CZCzech Republic

Czech Republic

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Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Packing without being a... pack rat.

Four months seems like such a long time!  To be exploring a country... or 10 countries... for that amount of time scream PACK MORE CLOTHES! but as I pile my sweaters, shorts, jeans and leggings on my bay window seat, I start to realize I have made a mistake. I'm ... read more

Mayan White

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Discover. In every sense of the word.

  Discovered a new part of Prague this weekend. Well, new to me anyway. This place wasn’t full of historic buildings, chiseled with character. There we no cute sidewalk shops with marionettes dancing on string to fanciful music. It wasn’t a corner café full of laughter and sweet, roasted aroma… ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Earth Day Musings

  The end of my full year in Prague is fast approaching. There’s tons that I’ve learned, experienced seen, and yet there’s one thing I haven’t done a whole lot of; driven a car.   Alright, I’ll be honest. Technically, during this past year, I have been behind the wheel; ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Goodnight Prague!

  Lucie and I spend a lot of time together. It’s easy to do when you work over 40 hours a week and her desk faces yours. I enjoy her company, her dry sense of humor that often makes my eyes water. I appreciate the way she understands some frustrations ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

"Football in Europe means soccer, Amy!" Yeah... That much I got.

I sometimes believe my European friends feel the need to remind me that "football" is the real term for what Americans call "soccer," JUST because I'm American. This is all despite the fact that I continuously and kindly remind them that - "I get it!"  Before the season ended a ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

November 17, 2009 - Czechs celebrate 20 years since Velvet Revolution

Nearing Narodni trida on the afternoon of November 17, I was met by a human barricade of men and women in uniform. Some resembled typical police officers while others may have easily passed for S.W.A.T. I was under the impression that this would be a celebration! It had been two decades ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Dominican RepublicDominican Republic

Going Abroad

Everything felt different. It didn’t feel like another state in the U.S., it felt like a completely different world. The culture and the way of life was exceptional. It wasn’t a vacation. To me it was an adventure, because I was exposed to the very island that my parents grew ... read more

Francina Morel

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

You may say I'm a dreamer, but (in Prague) I'm not the only one

I stood freezing my limbs off in Wenceslas Square among thousands of people, warming myself by singing along to John Lennon's Imagine with the others. In a place where 40 years ago Czechs stood to protest the Russian invasion, expats, locals and tourists were now gathered to support the concept ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Me, Myself & Prague

Smile! I just knew I'd hear it here! Had the feeling there'd be no escaping the inevitable command from perfect strangers either passing me in the street, standing in line at Starbucks or minding my own business at the grocery store check out counter. Coming to Prague, I thought that maybe… ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Czeching my reflection...

The three  month mark has come and gone. Looking back, I realize that I've pretty much accomplished what I set out to do: get out of my comfort zone and get comfortable with it. On June 1, 2009 I said goodbye to family and friends, a guy I've spent the last ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Czech/English Lesson 101

"Do you sell rubbing alcohol?" I asked the woman behind the pharmacy counter. I encountered a blank stare and was immediately overcome with a slight panicky feeling. This was sure to mark my first solo-experience with a complete non-English speaker in Prague; no Czech friends to help translate or menu option ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Shootin' hoops in Prague

A few weekends back I was making my way to the city center. I expected to see the usual: tourists following guides with unopened umbrellas held high in the air, couples sucking face and stag party group members still out from the night before. But low and behold, I turned the ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

How I became part of a Czech TV commercial

Not literally of course. I'm an intern, not an actress; although some who know me well enough may beg to differ, arguing that my often exaggerated reactions are Emmy worthy. Sadly, I won't be making any big screen appearance. Nevertheless, I did have a small hand in the creation of ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Google translate

What a lifesaver. It's not perfect, but it more often than not does the job. Well enough to communicate the main idea of a press release, email or phrase dropped from water cooler gossip. I’ve come to realize that if I want to get anywhere in this internship, develop my ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

An elevator revelation

I'm fascinated by Gen Yers. Why? Because I am one. Because there are 90 million of us. Because one day, the fate of our planet and our human race will fall gently or tumultuously into our precious little hands and I need to better understand what kind of minds will ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Prague Spring and Summer Thunderstorms

I can't recall the last time I really walked in the rain: remaining so present in the moment, not caring if I made it home drenched, mascara running down my face like the Vltava in this abnormally stormy summer weather. At one point, she took her shoes off. I watched ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

