Friday, July 31, 2009
i finally created a twitter. i was against it for so long, because i didnt fully understand the concept...
"so you just write down what you are doing?" yes.
"and anyone can know exactly what you are doing at any moment in time?" yes.
"and people just sit at their computers and read what you are doing?" yes.
"and there's no other purpose, other than to tell people what you are doing?" right.
(you can see why i was skeptical of it's purpose...)
so although im not fully convinced that it's necessary, its a great way to keep up (in great detail) with people and things (i.e. how else would i have known that the cone palace's sherbet flavor of the week was grape?).
so im grudgingly getting on board. follow my every move at twitter.com/alliehowden :)
love love love from Prague!
Sorry for the lack of blogs as of late, but seeing as it is the last week of school it has been rather (aka super super duper) busy!! Tomorrow we move into our new apartment (HOORAY) where we will have internet, so I promise to be a more faithful blogger :)
HAPPY GRADUATION DAY!!
now, off to the graduation ceremony/ champagne celebration!
love love love from Prague!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Just a quick note (since I have a ten page paper due tomorrow, and have yet to start it…) to show you how great my grandparents are. After telling me that I am a great writer (ha!) this is an email that I get. After talking about how my life could be a movie (or more realistically a sitcom) my grandfather wrote me:
“It’s like a movie…Oh sure, walking down the street with ice cream cones in a foreign city may seem like a movie shot but it's really life. However when you finally find Praha 5 Post Office and the door is locked, the fellow that found you crying would have been so moved that he would act. A phone call and an official from the office would appear and would be a young George Clooney. George would be overcome with the beauty and grace of the young American from Zionsville Indiana and would not only retrieve her package but would start a series of romantic dinners, picnics in the park, sailing on the river and state dinners attended by men in uniform with medals. We were going to have George take you home in a stretch limo but that would have eliminated the escalator kick which is the comic part of our production. Instead, we have the young taxi driver, a Johnny Depp type, who slides across three line of traffic to rescue you. Turns out that Johnny is really a single guy that uses a sonogram of some Czech mother to increase his tips. Johnny becomes the other love interest as he and George fight for your hand. Kinda moves you, doesn't it---would Steven S be willing to direct?”
It’s absolutely fantastic! Well now you know where it comes from Poppy, the good writing gene must run in the family :)
Love love love from (under a huge stack of papers and books) Prague!!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
We should be offended. Grammarians all over the world are noting a common phenomena that is sweeping (or at this point I guess it already has swept) the world. The worst part? They are blaming the Midwest for it. Rude.
Ready to retaliate,
So, let me explain. First of all, my main teacher for this course is Terry, and he is British. Since we are in Europe, we have to teach our students British-English. It’s absolutely harder than it sounds. There are so many little phrases that we don’t say (I will call round for tea at two, the child minder will be late today, the rubbish needs to be taken out, I will call for George later, etc. We have to teach these silly phrases as well as silly words like when the lights go out you grab a torch, not a flashlight, etc. Also they spell things funny practise, harbour, colour, etc (and yes, Microsoft word just tried to correct all of those haha)) so teaching British English is a task within itself, but having a British teacher who thinks their language is so much better than ours doesn’t help.
We were talking about American slang in class the other day (of which there is apparently a lot) and we came to the words “said” and “told”. Terry said that surprisingly these words are going extinct. He asked us, “who here is from the Midwest?” and I raised my hand. (side note: I am THE ONLY ONE from the Midwest. All those other fools in my class are from the east or west coast.) “Oh, Allie. Shocking. Of course you are from the Midwest, it makes so much sense now.” I was thoroughly confused. He continued, “The other day I was talking to Trish (the other teacher) and I was like ‘I think we should include this in our lesson.’ And she was like ‘No, I don’t think that’s necessary.’ And I was like ‘Oh, we definitely should.’” And he stopped. “Sound familiar?” I honestly stopped and thought about it. Had I overheard their conversation? No, I didn’t get it. I looked to the classmates to my left. They were smiling and waiting for me to respond. I looked to my classmates to my right and saw the same thing. I was so confused. “I don’t understand, I didn’t hear you say that…” I started. He laughed. “Okay, Im going to tell you a story. The other day I was at the pub and my beer was knocked over. I turned to my mate and said ‘why did you knock my beer over?’ he turned to me and said ‘I didn’t knock it over, you did!’ Now, Allie, turn to Elena and tell her that story I just told you.” STILL CONFUSED, I turn to Elena and cautiously begin to repeat the story. “Well, Elena, the other day Terry was at the pub and he said…” I was cut off. “Well, you aren’t doing it right now because you are confused so you are speaking carefully” he responded.
