I’ll Fly Away

One week and 4 days in Prague. I am feeling underwhelmed. I have met some great people and have gone out until the sun has come up. But there is something missing…

I am working hard on my certification to be an ESL teacher, and the time and energy that’s being put into it is insane. I’m in school 10 hours out of the day working, taking lessons, observing other teachers and learning Czech. I spend a significant amount of energy and time on working on lesson plans outside of school, and my only semi free time is on the weekends. But even the weekends are consumed with essays and future work on my mind.

I’m at the point where I’m not sure where to go from here. I have a lot of friends and good people on my side to get great jobs here and help me be successful here. However, I don’t know if I want to stay. There is no attachment. The point of coming here is to learn a skill and travel, not relocate for another job. There’s no point in being alone and “discovering myself” if I’m stuck working all the time. There is no learning experience.

I’m now looking for what to do next. Do I stay and teach? Do I move on and work elsewhere in the world? Do I volunteer around Europe or elsewhere doing different things? The world is my oyster… but what to do? What to do?

Mluvíte anglicky?

I made it to Prague. Yay!

I left New York on an 8 1/2 hour flight to Moscow, Russia with a short layover, and then from Moscow to Prague on a 2 1/2 hour flight. I am so happy I spent a week in New York to adjust to that time change before heading to Europe. I used Aeroflot Russia which, by the way, was an amazing airline. Friendly staff, lots of food and wine; they even gave me a small pillow, blanket, slippers and an eye cover to sleep.

So I got in on Thursday afternoon then showered and slept. And what happens Friday morning when I wake up? My phone dies. It’s deaaaaad. I lost all contacts, pictures and information. All of it. I mostly freaked out because I’m in a place where I don’t know the language or area and was heavily relying on Google Maps. I was ugly crying for a few hours, but it’s not so bad though. Luckily I’ve managed to make some friends in the short amount of time I’ve been here and the transit system is pretty simple. Writing everything down and having my home address on hand helps a lot too.

So my key to being successful so far here and surviving… joining expat groups and Prague local groups on the book of face, and having an open mind. I’ve only been here 2 1/2 days, but managed to find the furthest T-mobile store with a classmate, grocery shop, get lost in beautiful Old Town, make a handful of new friends from all over the world, drink Czech beer, go dancing, eat at a food truck festival, see the Charles Bridge and eat yummy dessert.

The people I have met have been amazing ❤ and wonderful and nice and helpful. I wish I could share pictures, but… dead phone. Also, I’m too lazy to bring my large camera around with me. 😛

P.S. If you plan on being in Prague, outside of the tourist areas… learn some basic Czech. It helps.

New York/Broken Hearts

New York is AMAZING and I didn’t expect to love it so much. I have been here before, but not alone and not for a week.

I spent my first day walking, and walking and walking. I was feeling down and burnt out, but it was a beautiful day out and I know I needed to leave the house. So I got up and walked from Brooklyn, all the way into lower Manhattan. I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and got ice cream.

The second day, again I was feeling down and broken hearted. I stayed in bed until 6pm, not wanting to talk or see anyone. When I finally got out of the house, I managed to make my way to a bar called The Wilky. The food was sub par, but they had my favorite beer on tap! I ended up staying there for a few hours where I managed to have a nice conversation with the bartender who bought me a shot of Malort. If you don’t know what Malort is, apparently it’s a Chicago thing. I then met a guy and his lady friend who kept insisting on going to dinner and having me tag along. So we went to a fancy ass French place and shared a bowl of beef bourguignon. Soon after we headed to a hip hop, old school bar with dancing. I really have never seen such a mix of people in any one place. But… I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised, New York is the melting pot. We also met some ladies from London who came all the way here just to shop for clothes. I didn’t get home until 3:30am.

The 3rd day in which was Saturday, I had to meet with a Chiropractor to get my back adjusted again. Luckily he was in in the same neighborhood. However, what I didn’t expect was that he ran his office out of his house, in the basement. Normally, I would not have placed myself in such a position to be in some strangers basement, but my chiropractor in Oakland knew him and strongly recommended him. And it worked out! He fixed me for the most part, was insanely nice and gave me a discount after I told him my travelling stories. Afterwards I got dinner and headed to Manhattan to go to Battery Park and ride the Seaglass Carousel. I have a friend (Nicole) in the upper west side so I went and visited her right after. On the way, I managed to see the new Fearless Girl Statue that is right next to the Charging Bull. Once I got into upper Manhattan, I checked out a few local bars and then later we all ended up at an awesome Jazz club called Smoke. We stayed there until 4am. The music was great, the drinks were good and the staff was nice. I felt so naughty being able to order a martini at 3:30 in the morning. Once the music ended we headed to a really shitty diner called 3 Star Diner. Don’t go there… you’ll shit for days. And finally we ended our night by checking out the St. Regis. By the time we got back to my friends house it was nearly 8am and we got to see the Sunday morning sunrise.

