Who is this Chick, Anyway?

For those of you who want to know a little more about me, here are some fun facts!

  1. I was born and raised in So Cal. I haven’t lived in sunny California since 2006, but still feels like “home”. I was raised in La Cañada, moved to Pasadena, then San Francisco, Oakland, Los Feliz and then… I moved to the Czech Republic.
    This is me, already wide eyed and ready for adventure.

    6688_98215747495_2512423_n

    Baby me

  2. I lived outside of the US for almost 7 years. I moved alone, and not knowing anyone. I  took a chance and moved with two suitcases and about $1000 in my pocket. I took a TEFL course and decided to look for a job after. I was 31 when I moved to Prague. I spent the better part of my time in Prague teaching English. I taught adults for the first half, and preschool/1st grade for the second. It was awesome.  I worked at a bookstore and I hosted Karaoke. Prague is amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. I traveled to Geneva, Berlin, Dresden, and various parts of the Czech Republic and met a ton of great people. Traveling in Europe is easier and cheaper than traveling in the US. If you are open to Hostels and Couchsurfing you can go just about anywhere for little money.

    Me at the Prague Beer Festival - 2011

    Me at the Prague Beer Festival – 2011

  3. I took a sabbatical from Prague and lived in Guaymas, Mexico – in Sonora. Again, this was all paid for by me. I taught Kindergarten and spent my off hours at a deserted beach drinking Mexican beer and margaritas. It was a lovely place, but the heat and the poverty got the better of me. Not just my personal lack of money, but the lack of money in Sonora. There was a huge amount of the community that was very poor and very ignored.

    Me sipping on a peach margarita after work in Guaymas Mexico.

  4. In July of 2012 I relocated from Prague to Austin, Texas. I managed to stay there a year before deciding that Austin was not all it was cracked up to be. The heat and the hipsters made it unbearable. I wrote about it HERE and managed to piss off an entire city! (“Mess With Texas” can now be checked off the ol’ bucket list!) Not everyone can take criticism.

    1014286_10151492691862496_1013847187_n

    Me @ Barton Springs pool – Austin, TX 2013

  5. I have held down just about every job you could think of from teacher to tour guide to cubicle monkey. I’ve been working since I was 13. Not having a job has never been an option for me. I feel like most people never really explore what is out there. I have! I never picked a “career” because I enjoy doing many things.
  6. My boyfriend and I drove from Houston to San Francisco in January of 2014. While on the road we saw The Grand Canyon… we stood on the corner of Winslow Arizona, and made our way to beautiful Berkeley, Ca.
  7. Me at The Grand Canyon, Jan. 2014

    Me at The Grand Canyon, Jan. 2014

    After our road trip we spent a month volunteering at a Buddhist Retreat Center. It was supposed to be six months, but they asked me to leave. You can read more about that, HERE.

  8. In March 2014, we finally stopped moving about and settled in Seattle, WA. Seattle has a lot to offer, and you can’t beat the scenery.
  9. I LOVE singing and I love Musicals. A lot. Karaoke is not just a hobby for me – it’s a sport. I have hosted karaoke, and I used to sing and act professionally – doing mostly musical theater and singing at weddings (yes, sometimes I got paid for it) and I miss it every day. I plan on doing more of it. I’ll keep you posted.

    This is me at Karaoke New Year’s Eve 2011. Sassy.

  10. Movies are a way of life for me. You know how some people get really excited for The Super Bowl? Well, I am like that with the Oscars. I love to discuss movies, review them and watch them. My friends call me the “Walking Talking IMDB.”
  11. I am a HUGE supporter of LGBT Rights & Women’s Rights, and I am vocal about it.

    BeFunky_null_1

    Me & Czech Leather Daddies – 1st Prague Pride ever!

  12. I can easily tell you “who done it” in a movie or TV show within the first 40 minutes. It’s a gift.
  13. I have an entire TAB of this blog dedicated to books and reading. I’ve worked in three different INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES in two countries! BOOKS! I try to only write about books I have actually read, and my lists are not the same lists you’ve read on other book sites. My favorite authors include Joyce Carol Oates, Haruki Murakami, John Irving, Erik Larson, Julia Child, Tom Robbins, Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, Stephen King and… the list goes on and on forever.
  14. I am a writer, among other things. Duh, right? You are reading my blog! Although I write non-fiction posts here, I also write fiction. I have completed (and won!) NaNoWriMo 5 times, and have had a few short stories and poems published many moons ago.
  15. I play the ukulele. I play the ukulele, just not very well. There, that was honest. I am trying to get better. You can see proof of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmO1snUF–w

    looking like a badass with Darth Vader - my ukulele

    looking like a badass with Darth Vader – my ukulele

47 thoughts on “Who is this Chick, Anyway?