APPARENTLY Midwesterners were the ones to introduce the use of “I was like” instead of saying “I said” in our everyday lingo. So, in my class, I am to blame for “said” and “told” going out of style. I wouldn’t have believed it but then later that day (my class often uses me as a form of entertainment, thanks for that) my teacher COUNTED how many times I said “like” and tallied it up. I really wouldn’t have believed that I say “I was like” that much, until I was trying to reenact this story for Ash and it went something like this…
“Terry was like ‘im going to tell you a story…’ and I was like so confused. And then he was like ‘repeat it to lena’ and then I was like ‘lena, this is what happened’ and then he was like ‘you aren’t doing it right’ and then I was like ‘what?’” and on the story went. I really do say “I was like” instead of “I said” but I think it’s just silly to blame the Midwest. As my friend Nicole pointed out the girls in California say “I was all, and he was all” instead, so I don’t think worldwide grammarians can really blame us for the loss of “said” and “told”.
As my dad so brilliantly pointed out, I don’t necessarily think it’s a Midwestern thing, I think it’s a girl thing.
And I was like love love love from Prague!!
GUESS WHO GOT THEIR PACKAGE TODAY! Yaaaaay :) we got out of class early today and I BOOKED it to prague 5 (no running this time, just swift walking…) and ventured up to the third floor of the posta. First of all, there are just a bunch of little rooms, no big open one. So luckily, even though I wondered into the wrong room, the lady was kind enough to walk me to the three proceeding correct rooms. Red shirt lady (who kindly helped me when I was wondering around the third floor so lost) walked me into a bigger room (through the stairwell and two closed doors, how could I have missed that?) where a lady jabbered at me in Czech. Luckily red shirt lady stayed with me, and although she didn’t speak English she just kinda did everything for me. Thank you! She motions for me to go back into another room to the right. I do and this angryyyy lady motions me to her desk.
You know how in most places the windows where the attendants help you are numbered, you know, 1, 2, 3, etc? Their desks are numbered, however, they were as follows (clockwise): 5, F, 6, 3, 1. Well that’s logical. The lady at 5 motioned me over and jabbered (even faster) in Czech. I told her I didn’t speak Czech. She nods and then continues to speak Czech. Okay, I JUST told you I don’t speak Czech and then you waited 10 seconds and tried again. I have been standing here the whole time and you didn’t see me go out and learn Czech in those 10 seconds, so I think it’s safe to assume I STILL DON’T KNOW CZECH and muttering at me in Czech is not going to help. She gave me the dirtiest look I think I have ever seen, and started stamping my papers. She throws her arm towards the door, leaves my papers on the desk, and walks away. Thank you?
So I head towards the door and go find my shining light of a postal worker, red shirt lady. She directs me to the proper room (because for some reason I didn’t get it by just motioning to the door to leave, silly me). None of the women in this room speak English either. Awesome. I know I was joking yesterday about how everyone in this foreign country should speak my native language, but I don’t think it’s that unreasonable to ask that the people in the INTERNATIONAL division know multiple languages. I would have spoken to them in English, Spanish, or even my extremely broken French or Italian would have been better than Czech. So I finally get my package (three more windows later) and it (and all of its thirty pounds…) was glorious.
