Sunday, November 15, 2009

blog 47: Devon’s new digital clock

Trash pick up here is pretty simple. You bag up your own trash and take it downstairs and outside every few buildings there is a dumpster which the city empties weekly. When people move out or do a big house clean they will often just set out the things they don’t want any more along with their trash beside the dumpster. So sometimes you can find hidden treasures, but mostly it’s just trash. You can often times find homeless people digging through the dumpsters like it’s their job.

With that being said, the other day (it was actually a few weeks ago now…) my friend Devon was walking home to his flat two blocks away from mine. As he was passing my lovely building (Premyslovska 32 hollerrrr) he saw a collection of things next to our dumpster. One thing caught his eye, one of the most coveted appliances in Prague, and it was cast out, free for the taking: a microwave. Microwaves are extremely rare here. You can find them in the households of the wealthy, or in businesses. Otherwise, they are not a common household appliance and are expensive to buy. So those of us making 20,000kc or less a month cannot afford such luxuries as microwaves.

So, Devon was so excited to have found such a treasure! He lugged the heavy appliance the two blocks home and triumphantly walked in to show his roommates. He hoisted it up onto the kitchen counter top and plugged it in. The clock started flashing 12:00! Success, it worked! So he grabbed some food to put inside and test it out. To his dismay he found out the microwave portion did not work. It’s at this point in the story where I questioned why he even thought a microwave he found ON THE STREET would work, but hey, you gotta try. So Dev moved the microwave into his room so as to not clutter up their small enough kitchen, where it sits stationary on his floor. At least he got a new digital clock out of it!

Love love love from Prague!

PS ONE MONTH FROM TODAY I leave to head home for the holidays!! Whoooo!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

blog 46: the ten minute commute.

As i was closing up the school tonight, i stepped out into the cold mist. The weather has been in the 40s and rainy everyday this week and will continue to be so until saturday. i was thinking how nice it would be to have my warm car parked outside the school so i could just hop into georgie and drive home. in prague however, as in most cities, having a car is not likely. with the city being packed as it is, and with a great public transportation system, having a car is not only unnecessary but frivilous. (try telling that to the soccer moms that pick up their kids in their BMW X5s and their Lexus RX10s- mom and dad take note, thats the next car i want...)

As my last student piled into his mom's SUV she offered me a ride home. I politely declined, reasoning that I lived quite far away and it would be unnecessary for her to go out of her way to take me home. As i walked to the tram stop I was thinking, it is a 35-40 minute commute for me to get home, but that's a tram ride, not a car ride. The tram stops every five feet to pick up new passengers and stalls for 1-3 minutes waiting for people to exit/enter. In reality, i really live only 5km away, 11 minutes by car!

I think it is so funny people are always yearning to live "in the city" wherever that may be. Whichever city they live closest to, or those that work in the city always seem to desire to live in the city rather than having that commute each morning/evening. Living an hour outside of the city (like so many of those Chicago, Atlanta, New York suburbs) seems like such a long way to travel and so many desire city living to avoid this. However, you could live in any of these cities and easily have an hour commute using public transportation. And those who live in the city desire having their own private transportation like so many who commute do. The grass is always greener on the other side, right?

Luckily, i love my 35 minute commute where i can unwind from my (oh so stressful...ha) day and watch as the city blurs past me. Although i wouldnt mind a lexus... :)

love love love from prague!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blog 45: A horse is a horse; of course, of course.

Well, it was a beautiful fall day here in prague, and I couldn’t have asked to spend it a better way. Let me start off by saying that we have a holiday on Wednesday (hooray!!). It is the celebration of official statehood of Czechoslovakia, which I find quite ironic seeing as how Czechoslovakia exists no more… but hey, you won’t hear me complaining about a day off school! Due to said holiday, most of my friends are not working much this week at all. They all work at language schools where you teach 2-6 hours a day in individual lessons, and most have canceled seeing as how there is a holiday in the middle of the week. Being in the private school system, we do not have such luxuries, and will still have school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

