Free.

“I just want to be free,” she whispered, “free of the pain.” And she closed her eyes and opened her palm. The moth sitting on her skin stretched its wings and took off – quietly, gently, just shimmering in the air until it got lost in the darkening night sky. 

She breathed in. The air was light, cold, watery. With the air in her lungs, her whole faith expanded.  

Perfect Spots in Prague: Vítkov Hill

When you visit Prague for the first time and you usually have only limited time, the schedule is somehow very easy to figure out. There is the Charles’ Bridge and astronomical clock to see, trdlovník or svíčková to taste and beer or Becherovka to get drunk with. No problem with that, it just works like that when it comes to fast traveling.

But! For those moments when you have more free time to spare, when you are slow traveling or when you move to the city in order to live and work here, you will discover there is much more to see. And that these places are way better than classical crowded touristy spots.

Perfect Spots in Prague: Vítkov Hill

National Memorial on Vítkov Hill and the giant statue of Jan Žižka standing right in front of it are visible and recognizable from various different corners of Prague. I remember it was always one of the points of orientation while maneuvering throughout the city, even when I was a kid and later, in my teenage years. Especially, when we were coming home from faraway places, I knew, when I saw the statue and the hill, I was close.

It was many years after that, when I first started to see the place as a perfect venue for meeting my friends and family. As a place where you can just chill, hang out and forget about the buzzing life you left down there, under the hill. Because almost all roads lead to Vítkov, it is easily accessible from various different quarters: from Karlín via stairs starting on Invalidovna or via the tunnel coming right through the hill from near the Karlínské náměstí; from Žižkov by just walking or from the city center via the secret shortcut between train stations Masarykovo and Hlavní nádraží connected to a cycleway and, you guessed it, some other stairs.

You can tell a lot from this description – first of all, you get pretty sweaty while reaching the top of the hill, especially during the long hot summer days. It is fun to see how your physical fitness is slowly declining as you spend more and more hours in the office. But that is also a good reason not to skip this trip! But secondly, the view from the top is just spectacular. I cannot just have enough of it. Because the place is visible from many spots in Prague, you can see almost the entire Prague from up here as well. That is quite logical, right? And it is definitely worth all the effort.

There is a lovely park behind the monument with many benches to sit on and it is also a favorite place for many sportsmen and sportswomen – for jogging and training under the open sky. What I personally love the most is to sit on the low wall surrounding the monument, observe everyone and everything and the whole city along all of it and chat with any of the precious beings I know.

Vítkov is basically one of the last places in Prague that were able to defend its charms, place that is quiet, peaceful and adorable and what is more, you can see the city you love from up here in its whole beauty. So please, while visiting, try to hold on to it and enjoy it. Staying humble while facing the greatness such as this one is also a part of the experience.

Perfect Spots in Prague: Kasárna Karlín

When you visit Prague for the first time and you usually have only limited time, the schedule is somehow very easy to figure out. There is the Charles’ Bridge and astronomical clock to see, trdlovník or svíčková to taste and beer or Becherovka to get drunk with. No problem with that, it just works like that when it comes to fast traveling.

But! For those moments when you have more free time to spare, when you are slow traveling or when you move to the city in order to live and work here, you will discover there is much more to see. And that these places are way better than classical crowded touristy spots.

 

Perfect Spots in Prague: Kasárna Karlín

Kasárna Karlín is a place which I have been thinking about for a while now, but I got to the visiting of the spot just recently. As I was starting my new life, I went to grab a beer with my new colleagues from my new job. Kasárna Karlín are basically former barracks situated near Florenc metro station in Prague 8. The place has some wibbly wobbly bewitched history with attempted privatization in the recent years. All you need to know though, is that so far, the whole building has been temporarily rented to a group of artists who promised to transform this forgotten yet remarkable place into a venue for cultural events and spot for people to meet in an informal atmosphere. And this promise was fulfilled on a 1000%!

Not only there is a plenty of tiny bars and businesses where you can taste lots of different and unusual kinds of beer and drinks, they also have draught cider (which is still not very common in Czech Republic). But there is also a volleyball field and many interesting cultural events take place here as well, such as open-air cinema, slam poetry events, public debates, yoga fest and much more.

If you are here to taste the mood of Prague or if you are working the whole day and you want to chill within the picturesque scenery of a remarkable classicist building with interesting history and strong genius loci, Kasárna Karlín is one of the places you should definitely not skip.

The Positive Diary #14 – The air and the clarity

18th February 2019 – Today, I want to talk about something we take so very often for granted but it still remains one of the most crucial bases for the life on Earth itself. I want to talk about the fresh air and the various ways it can help us through difficult times. I have to admit I am always that one annoying person who complains about a bad air in a room, especially when there is lots of people or in case there is no possible way to give the room a good airing. It seems to me that many people don’t even recognize there is something sneaky and unhealthy going on when we breathe such a bad air. To me, lack of a fresh air starts to feel like a great tiredness and continues with feeling dizzy, powerless and almost sick. But in the moment I leave the room and grasp my breath, all of this suddenly disappear. That is also the reason I cherish every single moment when I can take a deep breath in and out.

