'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Thursday, February 26, 2009

a quaint love story...

the chicken loved the skewers and they married each other in a pan.

the end.


yours truly

p.s. random, i know...but tom asked me to write him a love story, and this is all i could dream up at the moment.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the importance of play!

some words score big points...depending on when you use them...

learn from play. make it a part of your every day, like it was when we were kids. explore, experiment, anticipate and absorb. play, on purpose. you'll be amazed how inspiring it can be.

play the day away,


(blog post disclaimer: stole this from an ImageHaus newsletter, but la-la-la-laaave it!)

stuff i like: sweet vintage luggs +

pretty pretty pink bags

I'm always looking for cool new trinkets. DailyCandy often gives me the inspiration I am seeking - and tonight they did just that. Even though I don't have the means to shop, a gal can steal dream...and plug some cool stuff for others to indulge on!

Today the Candy featured these totally rad, pretty and pink vintage luggage... and they say it so well, "So it’s a little soft and, well, bulgy — always sticking out a little more than you’d like.Show some respect to the junk in your trunk with SteamLine Luggage. The vintage-style leather cases are updated versions of old-school travel pieces."

Lovely. I adore it, and I also adore Daily Candy. You should too.

oh, and p.s. another cool thing I found is this obama finger puppet, of course hailing from my most fav. boutique, patina. So weird. And that's why it's so cool.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

first visitors in praha...

Just a quick note here...

Last weekend I had a special Valentine's Day visit from two very amazing women - beautiful Laura and her gorgeous mother, Nancee! Laura is a wonderful friend - and former co-worker - of mine whom I love and admire so, so much...so it was such a blessing to get a chance to reconnect and visit!

i look like a giant compared to Laura - goodness, boots!

and...what else did they bring me but a bunch of kraft mac-n-cheese (someone's been reading :) between this and my father's shipment, i am going to turn into mac-n-cheese) hee hee.

So, Laura - if you're reading this...thank you so much to you and your mother for being my Valentine's Day dinner dates! I'll have you know, my brother was bummed he didn't get to meet you! Why didn't I think of that?! Bummer!

Cheers to my first visitors, and here's to many more!
Love on this snowy sunday night,

Saturday, February 21, 2009

praha at night...

a treat from my walk home tonight...
isn't the beauty grandiose?
and another...

miss you all!

love, me

random blog post of the week: the art of travel

Mastering the art of travel is not accomplished with practice or talent. No school will give you a bachelor’s degree in not getting shot while backpacking through Eastern Africa. Or avoiding Montezuma’s revenge on your trek through Mexico.

It’s a way of life.

Unknown to the majority, it is almost impossible to convey to your friends back home over the course of a single conversation. It’s more of a feeling. It’s the excitement I experience the night before a trip…

The high that comes from booking a one-way train ticket to a place I’ve never heard of…

It’s the little things that so often go unnoticed.

I used to think back to my wedding day and wonder, ‘how did I get here? why me?’

And I remember all that I’ve seen and done…

the friends I’ve made…

the countries I’ve called home…

and all of the bugs I've eaten by accident.

p.s. I grabbed this from the lil'-known indie film, "Art of Travel" - perhaps it's the state of mind I was in when I was watching it, but it stirred something up in me. It reminded me why I love to travel...it's the experience of it all that energizes me...the people you run into, the crazy things that happen. It's about letting go of any apprehensions or worry and just observing and taking it all in. I adore it.

It's a subtle reminder of the true reason I took this leap...to experience. And, so I must not forget this as I trudge forward in this new environment. Especially when I am doubting myself or feeling unsure about my newfound expat life.

p.s.s. "give me a reason to smile, because i think i forgot how...i want to fall asleep with you tonight...i want to know that i am safe when you hold me tight...i want to feel how i want to feel forever. girls need attention and boys need us, so let's make everybody glad" (from a meiko song i discovered this week, called "reasons to love you" that i now loooove!)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

a charity case...introducing "Morning Bell (a call to fund love)"

As promised, this is part deux of the "tom blog" series...and it's a very special part indeed.