By Sunday afternoon, we got up and got bagels and headed to Columbia University to tour the campus. Nicole and I took pictures of all the great statues and had coffee. We later went into Harlem to check out what it’s all about. I was very sad to see how gentrified it was. Apparently it’s not all like that. We only went to the west side and didn’t go too far into the neighborhood. We did get a chance to stop into Paris Blues and saw a jazz band. The saxphone player made it obvious that he didn’t want anyone sitting down as they played. He uncomfortably came up to each person sitting at the bar, stared at them and played a little solo til we started tapping our feet and swayed our bodies a little.

Monday, Nicole and I made it out of the house early finally. We went and spent the day at the Met. There was so much amazing artwork and exhibits and you certainly CAN NOT see it in one day. The coolest part about visiting is that the price is a suggested $25, but is actually pay what you can. So if you’re looking into saving money, this is a way to do it and see some history and art. Afterwards we headed to dinner at Serendipity 3 for foods and frozen hot chocolate. Yum.

So it’s Tuesday now, and my last night here. There was supposed to be a giant blizzard today, but honestly it was not as bad as they made it out to be. But, I was still stuck at home. My Airbnb roommate and I went out to dinner and drinks down the street to one of a few places that are open a bit ago and now I’m in bed.

I’m a little scared for tomorrows flight. I have a lot of sorrow in my heart. I’m just wanting to get better all around. I miss my daughter very much. I am brokenhearted from my relationship. I’m stressed about money and my future. I’m leaving everything behind.

After being here for a week, all I want is for my heart to be mended. New York has given me a little hope to what I am capable of handling.

Que Sera Sera

5 days left and I’m off to Europe for an indefinite amount of time. I’m currently in Brooklyn, New York for the week. Last week I was in Oakland and stayed with the now ex-boyfriend. You see, we agreed to split when I left because, well… it’s the adult thing to do. To experience life on my own, without having to think about another person. We were together for over a year but have been friends for over 11 years. He’s one of my best friends, and will continue to be.

I’m heartbroken and I feel completely alone. I honestly thought about not going at all, not that I have anywhere to go now. I woke up yesterday just wanting a hug and a familiar face. I thought I would be tougher and be able to cope a bit better. I thought I wouldn’t be effected so much, but reality is setting in. It’s hard when the last thing you see before your flight to be on your own, is the look in your lovers eyes and not knowing when you will see or touch them again. So yesterday I took that pain and walked about 5 miles. From my temporary home in Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge and into Manhattan to an ice cream shop I’ve been dying to go to for months called Taiyaki. It was $7, but it was worth the unique experience and effort to get there.

It’s snowing outside today and I decided to stay in. I had made plans originally to go on a few free tours and see some free sights, but my back is aching and bed seems so much cozier. I threw out my back the day before I left Oakland and had to see a last minute Chiropractor. I’m still in pain, and have made an appointment with another one out here in New York. So hopefully I’ll be much better before I leave on Wednesday.

You never know what will happen in life and how you may cope. I’m just hoping I start feeling better soon. Physically and emotionally.

My Emerald City

Seattle is called the Emerald City. Why? Because of all the greenery surrounding it of course. I don’t spend much time outdoors. Not as much as I would probably like. I’m just not motivated to get up and get out of bed and put on clothes and shoes and drive to the nearest lake or park or forest. Nope, that shit is for the birds. So I thought I would share what I do like, and what I do do, and what I wish I had done while living in this wonderful world of Oz.

Have you ever been on a dating website? 90% of the people on there, have profiles and pictures stating how much they like the outdoors and how they’re always hiking or some shit. Bitch, you know you spend your off time eating pizza and being a recluse. Going on that local hike once does not make you an outdoorsy person. I’m not sure if this is just a Seattle thing or if it’s a world thing. Seems like a Seattle thing. END RANT.

Moving on. Here are some of my favorite things I LOVE in Seattle:

