So, I brought Big Booty to the Czech Republic today. Please hold your applause. Quakadillyoma, too. Chemistry was really fun, as you may have figured out. Lots of love to all my pals back home, and to my newer ones here :)
And there is this girl who is doing a year abroad in Argentina, and I think we have the same glasses! Coolio! This may seem like a losse connection, but they are pretty distinctive glasses! "Czech" out her blog:
chillin in the car So, my (most) impulsive buy on saturday was one of those suicidal bunny books. I saw it, and it made me smile, so I bought it. I felt this picture would really reach out to all my Amurrrican friends. so, there was this stamp. On the bread. Our whole family had to taste a piece to see if it was legitimately a bread stamp. It was. They are even in Praha. what the inside of clock towers looks like. Pretty cool, huh? Starý Jičín On one of our walks Sun shining in at the Hrád the hrád, again
Don't worry. I am not worried or trying out a new hairdo. I am just trying a more Dan Brownish writing style. Now, the protagonist needs an attractive female family member of yours to go solve mysteries about secret societies with.
Wow. I have gone like a whole week without blogging! Does this mean I actually have a life? Sort of. Last weekend was super busy,and super expensive. I went shopping in Ostrava with Jana on Saturday, then spent Sunday in Praha with a bunch of AFS friends. It was really fun, but I spent almost twice as much time on busses and trains than I did in Praha.
The zoo was cool, and we spent quite a while discussing how different languages call sloths. Most translate to lazy animal, which I guess the english does, too. I still feel so spoiled because English is the language everyone speaks in, and I was the only one who has it as a native language. Our little hang out group has kind of become Europe, minus Italy, Brazil and me. Sometimes, I hang out with the Asian girls, too. And the third group is Italy and South/Central America, minus Brazil. They always seem to have a lot of fun. We are not cliquey, but the whole AFS group is just too big to hang out with everyone.
I got my first and second "1"s at school today. One in music, taught by my favorite Czech/music teacher, and finally a one in math. Last time, I got a 2 because I said that three times nine was eighteen. Good old Dewan math talent right there! But at least I got partial credit, because it was only a two question test.
Music is hard to find when you live in a town of 25,000, so that has been a bit frustrating. Though, I am happy because yesterday,my music teacher invited me to be in the school chorus, which travels and does other fun stuff. I don§t know why she wanted me though, because I have a bit of a cold and can only sing on la when we are singing in Czech. They just go too fast! But, she, and pretty much all of my other teachers, have been super nice and understanding to me. Some just ignore me, which is fine with me, and some go out of their way to explain things for me, which is really sweet. I do feel really bad though, because I am running a little low on sleep, and I nodded off during biologie yesterday. And I was sitting in the front row. Oops!
I do not know what is wrong with American guys, but guys from other countries are totally different. They are gentlemen, and taller and sweet and not as shy, and it is really nice. I am not trying to sound gushy, but you American men really need to get cracking! One downside, I was traveling on the bus with my friend, Vinny, from Brazil, and we had to wait forever to get off, because he let all the women coming from the front get off first! But, I can deal with that. Speaking of that 5 hour bus ride from Nový Jičín to Praha, the guy in front of us was a party. He had pretty much the biggest hair I have ever seen, and it was crazy and curly and dreaded in parts. EW! White people with bad dreads is scarily common here. Not a fan. But he would shake out his hair and flop it over the seat, and there would always be one dread that lingered in front of Vinny. It was so horrible, we could not stop laughing. We tried to take pictures, but our timing was off.
We have had PE a few times now. It is fine. It is actaully really nice to just have a small group of girls for your PE class. We are doing shotput, so I can pretend to be learning quickly. Then, she will expect me to be decent when we get to sports requiring thinking, and boy, is she in for a surprise. But maybe, all these sausages and chocolate bars will make me better at sports. Seems unlikely, but hey, I am not in Kansas anymore. You never know.
I gave you guys my schedule last week, but there has been a change. I am thinking no Spanish, but putting Chemistry back in. Seems silly, and I don§t know why I would want to, but Chemistry is semi understandable now. Writing on the board makes a big difference, and he has started repeating everything in English. Writing on the board does me no good in Biologie. There, she only writes about half of what she wants on the board, and writes that in cursive with like every word abbreviated. I would be screwed if some words were not the same, like lipidy and saccharides. But some days are better than others
I am really starting to feel at home here. I can find most classrooms if I know what the number I am looking is. I have sort of figured out the devil that is školaonline.cz. The family dog and I are having a bit of a power struggle, but he will come around. After talking to my sister, yesterday, I think I have a hypothesis about the behavioral problems present in many dogs here. Between not being neutered and no obediance training, these dogs are just full of reasons to go nuts. And it drives me bananas!