  1. Hi there!

    My name’s Samuel Dodson and I’m the regional editor at Guestaurant.com for the UK & Europe.

    Was reaching out to you to see if you would be interested in writing some food & drink related articles for Guestaurant in the future? E.g. Prague Food festival/ prague beer festival.

    We’d promote you and your blog not only on our website but also our social media 🙂

    Thanks!
    Sam.

  2. Hi,
    my name is Simona and I am with the web research team at InterNations.org. We are the world’s leading social network for expatriates, with currently 500.000+ members in more than 322 cities worldwide.
    I really enjoyed reading your fantastic blog and believe that expats in Prague and around the world would not only – appreciate the entertaining content, but also benefit from the insights and perspectives you offer. Your blog really is a captivating read! This is why I would like to feature you and your writing in a designated section of InterNations.org , the Recommended Blog on Prague. We have designed a link badge for placement on your blog and would be glad to hear from you directly via our questionnaire!
    I hope my proposal has piqued your interest. If so, please feel free to contact me via email: featuredblogs@internations.org

    Best,
    Simona

  3. I have an interview with James Cook Languages on 11/26/12 at 8:00 my time. Read of your experiences there and am now a little bit nervous, but still looking forward to it. I’m currently a police officer, and am trying to get work teaching English in Prague or failing that, Poland or SE Asia. For the interview, I have to present my lesson plan and do a little role play as well as answer a bunch of questions about grammar. Wish me luck….
    Doug

    • That’s fairly typical. Just be careful of what they make you sign. Their contract is ridiculous – something like 15 pages. And they tax your earnings before you have your Visa. There are PLENTY of other schools out there that will give you fair pay. But, best of luck!

      • Well I passed the interview! I’ll be in Munich from 12/12 to 12/19, so they said I can take a train ride over or fly over at a separate time. Seemed really nice and said they’d work around my schedule, so hopefully I can do the interview while I’m over there. Anyway, any word on what I can expect at the interview? I’m excited but nervous. It’s a six hour train ride from Munich, so I’ll have to walk from the station to James Cook school.

  4. I read your blog religiously and love it! I`m really curious about your experiences with teaching in Prague. I`m sure you get a ton of these requests every day, but if you could share some experiences, I would appreciate it! thanks

  5. Hello Alicia

    Are you still living in Prague? I am looking for bloggers from cool cities around the world wide to take part in a London based trend website. We have already been featured in national press including Cosmo magazine and are about to re-launch. Would you be interested in writing a a trend blog for us, and in return we will share links to your site?

    Please do let me know – we’d love to have you on board!

    With kind thanks
    Julie Sherwood
    email – julie@getinthepress.com.

  6. I hope you read this, I am in the process of selecting a TEFL program and working towards moving off to another country to teach english… and desperately accumulating information along the way from people who have followed this path. I looked at your blog for information related to teaching, but there was very little about your day to day life and specific events and situations… I’m really just trying to gain a better understanding of what to expect, because right now I feel like I’m jumping blindly into a situation, and while I’ve read many other english teachers have done this, I’d prefer to have some more insight!! Please email me if you can, I’d be so appreciative.

  7. Hey, hey, I’m signed up for TEFL Worldwide Prague next summer and your commentary here and on TEFLblackslist has been the best source of clarity. Děkuju!

  8. Really, really a fun read, all of it that I’ve gotten to in the past hour. I shall add you to my “Favorites.” I started making lists as soon as I could write. It got out of hand, so last New Year’s, I made a list of one.
    1. Do not make any lists this year. Take a break.

    I couldn’t do it. It lasted a week. I suffer from over-productivity. It’s a German thing, I think. Or maybe an alcoholic thing. Or maybe obsessive-compulsive. God. I need a list to figure this out.

  9. Your life is the one I dream of!! I am currently preparing to become certified to teach English as a second language in hopes to live exactly as you are. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  10. I just wanted to leave a nice, happy comment for you here after reading the explosion of nastiness that my fellow Austinites left you after you voiced your opinion. I’m incredibly sorry that you didn’t get a good experience here. I completely agree with several of your points and I see why you wouldn’t want to stay – but know that not all of us are like that. I was born here (a true Austinite!) and even I can see that the city is changing and it’s not always in the way that we would like it to grow. I hope that you weren’t left with a bad taste in your mouth and that, one day, you might want to come back to visit and see Austin in a new light. I hope wherever your travels take you you remain happy and carefree!

