Prague | 2021


City  Prague
Age  36
Love life — Married, 2 children
Profession — Founder of Nika Magazin, used to work in Communications
Years in Prague17, came to Prague to study
Location — Letna Park

T H E   P R A G U E   S T O R I E S






  • What makes you happy? “Talking with people makes me feel weirdly alive, especially when I’m having conversations with creatives. I love posting their stories on my online magazine Nika, which means ‘niche’ in English. I once had a conversation with a Danish documentary photographer that I’ll never forget. He went to Russia… and that totally changed my outlook on the people there. And because of Julia – an Australian in Tokyo who specializes in the old Japanese art of making flower arrangements – I look at flowers differently now. Even when I go out to buy a piece of ham at the butchers across the street, the small interaction whilst there betters my day. Unfortunately, people are so often in a rush or so busy with their own lives, that they don’t have time for small talk, whereas I think society could really benefit from it.”
  • What is your best personality trait? “I’m a very sensitive person. For a long time I saw this as an obstacle that I had to get rid of. I thought that sensitivity doesn’t fit in this world, that I had to be solely analytical and that soft skills are basically dead. But it’s just who I am and I cannot fight it, so now I’m trying to embrace my sensitivity and rely on my intuition a little bit more. I’ve gotten this negative belief about emotions, because one of my managers once told me that emotions aren’t welcome in the corporate world. This phrase stuck in my head for years; I really believed that employers should be emotionally blank, but of course that’s impossible. We should accept our emotions and soft skills should be appreciated more as these can balance a team. Even so I don’t think the corporate world is for me anyhow, and it probably never was.”
  • What is your biggest struggle? “I lack confidence. It’s improving as I’m getting older, but my lack of trust in myself and my abilities is still something I have to work on. It’s not easy for me to speak up and say things out loud. When I worked in a corporation, one of my managers told me that he didn’t know what to think of me, because I never expressed what I was thinking; he had no idea whether I wanted to go left or right. I was very surprised; I had always learned that you should respect someone with greater seniority and that it was not my time nor place to speak. But now I understand that there will always be people with more experience. Plus, it instantly makes you feel better if you speak up, even if people disagree with you, because at the minimum you stood up for yourself. I also want to show my daughter and other women how important it is to make yourself be heard. Though, of course, there are also days that I don’t feel so confident and want to hide in my apartment and that’s OK as well.”
  • What was your greatest life lesson? “I always thought that I could do everything myself. I was never really an outgoing person or part of a big group of friends. But over the years I came to the realization that it’s important to have a circle of support around you that you can lean on. It’s also essential to sometimes hear another outlook on life because we all live in our self-created social media bubble, but when you have a chat with other people, you might get another perspective.”

  • What is your greatest disappointment? “I would say that I dwell on things too much. I replay the situation repeatedly in my head and get stuck in the past for a while. By then, everyone has already moved on and I am still lingering on a scenarios in my head, like ‘what if?’. It’s probably because I always want to do right by everyone. I know on some level that it’s virtually impossible to please everyone, but somehow, I still try to. I attempt to do exactly what is expected of me by society. I’m trying to change this now and overthink less and live my own life without the need of proving and explaining myself. I also want to do this for my kids because I want to teach them that it’s OK to make mistakes. I even tell them mistakes are fantastic, because otherwise we’ll never learn anything new.”
  • What is the best advice someone has ever given you? “During one of our recent trips, we were renting an apartment from a brilliant lady. We had such pleasant conversations. When we were departing, she told me that it’s important to live like a queen: don’t explain and don’t complain. I thought, “yes, I should do that”. I don’t have to explain my choices or decisions to anyone! And about the complaining part… well, I’m working on it haha.”
  • What gives you the greatest amount of sadness? “I’m usually sad about opportunities I didn’t take or trips I didn’t go on, probably because I was too afraid at the time. But for my kids I aim to take risks sometimes, because you have to live by what you teach them. I don’t always succeed in doing this, but at least I’m aware of it.”
  • What is your biggest dream? “I would like to live abroad. I would love to expose myself and my kids to different cultures, outlooks, and ways of life… I always feel more alive and alert when I’m in another country. Here in the Czech Republic everything is comfortable because I know how things work. Having said that, even going to countries like Germany or Austria makes my senses work on a totally different level and I love it. That’s why I always try to be as local as possible when I travel. I think that my kids can benefit a lot from seeing how things work abroad, and how people in other countries live. Sometimes it already feels a little bit like living abroad in Prague, as the rest of the Czech Republic is so different. There are days that you hear more English than Czech here.”
  • What is your biggest fear? “Losing my family. I want everyone to be here forever, happy and healthy. I’m also scared of not being there, because I have two little kids. It’s not only about being here physically, but also about being present for them. Sometimes I’m busy or daydreaming, while I want to be the best possible parent for them. When I catch myself daydreaming now, I say to my children, ‘Did you notice, mama was in lalaland, a place within her thoughts.’ Of course they need to do things for themselves as well, but when we spend time together, I really want to be in the moment.”
  • What does a typical woman from Prague look like? “She would be different from other women in the Czech Republic, because Prague is really cosmopolitan and international. Women from Prague are strong and open-minded, travel a lot and take really good care of their family. At the same time, that’s also a negative, because most women here want to have it all: a career, kids, a great lifestyle, good looks, a certain amount of money, trips to other countries. All of that mixed together is too much; I don’t believe that we can have and be it all. Maybe there are some super-duper women who can, but lots of women are a bit overwhelmed and don’t know how to let go or take a break. I think if they prioritize a little bit better, magic will happen.
    But overall, we have amazing women here! Czech women are fantastic. But they have to learn how to be more assertive and confident. This might have to do with the fact that we were living in a communist regime for 40 years: it impacted whole generations because of the way people were raised. During the years of communist rule, people were told not to be visible but to follow the crowd. Communism didn’t want anyone to shine, so we all had to play small and hide ourselves. When a whole generation learns to live like that, you cannot expect them to raise kids who are bursting with self-confidence and who are ready to conquer the world. My parents and grandparents just didn’t know how to raise their children full of confidence. The only way I can change this, is by trying to do it a little bit better with my own kids.”

Photos by Nataliya Yashchuk


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