Back in September I set off for what has turned into a labor day tradition - the trip to Northern Minnesota BWCA (boundary waters canoe area), but this year I carried with me something more special than even my blanky...Tom. There were many relationship-defining moments of the trip, but perhaps the most defining moment was the 30-40 ft. cliff we jumped. Hesitantly scaling the side of the cliff, we finally made it to the ledge...together. As completely exhilerating as it was, it was also a bit i'm-going-to-crap-my-pants-frightening (even I'll admit that), but I was bound and determined to be the only girl there who jumped it.

I clearly remember the feeling of nervousness (I think I may have peed my swimsuit a lil' bit) just before I jumped, coupled with an intense craving for the adrenaline rush I was about to experience. Holding hands and gazing out into the water and the unknown, we looked at each other and he gave my hand one last tight, reassuring squeeze before we jumped off...for a short time we were underwater and then we resurfaced, hungry for another challenge.

This cliff-jumping story is not too far from the premise of our relationship...and if Tom wouldn't have held my hand, squeezing tightly in reassurance, it would have been a lot more difficult to make the life-leap I've made. And, taking that leap over the edge has been the single best decision (okay, I can think of a few others too) of my life thus far.

And although the transition has been fairly smooth, I'm not going to lie - it's still difficult to be thousands of miles away from the one person on this earth that knows how you tick better than anyone else. At times it even sucks. But as much as it does suck, I don't regret the decision I've made. For the first time in a few years, I am not worrying about what is next. I feel an incredible sense of peace and happiness as I conquer these new challenges in this new place on my own...but with the love and encouragement of so many back home (thank you, all!)!

So, now for the purpose of this blog. It was my idea, as a parting gift for Tom, to set up a little travel fund for the both of us. I know what you're thinking...great time for a travel fund, smack-dab in the middle of an economic recession. ha. Just my horrible luck. This lil' travel fund will be deemed, "Morning Bell: a call to fund love" - a fitting title because we adore Radiohead, and also because I couldn't think of an alternative.
For those of you who do not know (although I am pretty sure I've divulged to you all...willingly or unwillingly:))...Tom is three years into a, hmmm, 12-year journey in medicine. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little, but he is in year 3 of an 8-year combined MD/PHD (yes, I'm dating uber-nerd) program...from there he will tackle residency with aspirations to go into either transplant or vascular surgery...so, 7+ more years of residency and fellowship jazz later, and Tom will finally be a real doctor. Wow...what am I getting myself into? HA! This is precisely why I vowed I would never be with a med student. But alas...

So, as such, he has no money. And I - well, I live in the Czech Republic now, making less than half of what I made in the states (certainly not too upset about that, as it is nice to live a more minimalist lifestyle...i am not saying i don't miss my boutiques or luxe grocery shopping at kowalskis/the wedge, though, dammit!). And since so many of you seem interested in our lil' abroad romance, I thought I'd give you the chance to be a part of and help to sustain our freaking amazing adventure, hence the introduction of "Morning Bell (a call to fund love)". I know there are millions of other, more important things to do with your money - but I thought, "you never know if you don't try!" So, I went with my gut and created it anyway.

Morning Bell (a call to fund love) - Click on the button to the right if you'd like to fund love!

In return, we'll promise to:

_send you a postcard,

_a blog shout-out (with lots o' love) and

_chronicle our travel adventures together here on my blog (maybe we'll call it "the chronicles of praha/minni love).

(also, we'll buy you good gifts someday when Tom's no longer a faux-doctor, and I will continue to send you all really witty christmas cards...)
To donate - click on the "donate" button to the right, under "Morning Bell" heading...

Last but certainly not least, here's a song for the road...in honour of Tom and the notion of love in general (thanks to the beautiful voice of David Ford, whom I first saw in concert with Bell X1 last year, and then for a second time this year with Ingrid Michaelson)...

happy love-funding,


p.s. if the recession aint no thang/you do have moola, and you're inclined to do a lil' more good today (or if you're just curious what the heck my bro does over here), make sure to check out my bro's blog at http://www.zachharrod.com/ ... he's doing far, far, far more amazing things in his life than I and I admire him and his mission gobs and gobs.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

my public display of affection...

(+mhtv#4, yeah - a bit unconventional and all-a-jumble, just like yours truly!)

