So, don´t tell anyone at Harley, but the truancy officer should be all up and in my hair. This month, I will only have attended 7 days of school. Whoopsies! It´s not like I really learn much anyways. I only understand what I already know. Pretty miserable situation. Goshdarnit, Czech! But 1 week I was in France, and this last week and a half, my German girly, Aurelie, and I went north. To the Netherlands and London!
What a trip! Part of our AFS program here is that we havepermission to plan a 9 day trip to wherever we wish in Europe. We have some family friends, Niek and Marian, not too far from Utrecht, so the Netherlands was an easy destination. We caught our bus at 3:22 (in the morning! Or is that still night?) to Praha, then flew on a pink plane to Eindhoven. We had been planning to take a looksie around Eindhoven, home of Phillips, but thank goodness Niek advised us to skip it, since it has no real center and is rather industrial. It was a blessing becuase missing Eindhoven meant we got to see ´s-Hertogenbosch. Don´t ask me how to say it, but it is a charming city. Big enough, but not too big. Lots of art, canals and giant chocolate covered profiteroles. Yumm. As you probably noticed, my main goal when traveling is to try local culinary specialties. And Holland was a delicious place.
Beyond Bosche Bols, Dutch cuisine continues to impress. Or frighten. If you don´t like your dentist. They eat chocolate sprinkles. On bread! And call it breakfast! And it´s delicious. I bought a half kilo box for the fam. And they have a spread made out of ground gingerbread. Magical. No way it´s healthy, but awfully tasty. And the cheese. And the Indonesian saté. One thing that didn´t quite win me over were krokets. They are little fried logs of something. But I have no idea what. But you buy them out of little boxes in the wall, and that´s epic.
Dutch people won my heart. Down to last cell. Maybe it´s all the sweets, but they are darling. And every single one has taste. We couldn´t find an unattractive corner in the whole country, though Amsterdam was a little rougher around the edges. That it was raining our day there couldn´t have helped. But still, we didn´t see a single hobo in our whole stay, which is several less than an average day in Brno. The Dutch are doing pretty well wight about now, Í would say. Oh, and I bought a book on Dutch etiquette and I plan to learn their secrets. So genuinely caring.
From Amsterdam, we caught a bus to Londontown. Oh, there´s no place like London. The Netherlands has a large immigrant population, but in London, we´re all Londoners. It´s like traveling through a paintbox. Colourful people, and colourful attitudes. It is such a tourist friendly city. We never really got lost, just took a few scenic routes. Crossing the street is a pain there though. You have to wait for years for the cross signal, consequently, no one waits. And becuase they drive the wrong way, they swing to the left automatically when walking in crowds. So, on stairs, crosswalks and in hallways, stick to the left. Except for when the area is tourist-infested, in which case we walk on the right/correct side.
I cannot believe how quickly these last few months have gone by. I feel so at home here. My life is a far cry from the one I lead in the US, and I´m okay with that. I travel and hang out with friends more than I study or practice. I´ve gotten really into cooking, and learned that no matter how little time you have, baking after midnight is a bad idea. I love meeting friendly strangers. It makes my day every time. I only have about 5 weeks here, and I know I will be a teary mess on July 2nd. I can´t wait to be home and hop back into the fast lane, but life is good.
So, while I was traveling, I passed my nine month mark here. So, as a call back to my first few months of blogging, let's make some lists.
9 best Czech words:
- herbařovat- to press flowers
- scvrknout se- to shrink/shrivel. I learned this one from listening to my host mum read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
- šalina- tram, but only in Brno.
- prdel- ass. But it sounds so nice!
- blbost- kind of like stupidity, but better
- moucha- like the French. For the last few months, I have been puzzling over why French and Czech share so many words. Then, I talked to my host aunt, who I guess studied French, and she had the best explanation. Czech is very similar to Russian, and the Czech Republic was occupied by the Soviet Union for quite a while, and Russians used to use a truckload of French. The upper echelons at least wouldn't be caught dead speaking much else. Think Stravinsky and his "Oiseau de Feu."
- zmrzlina- Ice-cream. It's a party in your mouth. Though Czech ice-cream leaves a bit to be desired. Though, size isn't everything, or so I'm told. Like gelato, eh?
- ahoj- 4 letters for fun. Though "fun" in Czech is legrace. Like leg race. Just said Czechily. Man, I miss track!
- třicet- thirty. I still cannot say it at allll. That Ř wins every time.
- Guláš s knedlíky
- Good Czech chleba. It's hearty and rye-y, and good with everything when it's fresh.
- klobasa- good Czech artery-clogging sausages
- marlenka- a layered cakey dessert flavoured with honey and caramel and walnuts. Yumm
- Moravian wine. It's culture.
- Kofola- Czech Coca-Cola. I will miss it.
- Tatranky- chocolatey-wafery goodness
- Vanočka- pretty close to Challah, just supposedly for Christmas. But they eat it all year round.
- Every single cookie you can get your hands on around the holidays
- The Netherlands
- and of course, ČESKO!!!
- Karlův most- especially pleasant around midnight
- Špilberk- the castle overlooking Brno
- Mikulov- An awfully adorable town in the south of Morava
- Moravský Kras- a system of caves near Brno.
- The inside of a traditional Czech pub
- Nový Orloj in Brno. controversial, but I LOVE ITTTT
- Opava's city center
- Old town square in Praha
- Czech women, or so all of my male friends say
- Freiburg, Germany
- Campo Grande, Brazil
- Oaxaca, Mexico
- Amersfoort, the Netherlands
- Brno, but I don't need it yet
- Mum and Papa
- The farm
- Thai curry
- My Sunshine and my Ninja and my Auntie Emily
- Cabot Cheddar, extra sharp
- Non-smoking everything
- AFSers. From the same city to different continents.
- My too-wonderful host family
- Easy public transportation. I love trams.
- Having something to talk about with any English speaker I meet. What the hell brought you here?
- Living fairly greenly
- Czech windows. They're really cool.
- The Nový Orloj
- My host mum, Ivana
- my host dad, Hiroshi
- My tallest host brother, Standa
- My caringest host sistah, Anička
- My most careful host brudda, Vítek
- Little host brother, Tadeáš
- Little sis, Marjanka
- Me, for one more month
- French cheese no one is brave enough to open. It will outlive us all.
2. L'ile d'Oléron
3. Point zero of Paris
4. KING OF TASTE
5. Magic Mushrooms.
6. Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Nuffff said.
7.Colmar. Cheek-pinching cute!