Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring is springing

Nothing says spring like tulips - my favorite flowers!  This was taken in Salzburg last year.
So, I realize that lately I've been mostly posting pictures about my travels and not really talking about my life here in Prague.  So, today's the day to change that up a bit.  I haven't been in the mood to blog, so I've taken a hiatus I guess, but now I'm feeling more chatty.  Perhaps its because spring is springing and we're all coming out of our winter hibernation.  The days are getting longer, birds are singing, and the sun is shining.  While it's still not super warm, it's warming up and making it feel like soon we'll be sitting at the beer gardens with friends.  I do have a lot of great pictures from Portugal and Spain to post, but those will come in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned...
Still one of my favorite pictures of Prague - taken in my first week here!
So, having lived in Prague now for 1.5 years (wow - can it really be that long?), I find that I'm in a pretty good rythym in my life.  I have a good job, great friends, and live in an amazing city.  My life doesn't feel all that different from my life in the US.  Now, my options for things to do in my freetime and on weekends has changed.  It's much easier to fly to Italy for Easter weekend (and yes, I am doing that) than it was in the US.  I do feel I travel a lot more here than I did at home.

I've been thinking about that recently, and really, traveling here is not much easier or cheaper than at home.  It's just a different perspective.  Now, instead of going to another state - I get to go to another country.  Attempt to speak another language, eat different foods, and see different things.  While many European countries have similarities, their cultures, foods, and people differ drastically!  In just a few hours - everything around you changes in a way.  Now of course - many things do stay the same, but it's fun to find those new things too!

Just this past weekend, I went to Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad in English and German) in the Northeastern part of the Czech Republic to visit friends who live there.  Karlovy Vary is known for several things.  First - its spa water is supposed to have healing powers.  So, we took the challenge of trying all 13 different waters in varying temperatures only to discover they all taste the same.  I don't find them to be too bad (though some were horrible), but I didn't want to drink gallons and gallons of it all either.  And no - I didn't feel drastically different after drinking it either, but it was fun!

Trying one of the many waters in the special water "sippy cup"

Spring number 11

Cool colonnade where several springs are located

Massive colonnade where springs are located. 
 Karlovy Vary is also known for Becherovka, a liqueur that was originally made for medicinal purposes (but of course).  It's a very herby beverage and I think it tastes and smells like Christmas.
Cool old bottles

Love the cups - two of these cups is the "recommended daily dose" to cure all your aches and pains

The Becherovka bar at the museum
So, we went to the Becherovka museum to have a small tour, watch an epic film about a time traveling Englishman (with an American accent) who taught us all abut the history of Becherovka and of course tasted the three types of Becherovka.  My favorite is Lemond (not sure still why it's spelled that way) which tastes a bit like a lemon drop.  Again, while this all was just a two hour bus ride from Prague - it felt different.  It of course is still in the Czech Republic, so some things didn't change.  But sometimes a change of pace is what we need...

This winter has been a challenging one for me.  I truly think I have a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder and living in a country where in the winter it is not really light out until about 8:15 am and gets dark around 4 pm, winters are rough and all I want to do is hibernate.  As I mentioned before, its warming up, staying lighter longer and I'm feeling more social again.  The nice benefit of living this far north - in summer we have about 16 hours of daylight, so that's something to look forward to!

I mentioned a few months ago in a blog that I was making changes in my life to lose weight.  I set a goal, and honestly, I haven't done much to reach that goal.  The time feels right again, and this has been a good week for exercising (I love my spinning classes 3-4 times a week) and eating healthy, so I am now re-committed.  Luckily, I generally enjoy eating healthy and exercising, but sometimes you just need a change (even a small one) to see that you can and will reach that goal.

I know this all seems rather random - but it's all connected by the thought that I have been here for 1.5 years.  My teaching contract ends in 3 months.  I have my last few European adventures planned (or in the process) and I can truly see that my time here is nearly over.  I have loved every minute, and I intend to continue to make the most of this amazing experience.  I'm still not sure what's next - however, I'm excited to enjoy these last few months in Prague with the amazing people I have met while living and working here.  There have certainly been ups and downs these past few months - but its all part of what got me to this place.  As a good friend often says to me, "You wouldn't be you without all those experiences."  And isn't that true?  I'm who I am because of all the good and bad things I've experienced.  It's what you make of it all that matters...

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