Currently, March

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Loving…the rain that is falling outside my window while I sit here with a cup of tea. This is not unusual–Prague mostly only rains in the winter–but it’s so much warmer out it really feels like a spring rain.

Instagramming…little pieces of Praha as seen by the tram. My days are really full right now because I can’t say no to extra lessons (read: extra cash) so I haven’t been able to wander the city much. Especially a bummer now that the weather is getting nice! However, I’m pretty lucky to get some killer views while en route to different lessons.

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Trying…not to just talk about my wedding. I think we actually have a date and a location picked–it’s soon, and it’s not in a location I ever thought I would get married, but I think it’s right for us. I’m not entirely sure it works for everyone yet–cue wedding drama already–but I feel really happy with this choice. Of course, talk to me in a few days and who knows what the situation will be.

Craving…sushi! Especially strange because after an unfortunate food poisoning incident, I’ve been hesitant about sushi the past few years. Suddenly, it’s all I can think about so I guess I’m ready to be a sushi lover again. Or maybe I am anemic and in desperate need of straight-up protein?

Reading…my newfound obsession, Elizabeth Peters. My mom has been telling me to read the Amelia Peabody series for years, and for some reason I just never did. Finally, I’ve started in the past week and I can’t stop!! Amelia Peabody is awesome, you guys, and her adventures are too.

Admiring…these tulips my fiancé (!!) bought me for no reason. Tulip season is the best season! My fiancé is the best fiancé!

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Watching…Friends on Netflix. Because sometimes you just need a classic, am I right?

Missing…my family and friends, more than usual. I think in all the excitement of wedding planning (ugh, I am already that blogger but I just can’t stop! It’s what’s current!) it hit me more keenly that I am far away from most people I would be planning this with. BUT (!!) my parents officially bought their plane tickets for June!!!

Looking forward to…Easter break, only a week away!

Hoping…to go somewhere over said Easter break. We had all of these plans in place–namely, Amsterdam–but had to put off buying due to some unexpectedly delayed payments. Of course, now that we can buy them, Amsterdam is essentially full and it’s too expensive to fly there from Prague. We are hoping to go there later in April–but it seems a shame to not travel on five days off! However, since the break starts a week from today, it will be a prettttty last-minute trip.

Recovering…from yet another cold. I know I said this jokingly before but…Prague, are you trying to kill me??

Confessing…that I spend so much time planning and dreaming and reading and writing that I forget about things like cleaning and cooking. I actually enjoy cooking, and baking especially (I mean, baking bread got me through graduate school!) but I rarely do that here. We even have an oven, so I don’t have a lot of excuses…except that I still can’t find most of the ingredients I need at the grocery store. It’s only been (almost) eight months…

Wondering…what my life will look like next year. Everything is really open-ended right now, which is an adventure in itself. But also a tad stressful, no?

Marveling…that, for however long I’m here, a part of me will always belong to this city and that’s a wonderful thing.

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Planning…all of these new guest posts that will be coming soon! I am blown away by the response and I am so excited to feature all of these amazing guest writers in the next few months. Thank you so much to everyone who responded! And if you’re still interested, I think I could squeeze in a couple more :). My “Around the World With…” series will take us to Colombia, Belgium, South Africa, and Vietnam, to name just a few places!

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Thinking about…the victims, families and friends of Flight 4U9525. This one hits especially close to home, and reminds me to call my loved ones and hold them a little tighter tonight, and every night.

Linking up with Nicole

Seeking Guest Bloggers!

Things have been a little quieter around here on Amy and the Great World than I would like. Between teaching, traveling, navigating life abroad, and now trying to figure out a wedding, this little corner has been pushed aside for a later date.

So, instead of it being dead zone around here, I realized now is the perfect time to ask for guest bloggers for a new series I am starting!

The series is…

around the world with

“AROUND THE WORLD WITH…(insert your name here).”

I want to spotlight different places all over the world. This blog is all about me and the Great World, of course, but it’s also just about traveling and the world! I haven’t been everywhere (yet) so I’d love to discuss a few more places in this space. It could be your favorite city, your hometown, a country you adore, a national park you loved, a beach you never want to leave…anywhere!

Please email me at amy [at] amyandthegreatworld.com if you’re interested! I’d love to have you and I look forward to learning about all the awesome places you, my lovely readers, are bound to choose.

How Moving Abroad Has Changed My Life

It seems a giving that moving, anywhere, even to a new house in the same city, will change your life in some ways. I knew my life would change when I moved to an entirely new country–how could it not? While I expected things like “seeing a castle during my commute” to change, many other things have changed too. I know moving was the best decision I ever made and I rarely look back. (Not that I don’t get homesick, because I do!).

