Reflection

A Thousand Words // June 26, 2019

Reflection, a word often defined as an image that you can see in a mirror, glass or even water. But reflection can also refer to the act of assessing yourself-your ways of working and how you operate. Because of the independent nature of this particular study abroad program, I have really been able to test and push myself in ways that I normally wouldn’t back home.

I hardly ever go anywhere by myself in Austin, but “Europe Veronica” loves doing solo exploring. I’ve learned that it’s good to set aside alone time for yourself and that you don’t always need to do things with other people.

I think self-reflection is very important. Not only does it help build emotional self-awareness, it also allows you to take the time to reflect and gain a better understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and driving factors in your life.

** Fun Fact: This picture was taken in the mirror maze in Petrin Park right next to the famous Petrin Lookout Tower **

Mr. Independent

A Thousand words // June 25, 2019

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait; it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” ~ Joyce Meyer

As I was riding the subway home, I noticed this young little boy looking out the window. He held an emotionless expression on his face and was clutching on to what appeared to be some sort of musical instrument, perhaps a cello. I remember finding myself being so intrigued by this little boy.  At his age I was definitely not allowed to go most places by myself, let alone ride the subway. I think it’s so interesting how quickly things change. Without a doubt kids seem to be way more independent now a days than when I was growing up. It’s too early to say whether or not that’s a bad thing. I personally think it’s great. However, like anything I feel there needs to be moderation. Kids still need time to be just that, KIDS. When I see young children dressing and acting older than their age it makes me feel rather sad, because I feel like they are being robbed of their innocence. My childhood is what helped shaped me into the person that I am today, and I would hate for anyone to miss out on those amazing moments.

All Nighters

Morning Glories // June 24, 2019

The term all-nighter is a pretty common vocabulary word that you hear a lot on college campuses, especially around finals week. You’ll hear students talk about how they’re on their third or fifth cup of coffee as they cram a semester’s worth of studying into one night. However, here in Prague when people talk about an all nighter they’re not referring to their studying tactics.

I was up and about walking down Charles Bridge around 5:30am when I stumbled upon this group of misfits. They were talking loudly, stumbling on the cobblestone and had an overwhelming odor of red bull and vodka. This signified to me that they had just left the clubs and were indeed beginning on their journey to find their way home. Since a lot of the clubs in Europe stay open till 4 or 5 in the morning; seeing large groups of half drunken kids stumbling around the city at the break of dawn is not an uncommon site. If you’re ever in need of a good laugh, I highly recommend walking around Charles Bridge in the wee hours of the morning. Right after I took this photo, the group of boys broke out in dance. They were using everything from the running man all the way to the whip. It was truly a sight to behold.

Life on the fast Tram

Noticed // June 23, 2019

With Prague’s fairly easy transportation system, there should be absolutely no excuse to not go out and explore this amazing city. Having lived in New York pretty much all my life, I was no stranger to the subway or the crazy and often times confusing subway system.

However, one of the things that I truly admire about Prague is there public transportation system. Whether you plan on going below and using the subway or sticking up top to catch the scenery; your destination can easily be reached.

I have to admit; I was a little skeptical about using public transformation at first. Especially, since I absolutely hate using it back in Austin. I feel like it takes three times as long to get from point A to point B. Not to mention, when we first arrived in Prague our professors first bit of advice was, “watch out for those trams. They don’t stop. They’ll run you right over!” Real comforting words of wisdom if you ask me. But so far, so good! I have absolutely no complaints; well only a few but you read about those in my previous post about the night tram.

** Fun Fact: Prague’s transportation system was ranked 5 best in the world **

Mr. Monk

Morning Glories // June 22, 2019

Monks are men who have devoted part or all of their lives to a religion. The word monk comes from Ancient Greek and can be translated as solitary. The monks who live on their own are usually called hermits. Those living with other monks do so in monasteries. This makes perfect sense because while I was out in the wee hour of the morning trying to get some picture for my morning glories, I saw this stoic man walking around Old Town Square, which happens to be 4.8km (roughly 3 miles for all you Americans out there) away from the Strahov Monastery. I wondered what he was doing so far away from the Monastery this early in the morning.

This was the first monk that I had seen walking out in about. After some research I learned that monks tend to live pretty monastic lifestyle. Such as their days typically consist of them gathering in the chapel to pray. They perform a few chores around the church such as cleaning, cooking and so on, a simple and fulfilling lifestyle for some. However, that’s not one that I would choose for myself. I would miss going shopping and out to concerts way too much.

Lost Souls

Around Here // June 21, 2019

“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” ~Haruki Murakami

Death is never really an easy thing to talk about especially in this case. The concept of death is still a little unnerving for me. Today as we walked inside the Bone Church, I found myself feeling a tad conflicted. If you were to look at the Bone church at face value, you would be mesmerized by the incredibly intricate details all around the interior of the church. But, if you feel like I feel; you will find yourself with slight chills running down your back. All the elaborate details that make the church so beautiful are also what make it quite eerie and a tad appalling. The fact that there are thousands upon thousands of skulls and bones being used as decoration leave me with an uneasy feeling. I want to appreciate the beauty in the intricate art, but I feel saddened for all the lost souls.   

