And then there were none…

Over the last several months I’ve been traveling. I haven’t been blogging as much as should have. My memory is bad, and this is basically my diary. I’ve had some good times, rough times and weird times.

In Europe, I have traveled to Prague, Czech Republic (where I spent the most time). Graz and Vienna, Austria. Berlin, Germany. Budapest, Hungary. And now I am in Fiesso d’Artico, Italy. While in Budapest I came to the realization that I do not belong here. I need to go back to the U.S.

This goes beyond homesickness. I miss my daughter terribly. She is my one and only love. I am nothing without her. Because of my decision to leave and have her stay with her dad, I have been called good, brave, fucked up, in denial and irresponsible. I don’t deny that my decision to leave her with her dad had it’s consequences for me and her. I felt what I did, needed to be done at the time. I wanted her to have a life in which I felt I could not provide, and it seemed that her dad has his shit more together than me. This has left her scarred and has effected more people in my life than I intended to.

I am trying. So hard. At this point, all I can do is show her my love, make sure she is well taken care of, and hope for the best. She has not lived with me in almost a year. I have not seen her in 6 months. I have only been traveling for 4 months and when I am done, it will be a full 5 months of traveling and over a year of not living with my little girl.

When I get back, I fully intend to get myself healthy. I am unwell with anxiety and depression. It’s hard to function as a normal person when these things make me a bit bipolar as well. I want to go to school again. I want to be a better mom. I want to be a better person. I feel I am trying so hard and I just get shit on for it.

I don’t want anyone’s pity for what I’m saying, and I shouldn’t be judged for what I have done. I want my daughters life to be great. That is all I care about and I hope that she will see that as she gets older.

Austrian Holy Water

This is an unfinished blog, and probably wont ever be finished. It’s been sitting in the queue for awhile…

Long story short in regards to the holy water, I basically bathed in it when I got to a church in Vienna.

We left on Monday from Prague and took 3 trains to Graz, Austria. Met up with a friend, drank some whiskey and did some night exploring around town. We spent a lot of time by the river, all talking and dipping our feet in. The night wasn’t too cold and it was worth a scraped hand on the rocks. I also happened to get a little too drunk and fall off of a statue/fountain about 3 feet up. I just wanted to lay there and die, but friends will be friends, and they made sure to get me off of the wet ground. We eventually wandered into a cool tavern before heading back to the flat for sleeps. It was a long day.

The next day we headed to Gösting, not too far out from the city center by bus. The day was cold, but it was bearable. We started hiking up and up and up towards the ruins of Gösting Castle. Halfway up it started to rain, snow and sleet. It felt good on my face. Kept my hung-over out of shape body cool. By the time we reached the top, the snow had stopped. We wandered around the ruins and found a pub at the very top with the most incredible view. We sat outside there, talked with the locals and chatted about life while admiring the castle cats that were leaping around on the trees. We watched the sky and could see the rain starting to come again, so we left back to Graz city center.

Once we got there, we had “kebobs”. Those things are freaking everywhere in Austria and Prague. They’re cheap, but delicious. We headed to the clock tower on Schlossberg hill afterwards to look at more views of the city. You can see from my featured picture on this post, that the staircase to it was quite intense. Actually it’s not as intimidating as it looks. The views are amazing, the clock tower has a great story, and there’s even a beautiful garden at the top.

Over the next few days, we had a party and a few nights of hibernating from the cold weather. On Friday morning we left Graz and headed to Vienna for the day. No plans except to the Wittgenstein House to view the architecture of Paul Engelmann with meticulous touches from philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Afterwards we wandered and wandered and wandered. Vienna is much bigger than I have ever imagined. Our first stop was Belvedere Palace which we just happen to stumble upon. It’s beautiful, big and has some crazy history to it.

It’s Such a Perfect Day….

When you arrive in Prague, the airport is very small. You get out of the main gate and find a small lobby with plenty of taxis and people waiting with signs. On your way to your destination, there are things that no one tells you about.

There is graffiti everywhere. Traffic sucks. There are dogs that don’t have leashes. The transportation system is still easy and still amazing. Service is bad everywhere. Czech’s do not give a shit about you or your problems. The only old timey part with castles and red roofs is when you’re in Old Town. It’s beautiful and expensive there. And by expensive, I mean by Czech standards. Sure coming here for a vacation from an expensive country like the United States, 85 crowns (or more) is no big deal for a beer. When living here, I think the standard outside of Old Town or even in the country, 45 crowns is standard price.

The weather has been off and on with sunshine and rainfall. We all bask in the rays of the sun when it’s out. We creep out of the classroom on our breaks and get lifted outside to grab something to eat from Marks&Spencer or a pastry from the shop by the metro. Life has been stressful and not what I have imagined. I’ve basically relocated into another part of the world, only to find myself in the same situation. The only difference is lack of communication. I can say hello. I can say goodbye. I can ask your name. I can say thank you. My brain is on a level where education has been so dormant that all the input from this course, has overloaded me so much, that I can’t even start to comprehend learning conversational Czech.

Enough complaining though…

I have a busy month ahead. I have just barely started working on my visa. I have a trip to Austria planned, then to Berlin for a night… maybe 2 if I can, then back to Prague and off to Croatia for a month!

If you haven’t noticed, my Instagram has been lacking because I can’t connect to it here. Oh wells….

P.S. The food here is amazing.

 

Superstition Rendezvous

3rd week in a TEFL course and my brain is broken. I should be working right now, but I needed a break. So… grapes are good and so are blog post updates.

I finally got out of the city with some friends last Sunday and had a chance to see Karlštejn Castle. It was built in the 1300’s and is one of the most famous and visited castles outside of Prague. We went for lunch in the village of Karlštejn and I spent a whopping 430 crowns on a nice lunch of steak, potato croquettes, a salad and a beer. It was a lovely day outside to eat and a perfect stroll through a small village.

However, coming back home on the train… I went straight back into reality. I had a grammar lesson due the next day and hadn’t even started on it. A friend had invited me over to her town of Úvaly, where she had offered to feed me and help me out on my lesson plan. So I hopped on a train and off I went.

On my way to Úvaly, which by the way isn’t so far outside of Prague, I saw some lush green fields and beautiful forests from my window. So next weekend, if I survive this week in TEFL, I think I’ll head outside of the city and take a nice hike through the woods and greenery and be alone. I need to recharge a bit.

But for now…. it’s back to work I go. I have a lesson to plan and so little time to do it in.

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.