Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blog 34: A lovely little preschool with grapes fresh off the vine

Preschool started this week! My new school is absolutely beautiful. It is still under construction, seeing as it was just built. The builders started the indoor renovations the first week of august and promised they would only take a week to complete. It is September 3rd and they are still not done. They have what I like to call “European mentality”. Picture under the Tuscan sun (if you have seen it) where the workers take their own sweet time to complete the project. They will head out for a three hour lunch at the pub and come back drunk only to dawdle the afternoon away. No wonder they aren’t done with the construction yet. (Literally I saw one of the gardeners carry in a pale, and then a case of beer. He filled the pale with cold water from the hose and stocked it with beer and hid it in the shade ((partly to keep it cool, partly so my boss wouldn’t see it and freak out)) at least they are crafty…!) The two days before school started were quite hectic because they were only 1/3 of the way done and we had to move in all of our stuff! We worked for two days straight, thirteen hours each day setting up the school trying to get ready. Oh gracious, that was quite an interesting experience. But nevertheless, school opened on the first of September and it has been great so far! We have twenty students ages 3-5 and they are wonderful. These kids are truly remarkable, they haven’t even started kindergarten yet and they are already bi(some even tri)lingual. Im so very impressed.

But I love the area surrounding my school; it looks like an old Italian village. The villas are rustic and gorgeous, red roofs, cobblestone streets, and grapes growing on the vine as far as the eye can see. They whole area is one big downward sloping hill, and the buildings and villas are tucked neatly into the side. The old architecture shows its personality, the old streets are worn and the buildings sigh when the wind blows through them. As the sun sets on this neighborhood you can see the golden light streaking through the buildings onto the streets, and the whole neighborhood has a golden glow. It’s absolutely lovely.

((Grapes growing in the back garden of the preschool))

In true Allie fashion, my first day involved a small transportation fiasco (what’s new). My director told me the name of the metro stop that was closest to the school, so naturally I assumed that was the best way to get there. She mentioned that the school was a little ways away from the stop, but it was do-able. So I take the thirty minute metro ride (I had to switch lines) to Budejuveska (or something unnecessarily long like that). Upon my arrival there I was instructed to take a bus. Excuse me, what? I don’t even know how to take the bus. I confidently walk over to the bus stop and look as though I belong there. The hobo and the homeless woman also waiting for the bus seemed okay with sharing their stop with me. The bus arrives and we (my new bffs, homeless and hobo) pile on. I ride the bumpy bus over the cobblestone for a good twenty five minutes. I thought this place was close to the metro? When we get off I see hills and villas and a sloping downward hill, but that’s about it. No school. So, as instructed, I head down the hill. TWENTY MINUTES of walking down this (steeeep) downhill, I come to the street I am to turn down. I head down another windy cobblestone road until I see the church that is across from our school. After over an hour of commuting I was finally to my school. I kept repeating to myself that it wasn’t so bad, the exercise was good, and the neighborhood was beautiful, but all I could think of was what this commute was going to be like in the dead of winter, before the sun has even risen. Uggggh.

Optimism in hand, I head into the school. We are waiting for the other teacher, Adrienne. She is coming from the tram stop seven minutes away because she lives closer, dang her. There is a tram stop at the bottom of the hill and that would make my life a MILLION times easier (assuming I knew how to ride the tram, which at this point I didn’t, so that was essentially out of the question anyways). Adrienne arrives and we start setting up the school. In casual conversation she mentions that she was at this restaurant in Flora (where I live) the other day. Our conversation that followed was pretty close to the following:

Me: “Oh, you were in Flora? That’s where I live”

A: “Oh really? Ya I live there too!”

Me: “Wait…what??”

A: (Confused) “I live in Flora, just a few minutes from the metro stop.”

Me: “Are you serious? You live in Flora?? Are you joking?”

A: (really confused) “No, Im not joking. I live in Flora…”

Me: “And you took the metro here?”

A: “Yes”

Me: “From FLORA?”

A: “Ya…”

Me: “But it was like really long, like a couple hours?”

A: “What are you talking about, it was like twenty minutes”

Me: “WHAT?! From FLORA? But that’s where I live!”

A: “Okay, well then you should probably take the tram too… the metro takes way longer”

Me: “This is the best news I have ever heard.”

And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. That is, after she realized that I really wasn’t retarded, I was just in shock that my 1.5 hr commute could very, very easily become a twenty five one. Best. News. Ever. She taught me how to use the tram (there was a lot of note taking and ‘wait, can you say that again? No scratch that, spell it’ on my part) and thus I learned how to take the tram and have a much shorter commute to school. And thanks to my new ipod touch brimming with music and tv shows for me to watch, I find myself wishing I had a few more minutes on the tram in the morning to finish the newest episode of gossip girl :)

love love love from Prague!

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