Out of the cold I am! It took a while to get here but it is FINALLY here. Well, it’s actually more like springtime which is perfect. So opposite to Oklahoma and Florida this time of year…. I feel like Olaf in these moments.
Where to start? Time really flies. I officially moved to Europe one year ago as of Saturday, July 15th. I cannot believe it. What’s crazy is I set off to Prague to start teaching English in hopes of working for an international organization (eventually), get involved with anti human trafficking as much as I can, and (ideally/hopefully/prayerfully) meet a very handsome man with a charming accent and dapper smile. And here I stand, one year later, with all of those things…. but definitely after a series of unexpected and the ‘I need to give up as I have no idea where this is all going’ events. How thankful I am for the crazy amount of support and encouragement I have around me! Sometimes I really do have to pinch myself…but honestly, it’s moreso due to the amazing people that I have met throughout my life and that I get to be a part of their YOUR lives in some way, whether big or small. I feel so blessed to be THAT girl.
BREXIT: Yes, there is a lot of hype about Brexit here and it was quite a shock to everyone. The reality is that not much will be affected until it’s officially implemented…and fortunately, it doesn’t affect Shawn or me right now, or our travels. There are some good things to it, but the sad reality is that countries are starting to become more nationalized than trying to build peace with one another. Speaking of ….
USA ELECTIONS: Also, the big topic of discussion these days. From this side of the world, the USA is in a lot of trouble and looks scarier to live in than in Europe due to all of the shootings and now the upcoming election. Bottom line: Most people over here LOVE Americans and the USA, but they are hopeful for a leader that can relate with countries and build unity among one another – Can’t we just elect the Pope?
TERRORIST ATTACKS: The Czech Republic is the safest country alongside with Croatia when looking at the danger zones in Europe and the sixth safest country in the world……you’re welcome, parents. It’s not too late, you can move here too! And if that doesn’t convince you…..
How do you picture the Czech Republic? Maybe you think developing country, poorer areas, meat and potato food options only (no vegetarians at all!), no English, hard to live in – well that was the Czech Republic about 20 years ago during and right after Communism. TODAY: Prague (maybe not all of the Czech Republic as some say Prague is not really Czech:) is one of the best destinations for beer, vegan food, friendly English speaking people (mainly within the younger generation), nature, work/life balance, and cheap(er) living! The city is changing very rapidly and it’s definitely becoming the next European destination to live, work, and play…. Read more HERE.
Another great article written by my friend Beata – just in case you are considering a move here and what to learn about why she LOVES Czech people (I agree!). They are definitely amazing friends for life once you get to know them.
Well it’s great! I have a new one… already! I have accepted the fact that I will probably have over 20 jobs in my lifetime. I am now an Association Manager for a small international organization here in Prague called Association House. I am basically a consultant for various associations/societies around Europe. The first conference I am planning is in Stockholm, Sweden in October and the next one is in Munich, Germany in March with a meeting in Brussels, Belgium in September – Ecstatic! While I do love the travel aspect, these days I really have to be on my guard. Since we never know these days where or what is going to happen, it can be scary but we just have to keep living while also being cautious. And I honestly do get quite tired…. as you can imagine. Key things to have on hand while traveling: a good book, pillow, headphones for screaming kids, blanket or scarf, and food.
My advice with job stuff: apply to positions you see and really draws you in. You just never know. There are too many messages telling you where, how, or when to apply for things, or even ‘don’t’ pay attention to this or that – and of course, it’s all about who you know. But you NEVER know. Be open for what comes your way. Pray. Meditate. It’s way more important (and mentally better) then wearing myself out or being stressed all of the time. Maybe someone will come to mind of who you should speak to. Or a specific company. Or role. And even if you don’t meet all of the criteria for the job (they wanted a French speaker for my position), apply anyway – turns out, they only wanted one for the website so there wasn’t a need for the person in the position to speak French.
ANTI HUMAN TRAFFICKING:
Always on my mind and heart. It absolutely breaks me that girls as young as 11 are being lured into this horrendous industry – it would be easy to ignore it honestly, but I just can’t. My request from you is to be aware and stay aware of what is happening. Realize that girls do not choose this at all. And in some cases, family members are selling them for money (in East Asia in particular). We cannot judge because we are not in their situation – we may say we would never do that but this is what happens when desperation sets in and humans are no longer looked at with love or equality. They are objects and a means to an end. They see a dollar sign on their faces or bodies.
Girls and women are being taken across borders EVERYDAY away from their families, loved ones, homes… to a very harsh reality that turns their world upside down. Follow A21, Made by Survivors, and Stop The Traffick for more information – Prague is a huge destination and most recently, a young girl called the hotline for help and one of our team members helped her get back to her home country. Another guy on our team spoke with one of the managers (pimps) one evening when walking along the streets with other team members, and the manager literally broke down and said he had no other choice but to manage prostitutes…it is only way to make money and he hated that. How heartbreaking and a clear cry for desperation. We need to stop assuming.
** SIDE NOTE: prostitution and pornography are industries where girls may start there by choice (for money, although 82% of prostitutes have been trafficked in), and they can no longer leave. Men think women choose it so they justify their acts and immediate ‘needs’ by saying they are helping the girls by giving them money. It is just not true. These girls are like us – just wanting a normal life. Provide for their families. Feel and find true love. Again, maybe they have chosen prostitution at first but no girl wants to ‘service’ 10-50 men a day. 10 – 50 men! Heartbreaking… I could write on this topic for hours. Alas…. really good documentary here but very hard to watch. Here’s a five minute clip about trafficking in Europe and how easily it happens.
Currently on hiatus but really hoping something picks up again soon. I did take a contemporary dance class three weeks ago here… the class consisted of me and five Czech girls.. I was the worst one. Seriously. I almost didn’t go back the next day but then decided to own the fact that I was the worst of them all and fully embrace the embarrassment. I did get better and I got through it – and hopefully have become a better person for it. Hopefully…. #alwaysthegoal
Gah, so much! All the time. Some good, some super challenging. Right now… realizing that I cannot do everything (even though I want to!) and reading a lot about the topic of grace. Laughter and dancing are great forms of medicine, giving to those of what you want the most (love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, faith….) especially those hard folks. That everything I write to you I struggle with and more. My life is far from perfect although it may appear to be – NEVER BELIEVE SOCIAL MEDIA at the surface – it’s just a glimpse, just one moment out of the day. Be happy for others and you will start to feel happiness for yourself. And alas, trying to understand why everyone is so obsessed with pokemon. #idontgetit
NEXT UP IN MY LIFE AND BLOG:
London for my birthday weekend! A couple of weeks in between followed by Colorado and Oklahoma for last two weeks of the month! Ecstatic to see loved ones with my loved one. Loving the month of August already….