Someone recently asked me, “How does it feel to see the world?” As I slung the strap of my camera around my neck I replied, “I’ll show you, it’s simply in front of you.”
We mustn’t become bogged by the things that once were and could have been. The world is ran by only one constant – change and even that isn’t consistent. So when the time comes for things to change, and it will, let it be, go on and set her free.
I am leaving Florence with a new hat. I love hats because it is the easiest way to cover up the fact you just didn’t do your hair that day. Especially, if your traveling throw it on and go. I got this hat at the street market in Florence, I even got it for a deal- I’m a haggler. You have to, or else you will get taken advantage of. That is something I have learned while traveling, the second locals realize you are a tourist, especially an American, they hike up the price. So I say as little as possible just to throw them off, use what local language I can, then (BAM) shock ’em when I speak perfect English after I’ve gotten my deal 😉 I myself once worked in retail, had a quota and a threatening manager, so sure you’ll do what you have to in order to keep your job. Along with selling people things they probably don’t really need – case in point why I no longer work in retail. I bring that up because my mom was off looking at somethings on her own, and I was observing from a distance the gentleman trying to scam her. She was looking for authentic goods made in Florence, every time she would ask he would say “Oh, yes, sure!”. He practically had is hand in her purse paying himself. So I walked over to see the tag and they were in fact goods from China and Persia. That’s when we walked away, but they can be so pushy but as a touring customer always remember you have the right not to be hustled or cheated. But what do you think about the hat?
And by eagle I mean Ching Chong-aka my mom! She got here this afternoon after about traveling 22 hours. Her phone had died when she left the airport so there was no way of telling me she had arrived and was on her way. Naturally I began to worry watching the time get past the time I figured she should’ve already gotten to my apartment. So I get a gut feeling to head for downstairs and go outside to look for her. At my apartment there is a buzzer system however there are no names/numbers at the main door, therefore you can’t tell what apartment you’re calling. But I figured out I can pick up my phone and listen to see if anyone is at the door. I happen to pick it up and hear my moms frantic voice asking the a couple of students in my building; “Excuse me! Do you speak English? Do you know Ashley? Is she here?”. So I ran down the stairs to get her, apparently the cab driver brought her to my building and she couldn’t believe from the outside it was apartments. So they drove on until he convinced her it was the correct place. So there’s my mom who has never traveled outside the states just so lost and in shock from how different the Czech Republic was. It was quite comical. Anyways, today was the commencement ceremony for my school so we cleaned her up and went to the lunch. It was so funny to watch her take in this new world, I’ve just become so accustomed to. Around every corner it was “Oh, ah, oh my gosh… Ash!”. It was cute. We’ll be in Prague through the weekend so I’ll be able to take her around to my favorite spots, then were off to Italy for Christmas! I cannot wait Italy is my FAVORITE place to travel. I’m also looking forward to showing her around there too. It feels so surreal that my mom is here. Having a piece of my world in this place I have experienced completely on my own feels strange. But more importantly it feels so good to have that piece of home/familiarity here.
Came across this outside a cafe near the castle – way to advertiseI decided to take a break from studying for finals and pay the Prague Castle a visit. The weather was great so I walked, got a coffee, took a few pictures and explored some side streets. The castle is about a 15 minuet walk from my apartment, I know life’s rough. This was actually the first time that I had been to the castle since I arrived here. This will be my final week here I figured I better get my ass up there to see it. I hadn’t been up there yet because at the time my class had a tour I was actually really sick, but I can officially say I’ve been to it. I didn’t go inside because I am waiting for my mom who is flying in at the end of the week, so we can see it for the first time together! I’m really looking forward to showing her around Prague. Hope you all are enjoying this Sunday – take the time to visit a place you’ve been telling yourself you are going to.
