First page of BOM. Journaling is placed in an envelope taped to the back of the page and reads:
Now since I am 30 I often ask myself - Where do I go at this point of my life? The truth is I do not really have a clear answer and thatís probably why I decided to create this book. To think more about my life, to think about where I am and where I want to go. To rethink my goals and see which ones I achieved already, which ones are still in progress and which ones I might want to add. But before I sink deep into analyses of my future I probably should recap my past and the route I took so far that unquestionably shaped me to a person I am today.
I was born on December 10, 1977 in Frydek-Mistek, Czech Republic. The recordkeeping of child birth was at that time limited to the day so I donít have any written proof of the time I was born but my Mom mentioned once it was very close to noon. I was born prematurely in 7th month so I spent first couple of month of my life in an incubator in a hospital before I was allowed to go home.
Ever since I was born I was treated like a treasure and in many ways I was a miracle, a dream that came true for my parents. My parents Anna Henzova and Ladislav Peikert met in spring of 1964 when they both were only 16. Actually they really met a year earlier when my dad belonged to a group of teens running around town with their heads shaved, spraying graffitiís on walls, pretending to be the bad boys. He happened to be my Momís cousinís friend and after that very first meeting my Mom was so very upset with her cousin for befriending somebody like that.
A year passed before my Mom saw my Dad for a second time. He had his hair grown back so she first did not recognize it was the same kid she swore sheíll never ever talk to again. This time, despite their personal differences (my parents are so different I have no idea what made them be attracted to each other at the first place, yet stay in love for what now is close to 44 years) and diverse family backgrounds, they fell in love.
Needless to say their love was not really appreciated by their families. My Mom seemed to be to poor for my Dadís family while my Dad seems way too wild for my Momís family. Fortunately they trusted their feelings and got married on August 27, 1966 Ė just a month after my Mom turned 18 which is the legal age to be considered adult in Czech Republic. Their whole wedding consisted of 16 people including them. My Momís family was too poor to buy them any wedding gifts and my Dadís parents did not get them anything just to show their opinion that this marriage wonít last.
It wasnít easy to start from scratch for a young couple at that time. Luckily they were able to live at my Grandmaís house (my Momís Mom) for the first 4 years and both found reasonably paying jobs to get on their feet.
My Mom is the most family oriented woman Iíve ever known. She always wanted to have large family Ė even before she met my Dad. She is a wonderful down to earth woman who doesnít care for material things Ė itís the togetherness of a family that makes her wake up with a smile on her face every morning. She was overwhelmed with joy to find out she was expecting a baby shortly after the wedding. This dream however caused her the biggest pain and crushed her world when she lost the baby. It was even worse the second time around throwing her into a deep darkness of depression. It was like realizing that something she lived for pretty much her whole life will never happen. She felt her life will forever remain only half filled.
My Dad was always there for her and even when he had to join the army (not voluntary think at that time) he would write her long encouraging letters which is completely unlike him. Once I found the box my Mom stores them in and I couldnít help myself to do anything else than peek in. One will forever remain in my memory. It was the one where my Dad wrote to Mom to stay calm and relax, that heíll be back home soon and than they will give it another try. He continued by saying that even though he always wanted to have a son, he know how much my Mom wanted to have a girl to saw pink dresses for, etc. Ė so he changed his mind and he is very sure they will eventually have a baby girl and heíll love her no less than he would love his son. Everything eventually did worked out for them; even though it still wasnít until several years later before I was born.
My childhood was very nice, full of sweet memories but in many ways I felt that the experience my parents had to go through to have me made them to be extra cautious and overprotect me. My friends could stay out long in the evening while I had to be home with sunset, my friends would frequently do sleepovers while I was not allowed one, my friends would gather after school and play at the school yard while I always had to head straight home and do my homework before I could go out and play. I was trying to be rebellious once and did not go home after school Ė it ended up with police looking for me since my parents thought something bad had to happen. My sister who was born 4 years after me had things way easier and was allowed to do things at way earlier age I was but I thing that is a part of being the first born. Looking back I understand very clearly why my Mom and Dad did things they did.
My Dad worked full time while Mom would take part time jobs to make sure she always has time to prepare out school snacks and have lunch ready before we get home. With only 1 solid income we didnít have too much money. We did OK during the era of communism when working class was the most treasured workforce but still we could not effort the luxurious vacation in Yugoslavia or other seaside communistic countries. We would spend most of our summer weekends hiking local mountains, exploring new trails, learning about plants and animals, building shelters that then we called castles out of branches and leave, enjoying bonfire baked potatoes, and many more. In the winter we would frequently go skating or skiing which used to be the cheap recreation then.
