28 February 2011

Going to the Opera is an Everyday Pastime in Prague

So last Tuesday night I went to see the opera, The Tales of Hoffmann, and sat by an older gentleman who occasionally whispered,
"Genius!" and "Brilliant!"
And who would nod his head in approval and clap his hands far from his body while chuckling aloud. We didn't speak during the first two acts, but after the first intermission he began a conversation with me.

He was amused and perhaps a bit impressed that two young American girls were interested in Opera. (Ellen, one of my roommates was with me)
He asked me if this was my first taste of opera, and I replied "no". 
He asked me where I was from and when I said, "from Florida," 
he threw his head back and laughed a deep, loud laugh. 
He had just gotten back from Bradenton, FL where his daughter is training for tennis. 

He asked me all sorts of detailed questions about Florida and where I went to school and why I'm here and where I think I'll go next. He was pleased to hear that Ellen and I are English teachers, saying,
"I am glad you are teaching my fellow compatriots English."
From the tone of his voice, he sounded generally distressed at the fact that a lot of Czechs just don't care. Which has also been a growing concern of mine as well.

I am so glad to have met and talked with him. He refreshed my views of Czechs, giving them an overall appealing and cultured impression. After all, they do go to the Opera at an alarmingly often rate. He was not the average Czech who often cuts me off or hits me with his bag or yells at me for sitting in the "old ladies" seat on the tram. No, he was of a finer quality than his "compatriots." I suppose that is to be expected since I was sitting in the most expensive section in the theatre after only paying 100kc for my ticket....($5USD)

Oh the joys of being a foreigner in a foreign country! ;)

26 February 2011

A Peek into my Saturday

 Saturdays in the Czech Republic are full of adventure!
Rajhrad Monastery, just outside of Brno.

Couchsurfers. Wine. Missed Buses. Short Train rides. 
Sunshine. Sweets. New Friends.
More to come on Travel Tuesday...


25 February 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins will keep you happy in the winter

When it's cold outside and you're craving
the sun's warmth....
make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins!
Yesterday afternoon I made these just because...

They're so good, my roomies couldn't help themselves.
They insisted on having a photo taken with the muffins.
You can find the yummy recipe here.
Treat yourself to a summery snack,
even if it is winter!

And don't forget to take your daily dosage of 
Vitamin D. Stay healthy and happy!


24 February 2011

Teacher's Thursday

Today in one of my classes, one of my students asked if he could show me a video. Curious, of course, I complied. This is what he showed me. I could not help but laugh, but deep down I was hoping my classroom full of teenagers did not think all of us were this stupid. Thankfully, they did not.

Teaching Czech students has it's challenges.

Once, when I was trying to explain "heat," I drew a picture of fire on the board. Only it was a with green chalk and completely looked like a Marijuana leaf rather than a bonfire. I couldn't help but giggle. Ooops. My students live in a country where they have a Pot Fest every year, so they thought it was comical too.

Earlier on in my first few days of teaching, after I had asked all of them questions about themselves, I found out that one of my boys likes to read the Bible. I have yet to ask him more about it, if he solely reads it for fun or for something more. I don't know. But there is hope, at least.

Most days I have to restrain my excessive smiling. I can't look too happy, I mean, I'm in the Czech Republic where everyone must look the same. Miserable. The funny thing is though, most of the time I have no idea why I want to smile. I just do. But I have to look professional to my co-teachers and stern to my students. Smiles just don't fit in with those adjectives. But somehow they always find their way in.....


23 February 2011

What I Wore Today

Today has been a slow, but successful day.
Ever since my tour job laid me off, I've had my Wednesdays free.
Except, for my tutoring gig in the late afternoons.

So, I tried a pilates class this morning, in Czech.
Luckily the instructor knew some English,
so she translated for me,
along with grabbing my butt and telling me to suck my bellybutton into my spine.
I guess some things just don't translate.

Then I went to Kava Kava Kava
and had a small cafe mocha and a scone with butter and jam,
while I edited my lower-level students written stories
about beach vacations.
There were lots of handsome sailors saving drowning girls
in these stories,
I guess Czechs do have a romantic side beneath their hard shell.

Later in the day, I did my laundry, went grocery shopping
-where the line circled the store and went past the entry way-
picked up my new Czech debit card and transferred some Czech Crowns
into Euros for the much anticipated Macedonia trip in March.

The day came and went. The sun shone
and stayed out a little bit longer.
Spring is coming.
I hope.

Blue-belted shirtdress from Zara. One of my very few shopping splurges in Prague.
Cardigan and mustard tights from Anthro, Italian boots, grey socks from Target,
and Florida seashells around my neck. :)

14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

I hope you feel loved where ever you are in the world!

We're hosting a Chocolate & Wine Soiree at our flat tonight.
Wishing you all a wonderful, sunny day today!

03 February 2011

Packaging Issues Defined

My family sent me a package back before Christmas, but it only arrived a week before February. I have recieved loads of packages here in the past with no problems, but this one took forever. I had almost completely given up on it. The reason being, drumroll please.....
my parents sent a gallon-sized bag full of powder, white powder.
Don't worry, it wasn't cocaine or any other type of drug, but Bisquick to make pancakes. In retrospect this was obviously a bad idea. An unidentified bag full of a white powdery substance. An epic fail.
When the package did finally arrive, it came like this. No actual box. The box never made it outside the U.S. It was dissected and combed through, I'm sure. When I claimed it at my local post office here in Prague, they apologized profusely, not understanding what had happened. Someone who spoke English even came over and said I could file a complaint or look through the box myself to make sure nothing was missing. No thanks, I said. I knew exactly what had happened. Besides, what would they do when I pulled out a giant bag of pancake mix, only they wouldn't know what it was?
Visions of being bodyslammed to the ground, followed by rough handcuffs, and yelling in Czech kept my mind busy with what ifs.
So I went home. Quietly. A month too late. Opened my carefully wrapped "package" without a box and pulled out my precious pancake mix, along with soggy books, and syrup. I wish there was a video camera attached to its journey. I can only imagine what it's seen and heard on its travels from post office to post office and possibly to investigation labs....

The U.S. government is probably now watching both my family at home and me abroad. Oh no. Just what we need. Yikes!

It's snowing outside. For the first time in ages. Big, delicate snowflakes coat the dirty ground outside.

I think I may have to wear a scarf today.
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