I was so happy to have my package that I didn’t even mind carrying it (reminder: it’s still thirty pounds) for the two blocks. Then we had a great adventure making our way through the tram and metro systems. Don’t worry, no one offered to help. Haha. BUT I did master the art of getting this box half as big as me on the escalators (of which there are many to cross in the metro station). I would walk up to the escalator which moves very quickly so I have to hold onto the railing when getting on and off, and (picture twenty people in front of me and twenty people behind me because it was rush hour…) and with all my might would toss the box onto the moving stairs before me, then jump on and run up to the stair before it and when we got to the top I would hop off first and then grab it when it came flying off. Let me tell you the people on the escalator next to us were looking on with full fledged interest and were laughing at this spectacle. BUT we made it home and after a cold shower (wash off the sweat, ew) and a nap with my COMFORTER FROM HOME (!!!) it was a very successful and happy afternoon. Praha 5 Post Office, consider yourself conquered, ha!
Love love love from Prague!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
So the Praha 5 post office has officially dominated me AGAIN. Rude. So I decided to bravely face Praha 5 again to try and retrieve my package on Tuesday. (I had to wait a few days to write this because it was a little too emotional at the time hahahahah) So, I had the afternoon off of Tuesday, so I decided to go try and find the post office again.
Last week I went to the post office right around the corner from my school and begged them to either get my package (they promptly, but nicely said no way) or give me directions. They at least were helpful in giving me clearer directions this time. So I braved my way to Andel (Praha 5) and hopped off the metro. Walked the ten minutes to the tram and hopped on. I rode the tram for a while until I SAW the post office. At this point it was 4:50, I was like freaking out because most places in the states close at 5 and I had no idea how late they were open. So its 4:54 by the time I get off the tram and I TAKE OFF running trying to get to the post office before 5. I run (notice I said RUN. I am NOT A RUNNER. By any stretch of the imagination. I don’t even exercise. Please picture me running down the streets of Prague with my little gladiator sandals flopping against the sidewalk. Hilarious sight to see.) So I RUN for like two minutes and don’t pass the post office. I must have accidentally gone down a side street (the streets here are so tricky, and they will like parallel each other then slide into one another and it’s all very confusing…) so anyways I bombard this poor lady who has just hopped off a bus and (out of breath, mind you) say “promingte!!! Kde je posta??” and she just stares. “posta??” I KNOW that is the right word and kde je (sounds like g’day ya) means where is, so I know im on the right track… “post??...” im sure she was just thinking who is this crazy sweaty girl yelling at me? She smiles, “uhh…” I cant do anything but keep repeating posta. Finally she says “ooh, posta?” (she pronounces it with a long shhh in the middle, silly me) “ano!! Ano!!! Kde je??” I exclaim. She motions, “the blue building one street over.” So, she speaks English. Awesome. I just embarrassed myself trying to speak my broken Czech and she understood English the whole time. I thanked her profusely and I take off RUNNING again to the next side street over.
I see it! The promise land! I run up to the building, the doors are still open! “Promingte! Promingte! Posta, Promingte!” I yell as im running up. (translation: please! Please! Post office, please!) Hallelujah! As I burst through the doors (in my head I was sure I was going to run up to the door as the man closes it and locks it and just laughs in my face) I startle a room of people sitting quietly waiting in line. As I am BRIGHT RED in the face, panting, and fanning myself, I carefully pick my line. There are five available; the one I finally choose has people holding and receiving packages. Score! The older ladies in front of me keep turning around and smiling and then snickering to each other. Yes, I know im quite a sight to see, panting, fanning myself, and my gray American Apparel V-neck isn’t hiding the sweat running down my back very well. Oh, so attractive. I politely smile and give a small chuckle, I know I look so silly, yes im American, yes this is so funny for you…
So I wait the 30 minutes in line and finally get up to the window. People all around me were bustling and speaking in Czech and different people would jump to the front of the line unbeknownst to me, so I just wait patiently until I get to the front window. I finally get up there and slide the letter the posta sent to me under the partition. “Dobry den!” I say. (Good day). The postal worker just looks at the letter and shakes his head. He starts yammering on in Czech. Great. I slowly explain to him in Czech that I don’t understand (one of my other few phrases I can say). “Anglitsky?” I ask. Is it too much to ask that these people in a foreign country speak my native language? Please, I didn’t think so. He nods that he understands that I am incompetent and tries to break it down. “Third floor. Internaaaaational Post.” He looks at me like a four year old child would have known that. “Oh great! Ill run up there” I reply. “no! no! it closes at 15:30 each day! (you dumb American girl)” I look at the clock. It’s 17:30, its CLOSED. “Are you serious?! I traveled like an hour to get here, is there ANYTHING you can do?!” “Nope.” I start crying.