The decorations and sculptures were created by a woodcarver named František Rint. In 1870, he was commissioned by the landowners of the time to decorate the chapel with the bones. He was given this task to help create a reminder of the impermanence of human life and inescapable death.

** Fun Fact: The chapel now contains the bones of up to 40,000 people **

It starts with a smile

Small Wonder // June 20, 2019

I’ve always been a pretty curious person. The one thing that I truly find fascinating are people. No two people are truly the same. I love meeting new people! It helps that I have a rather extroverted personality, so I don’t really get too nervous going up to unfamiliar faces. This tends to work out in my favor because it allows me to meet so many incredibly amazing people.

One day when I was out eating brunch I saw these two men walk in and sit right beside me. One was carrying a very large backpack; the kind you would usually see someone carry who’s backpacking across country. I really admired his shirt, because of all the fun patterns and colors it had on it. So, I decided to give him a nice friendly smile. Then I casually blurted out, “Hey, I like your shirt!” He then responded in a rather thick accent, “Thanks, I like your hair.” That’s all it took! From that point forward we began to strike up a conversation, learning various facts and details about the other. I learned that their names were Gustavo & Roger, and that they were from Spain and Costa Rica. I guess I had really made quite the impression because the conversation ended with Roger giving me free tickets to see him perform at the Czech National Ballet. And to think; it all started with a simple smile.

** Fun Fact: Went to the ballet and it was AMAZING!!! Roger did an outstanding job**

Night Tram

Nocturnalist // June 19, 2019

Being up and about in Prague past midnight is quite the interesting time to be alive. At midnight the subway stations close till 5am. So the only way to get around in the city is by Ubering or taking the night tram. The night tram is definitely not a place many want to be, but it’s the transportation we all use. Because, who wants to pay $10 + to get somewhere, when the night tram will get you there for free?

All of my encounters on the night tram have been interesting to say the least. You see the night tram is predominantly filled with people who are either rushing to the clubs to start their night, or people who are coming back from the clubs and are on their way home to get some well needed sleep. Taking photos on the night tram is definitely not an easy task to do. I got lucky and had one subject who was lost in thought on her phone and the other who was just simply lost in thought because she decided to take a little nap on the tram.

** Fun Fact: At night the tram switches numbers and only uses numbers between 90-99**

More than just Inspiration

Small Wonder // June 18, 2019

Audrey Hepburn once said, “Everything I learned I learned from the movies.” I used to love watching movies. Just give me a large bag of popcorn, some strawberry twizzlers, and I would be all set. But as I got older, I seemed to have found a new love, one that doesn’t require any dialogue.

Today we visited the Národní galerie Praha, aka the National Gallery Prague, which happens to be a state-owned art gallery in Prague. It also manages the largest collection of art in the Czech Republic. Originally we were going to check out the 400 ASA: Photographs exhibition, which was incredible by the way. I was absolutely blown away by the photographer’s collections; especially Alžběta Jungrová Burlesque concentration. The way in which she captures her subjects is so intense yet really elegant at the same time. I also really appreciated the fact that out of all the photographers using film cameras she was the only one to use color.

Like Audrey Hepburn I am inspired by movies. Only my movies are beautiful moments trapped in time; captured by a single click. I have absolutely fallen in love with the art of photography. I get inspired everyday by the things and people that surround me. Looking at all these amazing photographs and installations today really helped inspire me to strive to do more with my photography and really try to elevate my craft.

Come Together

Location Notation // June 17, 2019

“Come together, right now over me.” A lyric from the song, “Come Together”, a true classic and one of my all-time favorite Beatles song. It also happens to be the lead song on The Beatles’ Abbey Road album. This song was crafted by John Lennon as a political rallying cry for Timothy Leary’s campaign to stand against Ronald Regan as governor of California.

There is a wall in Prague, located in a small and rather secluded square across from the French embassy that has been turned into the John Lennon Wall, filled with colorful and elaborate John Lennon-inspired graffiti and lyrics from various Beatles’ songs. In 1988, the wall was a source of irritation for the communist regime. Many young Czechs would write grievances on the wall. Thus, leading to a clash between hundreds of students and security police. To the Czech authority it seemed that the wall induced a Western capitalism mind set. Today, the wall represents a symbol of global ideals such as love, peace, and above all, inspiration.

I took this picture today at the Lennon wall of what I presume to be a local artist leaving his mark on the wall. I think it’s truly amazing when a work of art has the power to bring so many people from all different walks of life together.

** Fun Fact: The harmonica was the first instrument Lennon learned to play **