At first, yes, I was a touch bitter about this seeing as how most of my friends have an entire week off. But after spending such a lovely fall day with my kiddos I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it any other way. It was the perfect fall weather, high 50’s with sunshine and leaves falling all around us. We spent the morning carving pumpkins for our Halloween party (which happens to be tomorrow the 27th… I guess they didn’t quite get it right here when they copied it from us) and we spent the afternoon horseback riding in the mountains of prague. It was a great way to spend the day, and I am not only okay with being in school all week, but I am thankful to get to spend these beautiful days with my favorite four year olds :)

They love horseback riding, and out of our many weekly activities (ceramics, yoga, sauna, and cooking) I think this one is my favorite. And let me just say here and now, I use the term “horseback riding” quite loosely. It consists of two children at a time sitting on small horses walking down a short path as the horses are lead (very slowly) by two of the professionals. It’s about a four minute walk and they walk at a pace of about two miles per hour…maximum. Nevertheless, they all jump off the horse with the same excitement as if they have just been a part of a high speed horse chase.
Seeing their shinning faces brings a rush of memories back to me from when I took horseback riding at good old Camp Eberhart. We would ride for two hours twice a week and I thought that was SO MUCH time. Most of the time was spent leisurely walking through the trails in Michigan, which in my little mind translated into running high speed up and down mountains… same thing, right? Even if its not, im happy to be able to see the joy on their little faces as their imaginations run wild with these small adventures. An ability we should all strive to have!

Love love love from a beautiful prague!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blog 44: the insight of little ones

As I am spending a good nine hours each day with three to six year olds, I have learned much more from them than I thought possible. Their insight is quite refreshing. Last week, we had quite the nasty weather week in Prague. It was low thirties and couldn’t decide if it wanted to rain or snow, but whichever it was; it was very windy and gray. The wind was biting and I was not looking forward to going out in it. Last Tuesday I was last to leave the school, and I was just waiting on three kid’s parents to pick them up. As we were eating our snack of biscotti (little cookies like vanilla wafers, but without the delicious taste…i.e. cardboard) I looked out at the ominous gray clouds and told Tomas I was not looking forward to going outside. “Why? We love playing outside” he questioned. “Well, in the sunshine I do, but I hate the winter, so I don’t like going outside in the cold.” I reasoned (it had been a long day and clearly I was a little grumpy…) “But I love every day!” he exclaimed. Words so simple, but so deep. He went on to explain that he not only loves all seasons, but he loves every day within them. These words literally resonated deep within me. I love every day too, why shouldn’t we? There is something so great and beautiful about each and every day, we should really appreciate these days, no matter the temperature. I simply smiled back at him and said, “You know what Tomas? I love every day too.”

love love love from prague!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

blog 43: some say obsession, we say normal <3

just a quick post to say, that i absolutely love my family. i am so incredibly blessed to have the most amazing family in the world, and i cherish you all every single day. my friends here think its a bit odd that im slightly "obsessed with my family" and talk about you all the time, but they are just jealous they arent as cool as us :) but honestly, i couldnt have done this move or anything in my life without you all and just wanted to say thank youuu!

i am more than excited to see you all in december for christmeee (65 days, no im not counting...)!

love love love from prague!!

blog 42: hello fall, my old friend.

although we all know i love those long warm summer days, i do embrace the fall. i love the cool breezes and the changing leaves. fall is officially here in prague, and it is absolutely beautiful. the crisp mornings followed by warm afternoons, the leaves changing colors, the fall decorations donning the store window fronts. we are teaching the preschoolers about autumn, and getting them prepared for halloween and thanksgiving. both of which we celebrate, the perks of working in an english speaking school! but the weather is beautiful and although i am not looking forward to the cold cold winter that is ahead of us, i am turning my face towards the sun and embracing the autumn winds!! happy fall!

love love love from Prague!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

blog 41: the kindness of strangers

The Czech republic is not known for its friendliness. Last time Ash and I were in Germany we had a field-day with how nice the people were to us. Such a lovely change from the Czechs. While individually I have met some lovely people, as a whole, their culture is not outgoing-ly friendly, especially to Americans.

