29 October 2010

A look into my week..

I gave some practice tours on the hop-on-hop-off bus tours. I will be starting "officially" on Wednesday.

I tutored some children and corrected their pronunciation.

I watched Hocus Pocus and baked snickerdoodles with some friends.

I went to Cesky Krumlov on the sunniest day of the season. We meandered the tiny streets for hours and sipped on hot mead, a honey-liquor cinnamon drink. We shopped and soaked up the views and gardens and wildlife (bears). We had a nice day out of the city.

I slept in and watched The Vampire Diaries in bed. I had to quench my thirst for American TV...it's been so long since I've seen anything other than what I brought!

And now, it's going to be a spooky weekend in Prague! Happy Halloween Weekend!

26 October 2010

Sweet Surprises

As I walked out of my building today I noticed something white in my mailbox. To my dismay, I realized I had no idea where the mail key had gotten to. So after my few errands I searched the apartment looking for it, but it never turned up. And I just knew...that letter in the box...was for me.

So down the stairs I went, holding onto a pen and some tape. I looked around me, hoping no one was watching what I was about to do...I stuck the pen with some tape on the end into the mailbox, hoping it would stick to the envelope. The tape fell off a few times and some people came through the door too. I tried to look dignified, like I owned the mail system and luckily no one asked what I was doing. Whew!

Finally I got my letter! And up the stairs I ran to read my precious letter. 
It's moments like these when I really miss my friends and family the most. At times, I feel so separated from everything. I have to remind myself that do belong here, even if just for awhile. My friends & family will always be present in my life, no matter where we are in the world.

I just love the look of written words! Especially the handwriting of people I hold close to my heart.

Leave a comment if you want my address and I'll write you back too!

Tomorrow I'm off to Cesky Krumlov, an Unesco World Heritage site.....
sunshine and fall leaves!

25 October 2010

24 October 2010

My Weekend in Pictures

I bought a French Press and sipped on real coffee instead of instant. Yuck!

I found this lovely sculpture near the Vltava made from shoes.

I went to a farmers market and watched the swans swim.

This tea shop smells amazing. I wish I had brought my loose tea holder with me to Prague.

old doors are in abundance around the city...I wonder if this is why we stumbled upon yet another movie set! This time a period film.

a lovely shop of clothes from local designers. I am obsessed with this top, but it's over $200 USD.

clear skies. for a while at least.

I collected fallen leaves on Petrin hill.

22 October 2010


It's official...I've received my first paycheck in Prague.

I am the happy tutor of four Korean children.

More jobs to come later, but this is a good start.

Goodbye American debit card, hello Czech Koruny.



20 October 2010

5 Reasons Why I Love my Flat


I love that even though it's still new to me, it has so much potential.
I love that I can hear someone playing the piano above me.
I love that there's a small coffee shop and bakery at the bottom of my stairs.

I love that I'll have a warm place to read in the winter.
Old Door in weathered Brick from wood gate classics
I love that I live in a fortress, with three separate keys & four locks.

18 October 2010

Buda[pe-SH-t] & Vienna < Wien >

I spent a wonderful week traveling though Hungary and Austria with four fabulous girls. I had forgotten how much I loved traveling until this trip. We took Orange Ways and Student Agency buslines from Prague-Budapest, Budapest-Vienna, and Vienna-Prague. Both lines are affordable and actually faster than a train. We got free cappuccinos and English movies and wi-fi on the buses!

In Budapest we stayed at Thumbs up! Hostel, which I would recommend to anyone. It is small and welcoming. The guy who owns it loves his city and helping out travelers in any way he can. Plus, we got free breakfast and drip coffee! That's always a bonus, especially here in Central Europe where instant coffee is sold more than the actual beans.

In Vienna we couch surfed on couches and beds and blow-up mattresses at a friend-of-a-friend's flat. I had never done it before, and I guess in a way I still haven't, as I sort of knew of these people. But it was a wonderful experience! Their flat was close to the city-center and metro, plus it was great to see inside some of the apartment buildings in Vienna.

Vienna is now on my list of favorite European cities (along with Prague, Florence, Edinburgh, and Paris). The city had an abundance of markets, men, and museums. The city is quite large, larger than Prague, but still holds a small town feel. The Naschmarkt is the largest market in Europe and on Saturdays they have a whole selection of flea market finds! I bought a little skeleton key for one euro. I couldn't resist. There were quite a lot of other items I wanted, but either couldn't afford them or couldn't transport them back to Prague.