So, there I was, meandering around this gorgeous city and it seemed as if I were smack-dab in the middle of PDA-love-fest-galore (I mean, not that this was entirely out of the ordinary, as every day here is a PDA day) . I couldn't make sense of all of the canoodle-ing couples with roses in hand, chock-full of twinkles in their eyes until I remembered what day it was...ahhhh, good ol' valentine's day...and I was singing from palackeho namesti, "the city is alive...with the sound of lip-smackin' love!"

POW! BANG! ZAP! Okay, so now that I've grabbed your attention (hopefully)...this is one posting i've been hiding under (up?) my sleeve for quite some time now...but the reason i have been keeping it on the hush-hush is that it's an extra-special one and i wanted to save it for the right time. well, my friends, that time has come.
I'd like to present to you (drum roll, por favor!) the "tom blog: JUST DO IT".

our sweet lil' ingrid song
(warning: by clicking on the above, you'll be in youtube land)

I have to squeeze this one in before valentime's day (yes, that's right - "valentine's" with an "m" - the only way to spell it!), as this one is in honour of my valentime, mr. tom. I am wondering if you're wondering why I would have a posting dedicated to said "Tom". Well, allow me to share a lil' history lesson...

This chapter in my life will be deemed, "The Tom Chapter". Once upon a time (January 5th of last year, to be exact), a girl and a guy met and it was love at first...errrr...facebook message. :) ha. ha. hee hee. But really, they met and sparks flew...actually fireworks EXPLODED when both of them least expected it (yes, uber-cliche, but oh-so-true!). With innate curiosity and an eclectic passion for life, she yearned to explore the world, while he yearned to explore pig pancreas(es) (and the world too). So, as you can see, they were a match made in heaven - she, an exploress...he, an explorer. These two lovebirds explored as much of the world they could possibly squeeze into a year before the gal was finally provided with the ultimate exploress opportunity...a move to the other side of the world. Of course the guy could have been opposed to the idea, but as much as he loved the gal and didn't want her to leave, he knew she wouldn't be happy until she set sail. Everyone thought they were crazy...and to be quite honest, they were crazy (but that's what makes them so freaking cool!). But, with all of the love and courage he could muster up, he said, "JUST DO IT!" (thanks to inspiration from his fav polyethelyene 80's beach vball style hat...scroll to top for pic). And, the rest, my friends, is history.

In case it wasn't obvious, I'm that gal and Tom's that guy (refer to pic above, duh!). I am so completely, utterly, fantastically blessed - more and more each day - to have this quirky, crazy/cool, uber-intelligent, pig-pancreas-lovin', basketball-playin', smarty-pants-wearin', baby-blue-eye-sportin', hardcore stud in my life! A more supportive, caring individual does not exist...he is the epitome of selfless. Anyone who has been graced with his presence would agree with me. And, his laugh (and zest) is contagious.

The reason I am writing this blog is not only to profess my love for Tom to the blogosphere, but also because I have gotten email after call after facebook message asking me the same question: "How are you and Tom doing...has the transition been okay?" I'm here to answer your question with a resounding YES, YES, YES! Why? Because he's made it easy. In the few months leading up to my departure from the states, I can't tell you how many times I caught myself attempting to explain our relationship to people who had mucho-strong views on overseas romance. And then it just got old. Because some people just didn't understand, and I realized I couldn't make them understand. And, this is completely ok because everyone is entitled to their own opinion (that's why this world is so wonderful!). But, we took a chance on love and leapt over the ledge, holding hands the entire way.

"So, what's it like to do the long distance thang?"you may ask, out of curiosity (and just a tad bit o' nosy-ness:)). Well, it's actually pretty cool, because we do things like this:

MHTV#4.5 he loves me...he REALLY loves me! from megan harrod on Vimeo.

...where he "shows-n-tells" me about his fancy new computer and all of the cool features (note to santa: for christmas I'd just like a computer that doesn't always crash when I use it - preferably a shiny mac...thanks:))!

And, we even have movie dates (I'm going to have to take credit for this brilliant idea).

MHTV#4 movie date via skype...sweet! from megan harrod on Vimeo.

Yeah, I said "movie date"...you heard me right. It's as easy as 1 (download movie from itunes), 2 (skype it up), 3 (watch movie together via skype and enjoy a one-of-a-kind inter-web experience)...