I was only 12 when communism fell and the things changed dramatically. Most heavy industries closed leaving thousands of workers with no jobs and very little opportunity to retrain for a different profession. My Dad was lucky to get a job for a giant food producer Ė he would clean their drains Ė which paid OK but my Momís health started getting really bad and finally her doctor said she cannot return to work anymore. On the top of that with Democracy came higher and constantly growing prices. People slowly started turning into money hungry beasts that wanted to get rich quick. For me not too much changed. I still had my loving family and as we did before, we would go to the mountains for our wonderful adventures which still were very inexpensive way of recreation. At that age I did not care about having millions of crowns in my account or owning a giant corporation. What bothered me was to see a part of our favorite trail polluted by trash that nobody seemed to care about. What made me upset was to see the trees dying and nobody cared. I started writing when I was 8 years old and to me it was a fantastic way to express all my feeling including frustration. So I wrote about it and this time I took it further and sent the article to regional papers. It got published. I will never forget the day I opened the papers and saw my name in it. I stopped breathing for a moment, the chills went through my body, it was like my heart froze for a second. I did not know if I wanted to scream, or cry, or laugh. I wrote for the papers on somewhat regular basis for next 8 years.
Except for writing another great hobby of mine was reading. Many times I could not put a book away at the bedtime and continued reading under the cover with flashlight so that my parents would not know. I mostly read adventure books and travel books. I dreamed about traveling to foreign land, exploring new places. Even before communism fell, I knew I wanted to travel and now with the iron curtain being gone I could do so freely as long as I had money.
I was 16 when I started high school and also started working part time after school. I did 3 days a week when I went to classes from 7 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and then rushed to catch afternoon shift from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. I was always kind of perfectionist and if I did something I did it with pride. Soon the agency that I used to find my part time jobs through (they specialized in student employment and offered better rates than if students were to find the jobs themselves Ė kind of like union who fight for the best for their workers) got calls from the places I worked for and they wanted me back for more work. It earned me the title of the best worker of the year in two consecutive years.
In many ways I was very proud of my achievements but I was not the perfect child. I made my share of mistakes during my teens too and Iím planning to devote them a separate page in this book later on.
Then I graduated with honors and had to decide what I wanted to do. I tried to get accepted for journalism at Ostrava University but with over 3000 applications submitted and only 30 spots opened I did not get in. It was the very first bigger rejection in my life and for a while it hurt but soon I realized the school would not make me a better writer anyway and I only can be able to write interesting stories if I have the personal experience of living them. My urge to travel started itching too.
I joined an intensive English program and then I met with girls of similar thinking. We decided to go and travel as an au-pairs. Backed up by an agency this is rather inexpensive and safe for a girl to explore the world. My first attempt of finding a family in Holland failed since itís not a popular destination and not too many families are available so I decided I will go to Great Britain which is the major country for au-pair stays in Europe.
I was lucky to find a nice family living on a romantic island Guernsey, Channel Islands and left Czech Republic January 7th, 1999. Guernsey was the time of many firsts. It was my very first experience of being completely on my own and I loved it. It was the first time I flew on an airplane. It was the first time I got to see an ocean and beachÖ.. I made many wonderful friends on that island, finished a book and a screenplay, and mostly recovered from a relationship that was slowly ruining my life for last 5 years (one of the mistakes Iíll get back to later). I loved Guernsey. The only thing I missed was mountains.
The au-pair program in Great Britain was limited to 2 years for au-pair coming from countries not belonging to EU. The two years flew by. I was not ready to get back home and settle down so I decided to spend 1 year in au-pair program in USA. I originally wanted to be placed in Los Angeles to be able to take screenwriting classes at UCLA but California is so popular it takes forever before a suitable family becomes available so when a nice family called from Washington State I agreed to spend the year with them. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Yes, itís raining a lot here but to a person like me this is a paradise. I mean I have mountains and hiking trails 5 minutes from our house. What else could I wish for?
My original plan was to spend a year here (which is the maximum amount of time allowed for the program) and then I considered New Zealand or Australia as my next destination. It wasnít until the 8th month here when I met Chad that my plans changed. Suddenly I was in love once again Ė this time with the right guy Ė and settling down. We got married January 17, 2003. As so far we live our happily ever after.