    Emily ❤

    • Ditto. I’ve lived here 13 years. I really like it, but you have a lot of excellent (and truthful points). But, God, whoever told you Austin is fashion-forward must have been recovering from a head injury. I’m fashion-backwards, which is why it suits me just fine 🙂

  11. You get it. Your post on Austin cracks me up, that was basically what I realized ten years ago and got the heck out! there are much weirder (i.e. better) places to live in Texas, you should try some of them.

  12. I’m glad to see more people supporting your statement of Austin, I’ve tried to make similar statements but have been met with overwhelming stagnation nazi oppression that is a plague in Texas. I can totally relate, I was born in Chicago, but moved around, and really found myself during highschool in California. Unfortunately I had to move to Texas right after highschool. So I keep hearing about this LIBERATED FREE ZONE that IS Austin, with all the bumper stickers and T-shirts “Keep Austin weird” all the disaffected hipsters saying “Oh you’ve got to go to Austin to see the graffiti art- totzmagoats”, every writer or artist I’d meet (being myself a painter, writer of prose and poetry [as well as a dabbler in shredding on the ukulele!]) said from the get go that it was the place to be. So finally I plan this big trip out there, and when I get there it’s just utterly beyond disappointing.

    First off, I smoke a pipe and not to look cool- I am genuinely connected to tobacco, for many reasons, one being that my grandfather switched crops and grew it during the depression which basically saved his farm. So I know its a somewhat obscure thing these days especially for someone in their early twenties (though I’ve been smoking one since I was sixteen), and I’ve had people come up to me most every where and comment- usually, though, its people who say things like “man that smell takes me back! My father smoked a pipe” or even once this frail old lady came up and grabbed my arm and said that the scent of my pipe tobacco took her back to Christmases long ago. But in Austin there were just a bunch of obscene gawkers, kids pointed and laughed at me, or shouted at me, I honestly couldn’t believe people would act that moronic. I remember a guy asked me if I was smoking weed and when I said I wasn’t he noticeably scoffed.

    Though part of the reason I can tend to attract that attention also covers another thing Austin lacks- artistic passion. I can be weird in public, as people have told me, simply because I take pictures of things I think would be good for paintings. If I see something that looks like a good subject, I want to save it, usually that involves taking multiple pictures from angles that require me to focus and often I seem to act in ways that make people curious or suspicious. I understand that, I’ve been questioned by police for taking pictures of things before. But going to Austin, since everyone that claims to have at least some kind of artistic personality has said it’s like our San Francisco (which I should have taken as a warning because SF made me want to vomit too), I thought there would be at least a pinch of understanding and friendliness from the locals toward someone actively inspired by their city. But I got in the way of bikers and since I like doing portraits I often approach people that I see who I would like to portray and ask their permission for a picture, I will even give my contact info so they can check out my art and see I’m not crazy, and in most cases, I even give the freaking painting to them after I finish and make prints of it. I got treated like the elephant man for that, I honestly felt forsake.

    The worst part was that my friends began to observe the effect and there was a bit of embarrassment on their part, as they really respect me as an artist and were the ones that were always telling me how awesome Austin is- I could tell they could not ignore the atmosphere of shame that came with how blatantly that city crapped all over me. It all unraveled into a nightmare that really perpetuated the notion of how stifling Texas is for outsider type artists.

    The buses are beyond a nightmare, I let out one giant “HAH!” when I read that you had torn into them, OH GOD THEIR BUS ROUTES WERE ALL DRAWN UP BY AN AUTISTIC CHILD THAT HAD THEIR EYES CLOSED!!! And “Buses may be subject to route changes”- THE F*** DOES THAT MEAN!? “You can get on this bus, but it may or may not take you where you want to go”? I saw darkness enclosing when I had to rely on their buses. Darkness enclosed very rapidly, next thing I knew I was walking to meet a friend when I saw this hippie couple who looked like they had read instructions on “how to dress like a hipster hippy”. The guy with dreads in a led zepplin shirt and shorts, the girl in a long skirt with an “eastern” pattern on it wearing a crocheted spaghetti strap top. I thought, wow, that’s cute, So Texas is just now getting pre-millennium fashion from CA. Good for it. But when I passed them on the sidewalk I heard the girl say in the most bratty, “heathers” voice imaginable, “Oh- mah gawd, today-is-GAHROSS.”

    The real kicker was when I was stayed two days with my friend and his roommates who I’d already been spending time with, but while I was staying with someone else. They said it was alright for me to crash there, but that I should stay inside or in the back yard if I was not going anywhere because they didn’t want me standing around in front of their house weirding out their neighbors. Something utterly broke inside of me. I just looked at them and said “Did you just say that I’m too weird for Austin?”