So, as you can see, technology is pretty incredibly fab. (oh, and don't worry - I am fully aware you be throwing up in your mouth a little bit right now as a result of our utter cuteness, but deal with it).

oh-so-true, Apple wise ones...I couldn't have said it better (except to add, "...they even make a great overseas date night, when combined with skype and a tub o' carte d'or choco ice cream." on the end).

I mean, I'm not going to lie - it does suck at times, but overall it is just downright cool. We may not get a chance to PDA-it-up around Prague (thank goodness, cause the lip-smackin' gets a entirely too intense at times...enough with the tram #10 lovin'!), but we do get to partake in skype dates complete with Rorschach inkblots, IQ tests and even documentaries about a typeface (see: "Helvetica" - those whackos are crazy about that font...far too crazy).

There I go on a tangent...so back on track, jack.

Today I am also here to give my valentime a couple of small tokens of my love. The first one is a lil' song I recently discovered, and adore.

So, without further ado:

(please ignore the fact that there are two girls in this video, and just listen to the words. ha.)

my voice of beacon in the night...my words will be your light, to carry you to me...

is love alive...

is love alive...

is love alive?

this is my winter song, december i've found so long (or "wrong"?), but you're not where you belong...

inside my arms...

(the second one will come in part 2 of the "tom blog" series...to be continued...)

p.s. i love you.
p.s.s. to answer my question, yes - love is alive.
p.s.s. i love ellipsises...too.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

i heart the firm and this is why...

There's a lil' teaser to the blog posting to come this weekend about my experiences thus far in eastern euro gyms.

All I gotta say is: Yowza!!
Which, I guess when you see the video above, is at least a commonality between the two (searching for positivity here)...ugggh...sad...tear...check it out at http://www.thefirmmpls.com/ - weird, crazy, crass, sass...
wishin' for peace, love and firm booties to you all!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

an uber-sweet post for a sweet-kinda day...

So, those of you who know me know that I am not a huge fan of good ol' v-day...but you also know very well that I - like my brother - am a hopeless romantic at heart. I love a good laugh, a good cry (even more so!) and - most of all - I am in love with the very notion of love. That's why I am so passionate about everything I do. That's why I live in Europe - I love Europe. I love travel. I love life. Ahhhh, tangent-flying time...

That's why, when my fantastic bro posted this video on his blog a while ago, it caught my eye and has kept my attention. Not only is it a gorgeous expression of creativity, which I - of course - adore, but the story is so real...so simple...so sweet. It's inspiring. It's LOVE. Isn't it a wonderful thing?

A SHORT LOVE STORY IN STOP MOTION from Carlos Lascano on Vimeo.

As this loathed hallmark-built up holiday (blog note: check out the comment left below by my beautiful friend Boo about the origin of Valentine's Day - super-sweet!) quickly approaches, just know I am thinking about you all every single day...not just one day because it's tagged as a special day for expressions of love by some greeting card company (although, I do LOVE and appreciate the cards). I love you all gobs and am so blessed to have you in my life!

Sorry for the sap. Live with it. Love it.



Saturday, February 7, 2009

euro sojourn #1 (+bonus MHTVs!) : garmisch+munich+vienna = beautifishimi!

So last week I got a lil' spur-of-the-moment travel itch and decided to jump on a train and head to garmisch-partenkirchen (an aside: the latter part of this town's name is such a fun word to say...you should try it...SO german; me likey) via innsbruck, austria and then onward and upward from there to munchen for a tiny-lil' side trip before hoppin' over to wein, austria to complete mission: visit-the-czech-consulate-and-drop-off-the-visa-app.

The trip was fanmazing ("fantastic" and "amazing" combined - wahoo!) to say the least. Needless to say, I was nearly peeing my pants with excitement for the lil' sojourn, as this is one of the major perks of living in Europe. It's not "hey, I think I'll drive home to Wisconsin this weekend last minute" (as lovely as that really is, family!)...it's "hey, I think I'll hop a train and head over to Germany, and then onward to Austria from there!" Two simple, but very poignant words: FREAKING COOL.
So, yeah, the trip worked like this:

Leg 1 - chill in sleeping car to myself (rock!) and travel overnight from prague to innsbruck, austria - arrive 2:30 am (much to my surprise)

MHTV#5 fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants...european sojourn#1 from megan harrod on Vimeo.
(VIDEO NOTE: When you see the story below, you may think that my statements about there being no homeless people in Germany was unqualified...but I wasn't in Germany when I saw the dudes below...I was indeed in Austria! So, ha! My comments stand.)

