Back in April, Lauren and I went to Istanbul for a few nights. It’s an easy flight from Prague. It was much too short, especially for our first trip to Türkiye. I am looking forward to spending more time on our next visit.
Today is July 4th, our Independence Day. It’s not hard to feel patriotic today. And especially less hard these days in my current role.
Lauren and I find ourselves at the six-month mark since we left our Boston home for Prague. Transitioning to the heart of Europe has been a big change, but it’s gradually turning into a new kind of normal.
What’s stayed consistent throughout this shift? My daily interactions with people here. It’s these interactions, the morning visit to the local bakery, meeting new friends and sharing a beer or traveling to various villages & cities in country, that I find an increased sense of this place we’re beginning to call home.
I’m starting to make more photographs here. A few portraits, some landscapes but mostly just little moments along my walks. For fellow film camera lovers out there, I finding renewed love for 35mm after mostly shooting medium format back in the States.
But really, my role and experience here extends beyond personal experiences. Working closely with the Czech government, civil society, and numerous NGOs has opened my eyes to our shared challenges and the potential we have to address them, together. And I am so beyond grateful for my team at embassy Prague. Their expertise, support and dedication is incredible. Our work here feels diverse, important and extremely meaningful.
Lauren’s support during this transition and the work here has been beyond essential. Her strength has helped me more than I can say in words. I wouldn’t be here without her. That’s for sure.
I wake up each morning with gratitude. It is such a privilege to be the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic.
I’m looking forward to see what the next six months will bring.
At last, I have been able to make some film photographs during my evening walks here.
(Camera: Contax T3 / Film: Kodak Portra 800 / Lab: Carmencita Film Lab in Barcelona, Spain)
It’s been just over 4 weeks since Lauren, Sam and I arrived in Prague. It’s been an absolute whirlwind and only in the last few days have I started to feel a bit settled in.
The Credentialing ceremony took place a few weeks after my arrival — and something I will never forget. At the ceremony, I presented my credentials from President Biden to the Czech President Zeman. As I paid my respects to their military commander, their band played the Star Spangled Banner in the courtyard at the Castle. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
Prague Castle, February 15, 2023 / photographer: Hana Brožková
The history of this country and the success of democracy is remarkable and inspiring. For those not familiar, I highly suggest A Prague Winter by Madeline Albright. The residence we are living in is owned by the US Government and has its own compelling story. For a history on this residence, the iconic book is The Last Palace written by Norm Eisen, former US Ambassador to the Czech Republic.
I’ve been so touched by the warm welcome since our arrival. We have been met with so much kindness by Czech people, members of the government and other diplomatic families. And they deeply love dogs here — so Sam is loving it too. The city of Prague is gorgeous. It’s been wonderful to explore the country on weekends. But I’ll save those explorations for a future post.
It’s an honor of a lifetime to represent the United States here in the Czech Republic. I’m so proud to work with my colleagues at US embassy Prague. They are extraordinary people doing such extraordinary work.
In November, we spent Thanksgiving week in Spain. We stayed in Barcelona where Ellie was studying for the semester. We had been to Spain before but this was my first trip to Barcelona and we also took the train for a day trip to Montserrat.
It is very hard not to fall in love with Spain. The culture, food, sights and people are amazing.
(All photographs made with a Leica M6 and Kodak Port 400 and 800 films. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California)
It is so painful watching Twitter go into a horrible tailspin.
I was always against the idea of selling Twitter to Elon Musk but I never imagined it could get this bad, this quickly. He never wanted to buy it, he clearly doesn’t know how to unlock its potential and he’s just flailing. Just this week he has suspended a number of independent journalists without warning and banned any and all tweets mentioning competing social platforms. Unsurprisingly many of my friends and creative folks I follow have either left or are substantially using it less.
I am not giving up entirely on Twitter. But I will use it less. And I’m now giving Mastodon a shot.
I’m still getting the hang of it and suggest a few tidbits if you want to learn about it as well.
Start by reading Joanna Stern’s article which provides a great intro and overview on how it all works
The onboarding is clunky for sure. But it’s also a breath of fresh air.
Also leave me a comment with your Mastodon username. Unlike Musk’s Twitter, you can do so freely on my blog
There is so much opportunity to build what’s next. I don’t know if Mastodon is the answer but it’s worth our time to find out.
ps: oh, and please don’t delete your tweets