Saturday, November 30, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year ♫

The best part about Praha Christmastime? The Christmas markets. A few town squares are lined with wooden stands and there are Christmas lights everywhere, it's truly magical. Today was the first day of the Christmas market in the Old Town Square, so naturally I had to go. Twice (once in the morning and once at night). It was nice in the morning, but for storytelling purposes I'm going to stick to my experiences from the night trip. The tree in the middle of the square was lit tonight, and apparently that's a big event because it was crowded. And when I say crowded I mean CROWDED. In the fifteen minutes it took me to actually get INTO the square, I was squished, squashed, pulled, shoved, stepped on, and almost stabbed in the eye with an umbrella. And you know what they say, it's all fun and games until someone stabs you in the eye with an umbrella....or something like that. All that for Christmas lights. And you know what? It was worth it. I've never seen Prague with so much energy...the city was more alive than I've ever known it to be. It was a productive experience as well, I managed to get a few Christmas gifts checked off the list. However, I will be going back, hopefully next time with a trdelnik (I hope that's how it's spelled...but it's this delicious sugary pastry-thing that is apparently a must have while wandering amongst the various stands), seeing as I didn't get to experience that part tonight. But overall, I'd consider it a very successful outing.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

*Insert some corny quote about things ending here*

For those of you who don't know (which would be all of you), yesterday was my last day of my on-the-job internship work, and the goodbyes I gave yesterday were a little bittersweet. I mean I suppose bittersweet goodbyes are the best you can see, the way I see it goodbyes can be one of three ways: they can be angry, they can be sad, or they can be bittersweet. And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that any goodbye is really easy. It's always hard to see something that's held such a big role in this stage in your life pass you by. But it's as good as it can be. I'm leaving with no bad blood, no regrets (alright well no MAJOR regrets...I'll get to that in a sec), and a world of possibilities ahead. What else could I really ask for? 

And that concludes the sappy part of this post. With the remaining space (and my remaining time, because now that I don't have my internship to go to I have more free time than I know what to do with...(okay I know I SHOULD be using this time to do work...but there's something in my mind that is not allowing me to. Maybe because it's a holiday....that's it, my brain is probably on holiday. It definitely can't be attributed to the fact that I'm lazy and take every chance I can to procrastinate.....nope can't be. But anyways, as I tend to do, I digress)). So as I was saying with the remaining space and time that I have I will be giving some tips for future interns not just at Motus, but in Prague in general. 

Disclaimer: this is to be directed at English-speaking prospective interns....otherwise it just won't make sense. Also, considering I've never had an internship before, much of what I'm about to say might be applicable to internships back in the states as well. So if I sound like an ignorant buffoon while listing off my helpful Prague tips, it's because I am an ignorant buffoon. In this circumstance anyways.

ALSO I kind of lied. Most of these tips will probably only be applicable to Motus interns or other theater interns. Oops.

Now, let the tipping begin!

  1. Take this opportunity to practice your Czech. It's easier to practice with someone you feel comfortable with, and you have to be working with these people for an extended period of time. So if you're not comfortable with your coworkers right away, you best get to it. Otherwise the position will not be a pleasurable experience for you. I really regret not taking advantage of that opportunity. DON'T MAKE MY SAME STUPID MISTAKE PEOPLE. Worse comes to worst, they will be happy that you're at least making an effort. If there's one thing I've learned while being here, it's that a little effort really goes a long way when it comes to getting along with the Czech community. Believe it or not they know that it's a hard language, and if you show that you care about it and you're trying to learn, they will be friendlier to you. I promise. And this means more than just being able to say "dobry den", "jednu pivu", "prosim", and "dekuji" (which mean "good day", "one beer", "please", and "thank you", respectively). Even if you have to look up how to say something and write it down before you go out, it's better than nothing. Anddddd now that this tip has turned into three-in-one....I think it's time to move on to the next.
  2. For Motus or other theater interns only: go to as many performances as possible. I know you may be busy whatever, blahblahblah, just do it. I mean there was nudity in the performance yesterday! Although I don't really know if I should use that as a selling caught me off guard. And even that is a bit of an understatement. But that's art right? And even if you're not interested in the project itself, go. It won't be the most painful experience in the world I promise you. Besides, I'm sure it will mean a lot to the company if you show them that you're interested in what you do.
  3. I already hinted at this one in tip numero uno: get to know your coworkers. Ask them questions, TALK to them. I didn't do that much of this and I really wish that I had.
Alright maybe I didn't have as many tips as I thought I would. I don't really like calling them tips either now that I think about it. It's very possible, rather PROBABLE, that no one reading this will end up interning in Prague as I have. So I suppose it's more like a bit of self reflection...things that I think I should have done better, or just done in general. 

If (against all odds) someone reading this ends up interning in Prague, either keep my tips in mind, or don't. I didn't follow any of them, and I still made out alright. But you should keep one thing in mind. Make the most of it. In whichever way that means to you (I'm sure I sound like a broken record by now, I think I've said something about "making the most of it" a thousand and ten times already. But that doesn't make it any less true). Make sure you don't leave Prague holding onto any regrets.