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1. I Move More

Even though I was living in one of the fittest cities in America before moving overseas, I was not very active there. Part of it was the nature of my work–graduate school involves hours upon hours of sitting in a classroom, and interning as a therapist does not involve much movement (neither does the paperwork). I also started this blog while in Denver, so most of my free time was sitting. We’d get into the mountains while we could, and walk around our neighborhood almost every night, but it still wasn’t enough. Now, as a teacher, I am standing all day. I walk quite a bit every day, even while taking a ton of public transportation, and without a car, every errand requires some walking. Plus, my desire to constantly be traveling and exploring a new city means I am on my feet so much more. I feel so much better about myself and my body as a result.

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2. I’ve Simplified

When we moved, we brought a carry-on, a backpack, and a suitcase–each. Now that we are here, we’ve been trying to get rid of the things we brought that we don’t need or use, so we are continuing to simplify. I miss a lot of things–mostly my kitchen supplies and that crazy comfy bed–but all that stuff they say about de-cluttering your life really is true.

3. I Spend Less

Along with the simplifying, I have cut most of my spending on luxuries. It hasn’t always been easy, but I have enough for everything I need, as well as travel (which to me is a little bit of a necessity). One nice thing about Prague, though, is that it really is inexpensive compared to much of Europe. If I’m feeling like I need to get out and have some fun, a few beers at a pub won’t set me back very far at all. Some beer is as cheap as 20kc, which is currently less than $1!

4. I Want Less

Along with spending less, I find myself wanting less. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m terrible at saving money, and having a Target right next door to us back in Denver did not help this. Target is a blackhole, both for your time and your money. You go in there, not knowing when you’ll get out or how much you spend (because you always spend more than you plan!). While there are certainly temptations here, being on a complete shopping moratorium has curbed my appetite quite a bit. I still love clothes, and being in stylish Prague doesn’t always help this, but I feel that the basics in my closet (and my many scarves!) are helping with this. Plus, having a specific reason for not shopping–as in, my next trip is always only a few weeks away–makes it so much easier.

boots^^one pair of boots can get you far!

5. I’ve Gained Perspective

While I think I will always struggle to some degree with anxiety and depression, many of the things which were big causes of these feelings seem much lighter now that I’m far away from them. Family and societal pressure to get married, be successful, have an important career, have lots of babies, “have it all,” and always put others first has lessened. I’m learning what I really want in life, and so much of the guilt has lessened, too. I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect: the perfect student, the perfect girlfriend, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect therapist–when in fact, I just ended up being mediocre at everything. While that pressure (which is often internal) is still there, the struggles of my daily life as an expat help me realize what really matters.

6. I’ve Pushed Myself

Obviously, jumping out of your comfort zone is a big push. I knew it would be challenging to move, but after the stress of leaving Denver and selling everything we owned, I figured living in Prague would full of awe and fun. While it’s definitely awesome, there are many little challenges that force me out of my comfort zone: teaching, learning to speak a new language, making friends from different cultures and backgrounds, buying vegetables at the grocery store, finding the grocery store, navigating public transportation…you never know what will push you outside of your comfort zone in a new country!

IMG_6398^^the grocery store with so many bread options I just left without buying any because I didn’t know what was what!

7. I’ve Learned ALL About Priorities

This is a big one. I think it’s been repeatedly demonstrated to me that we will always be able to make time for the things that are important to us. For instance, I’m always surprised when someone says they don’t have time to read, because I read every single day. I’m learning how much I want to keep in touch with many of my friends back home–but also that the people who don’t bother to keep in touch with me, too, might not be worth it. While there are some things we don’t do because of fear, there are some things we always manage to have time for. Moving abroad has helped me refine what I really care about–and focus on these areas, rather than trying to do too much.

8. My Relationship Has Grown

E and I have grown even closer while living here abroad. Part of it is that we don’t really have anyone else in the country, so we have to rely on each other for everything. In addition, we still don’t know very many people in the city (much less the country or the continent), which means we spend most of our free time together. Even though we’ve lived together for over 3 years, moving abroad challenged us and helped us address communication issues…and moving abroad with your partner is really fun! We’ve had so much fun, in fact, that we’ve decided to get hitched!

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9. I’ve Seen More of the World…and Can’t Get Enough! 

Although I’ve traveled quite a bit and have never gotten sick of it, I think everyone in our life (perhaps myself included) expected we’d want to spend a year abroad and then return home and get back to “real life.” While the future is uncertain, I am not ready to stop traveling at all!

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How has a big change, such as moving, changed your life?

Linking up with the Travel Tuesday