Austrian men, too, are quite a find. They have their own sense of style and really know how to use it. They have a much darker complection than Czech men and look scruffy without looking downright dirty. Czech men on the other hand are scruffy, but also greasy and gross, with hair longer than mine. I must say, if you are looking for a European man, go to Vienna. There are lots to choose from!

(which I am not, by the way ;)

Budapest was beautiful, but I was not as impressed with it. We did find out, however, that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were in town as Jolie directs her first film. It's about the Serbian-Bosnian conflict. (She would direct something like that) She didn't get permission to actually film in Bosnia, so she chose Budapest instead. The whole family is there for the time being. I'm starting to think that movie stars are following us around Europe. ;)

After a day and a half in Budapest, we took a short train ride down to Szentendre, a little village along the Danube bend. It was such a lovely day for us. Clear skies and temperate weather. The town had a quaint feel; it really reminded me of all the Italian villages I've seen. We spent the afternoon getting lost down small streets, eating ice cream, watching boats pass on the river, and taking photos of ever picturesque angle of the town. I would highly recommend this village to anyone traveling in the area. Budapest is great, but it's just another big city. Szentendre is special and it knows it.

More to come!


11 October 2010

My Little Nook

This is my part of my apartment...more to come later.

 Unfortunately, this is a futon...not much of a bed..but it works for now.

Tomorrow morning I leave with four friends for Budapest, Hungary & Vienna, Austria!
We'll be gone for a week...


10 October 2010

Prague.has.Culture.Lots of it.

Yesterday I moved out of one flat and into another.
I packed and unpacked.
I caught a taxi and he brought me into the center of Prague,
my new home, a mecca of culture.
Last night I went to the Opera.
where it originally premiered on October 29, 1787.
Mozart took the infamous story of Don Juan
and brought it to life on stage
incorporating melodrama, comedy, and supernatural elements.
Inside the Estates Theatre
 Stage view
 Three hours later, outside the theatre

I also browsed the World Press Photo exhibit that is currently in Prague.
These photos tell incredible stories about people, war, nature,
and current events
that are often kept out of the news.
Many of them are graphic, portraying people who are now deceased.
But, it is worth knowing what is going on in our world,
even if it is horrific.
Look for the tour in your city! It's traveling around in 2010.
In addition to opera and photography, Prague has something else to offer...
movie sets!
Tom Cruise is currently in the city filming Mission Impossible IV, out December 2011.
These photos were taken by journalists right outside The Globe,
my favorite hangout.
 Tom does his own daring stunts, shirtless and all
in hardly shirtless weather.
I have yet to see the film star, though my friends and roommates have all run into him at some point. I'm hoping my time will come soon. (Cross your fingers) He is staying at The Four Seasons Hotel,
only the best hotel in Prague. The Hilton comes in at #2.
I did run into a commercial filming in Prague. They decorated the entire street with Christmas decorations! Fake snow and all!

09 October 2010

Just Dance! Humanity Rejoices.

This video gives me hope for the future.
We are all united around the world as individual human beings
created by a magnificant God!

05 October 2010

Bad Hair, Bad Breath, Bad Day

Let me tell you about my nightmare on Sunday evening. I was working on my paper at my apartment when I got a text from a friend wanting to meet so I could give her something. I was hoping to stay in for the evening, but I told her I’d meet her at the Forenc metro stop in 10 minutes. I left my apartment in my pajamas and a coat ready to meet and get back to my paper as quickly as I could.

At the Florenc station, while waiting for her, I was approached by an older man in an old-fashioned black coat, hat, boots, and saddle bag. At first glance I knew exactly who he was, without ever having to see him before. He was the metro ticket police.

This. Can’t. Be. Happening.

He flashed his badge and asked for my ticket…..oh no…..I had accidently walked out the door without my metro pass. I had never seen the metro ticket police before. Not ever. Why was this happening now?

You see, in Prague the metro runs freely. People buy tickets from a machine or they purchase monthly passes. No one checks at the entrance to the metro. It’s like an honor system. The catch is that you can randomly have run-ins with these sneaky metro ticket police who roam at different times of day looking for unsuspecting commuters who may or may not be having a bad day.