Leg 2 -
arrive in sketchy innsbruck train station at 3 am and hang out in info room with homeless booze-hounds.
Leg 3 - innsbruck to garmisch-partenkirchen (rockin' the G.Love in Shelley Glover's honour)...

MHTV #5.25 entering garmisch-partenkirchen territory! from megan harrod on Vimeo.
...arrive 8am...finally find my way to race venue at around 9:30am. Settle in for some finish area fun...race delayed due to heavy fog in the mid-section of the course (see pic below) every 30 minutes until it was finally canceled at 2:30pm. Many red bull colas, bratwursts (massive!), interactions with the Hermann Maier fan club and trips to a really nasty trailer full of bathroom stalls later, I was left slightly disappointed that I didn't get a chance to see my first euro world cup race (and DH at that!).
Worried I wouldn't be able to find my friends, I asked around (after not speaking the entire day in fear that no one would speak english) until I found 'em, and then I smiled big and we went on our merry way. Although there wasn't a race, it was still heaps o' fun to experience the fanfair in the finish area (I am just saying this to make myself feel better - but it's working!). Seriously unreal...and that's nothing compared to Kitzbuhel (which I will, no doubt, be attending next year - here I come, Londoner!). I had a blast hanging with Kevin Francis (check him out - he's a rock star and will be finishing top 30 often in the coming year! sorry had to get a shameless plug in there for ya, kevin:)) and friends - they're all super-fly. So that was that, and it was rad. (look deeper...in the reflection of the glass!)
Leg 4 - it's sunday AM and I grab some yummy german bread (it's heavenly!) and hitch a train to Munchen for a lil' side trip. On the way, I meet a cool chick who is actually from Prague too...this lady will be deemed "COOL CHICK #1" of the trip. Oh happy was I to find a new friend. But it wasn't too long before we exchanged info and then were on our merry separate ways and I bought a meal that made me feel at home (pizza and starbucks!). ha!
Leg 5 - Wien, here we come! So here I was, heading to Wien (Vienna, duh!) and the hostel ruthensteiner (a fellow member of Europe's Famous Hostels - woot, woot!)! Made it to the hostel and was welcomed by Franz and a friendly staff, then went to my dorm room (yikes - get re-acquainted with dorm room etiquette!) to settle in. After that, Franz told me about a little restaurant around the corner that had sweet "schnitties". ha! Wienerschniztel galore! So, I went...and it rocked. And I thought to myself, 'all of this fatty goodness and no Firm...I am DOOMED!' hee. But it was fab. And, what made it even more fab was running into COOL CHICK #2 of the trip...who came to my table and introduced herself. We gabbed and gabbed, and realized we were pretty lucky to have met each other...so we watched the Superbowl that night and we explored Wien like princesses on Monday. It's pretty amazing, the people you meet when you travel...it's such a neat part of it all.

Then, it was Tuesday...and my mission awaited me: the date with the czech consulate! After neglecting to shower (oops...hope I didn't smell like the men in the innsbruck train station!), I said "goodbye" to my new friends, Franz and Monica, at the Hostel Ruthenstiener...and was off to find the consulate. After a few small glitches (note: disgruntled face in below pic), I handed off my application successfully and headed back home to Prague via Student Agency buses. Fingers crossed, I'll be able to head back to Wien within 60 days to grab my shiny, new work visa! Ugggh, we'll see about that...
Leg 6 - back home...to prague, smiley and thumbs-up!
Mission: Completed.
Rock star,
P.S. I absolutely ADORE Germany!
P.S.S. Everyone thought I was German (like really German...not just faux-German. I'm not sure if that's a good thing...ha ha)...

Monday, February 2, 2009

say a lil' prayer for me...

...because i'm heading to the consulate tomorrow for work visa appt. - this is what it is all about. the pressure is on.

In Wien (Vienna, duh!) now staying at the Hostel Ruthensteiner (sweet as a nut...check it out!) and have an appt. at 8:45 am with the big dogs. woo-hoo. I have lots of good pics and stories from my mini-trip, but that'll have to wait until this weekend when I actually have time to post.

Gotta hit the hay now.