Tuesday, January 19, 2010

blog 54: don't get TRAMpled...

So i was on my tram this morning on the way to work, when suddenly it stopped. Not at a tram stop, not at a red light, just in the middle of the street. i didnt think anything of it at first, just kept reading my book. the tram conductor came out of his little box seat at the front of the tram and yelled something in czech down the aisle. perplexed, i watched as four big men (ages ranging from 30-60ish) got off the tram. being the curious person i am, i walked to the front of the tram and looked out the window, only to see these burley men lifting a car off the tram rails and moving it to the curb. apparently the car had parked in the way of the tram, and this was their way of dealing with it!

reasons why it is not smart to park on the tram tracks:
1. the cops came and gave this dude a HUGE fine.
2. if the tram didnt stop it would have PLOWED through your car (we recently found out that each tram weighs 136,000 pounds!!)
3. you made me late for work

so... the moral of this story? dont park your car on the tram tracks. and if you do? no bother, we'll just move it anyways. (although if you make me late for work again, i'll make sure they don't just move it to the curb, i'll have them move it somewhere you can't find it! ha!)

love love love from prague :)

("clever" title contributed by the lovely carrie)

Monday, January 18, 2010

blog 53: green is the new meat

six days. i lasted six days.

being a vegetarian is harddd. when i came back from my lovely little american vacation, my roommate adam decided to try vegetarianism. he wanted to take the challenge and see if he could spend the month of january not eating any meat at all. having had a lot of stomach problems since moving here, i thought it may be due to the sketchy czech meat, so i decided to take on the vegetarianism challenge as well. well, six days later, i decided vegetarianism just was not for me. it was not that i was dying for meat or anything (because i rarely eat czech meat anyways, if it was america i would not last a day without a cheeseburger...) but i was just more so bored with my lack of options. (and too lazy to cook, and KFC is on the way home...)

the chesky republiky is not known for having the best produce section, and even carrie (who has been a vegetarian for 12 years) uses mostly the same ingredients in her meals each night. so although i have not eaten meat that often since, i have definitely visited the Colonial a few times. and to be quite honest, i think the employees were happy to see me... they were getting worried :)

love love love from Prague!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

blog 51: oh my dangers

one of Carrie's friends introduced us to the concept of "dangers" when we first moved here. since then, we have continually pondered, counted, and listed all of our dangers. a "danger" is described as something that you have really impulsive feelings towards; do these things, eat these things, buy these things, etc. things you really like and can't stay away from... too much of these things = dangerrrr. (carrie's are these amazing ice cream bars called Magnums, chocolate, gold jewelry, H&M, and beer) (mine are nail polish, H&M, fresh pastries, and KFC- the usual). so with fresh pastries being one of my dangers and there being pastry shops ALL over prague, well lets just say DANGER. So i get a fresh pastry at least once a day, (sometimes twice a day when the kids were a handful...) and they have the most wonderful options. sweet ones with a hint of cream in the middle and raisins baked right in, and savory ones with poppy-seeds crusted on top. made fresh everyday, so delicious. but you never know what you are going to find inside of one though- ive found different kinds of jams, creams, fruit, and even meat (at the worst possible time, of course! the six days i lasted while trying to be a vegetarian... but that's a whole other blog in its self....) but i think you get the point, i love the pastries :)

so today in particular we had a most stressful day (with the most kids we've ever had... twenty four!) so you KNOW i was going to get a pastry on the way home. i stopped in and found a classic end of the day favorite, a twist of bread with cream in the middle, raisins baked in, and loads of powered sugar on top. bliss.

so i'm enjoying my pastry as i walk to the tram stop and i notice that people are being uncharacteristically nice! they are smiling and acknowledging me as i pass on the path! wow, this is great!

of course when i get to the tram stop i notice that i had a HUGE line of powdered sugar down the front of my all black coat. not a few spots of powered sugar, but it looked like someone poured a bag down my front. i realized that heaven forbid, the czech people were not being friendly, just laughing at me.

well at least things are back to normal, and my world is not quite flipped upside down anymore :)

love love love from prague

Sunday, January 10, 2010

blog 50: hey baby, baby...baby giraffe.

snow, snow, snow, snow, snow! (white christmas style, duuuh)

it's so very snowy and so very beautiful here in the prague :) carrie and i have estimated that we are approximately at eight inches of snow as of today. it is supposed to be around a meter and a half by tuesday! it has just been snowing like crazy nonstop since thursday night! it is so very beautiful, but it makes it hard to get around!

the czeskis do not plow their sidewalks or streets so much, as they just let it pile up and walk on top of the inches and inches of snow. it's quite an uneven territory and a bit of a struggle at times. carrie and adam and i did quite a bit of walking around the city on saturday and we used our snow leg muscles and let me tell you, we could feel it today!

last night we went out to meet up with some friends at a czech bar that was about twenty minutes (walking) away. i got all dressed up (you know, loads of czech people to impress...BAHAH) with a dress and some tights and my favorite (and my mom's favorite, and samantha's favorite) brown heeled boots. i think you know where this is going... heels on eight inches of packed snow on a slippery side walk. well lets just say my friends lovingly made the comparison that i looked like a baby giraffe just learning how to walk. long wobbly legs to say the least.

