One of my most favorite things in the universe is travel. I love getting to explore different cultures (and by “explore”, I mean eat and drink…) and I am deeply in love with the old world architecture of Europe. Just thinking about wandering through Old Town Prague makes my heart skip a beat. I have mumbled my way through several languages (although I can fluently order wine in 5 even as I say Good Morning at 11:00 at night. Hey, at least I try!) And I’ve gotten lost in more cities than I can count. But one of my favorite activities is hunting down the local flower shops and checking out what my colleagues around the world are up to.

Flower shops in other countries are quite different than the ones here in central NY; they tend to buy their stock daily from the local flower markets, selecting only what looks best. I think this is because they do not have the large floral coolers that we have, so keeping flowers for any length of time becomes difficult. The flowers that are available are displayed in buckets or vases right out in the shop; you can walk in and pick up a few stems of whatever grabs your eye.

In amongst the buckets, you might spot an arrangement or two. These are usually what are referred to as hand-tied bouquets: the flowers are put together in the hand, usually laying the stems across each other in a spiral fashion. These can be composed of a multitude of beautiful blossoms or one exquisite specimen surrounded by interesting foliage. When done expertly (and wrapped in some pretty paper) these can stand on their own in a low dish of water. All you need to do is take it home and place it in a vase.

Unfortunately, I have not learned how to say “I am a floral designer in America” in any language other than English and my gesticulating has thus far not been successful in conveying that statement. Picture me flailing my arms about…Me! You! Flowers! Me! Flowers! Over there! (pointing towards America)…and you might be surprised to learn that I have not been kicked out of flower shops around the globe. It probably helps that I then hand over some cash and walk out with my own little bit of Europe, feeling for all the world like a local.

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