So, this has been one long day. I had nula class this morning, sbor and then took the bus to Ostrava for orchestra. I have another viola. It has a price tag on it for about 15 dollars, but it sounds better than the other one. Chorus was reall nice. They sound awesome, and people actually know how to blend. I am a mezzo soprano, which is nice and comfy. And we sang some songs in English. Easy enough. Orchestr was good. It is easy, I came in as first stand viola, but there doesn§t seem to be anything harder. I just want to plant Nový Jičín in the middle of Prague. I love my family, my school and the town, just not the lack of music.
I am becoming slightly Czech-ier, I think. Along with occasionally forgetting English words, I have adjusted to the keyboard. And, I am addicted to a Czech soap opera, Ulice. I understood the drama for the first time the other day. Everyone thought he was gay, but apparently not. I think I am just in Glee withdrawal because hulu is witchy and won§t let you watch internationally.
It is funny. There are so many things here that you would get sued for in the US. Like the coffee vending machines that serve it in a little plastic cup, not the insulated ones. In fact, besides pictures of a friend sipping Starbucks, I haven§t seen an insulated cup anywhere. And, you see ads that are unbelievably sketchy. Like a giant teddy bear following a line of children. It just wouldn§t fly in the US. Talking with one of my European friends, he said this is probably because suing is much more expensive here,and really cheap in the USA. Though many silly precautions are taken in the US because of our sue-happy lifestyle, I do miss insulated cups.
Lots of random thoughts tonight. I did buy like 14 postcards in Praha, so if you want one, just drop me a line. Also, if you have any questions or things you want to hear me whine about. And candy corn makes me really happy. Thanks, Mums and Pops.
So, what I am dying to blog about and see and show pictures from is still under wraps. But I will tell you guys that I had an absolutely amazing Saturday. the only downside was that it left me with a horrible cold, but then again, it is probably because of school. I guess the administration at school is really stingy.
Exhibit A: No heat, but school is FREEZING!
Exhibit B: I had my first test yesterday. I had to pay for the blue book to do it in. ouch.
Exhibit C: No kleenex! I did not have enough to deal with my faucet-nose cold, and it was a miserable day.
It makes me appreciate Harley, where teachers throw parties for you and give you presents :)
but mostly the heating. I have been wearing two cardigans layered over a long sleeve shirt and trying to be cool about it, but there is only so much "cool" I can stand.
But on the bright side, if you sit in the sun, it is almost okay, and I got my schedule figured out.
0. and 1. Music
0. PE! Yuck!
1. česky jazyk
3. Either music or IVT. We will have to wait and see.
5. free(maybe this means I can eat lunch at a reasonable hour/ not 2:30)
3. Česky Jazyk
0. PE This means catching the bus at 6:30 on Fridays!!!
2. Česky Jazyk
3. Fyzika, but it alternates weekly with chemistry, which I dropped, so we will see what happens then
5. Music with Jana§s class
Definitely not my harley schedule, or how I would set it all up, but I wanted to stay with my class as much as possible, and take classes that I can understand a bit of. You may have noticed that my amount of language classes per day clocks in at just over three. But that is split between FIVE languages. Yowza. I was pretty proud of myself, until I talked to my Belgian friend, and he was like, "yeah, when I get home, I will have 6." Silly Belgians!
Enough about school. So, my main concern living in a small town is being able to keep up with my music. I have tried two "orchestras". One that bears a striking resemblance to Harley Band in Novy Jicin, and one very similar to KSSO in Ostrava. I really enjoyed the rehearsal I dropped into for the Ostrava Orchestra, and they have some really talented players, but it is no RPYO. I miss you guys soooooo much. I haven§t found a teacher yet either, but hopefully the music school in Novy Jicin will have some connections. Good news on the music front is that I have been offered violas from two places! There is a soon to be quartet at my gymnasium, and the Ostrava Orchestra would love to have me on Viola it seems. I guess I should not count my violas until they are tuned, a loose take on a common saying, but I am excited. I might have to have mum email me Bruch Romanze. I love that piece. but we will see.
Quick random notes:
Probably going to crash an AFS gathering in Prague this weekend after I found out that if you live near Prague, AFS goes on field trips every two weeks. SERIOUS city envy stemmed from this discovery.
Email me your addresses if you want a postcard. I am planning on buying some when i find them. P.S. I§ll email you mine if you have a hankering to write to me :D
Saw eclipse last night. My summary: Shirts come off of horrible actors, now let's kiss.
Really needs a better sense of direction. I got lost for like fifteen minutes in the town square this morning. It is about a three minute walk from school, and I have walked there from school.
Really needs to sleep more. My emotions are still crazy. I will be fine all day, then start unloading the dishwasher and burst into tears. For no reason! It is so frustrating.
