy relationships, and is the one who encouraged me to do what I love: write.

Emy’s words are similar to Pa Bailey’s in It’s a Wonderful LifeAll you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.

I was a contributor, along with the other three friends in the photo, as well as others, in Emy’s book GIVING MUCH, GAINING MORE, published in 2002 on the power of mentoring as a positive force for building meaningful lives.  It was my first publishing credit.

 My closest Purdue friends
Dr. Emy Wadsworth, Marlee, Bonnie, CeCe, and me : My closest Purdue friends

From It’s a Wonderful Life:

“Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, Love Clarence.”

My family. They love me, good and bad, day in and day out. I love them more than words can express. This photograph was taken on my 30th birthday, my 3 boys (my husband Brian is taking the photo). My hands and my heart are full.

My three boys and me on my 30th birthday
My three boys with me on my 30th birthday

Getting to live in Prague for 4 years was another of those WOW times. Truly, it was a dream come true. In the photo below, we are in our first year abroad, in Paris, 2010.

A dream come true, living in and traveling Europe with the family
A dream come true, living in and traveling Europe with the family

Below, I’m with my friend from Holland, another once-in-a-lifetime friend.

With once-in-a-lifetime friend, in Prague
Friends and fun in Prague

 

This photo (below) was taken by our middle son a couple of weeks ago, as we’re on our way to the symphony. We’ve been married almost 17 years. Brian has always been my biggest supporter, my closest friend, and my favorite person in the world. I am deeply grateful for him.

Married and grateful for these wonderful 17 years
Married and grateful for these wonderful 17 years together

 

The travel has been amazing, the experiences priceless, but what really matters and means something is found in the people I’ve gotten to spend my days alongside.

I wouldn’t trade any of these days or years to be younger. Thank you to all the friends and family who are gifts to me. I wouldn’t be a fraction of who I am today without your part in my life.

Taken in September '13, on a writing retreat
September ’13

 

You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. -Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life

Yes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

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The Expat Experience: 5 Things I Learned from 4 Years in Prague

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

“Life might be difficult for a while, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world.” -David Sedaris, on the expat experience

Three months ago, my life changed drastically. After packing 5 suitcases to last 2 months, I boarded an airplane with the 4 men in my family, and said Na Shledenou, Goodbye to the country we’d called home since summer of 2009. That country was Czech Republic.

 

Prague Castle
Reflections of Prague Castle

I loved living as an expat. The expat experience was tough, but so rewarding. I loved getting to know Prague.

Where is Czech Republic?

It’s most often thought of as Czechoslovakia (it separated from Slovakia in 1993), was occupied by the Germans in WWII, taken over by the Soviets after the war, and became free from the USSR and communism after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Czech is surrounded by Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria, in Central / Eastern Europe.

Czech Republic is ripe with history, horrific like at the Nazi concentration camp of Terezin, yet filled with castles and natural beauty like Cesky Krumlov, Nelahozeves, and the Prague Castle. The Old Town of Prague feels like old world Europe. Almost every detail is authentic. Prague is the only major European capitol to be unscathed by wartime bombs. I believe Prague is the most beautiful city in the world.

Prague Castle at night
Prague Castle at night

One of my favorite parts of the expat experience was getting to become close friends with people from all over the world. Another was the opportunity to travel, widely. I toted my camera everywhere, and photographed everything.

But the best part about the expat experience was that I learned many things about myself and the world around me, every single day of those 4 years.

5 Things I Learned from Living as an Expat: Continue reading The Expat Experience: 5 Things I Learned from 4 Years in Prague

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Saying Goodbye to Prague, Hello to USA

Prague's spires

How lucky I am to have known someone who was so hard to say goodbye to.

Almost four years ago, I learned that my family and I would move across the ocean to a faraway city called Prague. My first question was, “Where is Prague?”

The opportunity to move there was for my husband’s job, and we thought the stay in Eastern Europe would be for 2 or 3 years. It was a dream for us, to get to live in a foreign country and to have the chance to travel Europe with our family. Though those 2 or 3 years turned into almost 4 years, it all really was a dream.

Prague's spires
Prague’s spires

My husband and I moved to Prague with 3 young sons, not knowing how our time overseas would go or turn out. Everything was new; everything was different. From navigating narrow roads with no lines to learning to live in a smaller space with tiny appliances for a family of five, our first months abroad were a continual challenge of learning how to adapt and make the most of the experiences at the same time. Continue reading Saying Goodbye to Prague, Hello to USA

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Prague’s National Theater: Astounding Beauty

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” -Pablo Picasso

National Theater, Prague
The National Theater, Prague

If there were ever a time we need to wash the dust of life off, it is now.

I am so saddened by what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. A tragedy of that magnitude makes us all around the world consider how we should move forward, carry on, and still honor the vibrant lives and spirits that were cut short on that morning. Surely the answer is in helping the world heal and find peace, especially from the inside. Or as Miss Rumphius, one of my favorite children’s book characters, says: we need to help make the world a more beautiful place, soften the edges, and send out love.

One way to take part in hope is through art.

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

In Prague, where I currently live, art is all around, in the architecture, in the jazz rifts echoing along the city streets, in the sculptures and performances and rich cultural history. Czech Republic is a country whose heritage is art.

The National Theater, Prague
The National Theater, Prague

Continue reading Prague’s National Theater: Astounding Beauty

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23 Countries & 5 Seas: My 3 Years in Prague Travel Log

Stunning Switzerland

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine of Hippo

In the past few years, since my family and I moved to Europe from the US Midwest, I’ve had the opportunity to see and travel to far more places than I ever dreamed. It’s been one incredible adventure.

Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik

During that time, I’ve written dozens of posts on my travels around Europe, from places like Dubrovnik to Paris, from Sweden to Tuscany. We’ve traveled to 23 countries in Europe, and dipped our toes in 5 seas!

 


visited 24 countries (10.6%)

I thought I’d compile a list as a blog post to share here. Following, a list of many of my Posts on Travel:

 

Italy's Amalfi coast from a hike along the Trail of the Gods

Italy’s Amalfi coast from a hike along the Trail of the Gods

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

 

For you: Most of our travels have been by car from Prague. Lots and lots of roadtrips! Where is your favorite place to travel on a roadtrip?