Focusing on one’s breath is one of the techniques that can help us to reduce stress, ease anxieties and repulse panic attacks. It can also be used as a technique to help you fall asleep faster when your brain is overwhelmed by the number of thoughts spinning inside your head after a stressful day. Maybe the reason why I feel so weakened by the lack of the fresh air is the fact that I use these techniques so often, sometimes even without acknowledging it.

But there is also another part of me that loves the air. My less rational but the more loving part. Even as a child, I was always attracted by the strong wind during summer thunderstorms. And even as an adult, I just can’t help but to love the mild breeze ruffling my hair on a quiet walk through a forest. It is an inseparable part of my deepest admiration of Nature itself and every conscious breath I take is not only my ally for fighting my inner demons but also a reminder of this love.

So yes, no matter how silly it can sound, today I am the most grateful for every breath of chilling air I took outside today and for every other I will take in the future.

Take a deep breath and enjoy your evening, my friends!

With love

Wicked And Clever

Šárka

The Positive Diary #12 – Home

17th November 2018 – I have already mentioned my home several times here. No matter if it was a sanctuary where my re-charging party with my friends took a place or a peaceful house with the warm bed and two crazy chihuahuas in it, the connection between me and my old ugly residence is rather sacred to me. It might be very incomprehensible for someone who doesn’t know me: It is an old cold rural house probably from 1920s, which my dad tried to partially reconstruct in 1990s, so we would be able to live here.

 

The reconstruction was made only halfway through and my dad never made it to live here with us because my mum applied for a divorce. Few years after that our mum passed away and since that time, the house is partly mine and partly my brother’s. Because we are young, and we don’t have any money to spare, the house is somehow slowly falling into disrepair – in a way, it is still fully livable and habitable. It is just not the nicest house you have ever seen; it doesn’t have a new shiny facade nor the newest glittery Ikea furniture. For me though, it is the only place on Earth which has ever felt like home to me.

 

The connection with this house, with this land, is multidimensional to me. It will always be the house when my mum lived in her final days, the place where she felt happy after the divorce, with the kitchen where we felt like Gilmore girls and with the garden, she sporadically took care of and which made her an eternal witch in my eyes.

 

In my mind, it is also a place where many of my ancestors lived their lovely and peaceful lives and where my grandma and grandpa did a great deal of work. When I am here on my own during the night and I hear some noise, I always try to calm myself with a memory of my family members that passed away and with what my mum used to tell me, so I wouldn’t be scared: “If this place is haunted, remember – it is haunted by only good souls.” It might sound silly, but this calms me down every time.

 

It is a place where I can just be myself, I can think and talk freely without being judged or manipulated. This part might seem obvious, but it is a jackpot to me! As an empathic person, always analyzing and thinking about literally everything that happens during the day, I truly enjoy the moments which I can spend on my own in my silent – and sometimes not-so-silent – house. It doesn’t matter to me whether the interiors of the house look super-pretty or not as long as I feel super-relaxed and super-safe within its walls.

 

Let me express here today how grateful I am for having such a peaceful home and – what is even more important – for having such a strong connection with it. Having a sacred sanctuary, where you can curl up and forget about the rest of the world during the bad days and party as the devil during the good days, is just invaluable. Even though some toxic people in my life seem to not get it at all. Well, f.ck them! ❤ 🙂

 

Wicked And Clever

 

Šárka

The Positive Diary #11 – Grandmas and wine

16th November 2018Work weeks can be harsh. Especially when you have to go against your natural biorhythm in order to secure yourself an extra free Friday. I am a born night owl and therefore waking up at 5 A.M. means basically that I have to wake up at the same time I would prefer to go to bed instead. Thus, the first half of a week doesn’t work well for me – I am basically too tired to do anything – to study, to write, to create, even just to post on Instagram. I usually only focus on surviving these hours between the time I wake up and the time I jump back into my bed. It feels like a complete waste of time and it makes me feel distorted, useless and lost.

And then, the Friday comes.

Fridays are usually these only cheat days on which I let myself rest for a while. For example, I usually hate when I spend too much time on social media or when I watch a TV show the entire day but on Fridays, I try not to freak out about it so much if it happens. But luckily, today wasn’t that day.

I slept a great amount of time, just to wake up refreshed and happy, surrounded by my two chihuahuas. I made myself a healthy, nutritious and yummy breakfast and then I took a wonderful autumn walk through our two lovely villages in order to take a train. I wanted to visit my grandma after somewhat long time and enjoy the time and chat with her. I guess, when you have the coolest grandma, living in the most magical house with the most beautiful enchanted garden, there is no other place and no other person with whom you would rather spent your time and caught your breath.