Has never appreciated american towels so much. thanks, Mum and Papa.
Still not feeling the picture spirit, so you will have to wait.
Life here is good. Really good. School is going well for me. I understand some of my classes, especially the ones, like History, where the teacher speaks to me in French because I do not know Czech :) That is always fun. But I feel like a part of the class, and lunch yesterday was okay. I was going to give you guyw the breakdown of my schedule, but it changes a lot (a lot!) and I§m not sure what my schedule is going to be like yet. I think I am going to drop a few of my tree class´classes, like biology and ZSV, which is some kind of politcal studies thing. And, I want to move ahead in French, and take spanish with the grade above me, because my class only has german, english and french. We will see how this works out. But Imiss the simplicity of the harley schedule! Parents never understood it, but it is so easy! Now, I have to check online everyday to see which classes have been moved or switched. Confusing!
My favorite classes so far are math and some of French. We have two French teachers, and one does a lot of speaking and only teaches in French, which I adore, and the other speaks mostly Czech or French with a Czech accent and teaches out of a book. It is quite boring, and I do not enjoy it much. I miss you guys, Frenchies! But I talked to the teaching teacher, and she said i can probably be with the third grade, 2 years ahead. I was surprised when French was so easy because the Europeans I met through AFS all had such good English. I thought I would be struggling to keep up with their fluent French. But no worries there. and math is great. We are doing easy algebra, like finding x in equations and such. I am not trying to brag, but I have been the first one doen out of the whole class on every set of problems she has given us. Today, I felt so silly, because I was workinghrough the problems on the board, and one of them was pretty funky, with imaginary numbers involved. I solved it, then asked the teacher if I was on the right track. she pointed to the capital R on the board, which I guess meant only real answers. She wrote my answer on the board in red, next to the x equals empty set. I got somelooks for that one. I feel like Iwill be embarrassed when my knowledge runs out and I actually have to start learning, and Iam no longer lightening fast. Oh well!
The day seems really long even though I end school at 1:30 most days. I think it is because I do not have lunch until then, or until I get home even later. Today, I was taking the bus home alone, since Jana still had classes, and thinking that my bus was early, I caught the wrong bus. I rode it, then got off thinking that "wow! starý Jičín looks really different from this angle!" Then, I looked at the bus stop and saw, oh. This is not stary jicin. No wonder it looks different. So, I scrambled to get back on the bus, and the driver asked me where I was trying to go. Long story short, I rode the bus all the way back to the bus station, which I had walked to from school and wasted an hour. But, eventually, I did make it home, and now I have a story to tell, right?
Czech food is a funny thing. I still find it remarkably meat and starch heavey, as well as just heavy in general, but people here wonder how I am adjusting to the healthier food. They seem to think that because the foods that come out of America and into the world are things like McDonalds and Double Downs, that that is all we eat. I miss fruits and vegetables! Though, we have had some really good stuff, like blackberries and apples, from the garden in the backyard. Oh, and Guláš with knedlíky(dumplings) is the bomb! I ordered it the other day at a restaurant near our house, and now whenever I pass the restaurant, I am like, yummm. Guláš. I think that was my favorite Czech meal so far. Oh, and I miss milk. They have milk here, but it is no good and comes in unrefrigerated boxes. suspicious.
A note: I think I am going to go back to the US with horrible lungs. Even though no one in my family smokes, people smoke everywhere. I cannot stand it. We went to the concert the other day to celebrate novy jicin, and when I came home, I had a headache and I smelled like I had rolled in an ashtray. Restaurants have a smoking and non-smoking section, but everything still smells like smoke. And people always seem to choose the worst places. Like in the front of the line for the bus. or upwind of you when you are outside at a restaurant. Oh well. I guess it is not bad, just different. But I am definitely not a fan.
So, the other day my host dad told me that if there is something I want to see, Vienna is about as far away as some of my track meets last year :O WOWZA!
And, at the end of october, we are bopping over to Barcelona for a quick trip, because the fares were low! I am unbelievably excited. It looks like a gorgeous city.
Slovakia for some crazy hiking at the end of this month.
And Prague is always just a bus ride away.
I LOVE EUROPE!!! p.s. and my awesome wave-jumping cousin, Vani!
School is going really well for me. I was worried that it would be really hard to meet people and become part of the class, but people have been super sweet to me. They translate what the teacher is saying and let me copy their notes, so I can figure them out later. A lot of my teachers seem really cool, and I hope that soon I will understand more.
