Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I was informed of the following...

  • Thanksgiving is a magical holiday that celebrates the miracle of turkeys cascading from the heavens.
  • The Czech Republic does not sell sage - fresh or dried.
  • Nor does it sell molasses. 
  • Half and Half Bakery on Wenceslas Square makes a mean chocolate mousse cake. 
  • There's nothing like a little expat love on Thanksgiving. New friends, possibly the best turkey ever (nicely done, Jack!) and lots of vino make it easier to forget that yer not with family && bffs && Tuckey-poo. Love and miss everyone at home tons and tons and tons. 
Today, I'm thankful for new friends, old friends, best friends and family. I am one lucky girl to have such amazing people around the globe. Now, the sooner you realize that you should all pack up and move to Europe to join me, the better. :) 

::Gobble Gobble::

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Computer Illiterate

Who out there knows how to tell who is subscribed to my feed and is anyone actually getting email notifications? Wahhhhh

Monday, November 21, 2011


Had a lovely weekend - scrumptious dinner at a friend's new flat, lonnnnnnnnnng walk in Stromovka so I no longer feel like a lazy bum (this is the start of my verrrrry slow lead in to C25K, though need real sneakers and a playlist first), delicious gyros and created fabulous culinary creation:

Unfortunately, do not have a nice SLR camera or whatever they're called, nor do I have any idea how to take very nice pictures. But you get the idea. Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast cake, made with kefir instead of buttermilk (bc Billa ran out of milk... which happens way more than should at a grocery store, milk is somewhat of a staple in my mind, and this is what we got by mistake... it smells awful and we had to do something with it, so voila). Baking in the Czech Republic was definitely an experience. Armed with a translated shopping list, I headed up to Billa and proceeded to spend about half an hour staring at the shelf willing baking soda to magically appear (it finally did. jedi mind tricks). So it's entirely possible that what ended up in the cake is not what was meant to, and converting everything to measurements meant I needed to guestimate a bit, but all's well that ends well. And it ended well. I shall have another piece in a minute.

However, all this relaxation has meant that OCD has totally kicked in, and armed with Pinterest, this is is a dangerous combination. Went to bed with grand schemes of being hyper organized with all my little charts and checklists, which are up on my Pinterest account should you care to view. Though so far so good, as have already worked out, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, and blogged this. Kickin' ass & taking names today. :)

And if you're not on Pinterest, you totally should be. Have made lots of yummy things from there already and have a billion and one ideas on stuff to do. Huge time waster, but time's never wasted if you're having fun, right??

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy Den Boje Za Svobodu a Demokracii

Take that, Hallmark.

History lesson, coming atcha:
November 17th is Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day here in the Czech Republic - a day to commemorate the start of the 1989 Velvet Revolution. On this day, 22 years ago, police busted up a peaceful student protest in Prague, who were honoring the International Students Day, the 50th anniversary of the death of Jan Opletal, a student killed by Nazi occupiers in WWII. This kicked off the start of over a month of non-violent protests, with demonstrators reaching over half a million people within three days and flooding into Wenceslas Square. The final result was the end of Communism in Czechoslovakia, so boo-yah.

Aside from saying nashledanou / до свидания (go on, guess what that says) to the Communists, the Velvet Revolution is symbolized by the jingling of keys. This has 2 meanings - 1) the opening of doors, and 2) Commies, it's time for you to go home.

Lots and lots of people in Wenceslas Square today, but nothing compared to this:

Don't know why I'm teaching English when clearly was meant to be a history teacher.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This One's for You, Steph

Trekked out to the nature for class today, only to be stood up by my student. Wouldn't care, but took me an hour and a half to get out there, so I'm a little bitter. Also, became a human icicle. Not a fan. But as I was on the bus, I happened to notice a blinding what flash out of the corner of my eye. Peeled my vision up from my Kindle and saw what I thought was snow. Then realized that the likelihood of it snowing in a quarter mile radius only was pretty small. It was frost. The thickest, densest frost I have ever seen. It look like all that Prague Fog that we've had the last few days (see below)...

... just crystallized. But only out in the nature. Not here in the city proper. Must remember to bring my camera next time (story of my life). 

Thawed out and caffeinated myself and had my last lesson of the day, during which my student told me that she loves to work out, and then drink lots of wine. I got really excited, because as we all know, I love loathe working out and drinking wine. She proceeded to tell me she got totally tipsy, and I thought to myself, "I also get totally tipsy!" and then she said "... off loads of wine. Like 2 glasses." 

...flashbacks of SYTYCD imitations and Bollywood Booty. 

I worry...

