This isn't a travel blog, but I do tend to wander. Although I haven't been very good about describing my trips (or disclosing my location) this far, I'm thinking about changing that. Last year my boyfriend and I ran a travel blog called MadeinMoments, but stopped posting content regularly after some personal problems got in the way... and eventually, we settled back to where we first met, making a travel blog a bit redundant. I mean, we could have kept it up but it seemed like a chunk of our past we didn't need to take with us. Sometimes I feel a bit sad that I gave up on it (let's be honest, I wrote all the posts), but I guess that's a part of life. I've never been good at letting go. That's why I'm taking to my "style diary" to write about life right now and where I'm at.
How I Got Here: In 2012 I quit my desk job in San Francisco because of a racist and sexist environment (it was the automotive industry, what did I expect?!). I did odd jobs like dog grooming, editing at a humor website, and babysitting to get by. I resented the American system in which one has to work their ass off just to get by. Finally, in the winter, I'd received a job offer from an agency in Prague, Czech Republic. They were working on a startup and needed someone bilingual who could not only translate content but create copy for the infrastructure of an entirely new software. They were willing to pay me nearly the same wage I was making in SF and pay for me to move... needless to say, I took the gig. By January 2013, I was working at my new job with a new computer, thriving in a city full of spires!
Life Now: I gave up the office life two years ago and have been pursuing alternative opportunities since. These days I spend most of my time jamming with a guitarist up the street, taking Ruby to the dog park, and going to exotic restaurants with my friend and photographer Anela. After having traveled without my baby Ruby for nearly one year and being homesick, not to mention my dad having his fourth heart attack last April, it seemed only logical to head back to Europe for a time. In the future I'd like to move to New York City because after visiting for the first time last July, I finally felt that maybe America isn't all bad. New York City is the America every foreigner dreams about. Something about Manhattan just feels like opportunity in a way the California coast never did to me.
But what's so great about Prague anyway? Why not move somewhere new?
- Honestly, I am a little biased when it comes to Prague. As a dogmom I find it extremely important that we live in a dog-friendly environment. There are trees and parks everywhere, most bars and restaurants are dog-friendly, there's plenty of veterinary services that'll come to your door, and most of all - there are dogs everywhere!
- I speak Slovak, which is extremely similar to Czech. When compared to English, I'd say it's something like British English compared to American. Czechs have a few different letters and words, but the Slavic core of the two languages are similar enough to communicate fluently. But also, most locals speak English!
- There's a river running through the city. I don't like the ocean very much, find lakes boring, and can't imagine living someplace without water. In the summer there are many festivals and farmer's markets on the riverside... it's a fun way to spend a weekend.
- Perfect location. It really is right in the middle of Europe. Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia are all just a bus ride away. Other destinations are like Italy, France, Poland are easy to get to by plane or train. Best of all? Flights from the Prague airport are cheaper than from any of the surrounding metropolitan areas.
- It's inexpensive here because of the currency. Although the Czech Republic is part of the EU they have not yet approved the Euro as their national currency. For anyone who works remotely for a US, UK, German, or any other foreign company, the exchange rate is more than prosperous. My boyfriend and I have an amazing spacious apartment in Prague 3 that in the SF Bay Area would cost us well over $5k per month to rent. We don't even pay 1/3 of that here.
- The history is still very much alive here. The old town is drizzled with beautiful spires, castles, churches, memorials, synagogues, museums, galleries, all of which tell a part of the tale. Below are a few photos of the city's most iconic monuments. Baroque, Renaissance, Spanish, Soviet, and other eras of architecture can be found around the city. I highly recommend a walking tour of the city - even to those who've lived here already! There's just so much to learn about the Medieval times, both World Wars, the Cold War era, and how the country has adjusted since its fairly new freedom in the early nineties.
- Someone's definitely going to hate me for this, but one of the reasons I love Prague is because of the hipster bars, cafes, and eateries. There are so many places to have a delicious and beautiful cup of coffee in this city... but I'm sure Coat + Coffee could tell you more about that ;)
- There's a thriving expat community. I've met some interesting people through the expat groups on Facebook. Whenever someone has a question about legal processes, needs help finding a doctor, or even just wants to make friends, the Facebook group is where to go.
- Living in Prague is a great starting point for anybody hoping to settle in Europe for the long-term. I know plenty of foreigners who came to Prague only for a month or a year, but ended up staying for six or more years!