Yes, right there in front of the begrudgingly charming (ha) postal worker. He just stared awkwardly. Hahahahaha so after he convinces me that there is seriously nothing he can do, the third floor is locked, I slowly retreat. I walk out on the sidewalk and start balling. Yes, people and people alike from all corners of the street ARE staring. Hahah. So rather than taking the tram I walked the half an hour back to the metro and called my mom crying to vent. It had just been a really emotional week with school (im super duper stressed out) and missing my friends and family from home, so I just wanted my monogrammed down comforter (legit one of my favorite things) to make me feel better and they locked it in the post office. So after a walk and a metro ride home (and of course a good cry) I felt a little better and am determined now more than ever to get my package from that post office. I’m sure I gave that postal worker a great story to share in the break room. We cant be strong all the time anyways, every once and a while a girl just needs to breakdown and cry in her post office.
Love love love from Prague!
(there Devon, i edited it so you can read it in precious paragraphs)
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I have many (many many) words to sum up how hectic this teaching course is, but I think I will leave it to my classmates. Here is a list of compiled quotes that have recently been expressed about our course:
Devon: “doesn't know how he can be expected to go to class 8 hours a day, plan lessons, do private tutoring, plan presentations, find a job, find an apartment, and still find time to drink heavily…”
Eliza: “grammar is brutal”
Lowell: “My plate is full. I'm thinking about getting another plate. Hmm...Only a month of studies.”
Carrie: “is way overwhelmed. Being a teacher is HARD!!!! Or maybe it's just TEFL Prague”
Eliza: “TEFL is running my life.”
Lowell: “sorry facebook peeps. I'm super cramped with assignments. So if I'm seeming distant its because I'm cheating on you all with my torrential affair with writing teaching lessons. Sorry facebook youre just not meeting all of my needs. But wait until next month. I should be on here annoying you with pictures of Prague. Until then TOODLES!”
Carrie: “has a new appreciation for all the teachers she's ever had”
So these are just a few words to express how intense this course is, but we had a cheers last night to being exactly half way through our course! Only two more weeks and ill officially be a teacher!!
love love love from Prague!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
With that said about how much I love European environmental policies… the following is an ACTUAL conversation that occurred between Ash and me over dinner tonight. (Note: the Russian was not in attendance).
“You know what?”
“America’s the best country in the world.”
“But seriously, America is so much better than the rest of the world.”
We then proceeded to come up with a list of why America is the best country in the world:
1. We have the most opportunities (living, traveling, working, etc)
2. Best food (Prague, youre welcome for KFC)
3. Government is not corrupt (ie were not Russia, communism went out with whitewashed jeans)
4. Dippin Dots
6. You wont starve in America (again, something witty about KFC, and more realistically something about homeless shelters and welfare)
7. We speak the best language in the world (that everyone else wants to speak)
8. Celebrity/ movie culture (ash’s addition)
9. Lack of Eurotrash
10. AIR CONDITIONING
11. Men’s wardrobes are not comprised of hundreds of pairs of MANJAPRIS (Jean capris that men wear)
12. Best locale on the planet (geographically speaking)
13. BEST COUNTRY EVER.
and as much as we love prague, we will always love the homeland more :) missing america and all of you in it!
love love love from Prague!!