GermanyGermany

When purpose found me

"Not a day passes that I don't think about what I'm doing here; that I don't wonder whether at 25 I should have my life figured out..." I began writing this post last night, but found myself start to piss and moan about the unknown. As I revisit my work this ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

GermanyGermany

Hamburgers, Sausages and Cologne Dom

Made it out of Prague and safely into Germany, despite the fact that our aircraft's main breaks malfunctioned right before landing; we circled for a good forty minutes before back-up landing gear thankfully kicked in. Left sunny Czech Republic, the first warm weather and clear skies we’d seen in weeks, ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Trams don’t stop at crosswalks, even if you’re in one… The only exception: Jaywalking nuns

After just a few weeks, I've found that there are quite a few not-so-subtle nuances apparent in Czech culture, one being that tram drivers don't stop for law abiding pedestrians. If they do, it's a rarity. In some cases I’m sure this is partly what makes the public transportation here ... read more

Amy  Smith

Czech RepublicCzech Republic

Finding a job at home or abroad... Giving up's just not an option.

Just a few years ago, college graduation was quickly approaching and I was faced with the all too familiar and overwhelming question: So, what now? My diploma would be in hand in no time and I had zero job interviews lined up, let alone any idea about what company I wanted ... read more

Amy  Smith

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Books

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Amy Smith

12 Jul 2009

Czech Republic

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Amy  Smith

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Thought provoking relations between fictional Czech characters living in Prague during communist rule. A MUST read whether planning a trip to Prague or not! “The characters in my novels are my own unrealized possibilities. That is why I am equally fond of them all and equally horrified by them. Each one has crossed a border that I myself have circumvented. It is the crossed border (the border beyond which my own ‘I’ ends) which attracts me most. For beyond that border begins the secret the novel asks about. The novel is not the author’s confession; it is an investigation of human life in the trap the world has become.” -Milan Kundera

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Festivals & Events

Check out The United Island of Prague

Amy Smith

23 Jun 2009

Czech Republic

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Amy  Smith

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The United Islands of Prague is a two-day, annual open-air music festival with stage performances by bands from all over Europe: Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Slovakia, Ireland, Great Britain, Switzerland, and more. The sounds of Jazz, Ska, Folk and who knows what else fill the air. You can't be anywhere near Kampa park or Strelecky and Slovansky Island and not know there was something fantastic going on. No admission fees, hoards of music fiends, and keg upon keg of pivo at 30Kc a pop. Let’s just say you can have a really good time without making the slightest dent in your travel budget…

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Culture Shock

Birthday wishes instead of singing and cake

Amy Smith

20 Jul 2009

Czech Republic

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Amy  Smith

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When asked to sign a colleague’s birthday card, I noticed that everyone wrote nothing but their name. I was the only one who wrote a simple, sincere wish. Later, we gathered around the birthday girl with a bottle of wine. People approached her one by one, took her hands, looked into her eyes, and whispered something. A kiss on each cheek and the next person was up. “What are they doing? Aren’t we gonna sing?” I asked. “It's not customary,” my friend said. “We usually just say something heartfelt and leave it at that!” When it was my turn, I said, “Jitka, you are beautiful and I wish you happiness today and always.” I must say, this custom is much nicer than straining through a “happy birthday” song.

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Must Do

Human remains: art, after-life, and awe at Sedlec Ossuary

Amy Smith

26 Jun 2009

Czech Republic

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Amy  Smith

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“The Bone Church” sits in a town called Kutna Hora, an hour’s drive outside of Prague. Within are remains of nearly 40,000 people, each bone delicately placed in pyramid-shaped piles or fused together to create an artistically constructed chandelier that crawls down from the ceiling. In the 13th century, an abbot brought earth from Palestine to the cemetery surrounding this Chapel of All Saints. As word spread, locals came to regard the place as part of the Holy Land; the graveyard then a sought after burial site among aristocracy of Central Europe. When space ran short, remains were exhumed and stored in the chapel. Czech legend has it that a blind artist created the famed sculptures of bone, divine visions guiding his work.

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Packing

Hold it! Back away from the 17 pairs of pants.

Mayan White

21 Jul 2010

Czech Republic

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Mayan White

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Pack your suitcase, or suitcases. Then, take out 1/4 of the contents. Thats how much you should take. You really do not need as much as you think you do. Prague is so laid back- you could wear the same clothes everyday, and just wear a different scarf each time and you'd be fine! Plus, you wouldn't want to miss out on all of Prague's great shopping because there is not any room in your suitcase, now would you?

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