However, I did meet a stranger who was more than willing to help me out at the pharmacy last week. I came down with quite a cold that resulted in me being sent home early from preschool. Haha I guess the parents don’t love it when the teacher is coughing and sniffling all over their children, weird. So on my way home from my half-day, I stopped at an organic pharmacy to get some medicine for this nasty cold. I stepped up to the counter (because all medicine here has to be prescribed by an over the counter pharmacist, even tylonal!) and asked, “anglitsky?” hoping that she spoke English. Of course, she did not, and promptly turned as if she was dismissing me. Luckily, the lady in front of me told me that she spoke English and would be happy to translate. Thank goodness, because I was prepared to act out my symptoms until I got the medicine I needed. This sweet lady translated all of my symptoms to the pharmacist, and I got the medicine I needed. I don’t think she will ever know how grateful I am to her!

So I got the medicine that I had struggled so much for home, and im 99% sure it was just vinegar in a bottle. I had to swallow fifty drops of it three times a day. Barf. And although it was the most disgusting thing I have EVER tasted, I kept taking the medicine and feel much better now. Apparently vinegar is a cure-all?

But with the cold on its way out we managed to salvage the weekend and get some quality roomie bonding time in. Ryan has been offered a job in Moscow and will be leaving us very early Wednesday morning! Were sad to see him go, but he will love Moscow, and we will have another place to visit!

love love love from Prague!

Monday, September 28, 2009

blog 40: good king wenceslaus...

thank goodness for St. Wenceslaus, because we had a three day weekend this weekend in his honor! Today is an official Czech holiday, where we celebrate St. Wenceslaus (Same as Good King Wenceslaus.) You are supposed to have a feast in his honor, but we went to Subway and celebrated five dollar foot long subs... is that the same? Anyways, I am more than thankful to Wenceslaus for the three day weekend he gifted us.

We wanted to celebrate this weekend by taking a trip somewhere (ireland, other places in the czech republic, and croatia were all discussed) but after some deliberation we just decided to stay in Prague and celebrate our very own city.

We ended up taking a day trip out to the edge of Prague where the "eiffel tower" is. You may have thought that the eiffel tower was in Paris, but apparently, you would be wrong. This is a big tower (that looks just like the eiffel tower) that overlooks all of Prague. We made the trek out there, and then the trek up the three hundred and twenty stairs to the top. When we got there though, it was absolutely gorgeous and well worth the hike.
(Prague from the top of the "eiffel tower")

You could see all of Prague, red roofs for miles. The river curves its way through the city and and hills overlook it all. We happened to head up there on one of the most beautiful days we have had in a while. It was a great day, with great friends and great sights to see. And now we only have a four day week, hooray!
(Prague from the top of the "eiffel tower")

Love love love from Prague!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blog 39: three's company, too.

We are about to start the fourth week of preschool! I can’t believe three weeks have gone by so quickly. My little students are great; I am so impressed with their ability to speak English and Czech. They learn so much every day; it is amazing to see them grow :)

We took a fieldtrip last week to a “fairytale land” and although I thought it was one of the creepiest things I have ever seen, they liked it. Essentially, it was a huge warehouse with small sets built in it with fairytale characters. However, the characters were all really creepy and the stories they chose to display were not your traditional fairytales, or maybe I just don’t think the children need to see Lucifer surrounded by fire and brimstone. Yikes. But they loved it, and all got their faces painted, so it was a successful afternoon.

In other news, our friend Ryan is staying with us for a few days. He completed the TEFL course in August, the month after I did, and is currently looking for a job. He is looking in Russia, and has had several promising video interviews, how’s that for technology? He is crashing with us for a few days until he finds out where he wants to go! Until then, we are playing Three’s Company. I, of course, am Suzanne Somers and Ash gets to be (has to be) Joyce Dewitt, Ryan playing John Ritter. It should be a great time! I’ll keep you updated on all our crazy antics!

love love love from Prague!!