Bars in Belltown

  • The Rabbit Hole I love it because it has awesome bar food, weird paintings on the walls and my favorite game of all time, skee ball! Skee ball is the only reason I go.
  • Rocco’s is on the same row of bars in Belltown on 2nd Ave. It’s small and a bit posh, but not in a snobby way.  I’m not as big of a fan as I was when I first started going there a few years ago. I have good reason, I’m a snob when it comes to a good dirty gin martini. They were amazing my first few visits. Perfectly made, not overly dirty and stirred not shaken. The last couple times I have gone, they have been overly dirty and overall not that good. However, their regular cocktails are tasty aaaaand they serve really good slices of pizza. It’s not a huge space, so there is typically a line. Get there early.
  • Shorty’s is another bar on 2nd Ave that I think everyone and their mom ends up at during a drunken night of debauchery. It’s a pinball arcade bar. I personally am not a fan of pinball, mostly because I suck at it and hate spending 50 cents a game for 2 seconds of play. They serve tasty overpriced Coney Dogs for all your drunken pleasure if you’re hungry.
  • Lava Lounge is another one on the strip I like to go to. It’s quiet and looks like a tiki dive bar. I’m not sure why there’s never a lot of people, but I like it.
  • Tula’s is on 2nd Ave as well. This is a super nice jazz club if you’re into that sort of thing. There’s usually a cover, and it’s a small space, but I’ve never been disappointed on the live music while I’m there.
  • The Upstairs is across the street from above mentioned bars, so still on the same strip. (Now can you see why I like to hangout in Belltown?) It’s a place you could walk right past if you weren’t really looking for it. It’s a cute cocktail bar that looks like a sitting area of a small apartment. I read somewhere that the door inside the bar, just past the stairs is an actual apartment that the owner lives in. Not sure how true that is, but still, it’s a nice place.

Pike Place Market

Yeah yeah yeah. Pike Place is NOT overrated. I have a special place in my heart because I worked there one winter at a pasta stand selling choclate pasta. Yep, that’s a thing and people buy the shit outta that stuff.

Pike Place is a huge labyrinth of stores, local vendors and free samples. I love it. You wanna know the best time to go besides in the off season? If you have crazy crowd anxiety and need arms length people space, go at like 10am on a Tuesday. Not all vendors will be open, but you can still catch the throwing fish, get your fair share of free samples of chocolate pasta, chocolate covered cherries, gelato, yogurt, fruit, and all the other yummy stuff. If you like food and sweets and have a big stomach, you can spend a day spending all of your money on grab and go Greek, Asian, Mexican food and all the pastries your little heart desires.

Beyond the actual Market, you can find one of my ultimate favorite places on the planet, The Can Can!!! It’s located just outside of the Market down some stairs on the corner of 1st and Pike. It’s an amazing cabaret which hosts multiple burlesque shows that change a few times a year. You have an option to buy different types of tickets and seats, and some come with food and drinks. It really just depends on how much you want to spend or how much you want to eat.

If you want to sit down and have a nice view of the water, my 2 favorite places in the Market for a good breakfast, lunch or dinner would have to be Lowell’s and the Athenian. Both places have amazing views and the service is great. Warning: These places have stairs to climb and lots of them, just an fyi.

Of course there is a ton more to see and do and eat, but I feel I should limit it to my favorites.

Game Day Love

I am personally not a fan of football, but I am a fan of soccer. So beyond my time in Belltown, you can catch me in Pioneer Square before and after a Sounders game. There are tons of sportsballs bars near the stadiums, but my favorites, where you’ll always catch me are:

  • Fuel I love Fuel. Kinda bro-ish, but the people are super nice and they got good eats. There’s even a patio to hang out at if you don’t want to be stuck inside with smelly drunk people. It’s the perfect place for a nice sunny afternoon.
  • Temple was one of the first bars I went to when I first started going to games. So I always have to make a stop there. They have a million pool tables and a shuffle board upstairs. They serve good food and the owner is always super nice. There’s even a bar downstairs from Temple called The Pharmacy, it’s not always open, so I would check the hours if you head that way.

Other Activities I Like

  • Emerald City Trapeze is the place to go. One of my absolute favorite things to do in Seattle is Trapeze. Like, someday I’m going to join the circus. You don’t have to have any skill whatsoever. It’s a great workout and the teachers are great. Classes are typically 2 hours long. They have other classes too like aerial arts, acrobatics and cyr wheel. There’s a student show every few months and they put on professional shows too.
  • Volunteer Park Conservatory is somewhere I have never been to. In fact I just recently came across a post about it on the book of face and a new flower that’s blooming called Strongylodon macrobotrys or, jade vine. Check it out.flower
  • Pacific Science Center is another place I haven’t been. I believe it’s more catered to families and little ones. A place where you can discover science stuff and play with interactive things.
  • Free Boat Rides on South Lake Union! I had been wanting to go since I read about it months ago, but timing never worked or the weather has been extremely cold. They do this every Sunday and it’s totally free. The only time they don’t sail is if the wind is crazy. You can sail on any of these apparatus’: Sprit boats, steamboats, electric boats, schooners, ketches, yawls, and yachts. Apparently the locals I know don’t even know about this cool secret.
  • The Academy of Burlesque in Seattle. There is burlesque everywhere here. EVERYWHERE. For the past 8 years I have been wanting to go to this school and become a burlesque dancer. The burlesque 101 class is a 6 week class and you finish it off with a recital to the public. I have never had a chance to take the course due to finances, but I was lucky enough to do a private lesson with The One The Only Inga some time ago. They do offer other classes beyond burlesque, just an fyi.
  • Seattle Symphony is also an amazing place. I saw Mozart’s Requiem and was almost in tears. The acoustics are wonderful and it’s a beautiful place.
  • Seattle Opera I have never been, but if you’re a fan of that sort of thing, I would recommend going. I have never heard a bad thing about it.