Yesterday, my favorite class was French. The group I have been traveling around with are the Frenchies of 3.G. 3.G. is my tree class, or something like that, and we have most of our classes together. They take 5 hours of french a week and some English too, compared with the other class who take 5 hours of English and some German classes. My group is stronger in French, the other in English. Before school started, we joked around about how there would be more and less advanced English classes and which one would I be in, but I ain the less advanced! The teacher, who is also my head teacher, seems to think that I am a great teaching tool for her classes, but we will have to discuss that. It is hard, because it was very nice of the school to include me, and I am happy to help a bit and share about my culture, but I am here to experience Czech culture, not teach English. But, back to the point, today, I did not enjoy French quite as much because the teacher, who was different from yesterday, was speaking mostly Czech, compared with all French. Oh well! Two teachers, two teaching styles. today, i enjoyed český jazyk the most, which is funny, because technically, it should be the one I should understand the least, right? But he was explaining the different forms of literature, and most of them are cogantes, so I was happyhappyhappy.
We have ten minute breaks between each class, and I think those are the hardest times for me. During class, if people are talking, it usually in someway is connected to class, and can be explained. But between classes, I cannot figure out what they are talking about as easily. I guess it will get easier as my Czech improves, which it is slowly doing.
My host sister, Jana, is one grade ahead of me, so I see her in the halls and she helps me out around school. and we had lunch together today. It was my first Czech cafeteria lunch, and I am a little bit scared about my second. It was chicken with rice, a kiwi, some saladish thing, soup and fruit tea. The soup was a little greasy, but fine, but I was nervous to try the main course. The chicken had that canned cat food look. I gave in and started with the rice, and was eating contentedly until I saw a hair. Hair in your food happens, even back home at Harley, so I was prepared to just pull it out and ignore it. But it was not an innocent, ignorable hair. It was an "okay... I guess I§m done eating now" while running to clear your plate kind of hair. At my last haircut, Sofia told about her policy of always trying things twice. If you only try it once, it could have been a mishap, or badly prepared, and you might actually like it if you try again. So monday, here I come!
The last few days have been jam-packed with adventures. I left home 2 weeks ago, and now I have been to Prague, learned how the past tense works, though I am not so good at using it yet, and am a student at a Czech high school! Yesterday, we woke up at four and drove to Prague. It is a few hours drive, but the day was so worth it. We soaked up Prague, literally. It was drizelly and cold, but I am ready to move there. the city has great energy and I felt like I fit right in. We rode the subway around everywhere and i think I understand underground Prague pretty well now. As for above ground, and anywhere in Nový Jičín, I am still clueless. Thank goodness for Jana! She seemed to know Prague like the back of her hand.
In the morning, we saw some tourist sights and I took a bunch of photos. Because of the weather, we did not end up going to Prague Castle, so now I have an excuse to go back. We spent a long time at the mall. I was so shopped out by the end! I got some post cards, books, shoes for school and a tank top. Oh, and in the Czech Republic, they charge you for everything! We went to good ol´ MickeyD´s for lunch, and I wanted ketchup for my fries, but you had to pay! I did not want ketchup that badly!
Paying for everything reminds me of the bathrooms here. You know in the musical Urinetown when everyone has to pay to pee, right? That is the Czech Republic! It is like 50 cents to use the bathroom, and if you wanted a shower at the train station, another two bucks! pretty crazy, I thought, but I guess it§s normal here. also, you know you§re in a different part of town when the bathrooms are lit in blue lights so you cannot see your veins. SKETCHY! But in my house, we have ě bathrooms. One with just a toilet and sink, the other with a tub/shower, sink, and washing machine and dryer. It is funky, but it makes sense.
I always thought that the US had the most "disposable" culture. We have single time use toothbrushes! But Czech culture is disposable in a different way. My family was surprised by the number of cars we have, and we do have a lot,but Czech culture is not all that "green". Yesterday at the mall, I was trying to ask Jana if she knew where I could buy a waterbottle to use for school. She did not understand what I meant. They drink a ton of bottled water here, even at home where they have tap water that is just fine. But the idea of buying an empty bottle to use again and again just for tap water does not make sense. Also, they have so much packaging on everything here. Maybe I just am noticing it more becasue they have less trashcans. The world will never know!
I had some more written, but it was just me whining, so here are some pictures! At the "witch" gathering, with some of my host cousins Traditional Czech campfire, I guess. Czech Smores: sausage, hardy bread and mustard. It was good, though. I liked watching the sausages cook. The view on our walk top of the hill
National Museum, or something like that. We did not go in, but I liked the fountain.
Beign a tourist and taking pictures of everything in Prague. Note the horses. I thought of Flash and Donny.
Looking up at the national theater
What happens when you try to make muffins not in a muffin pan. They tasted great though.
a cool mural we saw in PragueVaclav
So, I always thought the worst music came from white rappers. Czech white rappers win that battle.