    My friend looked down and thought for a second, and said, “yeah I get it, cause ‘keep Austin weird’ but you know…” and then he went on to say how I provoke things and all this other stuff. It became apparent and very sad how threatened Austinites get when they see their little bubble being threatened.

    As for the graffiti art, I only saw one example, stenciled letters that just said “It’s art!”, That’s all, “It’s art!” on a fence. “It’s art!” on a cement wall. I asked my doctor if any institutions in America still perform lobotomies but he said only in very extreme cases.

    I loved your article, because ever since that blackhole of an experience, I’ve been joking with my friends in Austin that we should start a graffiti art campaign where we just go around with a stencil like the “It’s art” person, but instead spray paint: “Keep Austin mediocre!” all over everything. Especially cars with bike racks.

  13. “…spent my off hours at a deserted beach drinking Mexican beer and margarita’s.”

    I’ll cut you some slack because I love anyone who can properly weave the phrase “shit-ton” into her narratives, but seriously, with the superfluous apostrophe? Please tell me you were kidding about teaching English. 😉

    Just read your piece on Austin (I’ve been here since ’98), and I have to tell you it’s spot-on. When they closed down Joe’s Generic Bar, that was the harbinger of the end of cool.

    Also, I think you’re the first person I’ve seen use the adjective “stupid” with regard to other drivers, and I applaud you. Nothing is guaranteed to raise my blood pressure like the prospect of a trip down I-35 or Mopac with the usual complement of stupid asshole Austin drivers.

  14. Bravo on speaking the truth about Austin. You know you hit the nail on the head when you rile up the tattooed masses like you’ve done. I lasted 6 years there and that was about 5 years too long. It was entertaining at first and then you turn the corner and start seeing the overplayed weird meme (you’re no longer weird if everyone else acts the same way), the mostly generic BBQ, the traffic, the world’s worst drivers, the allergies etc. Life is too short. You say that you’re hiking across the US….make sure and hit up the PNW trail, it’s beautiful up here.

  15. You are hilarious! Love what you wrote about Austin. I recently had the choice of moving to Austin or San Antonio, and didn’t chose Austin for several of the reasons you mentioned in your post. Yes, it’s hot here in San Antonio, but it’s got so much more art, culture, history, natural beauty, etc. than Austin. And a large cycling culture. And the people are warm and friendly and not hyperly self aware of their “coolness”. Following your blog now. Woohoo!

  16. Dont let em get you down, your spot on on Austin being lame. Ive lived here 30 yrs. over rated over priced. I lived in Claremont /covina CA, overpriced but worth it….I’m saving money to move to Montreal or Spain or yes, las Vegas , to be close to Los Angeles. Good luck to you and your boyfriend at the next chapter in your life!

  17. Just read your blog on Austin and I couldn’t agree more. I was actually born in Austin but grew up southwest of Austin in a small town. I was always in Austin as a kid growing up when it was actually cool and weird. Now it’s nothing of its former self. The people in Austin aren’t friendly so I agree with you there. I live in Houston now and when I visit Austin I have to hear from everyone who lives there how much Houston sucks and Austin is better. Seriously, I come to enjoy myself and I have to hear from locals how much my current city sucks. Yeah, not friendly. IMO, Houston is a way better city than Austin. We actually have great food, diversity, and culture compared to Austin. Anyway, just wanted to say that I enjoyed your blog 🙂

  18. I just got called an idiot AGAIN, from a person who says he MUST BE TWICE MY AGE. That would make you 80 years old.

    If you actually read THIS PAGE you would know I’m NOT a “young girl”.

  19. I’m a lifelong resident of Texas (born and raised, lived in Austin for almost 10 years), and I stumbled upon your blog and saw your post about Austin. It was SPOT. ON. It was like you read my mind. I’m sorry the dicks on the comment thread perpetuated the stereotype of “Austinite who can’t take criticism” (very real thing), but they’re only doing it because you’re right. Anyway, I’ve been thumbing through the rest of your blog. Looks great!

  20. As far as I’m concerned people like you need to get the fuck out of here I’m glad Austin is not like all those fascist piece of shit cities in California, if you don’t like it here than the answer is simple…. GET THE FUCK OUT. That’s the problem see Austin is what it is because it didn’t conform and all now all of you motherfuckers are coming here trying to turn it into what you think it should be NO. People who are truly from here are polite and very respectful like myself but you can’t just go somewhere speaking blasphemy and expect a thank you quite the opposite actually FUCK YOU. If
    you want to see the real Austin then stop following all the tourists and go to the local scene( fyi – not 6th street) places like Greenbelt or yearly festivals like Eeyore’s Birthday ( last Saturday of April every year at Pease Park) and if you want real Mexican food then go to Baby Alcopoco … my point is you shouldn’t go speaking blasphemous bullshit just because you are ignorant and miss informed.