I am so grateful for having such a charming and tough lady for a grandma. We always talk some old and well discussed stories through once again and I eat disturbingly too much of a cake she baked for us. And once we open a bottle of wine, I always learn something very new from my grandma’s youth. I couldn’t be more excited and fascinated by her stories! I listen with a great smile on my face and once again, I wish to borrow a Tardis from the Doctor so I could pick up my mum and my grandma when they were both seventeen and take them to party to Woodstock. That would have been something!

I am currently reading a book called Women Who Run the Wolves and I believe it is one of the main factors behind the great change of my attitude towards my feminine side. I also believe this change made me to see today my grandma not only as a caring energetic old lady, or a mother who lost her child, but also as a young rebellious girl and a grown-up self-confident young woman who isn’t afraid of anything. This mighty picture of my grandma gives me a pride stronger then ever that I, right me and no one else, am a granddaughter of hers. I am the one who bares the light and the resilience of women from our family towards the future.

While thinking about the life of my grandma, I always felt I wanted to be just like her. And I always wanted to be just like my mum, too. Now, when I’m older and I have a very different perspective than I used to have when I was fifteen, I can see that despite their quarrels and disputes, my mum and my grandma weren’t that different as it might have seemed in the past.

So, today I just wanted to express how grateful I am for being a successor of a feminine power in our family. I will hope I will manage to recall this pride and this feeling of belonging once the dark days come to me once again.

How do you honor your elders? Do you like to listen to their stories? Do you, too, imagine what a life must have been like when they were at your age?

Let me know and enjoy your weekend!

With love

Wicked And Clever

Šárka

The Positive Diary #10 – Re-charging with friends

6th November 2018 – Hey diary, I know it has been a while. Again. I guess it was very difficult for me to just think about gratitude in the last couple of weeks, let alone actually feeling grateful. But as it happens all the time, new days and new weeks come and once you are down, you can always be sure that the things will get better soon.

Today I want to talk about these crazy nights with our closest friends which somehow manage to make us feel weightless. No worries left, only happy memories of dancing as if it was the last dance and singing so loud as if we just got mad. We all need nights like these once in a while.

I am always very nervous when a new visitor is about to come to our house. Let’s be honest, it isn’t the prettiest house in the universe but still – I haven’t felt so happy, safe and whole nowhere else on this planet. That is of course the reason why I can’t resist inviting my friends to hang out and sleep over.

This Sunday I planned a meeting like that with my two friends from my master program. It all went so well that we ended up going to bed at 5 A.M. and our legs still hurt from the consistent dancing and jumping around. Why am I writing about it? Well, like I said, the last couple of weeks were pretty dull. Nothing made a real sense to me and I felt like an empty bag being dragged by a wind. This our little session changed everything and it was the day after that, when I had to cancel my work appointment in order to survive the day, when I realized how much I needed this!

My optimism and joy from life has return miraculously and I felt whole, grateful and full of love and understanding once again. So I am here today to remind you of your friends and of the marvels which only spending some time with them can bring you. You don’t have to dance, a little chat over a cup of tea will suffice. Even when you are not in a party mood, once you share your insecurities or pain with someone you can trust and rely on, it will make your pain more bearable.

But – sometimes the best thing you can do, even in those darkest moments, is to forget about everything and just to enjoy the night as if it was your last on the Earth. Whether it will help you to heal your soul immediately or whether it will give you just a time-out to gain some power back, it can do a miracle.

Think about it next time, you will feel so desperately in need of energy and purpose.

Take care!

With love,

Wicked And Clever

Šárka

5 Tips on How to Become Fluent in Foreign Languages

While learning a foreign language, there always comes the moment when we are ready to speak with a native speaker. At least, our exams and tests say so. But the truth is, that speaking a foreign language is also a lot about self-confidence. For those of you, who have been struggling with this issue, I have listed down five tips to overcome the insecurities of actually using the language you have worked so hard to learn.

 

  1. Solid basics

Of course, this is crucial. You need to have solid knowledge of the language you are trying to speak with confidence. I am learning English since I was twelve and I have to admit that I was very lucky with people who I got as English teachers. Special thanks go to my teacher from high school and another one from my journalism bachelor program on my university.

There are however few things you can do even though you weren’t as lucky as I was. You can always try to find a suitable course of a desirable language near your place or you can give a try to an online course as well.

It is also important to have a good textbook, grammar website or a CD-ROM at hand, so you can always check a phrase or a grammar when you are not entirely sure.

