Post 21: Pack Your Bag, Buy the Ticket And Go On an Adventure! 101 to go!

Kat doodles about life:

For the last few years going back home for holidays does no longer mean holiday I can enjoy just relaxing. It sort of turns into a marathon of meetings with friends and family members, who want to catch up. Obviously it is great, because we always have so much to talk about, but there is not much else for me to do there apart from staying at home and going to the pub. It is only a small town, literally nicknamed as: the little town, where time stopped.” I may be gone for a year or two, but the same people sit in the same pubs doing the same things in their lives, so when you arrive, they just think you have been lifting the pints three pubs down the road. However the conversation can be picked up like you spoke to each yesterday.

Last year it happened by accident I went home twice in one month and one of the occasions I spend most of week travelling around the country with someone else showing them the natural beauties and sightseeings I have not actually seen myself before. I suddenly felt alive again. I escaped the every day life and that is probably why I left home in the first place and have not come back since for longer than just few weeks. I love escaping and discovering places. I am even known to go on holiday on my own. First time I left home, I got blamed for running away from the reality. Maybe I did, but at that time I just wanted to learn about new places and life abroad.

The same exciting way as discovering my own country I remember feeling the first time I saw the sea. I was about ten years old. We arrived to Catalonia after 24 hour on the coach and the sky was covered in dark clouds with sun shining through, but it all felt too calm and cold as it was getting dark. Another time I remember navigating my dad in the car on our road/work trip to Denmark and eating smoked salmon for the first time ever. I promised myself not to eat it again. (She writes now happily putting salmon on the plate any time possible.) I went and  jumped every morning into freezing cold sea and I am not even going to mention that we were fed by vegetarians for two weeks. That was a shock to the system ( although I did enjoy it!)

For some reason now thinking about all the different places I have ever been to, rather than buildings I would always remember the people and the weather of a certain moment. The smell of the air and the experience I had. Walking miles through the suburbs of Porto getting to the beach on a hot but windy day admiring the tiles houses are famously decorated with. Fresh spring sunny days of Sofia, when the trees get decorated with ‘Martenica’ ribbons or cloudy afternoon, when I first learned snowboarding. It is all about the little things like eating Stroop waffles on Scheveningen beach, sitting on a bridge in Dutch Leiden drinking wine swinging legs whilst boats are going underneath or sitting in a all sorts of places watching theatre shows in a languages you do not really understand to. I still remember the morning I arrived to London and watched squirrels in Hyde Park, the same way I first landed in Bristol with confidence and naivity saying to myself: ‘So here I am!’ into crisp and fresh January afternoon.

You can give me ten minutes and I am ready with a packed bag and passport ready to go. When I have a friend, who says there is a spare bed or come and join my adventure, if money and time are not an issue, I always grab the offer. Like this I could experience the Parisian life, East of Slovakia or coast of France more than just like a tourist… And more I am sure there more adventures to come. So here it is I am getting that travel bug once again, time to pack the bags me thinks. Stay tuned. Love Kat xx

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Post 19: Book Shopping! 103 to go!

Kat doodles about life and recommends:

On Thursday I meant to meet up with one of my friends however it got canceled last minute and whilst I was in town I thought I use that time to search for things I need since avoid town or going shopping unless absolutely necessary. I knew I need some books for the lessons. My new student, who likes to travel, requested some fairy tales, which I am still not entirely convinced about. I know it may be the English he understands, but not the English he needs or will use in everyday life. Whilst looking for those, I was also keeping an eye on any interesting cookery book and something else, which may possibly catch my eye. And here is what I found:

At Works I went for the bargain of 4 for £5 and picked up these children stories. There some universal ones, so it should not be a problem to understand and they are told in simpler way than originals. I am particularly looking for using Big Nate Fun Blaster as it is full of fun quizzes, crossword puzzles and curious questions to answers to get both of my students talking.

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Afterwards I had a wander around few more bookshops and I found this as a present to give as a ‘Thank You’. I already have this book and I have used it pretty much as my baking bible for the last four years on ongoing basis. This particular edition is twice as big than the one I have. It has extra chapters and basically recipes for all types of pies, tarts, cakes and everything else you need to know, covering the world cuisine. They are great basic recipes using ingredients you would have in the cupboard and illustrated with images for pretty much most of the recipes.

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As someone trained in scenic painting, this book caught my eye, and for 50 p, I was not going to leave it there. Perhaps something new to learn.

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My last successful bargain was in WSmith, where I found this language pack reduced £5- 3 books and 3 CDs. I have been battling with ‘the language of love’ for years, so why not give this a go.

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By then my bags got really heavy, so after two hours shopping trip, I went back home. Literally literary satisfied. Kat xx

Post 18: Another ‘Little Steps, Bigger Picture’ Post! 104 to go!

Kat doodles about life:

Working many hours during the weekend and then sleeping until lunchtime on my days off turns me at night into an owl. I had one of those moments this week after finishing my post. ‘Hmmm what can I do to use up that sudden whirl of energy’, I thought to myself. Finally I decided to tackle my studio table, which over the time got covered in piles of receipts, notes and all sorts of objects. My ‘in’ basket included reminders like driving theory book, bank statements and notes of what to do. As we all know, there is always something better to do than writing down your receipts.

End of the month is just gone and it is time to write one of my monthly reviews about resolutions of this year. And when clearing the table I soon realized there are too many to deal with in my case especially because I want to do them all at the same time. And right now in the best case scenario. I decided to find a way how I can get them tackled often enough, even in small amounts, but at least getting them moving in the right (or perhaps just some sort of) direction.  My 3 Days Challenge seems to be working well that way, so I decided to write down how often I need to do each of them. They vary from every two days to once a week. I then organized all the pieces of paper and wrote the plan for the whole entire month ahead. I was right on it, so if I had an actual diary for 2014 I would keep going until I reach the end.

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So the next morning I woke up and here are four things I planned to do- write a blog post, deal with social networking, figure out all money related things and do prep for my teaching classes and interpreting. The first two I thought they can be postponed or dealt with another time, so I wanted to tackle the money next. I have finally ordered Moleskine for this year (I know, I know 2 months into year already, shame on me) and shorts for cycling as unfortunately the other ones are on their way to fall apart soon. As you know clothes in my wardrobe must be practical and they stay there until no longer repairable. Than I paid some bills, sent money to save and treated myself (shhh) to a new cheap offer subscription of an interior design magazine.

Do you feel like you are turning your parents sometimes even you really do not want to?! Especially doing the things you hated or had no idea why they do it?! There is definitely one thing, when I have turned into my mother. But I guess a good one. I write down every expenditure I have made. I have been doing it for years- actually way more than last ten. When I let myself go on a shopping spree sometimes, I look at the items and if it was the ‘stocking the cupboard’ kind of shop, it is fine. However if there are too many ‘night out’ expenses on the Emergency/Entertainment list, I better watch out. With transport, clothes and shoes I spend only the absolutely needed minimum as I still treat it as a luxury. Writing things like this make me feel less guilty about shopping as I know the purpose.

After I started catching up with the lesson plan for both of my students now I have two. It was great to see the improvement my first student did in such a short amount time just by looking for other relevant materials and preparing more topics to talk about.

Obviously the schedule for next month is just a guide, but it will be nice to have something to follow the progress. Back soon Kat

Post 17: Breathe And Just Let Things Roll…! 105 to go!

Kat doodles about life:

At the moment my life seems to be either hectic working and cycling between jobs or being exhausted, not doing much or having way too much fun. (I will leave it up to your imagination.) All that means I am not very good at following my 3 Days Challenge at the moment,  so I am not very impressed with myself. This weekend I topped it up by doing another extra shift on top of the five I already had to do anyway and as a cherry on top of the cake I added the first lesson with my new student! I have now three days off, so today I was snoozing until early afternoon with my phone on silent. It was a bliss, if you ask me!

As I just mentioned, I have now new student! I was recommended to him by my student- chef, so it is great to see that someone is enjoying my lessons and passing on the work. He is more advanced, so we will be practicing more speaking, particularly pronunciation . He loves to travel and lived in Spain for a long time, so I am planning to spend most of the lessons dedicated to Geography and topics related to interests he has. They are both very keen to learn and it makes such a difference, because it helps me creating exciting lessons, which we all enjoy.

Although working a lot this weekend, after my slightly too depressing post last week about where I am in my life at the moment, this first lesson brought little bit more happiness back. Sometimes I know I want things too quickly or I feel the whole world is against me, when I do not get it RIGHT NOW and I have no idea why or what to do.  Over the past few years I realized that when I just let things roll, they happen without even me doing much. It almost feels like it is all given to me on the plate. Obviously now I am exaggerating, it is not that easy! However at the moment it seems to be happening with interpreting for this new company and teaching privately. I know it took years of hard work to get myself to this point catching every colloquialism and blending into society that now I call this place home. So I am learning how to do it with all the other things I do. It seems to be working in my private life, although there is always way too much excitement going on and now I just need to apply it on my design career. Patience and focus are the key words. I get that great thinking time, when I am on my bike,which is a lot at the moment, so perhaps I need to find another activity to calm my thoughts.

The events of the past few weeks also made me think that I do things differently than others. And I always did. So really I should  not be too hard on myself, because that is just simply who I am. Somehow I always choose more complicated journey even I know there is a simple way. May be it is the addiction to adventurous life and all unknown. And I guess that will never change. So yes, I just need to breathe and let things roll…! Something will happen!

With love. Kat xx

Post 15: You Are Only 29?/ You Are 29 Already?! 107 to go!

Kat doodles about life and ranting over age:

Last year my birthday was a total disaster. I have spent the whole entire weekend pretty much in tears and I wish I had not taken time off from work. It was the first time in my life that I would wake up in the morning and clearly remember what has happened even I purposely tried to get myself so drunk and forget.

 In about a month or so I will be 29 years of age. What does this mean? It means that I am now starting to suffer with the idea of I only have a year left of my ‘late twenties’, when I am technically free to be myself as much as I can without being judged, because I am still in that late twenties bracket. Of course it is lot less crazy(?) and now more grown up behaviour than in my early twenties, when I did not give a toss about anything and just did as I liked. (Has that really changed?)

I know the word ‘early’ always seems to evoke something better, fresh or younger, but when it comes to an age, late twenties always sounds better than early thirties, do you not think so? And right now I can hear readers in their forties and fifties shouting: “Wait until you get to our age. You are still so young!” I hear what you say, but there is a peer pressure, pressure of social media and pressure from your family floating about. As soon as you step over that mark of 30 you are expected to have a decent job and qualifications, long term partner, applying for a mortgage, child on the way.

Once I met a guy for a brief moment, who made a judgemental comment, that I should make it within my field within three years of graduation. From his experience working in a recruitment agency, he said, he would call me something as ‘written off’ and would not bother looking at my cv further. I was gobsmacked and have not had much to say. Himself, late thirties, was between jobs telling me about this business he wants to start plus this and the other. I met him about a year later at the gig. It was kind of awkward, because after extremely overpolite small talk, I asked him how is his business. And there it was, he muttered: ‘Let’s not talk about work!’ and quickly changed the subject. I could not help wondering and actually enjoying the fact that it would have been embarassing for him to admit there is no business and he still has not quite made it even himself after giving me that big lecture.

If you are thinking that I am suffering some kind birthday crisis, yep, you are exactly right. I am nearly 29, still single, pretty penyless with no full time career going only with bags full of exciting stories and adventures to tell. Everyone around me seems to popping out children or being in sort of long term relationship progressing further. Just to put a cherry on top of the cake one of my  family members had an open discussion with other people online and in between lines labeled me as ‘one of those old mothers to be’. Great! Cannot make me feel any better.

Now where is the wine?! Yes, actually, I will have one or two or more, because I can! I make my own work timetable, so I decide if I party on Monday night, or Saturday night. I decide if I come home at 8am, which I actually did last week. I decide if I want other person I have some sort of relationship with to rule my life or if I let the social media make me feel upset about the social pressure of ‘already/not yet’. I may not have have clothes with the right label or latest hair cut, who cares, I have done things in my life money cannot buy. No one can undertand how it feels sleeping on top of the mountain inside a half open cave watching storms and lightning in the far. Or when you walk for three hours to get home with burning candle making sure it is still going as a part of a certain religious celebration. Or when inner desire for everything strange or unknown opens for you the most beautiful places and people out there.

Some things are simply not for everyone. And may be I am one of those people, who knows. We never know,what life has written for us. I may end up at the age of 45 still single flat sharing with my best male friend, drinking wine, listening to jazz. Or I might be having a baby by the time I am 30. (I hope not).  Whatever happens, happens for a reason.  Knowing myself, it certainly will be interesting as do not follow the usual brief of life. Now rant about age and social pressure is over.

And if you are wondering what I am doing for my birthday this year?! Well then, I am off to London to see a theatre show and party until dawn and dusk in a rhythm of jungle and drum’ n’ base making it memorable(?) for sure!

Back soon Kat  xx

Post 14: The Best Spaghetti Bolognese I Ever Had! REALLY! 108 to go!

Kat doodles about life and cooks:

As you may remember I have mentioned that one of the next lessons with my student-chef will be practical and we will be cooking the recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese according to the recipe he was solving as a quiz.  So on Thursday I made to it to his house and we got started. Apparently he was looking forward to it. For anyone, who is up for trying this recipe, I have taken the original from BBC Good Food website. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will tell you what we have changed or added. As soon as we started cooking and I was making him to tell me the right orders in English, he soon took the “make it up as you go along” approach. He does this for living, so he knows what he is doing, I thought.