  21. Yikes!! I’d hate to engage in a conversation with the guy above about… well…anything. People all over the world hate cities, and it is what it is. No one has to agree, and anyone can disagree, but there’s no reason to be so vulgar. This is comical.

    • No worries its just a bipolar talking i only get like that whenever people discredit something I’m passionate about, like my hometown, my Native American culture, my Viking culture, legalization of Mary Jane, etc… plus it caught me at a bad moment with my bipolar mood swings with no smoke to chill me the fuck out lol.

  22. Ah, looks like you’re a bit of a kindred spirit, maybe… except for the musical stuff, my sport is cake eating 😉 love your blog! (Though some of the comments are a bit scary, I must say…)

  23. Howdy!

    My husband sent me the link to your Austin rant and I loved it!!! People look at me like I’m satan incarnate when I say “I can’t stand Austin”. I am finally getting my husband to move back to Colorado, I managed to get him on a roadtrip home with the dogs (i’ve been trying for 10, count ’em, 10 years!) and upon returning to Austin, he finally began to wonder why he liked it there in the first place. That is easy to answer; money. Until recently he traveled 50 weeks out of the year, so he was never in Austin like I was. But I’m not bitter.

    The only thing weird about Austin is when there is a sidewalk, it doesn’t go very far and it’s only on one side of the street, ( I have seen handicapped people in electric wheelchairs having to use the right lane of McNeil Ave.) , AND they park in the bike lane. That is truly weird, as in “does not compute”. I worked 5 miles from my house but could not ride my bike to work– it just wasn’t safe. Thank God almighty Lance Armstrong has been “shamed” and people quit wearing those stupid yellow jerseys when they ride (or walk) the stupid bike trail at the “lake”…[the word reservoir is not in the Austin vocabulary].

    So glad to be leaving this dump of posers, and the real cherry on the top is, my hubs had so much fun on the road, we are getting a Sprinter to travel the continent in!

    Enjoy Seattle, I know it well and I have a condo up in Vancouver, B.C. –another city with too much hype– unless you mean hypodermic, and definitely too many of those laying on the streets and parks.. I came up with a term for Canadians when I lived there, Canidiots. But. I don’wan’na’be negative or such….Hah! “Sorry!”

    Take a journey south to Prosser for great vineyards or to Mt. Adams and watch for UFOs! Washington has great places. Spokane is beautifull and the area south of it down to Walla Walla is gorgeous (Palouse mountains?) the. Columbia river is amazing. I have great friends all over that state, and particularly in Freemont and Everett. Very nice spots.

    Enjoy!
    Barbara

    • Thanks so much! Since being in Seattle all of Austin’s short comings have come into focus for my BF. One of the weirdest things about Texas is that Texans DONT TRAVEL. Not really. No wonder they think it’s great.

      Colorado is one of my favorite states. I climbed Pike’s Peak twice, and I’ve done a bit of climbing and rafting there. So pretty. Enjoy! ANd thanks for reading 🙂

  24. sorry you didnt like Austin. it really is true we do not want y’all here. we love Texas the way it is y’all love your left coast. we’ll stay here you stay there. enjoy your travels.

    • Ya know, “Bear”, I love Texas outside of Austin, I truly do, because REAL Texans are THE NICEST people on the planet. They are not defensive about, well, anything… they are gracious, intelligent, and humorous. They don’t have to “market” weirdness to feel good about living in Texas.

      Yes, I will leave, and I will continue to advertise “Do Not Visit Austin” for you. You’re welcome!

  25. Hi! I don’t know any other way to get ahold of you but I am moving to Prague to do the TEFL Worldwide. I am absolutely terrified right now because I am not sure about how this is going to work or how I’ll manage it and I was hoping I could talk to you about your experiences there…..let me know.
    Love your blog by the way 🙂

  26. Hi Alicia

    I think I’ve pretty much decided to move to Prague. I don’t have a job yet or anything, but I figure that will come. As silly as it may sound I actually wanted to get some advice from you about weather. As a Bay Area native myself I’m definitely not used to harsh winter weather and wanted to get advice from you on what clothes/shoes are essential to surviving the winter and whether its better to buy them in the US where that stuff is often cheaper or wait until I get there. I know I’d wait till I was there to buy a big coat but sweaters, rain coats, and things like that where is it better to buy?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s