Jenna Hutch

do they celebrate thanksgiving there? lol
Laura Hutcheon
what do u think lol
Jenna Hutch
i dunno lol
i guess so
Laura Hutcheon
jenna. the holiday is about pilgrims and indians. coming together to give thanks. in like massachusetts.
there were no czech people involved

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

If Only It Was That Easy, Dears

Teaching my students modal verbs today (definition: type of auxiliary verb that indicates modality... does that clear things up for you? No? Thought not. Type of verb that indicates likelihood, permission, obligation, etc. Ex: should, might, ought to, have to, must, etc.) with regards to giving advice. We are playing a board game where you spin, land on a square with a problem listed on it, and ask your classmate for advice. Since there are only two of them, I'm playing as well. For every single problem I landed on, their advice was "You should get a boyfriend." Need money? Get a boyfriend. Parents telling you to move in with your aunt? Get a boyfriend. Lose your wallet at the supermarket? Get a boyfriend. Late to work? Get a boyfriend (who is also your boss, so he won't care). Next week's lesson shall be on the independent woman. And perhaps a discussion on where all these rich, generous, apartment-having, hiring Czech potential boyfriends can be found.

Monday, November 7, 2011

dva měsíce

Another month has rolled by in the fabulous city of Prague, making it a whopping two, count 'em, dva months that I have been here (again - that's it?! weird.). So I thought it might be time for a little czech in...

  • My Czech is still atrocious. And not for nothing everyone, but giggling every time I attempt something in Czech is really not helping. At least I am trying. Most days. Provided I've gotten enough sleep. Have every intention of getting a language swap buddy and taking classes as soon as school gives me a free one. Though do get mistaken for a Czech quite often on the street - I'm taking that as a sign that I've adapted to the local fashion quite well (read: black. leather. fierce boots.)
  • Goodness gracious, was I ever mistaken when I thought TEFL was brutal. Psht, piece of cake. My entire life is now lesson planning, which my roommates (who somehow, miraculously, seem to do none) think is hysterrrrrical. The fact that they don't seem to is the (verrrrry tiny) light at the end of the tunnel. It's exhausting, really. 
  • My students are awesome! I think I lucked out and managed to get the greatest group of people ever - they are all fun and energetic and pretend to be interested despite both of us knowing that those lessons are not that interesting. Hang in there, I will get better - promise!
  • A (rather substantial) part of me feels a bit like a fraud when I teach. Why are you trusting me to teach  you English?!?! I say crap like "That's bananas." and "OMG". I literally say "Ohemgee". I know fuck all about grammar (wtf is a modal verb? and why does it matter???) so we're on a pretty even playing field there. In fact, no. My Czech students DEFINITELY know more grammar than I do. It's embarrassing. Really, NJ education system. Good job.
  • Now that I am no longer surrounded by other newbie expats all the time, I am dying to meet new people. Any suggestions, anyone? 
  • I have a deep and lasting love affair with the following: Milka choco-grain cookies, Poma cheese, the Bata on Wenceslas Square (alas, my bank account means this can only be unrequited love), Gambrinus, Google Translate, those (very rare) days when the sun peeks out over the spires, BBUK (#teamalex), the gorgeous man who gets onto the metro the same time I get off every day, the receptionist at KB who speaks no English but is still the most helpful little woman in the world, every ESL website ever made, and just getting lost in this amazing place.
  • The appliances are still in cahoots against me. But that is all about to change because...
  • I have decided to face my fears. Well, fear of the appliances. Birds and skiing are still out of the question. I may not be able to tackle the Czech language, but I can sure as hell buy a cookbook and try to tackle the Czech cuisine (or Czech kitchen, if you are my students). Obviously, said cookbook will be in English - let's not push it. But really, how hard can it be to make knedlíky (dumplings). Famous last words? Errrr...
  • Where can I buy a hot water bottle? Don't you dare tell me Tesco. 
There is definitely soooooooooo much more, but I am mentally drained (from learning about modal verbs!) and need to get to bed so I can wake up and do it all over again. 

Dobrou noc, mé lásky!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Light Up the Neighborhood

Czechs have a fairly tolerant stance on drugs, especially compared to what many here seem to consider draconian US laws regarding them (ExPats has a summary here: Czech Drug laws). A walk down nearly any city street with a pub on it (which, let's face it, is nearly all of them) on a weekend night will easily show you that as people light up freely and openly. And while I still dodge the dealers hanging around Wenceslas Square in the early hours, it doesn't surprise me anymore. Though, this, I admit, did: Cannafest is coming to an expo center near me this month. So, should I care to learn how to grow, fertilize, make textiles, mix cosmetics or even just smoke cannabis, I have a wealth of resources at my disposal, right down the street.

Have a sneaky suspicion this is not the type of cultural experience my parents were hoping I would have over here. ;)

On a completely unrelated note, wtf is my Pinterest invite?!??!