Madara – from Reiga, Latvia.

I met her when we couchsurfed together in Prague. We spent the day traversing the city by foot, eating cheap hotdogs, sharing a pint, and celebrating her first ever journey outside of Latvia.

Vivacious, talkative, strawberry blond inseparable from her black fedora.

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Karluv Most. The sea of tourists squiggles too slowly under the hot sun. Beautiful long cars, I’ve never seen before, the color of vintage nail polish, flash by.

She plays LARPS and just came from a medieval festival where she wore 3 layers of authentic wool in 35˚C and spent the day as a living mannequin and cook. Fresh off a 22-hour bus ride she shows no sign of slowing down, even if a little confused and not extremely organized.

Prague Castle. She gets insanely excited about a cute little mole with a bright round red nose. Her childhood in a figurine.

She grew up on a farm with 3 brothers and enjoys milking. The only contradiction in her life: she plays football on an all-boy team, but also belongs to a sorority that holds formal balls and etiquette classes. And she’s very proud of both.

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Stare Mesto. Wenceslas Square. Three traveling opera singers try to drum up ticket sales for tonight’s show by serenading us.

One time on her tram in Reiga, a man shot a pistol into the ceiling. He was promptly swarmed by the passengers and tackled to the ground. She decided to walk home that evening. Any time she mentions the Russians there’s a lot of head shaking and sighing.

Toy museum. We giggle at a larger-than-life Darth Vader stuck inside an exhibit with a bunch of porcelain dolls. The erroneous juxtaposition so bad it’s beautiful

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Only because it is her first trip out of her home country and because I have traveled so much at this point, she innocently follows my every suggestion with the trust of a sleeping child. At one point in the afternoon we reverse roles when I crash unexpectedly into a black slumber in a little park by the Vitava. My head in her lap, she doesn’t move for the next 45 minutes, watching me with the attention of a mother and picking green blades of grass off the lawn.

St Vitus Castle. I mail a letter to my love at the post office across the square.

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The most excited I see her the whole day is when she gets deliciously giddy upon finding a torture museum in Prague. Even just looking at the little square brochure with a screaming face on it makes my stomach squirm. Laughing, she promises to go after I have left.

We still keep in touch, very infrequently. She sends me pictures of herself dressed up for the Hobbit Part III premier. Full beard and orc-sword in hand. She’s going as Thorin.

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