Sunday, November 29, 2009

So, life in Prague has been as normal as it can be living abroad… I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog, so I’ll do my best to remember everything that’s happened in the past few weeks…

First and foremost, I LOVE my job. The hours can be a bit grueling (7 am-6:30 am on Mondays and Wednesdays, 9 am-8:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays) so I’m usually exhausted at the end of the day, but it is all worth it. I especially love teaching my post-secondary classes. I teach 2 of them, and there are about 13 students in each class, and because I see them every day, it’s been really great getting to know them and their individual personalities. Not to mention, its really cool seeing how much they have progressed. Even though we’ve been in class for only 2 months now, I can see an improvement in each of my students’ abilities, and it is really exciting and fulfilling. Also, it’s fun because most of them are between the ages of 19-21, so I have been trying to incorporate music, television, and movies into their lessons so it is more enjoyable for them (and me!). It’s also fun teaching them the slang and colloquial English that we use that they won’t find in their books (but if they were to go to the US or watch American television/movies they would definitely hear all the time). They are all great kids and I love teaching those classes.

I also teach a class at the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Defense, which is really cool. It is located at the castle and when I go there I have to go through a metal detector and get escorted by a military policeman (because I’m very dangerous, I know!).

I’ve had a few visitors here too, which has been a good taste of home. Friends from College of Charleston, Sean and Ben, visited over Halloween and we went out a few times and then celebrated Halloween together. Halloween isn’t a big holiday here, in fact, no one really celebrates it, but this one club SaSaZu had a huuuuuge Halloween party that we went to and it was great. SaSaZu is the biggest club in Central Europe and we’ve been wanting to go for a long time, but it’s very expensive. So when we found out that SaSaZu was having a Halloween party with free admission for those who dress in a costume, all of us poor teachers jumped at the opportunity to go. It was a really cool and upscale club- it was HUGE- and really nice and there were a ton of people there.

Yorke Lawson (Rabbit’s cousin) also paid a visit to Prague and we had some great times together. One of my favorite nights thus far in Praha was when Yorke, a friend of his living in Prague, Z, who has now become one of my friends too, and I went to a concert. It was a Tuesday, and Yorke sent me a text message about going to a concert if he could get tickets. I jumped at the opportunity to see a show, and even though it was a school night and I had no idea who the band was, I gave him a definite “yes”. I had been in class all day and luckily the venue was in the same building as my school, so I went straight from class (at 8:30 pm) to the show (with my books and everything!). I had no idea who was playing, I didn’t even have time to look them up on the internet, but I was just excited to see some live music with some good people. The minute the band struck the first chord and the lights started going, I knew I was in the right spot. The band, Massive Attack, is apparently a very very popular electronic band here in Europe, and has been very popular since the 1980s, and the house was packed!! The show was unbelievable. The music was great (definitely my type of music) and the light/visual show was fantastic. Seeing big, live shows like that is one of the things I miss from home (I mean, I saw a show almost every week!) and the band was great, so it was really a spectacular time.

Later that week, on Friday night, I was also fortunate enough to get an invitation to see the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra play at the Rudolphium in Prague. Yorke invited me to join him to see this performance, and I was very excited because the Rudolphium is legendary for its beauty and for its acoustics, and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra is a treat to see perform in itself. Yorke got fantastic seats on the front row in the balcony, and we saw Ion Martin, a famous Austrian conductor, conducted a Beethoven piece, a Schubert piece, and a Tchaikovsky piece. They were all beautiful, but Tchaikovsky was definitely my favorite.

Recently, November 17, was the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution here in Prague. The Velvet Revolution signified the end of communism here in the Czech Republic, and it was when 800,000 students marched in protest from one end of the city to the other end, in a peaceful, non-violent demonstration against communism. To commemorate this day, the march was re-created, and my friends and I, along with 8,000 other people, marched the same path as the protestors did 20 years ago. It was a really cool experience, and interesting too. I was surprised because you’d think that people would be cheering and singing and celebrating along this march, but everyone was very passive. The marchers walked very slowly, and it was eerily silent. There was the occasional cheer or applause, but for the most part it seemed like kind of a solemn occasion. I guess that’s just how the Czeskys do it!

So, this was my first Thanksgiving without my family, and it was sad to miss out on the festivities, but we had our own ex-pat Thanksgiving yesterday (Saturday) because we are all teachers with crazy schedules and could not prepare a suitable feast during the week. So 13 of us Americans (well 1 Brit and 1 Czech) took it upon ourselves to celebrate Thanksgiving right. Anneliese spent hours chopping bread and veggies to make a (delicious) stuffing, Ali made fantastic cookies and pumpkin pie, and I made homemade macaroni and cheese (of course). And it was a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a delicious turkey cooked to perfection, and tons and tons of food, friends, and cheap wine! It was so much fun, and like a real Thanksgiving, we have leftovers to last us weeks!

On a more solemn note, one of our friends and fellow English teachers here in Prague, disappeared 8 days ago in Frankfurt Germany. Devon Hollohan went with his friend to a concert last Friday night and vanished off the street. We have all been very worried about him, and we are doing everything we can to find him. Thanks to my mom, we were able to contact various news outlets across the US and his parents have appeared on the Today Show and the Morning Show, and the story has run in many newspapers both in the US and in Germany. It’s been a tense week but we all are keeping Devon in our thoughts and prayers, and hope that we will start to get some answers soon. I never thought something like this would hit so close to home, and it has made me and my friends even more cautious than before.

I’m looking forward to my return home for the holidays… December 19-January 2. 21 days!

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