 

  1. Watch a movie, TV show or play a PC game

This is my most favorite part since I am a big lover of American and British TV shows. In Czech Republic, the dubbed movies and TV shows are a very normal and popular thing. And while watching them in English, it feels little bit less as a waste of time to me. This is a great tip for those who want to improve their conversational skills.

 

  1. Read a book, listen to an audiobook or a podcast

For those who want to strengthen their abilities as storytellers in that particular language or for those who seeks to expand their vocabulary, there goes my number three tip. What worked great for me was the combination of reading the book and listening to the audiobook at the same time.

Podcasts are quite a new phenomenon to me, as my closest American friend recommended it to me few months back, but they are great! I appreciate them especially on my way home after a very long day, when I don’t really feel into listening to some music. And when you find a podcast that really attracts your attention, these can be great also for your cardio exercising.

 

  1. Join a buddy program!

As you will hear in my video, buddy programs are the best! Not only it will strengthen your language skills, boost your confidence and give you the approval of native speakers themselves, through buddy program you can meet the best people in your life and start a new friendships for a lifetime. I was in a buddy program for about four semesters and this experience also helped me to get better with socializing and pushing my introvert limits beyond.

This tip is much easier to do for those who are still in college or in high school, but I believe there are some options even for those who already work fulltime. Go and check my video where I came up with some ideas!

 

  1. Talk – no matter what

You need to get used to you speaking the foreign language. In order to do so, there is nothing easier than starting to talk to yourself with that language, so you wouldn’t feel awkward every time you are forced to use it in public.

We all know these moments, when we are getting bored at home or when we have to do some silly manual work just to have it done – doing laundry or cleaning the house for instance. And these are exactly those moments which you can use to practice the language. This will give you the sense of how you actually sound while trying to pronounce the words correctly and also a save space to correct yourself if you make a mistake.

 

Bonus tip – ENJOY IT!

I would say that this tip, despite the fact it is just a bonus tip, is crucial for your success with languages. You should enjoy the process of learning the language and have fun with it. Study the language for yourself and this attitude will make it joyful to you.

 

Here comes my YT video about the topic where I discuss some of the tips further. Enjoy it and let me know which super hacks do you use to become better and better every day!

 

Learning Tip #2: Gratitude as the Essential Key to Success

As you already know, I am putting a big emphasis on building gratitude through my Positive Diary series here on my precious blog. I feel like once you will master the ability of gratitude it can expand into every branch of your life and bring you the most unexpected joy and happiness. Therefore, I decided that this surprisingly free of charge, but invaluable ability should be covered as one of my learning tips for being more successful in what you want to learn.

 

My new YouTube video aims exactly in this direction. I shot it during the last week and since then, many things in my life has changed. But I still believe in what I say in the video and I sincerely hope I will believe it until the rest of my life.

 

Why, you might wonder. Well, I have to admit that while practicing gratitude on everyday basis through my positive diary, working hard on my projects and attending my favorite classes at school, I was the happiest I have ever been. Of course, some days are harder that others and it is so easy to forget about one’s goals and gratitude in a face of a life’s strugglebut what is important is that you always need to find a way back and a will to fight back. And again, remembering your practiced gratitude can help a lot with this comeback as well.

 

I hope you will enjoy my tiny video which captures one beautiful day in Prague and one important message. And let me know how do you power your dreams; how do you manage to complete your goals.

Happy Sunday, my friends!

 

The Positive Diary #7 – Stealing some time just for ourselves

8th October 2018 – Tell me, my friend, how was your weekend? Mine was, after what felt like ages, very peaceful and I was able to dedicate some time to myself only. And it felt great!

 

I found some time to practice yoga on both evenings. I managed to write articles and fiction, too. I edited another video which was my goal I set for the last two weeks. I also found some time to clean a bit, but not to get crazy about it or super tired. I took time to enjoy the silence and peacefulness of being at home on my own. I posted on Instagram but didn’t spend entire day scrolling down. I managed to stay calm when my husband tried to make me angry. I cooked delicious meals for myself and ate them with love. And most importantly – I have enjoyed every minute of it!

 

Today, I would like to appreciate these moments we steal for ourselves because these are the basic steps towards happiness and gratitude. I feel like we always crave for the love of others but sometimes we forget to give love and care to ourselves to begin with. It took me some time to learn it and then again it took me some time to actually live by this rule but now I am not surprised I wasn’t feeling happy and whole back then.

 

We are sometimes taught as we grow up that the self-love and self-care is a selfish thing. I say f.ck it! There should always be balance in everything we do, otherwise the nice things stop to make us happy. Therefore, we should always remember, while giving so much love and care to others, we shouldn’t forget about ourselves either.

 

Be grateful with me today, for being able to steal some time for ourselves and for doing so with a deep love and understanding.

No regrets allowed here. 🙂

 

Have a wonderful evening, my friend, no matter what you are up to!

 

With love,

Wicked And Clever

Šárka