He caught me on a bad day.

By the time my friend met me on the metro platform I was in tears and short 700kc. A fine that cost more than my monthly pass in the first place. We talked for a bit and she tried to console me when yet another sneaky metro ticket police approached us for our tickets! I waved my fine at him saying, “haha you already got me! I’m free from your fine!” I was a bit delirious at this point. But my friend, who had just gone upstairs to buy her ticket, could not find it. She searched frantically for what seemed like ten minutes and found no ticket stub. Meanwhile, the man asked us to follow him as he made his rounds and scored a group of tourists who had only one ticket for a group of ten. Yikes. They were not happy.

This. Can’t. Be. Happening.

He made them all pay up. And my friend who had a ticket she must have dropped. We all were having a bad day on the metro apparently. That was the most expensive meet-up I’ve ever experienced. By the time I got back to my warm apartment I was so angry, calling the metro police all sorts of names. What an awful evening out. I feel better now, having had some sleep and some tea.

But, mark my words metro man; I will be ready for you next time!

It’s the commuters vs. the ticket police.

04 October 2010

Kava Kava Kava

I may not have seen all of Prague yet, as my TEFL course is exhausting,
but I have visited many a Kavarny (coffeehouse).
I think I've spent more money on coffee than on eating out.
The nice thing about these coffeehouses below are that they will be a cozy place to sit for hours
during the white winter I'm going to experience here.
 Cafe Ebel in Old Town. It is small, a little nook on a corner.
They have great Viennese coffee and lots of sweets!
It was here I started my 10-page One-to-One paper.
 I sat here for hours writing, chatting on Skype, and browsing the internet.
Such a luxury, since I currently don't have it in my TEFL apartment.
Friends Coffeehouse, home to the Bible Study I go to on Friday evenings.
They are owned by Christians and cater to both the Czech and English-speaking communities here.
And they've got the best Peppermint Mocha Latte! Although it is about as expensive as Starbucks
(which also can be found around Prague..mostly for tourists)
Friends is spacious and inviting. It's newly opened so everything is crisp and fresh.
They've got a wall of books to browse in both English and Czech, from Prayer books to the Unfortunate Events Series to Nicholas Sparks to the history of Eastern Europe.
Plus, a pretty cool fountain and a glass hall that reflects rain nicely
(as I think it will to snow too)
They have wall after wall of individual photos of customers,
what a great idea!
  Cafe Louvre is a historical cafe, frequented by Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein.
It is the place to go for coffee and dessert,
especially after a night at the opera!
Ricotta cake.
This is the place to come for elegant sweets in the city center.
And, of course, there is The Globe, a favorite among expats.
See earlier posts. :)

01 October 2010

A Permanent Fixture at Tyn Church

On Sunday evening at 9pm Megan and I went to Mass at the Tyn Cathedral in Prague's Old Town Square. We ventured there the day before to peek inside and decided to come back for a service.

There was a man, possibly a "sidekick" priest who stood in the back as the tourists entered the church during visiting hours. He had the most terrifying scowl I have ever seen an human being use. His right eye was a different color than the left and his eyelid scrunched a bit as if a fishing hook got stuck somewhere in there. As each person entered, he would almost grimace every time. We were too much for him. We treaded holy ground and he seemed to abhor the fact that most of us didn't care.

By the time Megan, Kristen, and I walked to the altar of the church we heard the most horrendous shout from behind. Apparently, someone had tried to take a picture of the apse and he had caught them. His yell echoed through the pews of the cathedral, around the arches, and dispersed through the altar to the most sacred part of the church. This happened three times. Each one louder and more agitated than the last. Instead of peace and reflection, the church was filled with this man's contempt.

We enjoyed our visit though. (See the church behind us?) When we came back for the service guess who was there again.....yep! You guessed right. This time he was in full garb, complete with the scowl. I think he recognized us when we pushed the gates open after the service had already begun. We snuck in and found seats. The service was in Czech, but it was stunning. They rang bells as we took Communion and an organ played behind us. "Scowler" priest took offering and rushed by us without a glance. He honestly gave the impression that he has the most miserable life imaginable. Megan and I just laughed, thinking he is like a permanent fixture of the church...like the gold altar and the carvings of saints.

Sidekick Scowler Priest who "welcomes" in the weary travelers of life.

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