Monday, January 23, 2012

subtle shifts

When we immigrated to the US in 1986 I remembered questioning why. I observed that essentially our life had not changed. There were roads, homes, stores, cars. Our apartment was our home and our family was together. I just observed my parents being stressed out much of their time, until the time when we settled into a new rhythm in a new home in a new town in a new school, in new jobs.
I see my daughter questioning. Why did we move? Why did we change our entire life? Essentially things are the same. Our family is together much of the time. We shop at a store, live in our apartment, attend school. It is the little things, the small shifts within our daily life that make all the difference. We are shifting with these changes, becoming. The dust is finally settling in a new home, new town, new school, and new job.

We spend our days in a simpler manner.  Without a car, there are not so many places to go, not so much to do. We walk a lot. We crisscross this country on our two/six feet (along with the help of trains, buses and trams.) There is no place we can’t walk to. It makes all the difference. There is no need for this concept of exercise as it is just a part of our reality. (Will enhances it by running up our 8 flights of stairs, 72 in all, an extra couple of times.) In this way we also experience all types of weather. Dressing is not necessarily for fashion but more so for necessity (although Czech women seem to do both.) Then there is the continuous interaction with others. People are on the street, at the bus stop, in the shops, and there is a practice of looking at one another. What in the States would be considered starring, here is curious observation.  ( )

Other nuances are; the taste of bread, cheese, cold-cuts, fruits and vegetables (which is enhanced by the hunger we feel after walking and climbing stairs,) landscape (which we are fortunate to have spread out underneath our windows,) and the ever-changing sky (also the gift of our 3 skylight windows.)
We only have what we use, 3 bowls, 3 plates, 3 small plates, 3 pairs of silverware, 3 glasses and what we could carry in our 3 suitcases, 3 backpacks and a duffle from the States. The crazy thing is that this is enough. (Ali wants more toys.) But other than that it means that the house takes one hour to clean including the dishes and vacuuming. It leaves more time for impromptu dancing, a board game, cooking, carving soap, etc. 

It is interesting how seemingly outside circumstances orchestrate the way one lives. (Of course it is all a choice.) It is a pressing question, I think ecologically, psychologically, and concretely; are we living in the manner we truly want? Does our space support the way in which we want to live? (Is this the quality of life we so often discuss?)

Our one trade off- friendships suffer when one uproots. I thank the gods of facebook and skype that we have substantially more correspondence with our loved ones than my parents had with theirs thirty years ago. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

some days

There are days that you ask why- why in the world did we leave everything and everyone we know? It does not seem rational and on the hard days even more so. Today is one of those days.

With a busy class day, I forgot to call my husband to pick up our daughter after school. She bravely made her way to my classroom 15 minutes after her class got out and after all the kids had left the playground. (Fortunately, her school is across the street from mine.) But as soon as she saw me she collapsed into my arms.

I wish I could teleport us back to Seattle to just have a day of normalcy- just to let Ali enjoy some friends, shop at Trader Joe's, share some tea and perhaps have an hour in the studio. (That is the cherry on top.) It is unfortunately the memory or comparison of that that causes a bit of sorrow.

On the other hand I love that we can walk everywhere here. We live in this amazing space as opposed to a 1970's rambler with popcorn ceilings. (If you don't know what that is, pray you never find out.) The meat and baked goods are delicious and one can get them on the corner of almost every street on the way home.

I wish I could combine some things from here and some things from there. (It is like wanting to combine the qualities of all past boyfriends into one ideal.) But that is such a juvenile thought. Really what I should focus on is to suspend all judgement and live in this present moment. One knows this but it is difficult to practice especially on days like today.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

views and the ever-changing sky

first sunrise

first sunset

a rainy day

this morning

detail of the Prague Castle

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


It took many helping hands to get us to this spot today. (One does not reach these peaks in isolation- or at least that has been my experience.) I want to list off what has been done for us thus far- those little things that accumulate to so much. Today they accumulate to our life here in the Czech Republic.

-Montessori friend allowing me to be her teacher and witnessing her amazing art process for almost two years
-Seattle family of painters supporting my teaching by coming to the studio every week
-The girl who called CZ the Checker Public (The title I prefer.)
- The endless list of friends that helped with our move.
-The many friends who bought art before we left
-Our family who lent us their truck to haul 500lbs of garbage to the dump
-Our family who allowed us to store the leftovers
-Our family who lent us their home the night before we flew out and therefore we could move our bed.
-The cousins who are caring for our cat.
-My amazing students who are a continuous source of inspiration.
Here in CZ
-My second cousin who drove us from the airport and endured a ticket from the Austrian police in the process and who arranged for help whenever we needed something fixed in my grandmother’s flat
-The (endless) families who took us in and treated us as their own.
-The neighbor who would periodically show up with a bowl of cookies or a plate of cake.
-The eldery, loving husband and wife who albeit have no children of their own, treat all of us as theirs.
-The cousins (+ family) whose love and affection I feel in her/their every presence and the ones who lent us the bedding and towels for our current flat.
-The parents that drove half of our belongings to Jesenik
-The cousin who drove me and the rest of our belongings from Jesenik to Praha (enduring a bad back throughout.)
-The lady who lent us our mattresses and picked us up at the train and brought us a fantastic dinner.
-My grandfather for letting me hold his hand through the tough time.
-My grandmother for lending us her space
-My mother who put this idea into my head in the first place

The list goes on and on….

Monday, January 2, 2012

New photos of our adventures provided by Will, partner, husband, father, at: