Turning 39 with a Bit Extra Knowledge


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Immediately is my thirty ninth birthday. I’m celebrating at present with my husband within the little city of Perast on the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. There’s no place on the planet extra lovely than right here!

Most of this 12 months was outlined by one factor: the marriage. WeddingS, that’s. Charlie and I received married 3 times — an elopement in April, a giant Prague wedding ceremony in Might, and a smaller Boston wedding ceremony in July!

We received engaged in July 2022, so just about my total period of being 38 has revolved across the weddings.

Every year, I do some form of birthday put up that form of sums up the 12 months. This 12 months, I don’t actually have a giant recurring theme or information to share — so I’ll share a bunch of issues I’ve discovered.

The Prague wedding ceremony and elopement images are by Teru Menclova and the Boston wedding ceremony images are by Joe Gonzalez-Dufresne. We’re thrilled with their work and suggest each extremely!

Kate and Charlie at their wedding reception. Kate is clapping and Charlie is looking at Kate with love.
Our Prague wedding ceremony reception at Arthur’s Pub was magical.

Marriage ceremony Issues

Weddings don’t go by in a flash — American weddings go by in a flash. Everybody at all times talks about how your wedding ceremony goes by within the blink of a watch, and to focus on the recollections!

On the finish of the massive Prague wedding ceremony, I appeared round at everybody and considered the way it felt like the entire day was NICE and LONG. I had so many recollections and received to spend time with everybody.

However the Boston wedding ceremony was over in a fraction of an immediate. why? BECAUSE AMERICAN WEDDING RECEPTIONS ARE USUALLY FOUR HOURS LONG. That’s how venues value them out. Culturally, many of the world has for much longer wedding ceremony receptions! Even the British, our closest cultural kinfolk!

Our American wedding ceremony reception began at 5 PM and ended at 9 PM. Against this, our Czech wedding ceremony reception began at 5 PM, Charlie and I left at 1 AM, and the bar workers had been upset we left so early! Czechs go until daybreak!

In the event you’re having a typical American wedding ceremony, plan for some form of after-party. You don’t essentially should pay for it — we went to the bar subsequent door in Boston and everybody purchased their very own drinks. (Do inform the bar forward of time when individuals are coming.)

Attempt to get married inside a 12 months of your engagement if you happen to can. I do know this isn’t a chance for everybody, particularly if that you must save up cash otherwise you reside in a spot the place venues ebook out years prematurely, but when you may get married inside a 12 months — DO IT.

Getting married shortly helps you to energy via the work and end it sooner so you may get on together with your life. I didn’t love the sensation of being in limbo up to now between engagement and wedding ceremony.

However one other good motive to get married sooner is since you don’t know what the longer term holds. All the pieces can change on a dime. You can lose somebody you wished to be there. Have the marriage sooner.

Kate and Charlie at their elopement in Prague, Kate in an ivory skirt suit with a bouquet and Charlie in a navy suit, people walking past behind them.
Our elopement was a joyful day in Prague!

Elope beforehand if you happen to can. Charlie and I made a decision to have a tiny elopement for our civil wedding ceremony — simply us, two associates, and our photographer. We initially did this as a result of Czech weddings should be performed in Czech, and we didn’t wish to bore our wedding ceremony company.

Nevertheless it turned out to be SUCH A GOOD IDEA. That day, we had been capable of focus solely on one another and our dedication. After the ceremony, we went to have champagne overlooking Outdated City Sq. at U Prince proper after, then hit up two of our favourite spots, Kantyna and Bugsy’s Bar!

The opposite wedding ceremony days, in contrast, had been all about our company — taking good care of them, serving to them, ensuring the occasion ran easily. Not a lot about one another, regardless of it being, nicely, a WEDDING.

So if you happen to’re planning on getting married, think about doing the authorized wedding ceremony beforehand. And if your loved ones would freak out…no person has to know!

Select good distributors and allow them to do their factor. I didn’t have sturdy opinions about flowers, however I confirmed my Prague florist a cool bouquet I noticed on Reddit, went over the colours I appreciated, and requested her to stay to native and seasonal (nicely, seasonal at the very least — all of the flowers within the Czech Republic come from the Netherlands, it seems).

She knocked it OUT OF THE PARK. I beloved these flowers SO a lot.

So what did I do for the Boston florist? Simply despatched them images of the Prague wedding ceremony images saying “One thing like this.” And THOSE had been nice, too!

Additionally, you don’t should micromanage every thing. When you’ve got a superb band or DJ, they know the songs that get folks on the dance flooring. Your venue supervisor will understand how a lot meals will realistically feed your crowd. Your photographer is aware of the right way to arrange a superb shot.

In the event you don’t prioritize engagement images, you’re by no means getting them performed. Whoops, we forgot to set a date for our engagement images, they usually by no means occurred. Oh nicely!

Kate on her Prague wedding day surrounded by three bridesmaids in purple and blue dresses, and a five-year-old boy in a Panama hat holding his bridesmaid mom's hand.
I beloved this swirling gown picture on the Prague wedding ceremony!
Kate and Charlie in their wedding outfits kissing, surrounded by five girls in light purple and blue dresses, and two little boys in white shirts and Panama hats.
The rain in Boston led to an ombré impact on the bridesmaids’ attire!

It’s potential to your bridesmaids to have distinctive, flattering attire whereas nonetheless trying like a cohesive unit. I didn’t need them to be in equivalent attire, however I additionally hate how mismatching attire look in bridal get together images.

Seems you possibly can look cohesive by selecting comparable types from the identical model: I selected Azazie, which has one million inexpensive bridesmaid gown choices. I ordered a bunch of swatches, selected 5 colours that labored nicely collectively and assigned them every a coloration, and informed them to decide on any type that was lengthy and chiffon.

And it was so good to see my associates choose the types they love, and look superb!

Flower youngsters are so a lot better than ring bearers. What’s extra enjoyable — carrying rings or throwing flowers? OBVIOUSLY THROWING THE FLOWERS!

We knew we’d be having three youngsters in our wedding ceremony get together — a two-year-old woman in Prague, a four-year-old boy in Boston, and a five-year-old boy in each — and since there was no have to change rings after we had already performed so within the elopement, we determined to have all three youngsters be flower youngsters.

They didn’t name themselves flower youngsters — they merely informed everybody, “I’m throwing the flowers.” They usually LOVED their job and had a lot enjoyable each practising and within the precise weddings!

How lengthy does it take to really feel regular while you say “my husband”? Or to not giggle when he refers to you as his spouse? That is nonetheless bizarre!

Kate taking a smiling selfie in front of Cesky Krumlov, a medieval city along a small, calm river with a few church towers poking up above the orange-roofed white buildings.
Extra Czech journey at age 39? Sure! I beloved revisiting Český Krumlov within the spring!

Journey Issues

The variety of locations I’d go to in Europe through the summer season is unfortunately dwindling. Kotor in 2023 is nothing like Kotor in 2012, thanks partially to it turning into a cruise ship port. There’s one slender highway that runs alongside the bay, and it’s completely clogged with visitors.

Need summer season climate in Europe? I extremely suggest aiming for early June. Even September, as soon as an offbeat month, has change into prime season in lots of locations. Early October is one other nice selection for summery climate in locations additional south like Sicily, Puglia, and Andalusia.

However for journey in Europe, spring and fall is one of the best time to go to the favored locations like Paris, Rome, and Barcelona.

So the place do you go in Europe in July or August? Head north — assume the Nordics or the Baltics — or head to the mountains. These months could also be excessive season in Copenhagen or Stockholm, however it’s nothing just like the crowds of Rome or Paris.

I really feel like folks aren’t touring very off the overwhelmed path nowadays. Charlie and I actually simply had this dialog whereas consuming burek on our guesthouse’s terrace, so forgive me for transcribing it considerably sloppily.

As soon as folks began touring once more in 2021, there was one place in Europe that dominated above all: Italy. Massively so. Within the years since, we’ve each seen that individuals are touring to the preferred locations in Europe, however aren’t going off the overwhelmed path a lot.

what we’re seeing lots of, in each my influencer colleagues and common folks? Amalfi Coast. Venice. Santorini and Mykonos. Paris, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Lisbon, Budapest.

what we’re not seeing a lot of? The Caucasus. The Balkans (past Croatia and Slovenia). Romania. The Baltics. And even second-tier European cities like Strasbourg, Granada, Rotterdam, Brussels, Innsbruck, Torino. And we noticed a LOT extra of these locations in 2014-2018.

