The year 2008, and so far six months living in Prague. Today is the first day the Sun has broken through the cloud cover and pierced the shield of this vampire city. I haven’t written for ages, and I think it was because my last blog incarnation of The TripWire went stale and my ideas stagnated. It was a Turkey thing and we aren’t in Turkey anymore, so a change was necessary. Or maybe I just need the Sun more than I like to think. In any case, welcome to the newest evolution: Signs Of Life.
It’s been a lot harder than I would have thought for us to get fully settled into life here. Our visas are held up, once again, and now we are getting down to the wire on our residency permits. This is the biggest bad omen right now. I still haven’t found a full-time job yet that I can see myself doing for the long term, this is the second biggest bad sign.
Good omens and bad omens seem to go hand in hand since I’ve been here, and so here are some of the highlights:
I no longer live in that wasteland called Istanbul and finally am a member of the free world once again. That is a good sign if ever there was one. Praise Goddess. I do miss my kitties though, especially Tommy, Domino and Boo Radley. That’s sad. Every once in a while I remember them so vividly and miss them so terribly it aches. They come to me in my dreams though. Not quite the same, but I take what I can get.
Within a month of arriving in Prague I had my first ever article published. That was such a good sign. And it got even better as my assignment to write about the Devil’s Bible led to a very strange channelling of the book’s voice that turned into my second published article. I even got to go to the press conference heralding the Bible’s arrival in Prague, AND I got to spend five minutes alone with the world’s largest and strangest book. Pure magic. I tell you, I knew that book and it knew me. I still hear it’s voice in my head every now and then, even though it’s gone back to it’s ‘home’ of Sweden. There was something spooky going on there, for real.
My freelance job at The Prague Post ended badly. That was a sucky sign. But, it worked out for the best because I didn’t like anything about working for yet another third rate newspaper. What is it about even the worst newspaper that they have such a pretentious sense of entitlement, as if it’s an honour or something to get to work on their mediocre staff? Not to mention the very bad omen of how they totally screwed up my first ever article in print. It was doomed from the beginning. I am so over the newspaper world.
The goodness was that leaving The Prague Post has so far led to two contracts (and counting) with Charles University professors who need me to proofread their book manuscripts. If I hadn’t left the job I hated at Prague Post I never would’ve flooded university professors with my CV and within a month had several contracts in the works. I’ve also figured out that my perfect job would be owning my own academic editing business, something that I will work on for the future.
I took a risk working for a financial advisory firm towards the end of November, which was a good thing. I never take risks anymore and something about that felt good. The problem was that the work was commission based, and, well, we had no money and none of the deals I arranged worked out. One good sign was that the job reminded me of how much I love working with people, something I had totally forgotten in my Spanish and Turkish angst of olde. Another good sign was that right around the time I accepted the job I got my first university contract, so we could still pay rent and eat. Whew!
On the friend front, Steve and I have met some incredible people since we’ve been here. We had a wonderful Halloween party with some visitors from out of town: Fabulousness! My soul sisters Kirsten W and Ludmila S both visited me, and we had a gorgeous time. I have a new soul sister, Lenka S, a gorgeous Slovak who speaks English with a perfect Scottish accent. We already had our first blowout fight and got over it, to be closer now than we were with our very strong initial connection. I made friends with a fabulous DJ from California named Keith M, who is easily one of the nicest and kindest people I have ever met. Another fantastic soul is Canadian Jay, who reminds me of PonyBoy from The Outsiders: pure gold. There’s also Nina and Steve G, the Czech/Kiwi couple who were our first Prague friends.
At our favorite bar, Chateau (where incredible things always happen), we met a wonderful man, Ross D, who ended up having worked on the lights for American Beauty, Flags of our Fathers, Letters From Iwo Jima, Road To Perdition, and on and on. He took us out for martinis at a local James Bond bar and we talked the night away. Wendy loved American Beauty so much. When he told me he worked on it, I wasn’t sure whether to cry or shit my pants. I think I only cried a little. I told him about Wendy. He was happy to have met her through me.
On New Year’s Day I made a new soul connection with a Californian woman named Kirsten K who knows everyone who’s anyone in town, and has since connected me with Karen Feldman (http://www.artelglass.com/), a very famous American artist who owns a glass and antique gallery here. Kirsten even recommended me to Karen as a manager for her gallery, and I’ve since been corresponding with this very special and talented artist! Dude, even if I don’t get the job, who cares. I’ve been writing with Karen Feldman! It’ so cool. Ice cool. And I’m excited to see what it these new connections will bring in the new year.
So my job search for the right thing continues, punctuated by University editing contracts and interviews. I have seen the inside of so many disparate offices, it’s crazy. From multi-national corporations to new and struggling businesses. I get to explore new parts of the city in my business suit and black boots, discovering new and amazing architectural feats and swanky corners. I’ve had a lot of fun hanging out with new and old friends, helping them and being helped, drawing postcard angels and handing them out. Spending time with Steve in our darling apartment, hanging out, playing in the snow, enjoying each other’s company most days.
The best good omen is that Steve and my relationship took a quantum leap forward since we have been here, and I know in my heart that nothing can really go wrong so long as we are together and getting happier each and every day. We inspire each other to be better, and bit by bit we are both becoming the people we have always wanted to be.
Good omens, bad omens. Life in Prague: shrouded in gray most days, but when the Sun breaks through, boy does He ever break through! I’m trying to remember to be all Facts of Life-y and take the good with the bad. For some reason, it’s been easier today to really feel and believe than it has been. Let’s hope this marks an upward trend in 2008 and my still-new Czech life.