Of course there’s a million other places I’ve been to and love in Seattle, but this is a list of MY absolute favorites or places I wish I would have gone to. By the way, the picture on top with all of those stickers, lipsticks, eyelashes and glitter was a door prize I won at last weeks Academy of Burlesque 101 Recital. Those viles of glitter… have pubes shoved in there as well. Burlesque dancers really enjoy their glitter a little too much.

 

Farewell Cascadia

I have been in Washington since 2008. We moved here just a few months after baby Zoe was born. It took me a solid 3 years to actually enjoy this place. It didn’t help that during our first winter here, it snowed for 2 weeks and we couldn’t get out of our driveway. No bueno for a Californian brand new to a cold state. I’m a little baby when it comes to the cold, and I just recently prepared myself properly for rain, snow and wind. I bought some rain boots and a parka. Recently, as in only a couple weeks ago… and really I just bought those things for my trip to Prague.

Perry Como wasn’t joking around when he sang “The bluest skies you’ve ever seen in Seattle, and the hills the greenest green in Seattle.” There is a huge misconception about Seattle and the surrounding areas getting non-stop rain all year long. Did you know Chicago, Dallas and Miami get more rain than Seattle? It only rains here about 150 days out of the year, that’s less than half the year. It’s cold and damp here, but the Summer months are totally worth the wait. There’s plenty of opportunities to go to the city to “plug in” and check out the attractions. You can walk around Pike Place Market, go on the Great Wheel, or check out all of the other awesome attractions. There is lots of art and even interactive art spread throughout the city. There are plenty of museums within walking distance (that is if you like to walk everywhere like me and save a couple bucks) or there is tons of public transportation to get you to the different neighborhoods. They just expanded the lightrail, there are tons of buses, a monorail that goes from downtown Westlake Center to the Space Needle, and a few ferries that go here, there and everywhere. Or if you don’t want to deal with all that, you can always catch an Uber or Lyft. Beyond the city there are plenty of opportunities to go hiking, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, play dodgeball or basically anything else while the sun is out.

On that note, I’m going to miss it here. Last Monday was my birthday and last Friday was my last day of work. I have been incredibly social lately, which has lead me to take today to hide in my room and recharge a bit. I have been dragged out of my comfort zone to go bars, concerts, events I wouldnt’t normally go do. I got a chance to see how much of an influence I’ve had on people here and the people in my life in general. Not to sound like a sad sack, but I just assume people don’t like me as much as I think because I’m pretty openly honest and I don’t deal with passive aggressive bullshit. So thank you to everyone who has made my stay here in Washington State a good one. It’s been crazy and it’s been weird. I know I’m hard to deal with it at times, but you’ve made everything exciting and amazing and I appreciate your patience. Also… my California friends… you’re pretty amazing too. Especially since you’ve known me foreverrrrrrr.

Farewell Cascadia. ❤

Go Ask Alice

I like being uncomfortable. I like the unknown. I hate the monotony of comfort.

How can anyone learn about themselves if they are in a constant state of repetition? Going about the daily grind, sipping your cup of coffee, having to be around the same people, same place all the time.

I think I’ve romanticized my future travels but have also placed realistic expectations. The last 2 weeks have been especially hard. I’ve been a bit bipolar and manic. Trying to make sure everything is set for when I leave Washington. There is a slight chance I may not be able to actually leave the country, but at this time… It’s a waiting game and I probably won’t know for sure until I hit New York. Regardless of this news, I get into these temporary highs of excitement and build up. I go from unclear and foggy to moments of clarity thinking “this is happening and I don’t know what’s gong to happen, but it’s going to be amazing.”

I’m uncomfortable, but it’s good. Its good because it’s helping me grow as a person and learn more about myself. I’m happy to know that I’m doing something different, something for me.

Speaking of uncomfortable, my slight bipolar personality has been keeping my life interesting. I have signed up for random classes doing things I don’t normally do like: kickboxing and joining some random REI group to go hiking and saving the forest. I’ve also got into the habit of awkwardly talking to strangers more and in turn, easily making friends and going on adventures. For me, at least the introvert in me, these are crazy uncomfortable situations. I’m preparing myself for the most uncomfortable time in my life, moving abroad for a bit to a country I know little about and don’t speak the language. It’s thrilling and maybe a bit flighty.

So… It’s late and I’m tired but here are some quotes from Alice in Wonderland that I think are relevant to end the night with:

How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another.

I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.

I’m afraid I can’t explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?

In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.