so i now have the affectionate nickname of baby giraffe :) but hey, i've been called worse.

love love love from a wintery wonderland!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

blog 49: honza, sweet honza.

every morning I catch the 9:02 tram from orionka. I walk three blocks from my apartment to the tram stop. when i get there there are three czech ladies that have just arrived to open their store. it's an odd store, i believe it sells chemistry equipment, mainly glass beakers and viles. they get to their store around 9am and as i get to the tram stop they are standing outside opening the display windows and standing around smoking their morning cigarettes and gossiping. i dont know them, and have not even ever spoken to them, yet i feel slightly comforted by seeing them everyday. i smile to them as i see them each morning, as they take a puff of smoke and burst out laughing at the latest gossip. its a strange sensation seeing these people that i dont know, yet i feel as if i do know them on some small level. coming from indiana university where i felt as if i knew everyone on campus, and before that zionsville, where i literally DID know everyone, its quite a change. there are people like this that i see everyday and have a "nonverbal relationship" with and enjoy seeing everyday.

i have a few people like this i see everyday. there is an elderly woman who lives on a first floor flat of a building i walk past each day. she is usually looking out her window at passerbys on the street below. i also pass a drug store and a dry cleaners where i see the ladies who open the shops smoking their morning cigarettes and getting a breath of fresh air before the day begins. i do enjoy seeing these familiar faces on my commute each day.

my favorite person to see is my boyfriend, honza. honza is an (approximately) seventy eight year old man who lives on the third floor of my building. he has a round face with rosy cheeks and hair as white as pure snow. he has a broad smile and a deep laugh and i hear it echoing through the stairwell. everywhere he goes he takes his darling little dog with him. ive never seen honza without a leash in his hand and a dog at his heels. we have always been cordial and said "dobry den!" to each other in passing but had never gotten to know each other.

when i came back from christmas break i passed honza walking his dog a block away from our apartment building. i greeted him as usual and he looked so excited to see me and burst out in a full paragraph of gibberish czech to me. i threw my hands up to cover my face and with an embarrassed laugh i admitted to him that i couldnt quite understand him (i couldnt understand him AT ALL). he smiled and grabbed my arm and very slowly and loudly (as if i were challenged...) said dva tisíce deset!!! (it's two thousand and ten!) "ah!!" i exclaimed. he was trying to wish me a happy new year. how sweet of him.

since he is the ONLY czech person i have gotten to know even in the slightest (aside from those i work with) i felt so touched that he was outgoing and kind to me (even though in a previous conversation i had admitted to him that i spoke little to no czech and was Amercian... he still talks to me :) ) so i bought honza a little new years present and wrapped it with a bright gold bow. i put a tag on it saying "PF 2010" (best of luck in 2010) and put in it my purse for our next encounter.

luckily that was today! i met him in the stairwell (dog in hand) and finally formally introduced myself. (i had to work up the courage to do so in Czech). He introduced himself as Honza and then said Joooohn! because honza translate into john in english. he beamed so proudly that he could make the translation. i handed him the gift and he exclaimed that he couldnt believe it and a lot of other czech words i couldnt understand. he thanked me kindly and pulled me in for a hug and a kiss on the cheek. i smiled all the way to the tram stop this morning. my encounters with sweet honza are my favorite part of my day, and i dont think he will ever know how grateful i am to him for being so welcoming and hospitable. you are wonderful, honza :)

love love love from praha!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

blog 48: i will never forget to remember you, devon.

ahoj loving friends and family.

first i must apologize for not blogging as of late. it is not because i was in a slump or had nothing to write about (although day to day life in prague is not ALL that exciting...) but it is more so that i could not bring myself to blog. As you know, my last blog was another (of many) blog about my best guy friend devon. shortly after this blog was published dev disappeared while vacationing in frankfurt, germany. one month later his body was found in the frankfurt river. especially since my last publish was a two parter about devon and his "new digital clock" it was too painful to finish and it averted me from blogging. i needed time to grieve and step back from it for a bit. with the strength and certainty that devon is looking down on me now, i am able to find comfort. the only light in this dark time is that i have found great comfort in his wonderful, loving, supportive family. they are so amazing and i have loved getting to know them. i consider them a huge part of my life now and talk to them often, and for that i am so grateful.

Devon, i miss you and love you more than you will ever know. i think about you each and everyday. coming back to prague without you, knowing that you will not return with me has been so hard, but our loving friends and your loving family have been so supportive, they have made it possible. you were the only guy i have ever felt comfortable enough with to tell him everything. you knew almost everything about me, and even the silly stuff i dont share with most people i told you. you didnt judge me or make fun of me, but you just understood that it makes me who i am and loved me for it. (and then of course would make fun of me for it later, but that's how i knew you cared :) ) thank you for being such a wonderful friend and helping me cope when i moved continents and was incredibly homesick. i missed my family, but you were always there to remind me that we were meant to be here together, and i honestly believe that. you made these past six months so wonderful, and for that i am eternally grateful. i love you, devon.