Plainly for the reason that pandemic started, folks have been seized with the urge to journey to the Large Names, the bucket record locations. Which I utterly perceive. And now we have been besieged with “IT’S SO CROWDED!” items on social media in consequence.

So we’re truthfully questioning once we will see folks returning to the quirkier locations. They may definitely use the tourism.

Kate in a bright pink coat taking a selfie from a cliff above Hvitserkur rock in Iceland, which is shaped like a rhino drinking out of the water.
There have been possibly half a dozen folks at Hvitserkur in Iceland in addition to me and Amanda.

I used to assume Iceland was overtouristed. I used to be improper. Elements of Iceland are overtouristed — Reykjavík, the Golden Circle, the South Coast, and the Lake Myvatn area are all very busy — however most locations should not.

However despite the fact that I visited in August, a lot of Iceland was empty, or solely had just a few vacationers. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula was extremely quiet, to my shock. Most of North Iceland was empty. The Westman Islands had been beautiful.

However even locations within the busier areas of Iceland, you possibly can simply get off the overwhelmed path. I feel the key goes to locations the place buses can’t go!

Kvernufoss waterfall was virtually subsequent door to the bus-filled car parking zone at Skogafoss, but lower than a dozen folks had been there. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon was extremely busy, however close by Fjallsárlón and Múlagljúfur Canyon had been empty.

January is greatest as a no-travel month. We spent January 2022 dwelling in Puerto Vallarta and realized on reflection that this wasn’t the neatest concept — January is once we get huge work power and have the will to hit the bottom operating for the 12 months. That doesn’t jive with Mexico!

January 2023, nevertheless, was spent primarily based in Prague. We received a TON performed and had been able to hit the highway in February. Which leads me to…

Kate and Charlie taking a selfie from a medieval wall in Erice, Sicily, the landscape splaying out into the distance, mountains and coastline.
Sicily in winter was a VERY combined bag.

I’m not feeling the Mediterranean in winter. Certain, it’s the warmest space you’ll discover in mainland Europe, however our winter go to to Sicily was a lot colder than we anticipated.

Not one of the buildings within the southern Mediterranean are correctly insulated, so we spent the entire time working with blankets thrown over us. Going out to eating places, we’d be seated subsequent to a window, and chilly air would blow in via the jamb. After we lastly received right into a heated automotive, I sighed as a result of I hadn’t been heat for days!

Our buddy Klara was spending the identical month in Andalusia, Spain, and went via comparable points.

Certain, there have been just a few days in sunshine that had been exceedingly nice. Simply the times, although. As quickly as night set in, it received chilly it doesn’t matter what the climate had been that day.

So I’m a bit soured on the Mediterranean in winter, sadly. I’m open to different locations, although.

I wish to fly much less. Considered one of my subsequent goals is to take an Italy journey by way of prepare — which might in all probability include a five-hour prepare experience from Prague to Munich, then an in a single day prepare to Rome or Florence or Bologna. As soon as I’ve performed it, it will likely be simpler to do it repeatedly.

I additionally wish to get within the behavior of taking fewer connecting flights. For instance, there’s no direct flight from Prague to Rovaniemi, Finland — however I’d be open to flying from Prague to Helsinki and taking the prepare to Rovaniemi, or taking the prepare from Prague to Vienna and flying direct to Rovaniemi.

Past that, there may be SO a lot to discover inside prepare distance of Prague! A full day of train-ing can get you so far as Copenhagen or Verona or Zürich or Cut up.

Who is aware of — I’m turning extra Czech by the day. Possibly subsequent summer season I’ll be taking containers of schnitzel with me on prepare journeys.

Two pics of Kate and a cat: in the first one she and Lewis the cat have wide eyes at the camera. In the second she and Murray squint similarly at the camera.
Twinning with my kittens, Lewis and Murray!