Instead of 500g of minced beef we went for 700g and with the streaky bacon, not sure where he got it, but it looked beautiful like from the real butcher and not from the supermarket. It was just well thick and long. And definitely plenty. As he is still not very familiar with some of the items or supermarket aisles since he has been here only few months, he was trying to convince me that the local shop does not stock tins of plums tomatoes, so he replaced it with two good quality jars of pasta sauce with basil. We used about half of the punnet of cherry tomatoes to give it that little extra taste. When it comes to all the other ingredients we used extra celery sticks to make up the amount to feed everyone for dinner time, instead of one, we used two glasses of wine (and the rest for us) and instead of beef stock cube, real made chicken stock was used. I think probably around 1.5 litres. We managed to grate in the whole triangle of parmesan cheese and we skipped using the bay leaves. Everything was left to simmer and we got on with the rest of the lesson.

By the end I was proper hungry and when he served the sauce with freshly made pasta, I can tell you I was in food heaven. It was really nice to share the result of mutual effort. In the past I was lucky that my two previous boyfriends shared my passion for cooking, so we would either share the time cooking together or I would get surprised by them having cooked some lovely meals for me. ‘Love goes through the stomache’ as we say in Czech, it is certainly true in my case. So if you are man trying to seduce me, here is it the way. I am not a big fan of Spaghetti Bolognese as I was not really lucky to have them in places where a lot of herbs and spices are allowed, so usually it would taste really bland and mine are full of extra different things. However after having one bowl cooked according to this recipe, I am sure I could fit another one in without a doubt. After this amazing feast, I fancied more, so I thought, why don’t we extend the lesson and make a dessert.

I had a selection of Valentine’s recipes ready for him just in case he would need to prepare something for work, but they all needed good few hours of work, so I suddenly thought of a recent recipe LearnerMother posted and it was Banana and Blueberry pancakes. She shared it originally from the blog A Girl Called Jack and it is so simple anyone can do it in literally no time. So we popped in again to the shop (I showed him where the tins of plum tomatoes are) and got more ingredients like blueberries and bananas. Not sure how much is in the recipe for the blueberries, but we used the whole punnet again, and the same approach of ‘making it as you go’ when getting the right mixture, so probably more than the recipe is stating. Finally making about 10 mini pancakes. All finished with maple syrup and icing sugar on top. As soon as other members of his family arrived all the food was literally flying off the plate. We all then had a wonderful evening full of fun chatting about life, so I cannot wait to have another lesson like this.

I am sorry there are no pictures, we ate it too quickly before I realized I should have taken a photo.

Back soon Kat xx

Post 13: Sketch of Fyodor Dostoyevsky! 109 to go!

Kat doodles about life and gets arty:

Work is a bit manic at the moment, so blogging has been little postponed, as you may have noticed! I have ended up working all weekend and just when I hoped on Sunday night for a bit of peace and quiet, I then had to move my bedroom all around once again. Do not ask why, long story. But not the internet connection this time, so thank heaves for that.

As I have started working for new language agency, I have been also called again to go to Gloucester to interpret more on the same case as last week, which meant spending Monday and today traveling in these marvelous wet conditions for pretty much most of both days. Since I have been working so much dealing with not the most pleasant things, I thought let’ s catch up with some friends, which then meant I was not up to much yesterday either, but I had a meeting, which may bring some work potentially in the future.

However although it may all sound very boring, I had one of my classic Kat’s moments making my life truly surreal once again. I met someone, who literally just arrived to the UK on Monday night. I did not think much of it. Then completely by accident in this massive city (population of 430 000 people) I  bumped into him in a supermarket the next day, not even 24 hours later. We laughed it off and carried on shopping. We have this famous film back in Czech called Samotari (Loners- watch the trailer with subtitles below), where the film makers play with the phrase”It must be a sign!” when it comes to relationships the main characters are in. I suddenly felt like in Truman Show and someone writing a film script for me. Who knows if it is a sign?! I shall certainly keep you posted, if is.

Anyway enough of talking for tonight. I have at least tried to do a bit of sketching on the train to make up for my absence. Here is a new sketch for my series of ‘Bearded men’. I really enjoy reading Russian classics, so here we have lovely photo of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Original can be found here. I used thin sharpie, but it would look better in pencil or watercolour I believe. Back soon with love Kat xx

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