The weather today was actually pleasant, I decided to skip taking the tram and walk to class. It has been freezing here in Prague so it was nice to be able to go out and walk around without looking like Ralphy’s little brother in A Christmas Story. What can I say, us SoCal girls aren’t made for weather below 60. Anwyas I can’t believe the semester is coming to an abrupt end. Funny how life works that way; you start to get used to something and then it’s time for change. Though I am looking forward to getting back to my real life. I’m still learning and discovering things and places here in the city. In fact last night, like today, was fairly warm so I was out walking home and passed by this tea/hookah place right around the corner from my building. They were closed at the time so I told myself I want to go there. There’s been many times where I’ve heard and said that but it gets put off, and never ends up happening but this time I really meant it. I was shooting a scene for my acting class and decided to take my director who had never been to a hookah cafe, or shisha (that’s what they call it here). I love sharing things I enjoy with other people, there’s always some excitement about watching someone experience something new for the first time. The atmosphere was great reminded me of my favorite lounge back in Cali. The owner came over introduced herself, chatted for a bit-she by far is the nicest person I’ve come across here. It’s a shame there’s only a week and some change left.
That I am. While in Vienna I went to a photo exhibition at the Kunst Haus Wien museum featuring Michel Comte. A famous photographer known for portraits of celebrities, high fashion spreads, nudes and advertisements. The exhibition featured his work from the past 30 years, which included portraits of movie stars like the handsome George Clooney, Sophia Loren, to the wild musician Iggy Pop. Along with his volunteer work, where he has gone and photographed people and places such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Tibet and Bosnia in collaboration with the Red Cross and Terre des Hommes. I always find some sort of inner inspiration and peace going to different galleries. Its a beautiful thing; a camera, because you get to see from the perspective of others – and I really enjoyed his perspective. The exhibition is through February, I highly recommend it if you’re planning on visiting Vienna. And if by chance Michel Comte is reading this, you can take my picture any day! 😉
…a lyric made famous by Billy Joel in his song Vienna, never really made sense, until this past weekend. The cafe culture is really big in Vienna, in fact it’s expected that you’re probably going to there at least an hour or two. Coming from the California where everyone is constantly moving to avoid wasting time, I’ve really had to slow down and dig for patients. Which has been nice, but as it is my attention span can be short and when the espresso kicks in I’m ready. But in Vienna, like Italy, its part of the culture to go to a cafe and “rent” a table and hold a conversation with a person; who actually sits in front of you. Gee, what a concept. To think people actually still communicate face-to-face. Okay, all sarcasm aside that is one of my favorite things about Europe. Grab a cup of Joe and enjoy some more pictures from my weekend in Vienna. Continue reading →
I recently got busy with school (yes I do have class and homework for all you wondering) so I haven’t had a chance to finish sharing the rest of my fall break adventures. After Rome the girls and I took a train to Florence where we stayed for two nights. Florence is a lot more laid back and relaxed in comparison to Rome. It’s a lot smaller of a city and the people there are in even less of rush. But we didn’t complain we were very much looking forward to relaxing. Rome was a nonstop trip, with no down time. There’s just so much to see and do. Here are some photos from our last afternoon in Rome before we left for Florence.
Today I had my picture taken by Andrew Turski, another fellow blogger I met here in Prague. Andrew has a blog called One person a day and he shares photographs of a new person he meets and converses with on that particular day. I really admire the drive he has behind his blog because it has pushed him to approach strangers and learn a little bit about them. Being in a big city with all our personal technologies meeting people is not like it used to be, it can be very surfaced and nonchalant. Also difficult to get a stranger to have an open conversation. Something I find so ironic when there are people openly adverting each time the are off to the gym and other random things via their personal profile for their online audience. Which is why I appreciate the approach to connect and document his world. It was a bit intimidating at first, putting yourself in a moment of vulnerability. Not being the one to depict the moment or determine its essence. I’ll admit it was a challenge for me because I can be a little bit of a control freak. (Now I know how it feels to be the in the shoes of the people I’ve asked on a whim to photograph.) However he did a great job at keeping it real by just having an ongoing conversation. That’s the beauty behind the blog in itself – a raw moment of interaction from anothers perspective. So thank you Andrew for choosing to include me, it was an honor.