Different Issues

My subsequent huge problem is getting my Czech driver’s license. Sadly you possibly can’t switch an American license right into a Czech license, so I have to do the entire course of, together with 28 hours or driving classes.

This shall be my huge mission of the autumn. And due to final 12 months’s Iceland catastrophe — I shall be studying to drive a handbook automotive. Lastly.

This 12 months I mentioned goodbye to my childhood house. My dad bought our house this previous spring and moved to a condominium just a few cities away, near relations.

I’m positive with it, and SO glad my dad is completed with the entire ordeal that’s cleansing out and promoting a home you’ve lived in for 4 a long time! However as anybody who has watched their lifelong house be bought is aware of, it’s bizarre to assume I don’t have a house to return to in my hometown anymore.

At any fee, I’m glad that I did my mission of strolling each avenue in Studying in spring 2020. (I imply…there wasn’t so much to do in spring 2020!) It gave me lots of time to mirror on the place the place I grew up and the way it formed me.

Kate taking a mirror selfie in a pair of white and blue embroidered brocade shorts, a white tank top and blue jean jacket.
I like these Sézane shorts I received final 12 months!

Shorts are superior — YES, even in Europe! For years I didn’t put on shorts as a result of I didn’t love how I appeared in them (DUMB!) however now I’m again and rocking them with regularity.

The traditional knowledge says that Europeans don’t put on shorts. That is each location-dependent and gender-dependent, however girls in a lot of Europe do put on shorts. Sure, even in Paris and Milan.

However there’s a distinction between sporting denim cut-offs with a plain t-shirt and outdated sneakers, and sporting shorts product of a pleasant material with a shirt and a belt and good sandals. When you’ve got the intention of placing collectively an outfit, immediately sporting shorts appears so much nicer.

And all my shorts are from European manufacturers! Particularly Sézane and Maje.

I’m wondering how lengthy I’ll go earlier than I coloration my hair. The primary time I ever seen grey hairs was on my thirty fourth birthday, when Cailin gleefully pointed them out to me as I received my hair braided at a seaside volleyball competition in Vienna.

I identify my grey hairs Glynis. There are a handful of Glynises by now.

The previous few years, a number of of my associates of their thirties and forties have chosen to go grey naturally. They’re badasses, so attractive, and I love them a lot for bucking typical knowledge in a society that polices girls’s appears so arduous.

Will I be a part of them? I’m undecided. Thus far, my grey hairs are extra coarse and wiry. What is going to it appear like having two totally different textures of hair without delay? I suppose we’ll have to attend and see.

Kate smiling with her long wavy hair flowing behind her as she poses in front of a brick wall.
Cherished my wavy blowout for my Boston bachelorette afternoon tea!

Coming Up This Yr

I’m excited to benefit from the last 12 months of my 30s to the fullest. And to me, the concept of the right way to reside to the fullest has modified through the years. Much less about doing the MOST issues, or the extra excessive issues. Extra about having fun with life, even when life is a bit quieter than earlier than.

I’m typing this from Montenegro, and some days after I get again, I’m off to one in all my most adventurous journeys but — to Greenland. It is a solo journey and I’m so excited to expertise the Arctic for the primary time.

I’ll be spending 11 days in Greenland, visiting Kangerlussuaq, Aasiaat, Qeqertarsuaq and Disko Island, Ilulissat, Oqaatsut, and Eqi Glacier. There shall be climbing, crusing round icebergs, glacier strolling, whale watching, kayaking, and extra!

After busy seasons of weddings and summer season journey, I’m staying put (or making an attempt to) from September via mid-November. There’ll in all probability be a UK journey in there, however that’s it.

Then comes the honeymoon — a month in Chile and Argentina! We’ve just about finalized our itinerary: the Colchagua Valley, the Atacama Desert, Puerto Varas, Torres del Paine, El Calafate, El Chaltén, Buenos Aires, the Valle de Uco, and a fast day in Santiago to complete.

We’re enjoying with the concept of spending a month in Provence within the spring — and bringing the cats! It’s simply an concept for now, however the concept of exploring that stunning area for a month sounds so good.

Thanks for being right here for me, each day. I’m grateful to have you ever in my nook, particularly these of you who’ve been right here since I used to be 25.

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