Friday, November 22, 2013

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow"

It's been a while since I've posted, so I thought I'd give you a bit of an update. Nothing overly exciting has happened to me in the past few weeks, so I apologize in advance if this post is less than entertaining.

But before I talk about what has been going on with me recently, I want to talk about the title of this post for a second. "No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow". Although I just found this quote in a Google search all of 20 seconds ago, it really resonates with me. Sometimes I feel as though I haven't been taking advantage of this opportunity as much as I really should have. I mean I've done my fair share of traveling within Europe since being abroad, but all I've been able to think about since the first week that I got here is that I just can't wait to be home. And that's not fair. It's not fair to my parents who have shelled out a lot of money for me to have this opportunity. It's not fair to my program that has done so much to help us integrate with the culture and really make the most of our time. And most importantly, it's not fair to me. In a way I guess I have cheated myself. But then when I think about it, I did a lot. I went to Germany, Spain, and Italy. I've gotten the chance to become a part of a culture completely foreign from my own. I've had an internship (my very first internship might I add) for a theater company. And I've been starting to realize how great this experience has been, and will be for me in the future. However, I don't think that I will fully appreciate all that I've done while in Europe until I am home. Until I am surrounded by familiarity, and the people that I know and love. My only regret is that I didn't have this mini-epiphany until now. I wish that I could have realized earlier on how awesome it is that I'm here. And don't misunderstand me there, I'm not saying that I haven't been thankful about this experience, or that I haven't enjoyed my time until now. I guess I just haven't realized exactly how thankful I am. And that concludes the touchy-feely part of this post.

Now onto the good stuff (kind of...I mean I did say in the first mini-paragraph that my life hasn't exactly been a thrill ride the past few weeks...but there's a little somethin-somethin here and there):

Czech is continuing to go well for me. I've even decided that I wasn't going to do the tandem for extra credit anymore, because I won't need it. Every A I get back I slip further and further into regret that I didn't pursue some kind of major (or minor at LEAST) in another language. 

I visited the Lennon wall last weekend, which was pretty awesome. Since being here I have really fallen in love with graffiti and street art, so this wall was especially cool to me. For one of my classes I will be graffiti-ing a wall (LEGALLY of course...I'm not trying to get thrown into Czech prison in the last few weeks I'm here), and I have been considering practicing on the Lennon wall first. It would be awesome to leave my mark on two separate places in Prague, maybe there'd be a chance of one of them sticking around for some time.

Oh and in most recent news, I just found out that I'm poor as dirt. No....I'm actually poorer than dirt. Technically at the moment I have no money. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nic. It was for this reason that I'm trying to sell my spot on the Vienna trip, which is taking place next weekend. Although I was really looking forward to participating in that trip, it would really not be smart for me to go. I'm also going to return something I bought a few days before I found out that my bank account was on life support, so that should help. I've also been budgeting like a if I still run out of money I'm going to scream. Loud. And probably in public because poor people should be entitled to throw a temper tantrum. So from this sad mini story I offer a piece of advice: BE SMART ABOUT YOUR MONEY PEOPLE. I mean this may seem like common knowledge...but I THOUGHT I was being smart. I budgeted my money a few times before I even got to Prague, and I've budgeted 1010 times since then, and I still ran out of cash. I mean I'm sure all of the trouble I had with my debit card in the beginning of the semester didn't help...but still. If you go out every night of the week you will not, I repeat, YOU WILL NOT make it to the end of the semester. And you will find yourself in the same situation I'm in, living off of ramen and frozen vegetables for the last four weeks. I don't want that. You don't want that. NOBODY wants that. So do yourself a favor and frugal.

And now people the time has come for pictures. Enjoy :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Weenie Weedie Weechie

So I suppose I'll kick this post off by explaining the title...because I would bet a large sum of money (and I don't even have a large sum of money so that's saying something) that no one will get it without me having to explain it. So here goes:

There's this Latin phrase "Veni, vidi, vici", I assume you all have heard once or twice in the past, which means "I came, I saw, I conquered." Now for some reason this phrase came to mind a lot while I was in Italy this past week (I'll get to the juicy details in a second, don't you worry your pretty little heads), and it reminded me of one specific day in Latin class in high school. We had been talking about the conqueror that is synonymous with this phrase (I have no idea what his name was anymore though...what do I look like to you, a history book?!) and long story short in Latin v's are pronounced like w's so "veni vidi vici" is actually pronounced like "weenie weedie weechie" and we all had a good laugh about how funny it must have been to hear this manly conqueror guy saying "weenie weedie weechie." And that, my friends, is the explanation behind the title of this post. So now onto the good stuff...

I just got back from a much needed trip to Italy and Barcelona/break from classes and work and internship. There's so much to tell, but I'm going to try to keep it short because I probably want to type a wordy post as much as you would like to read a lengthy post. Which is not at all. So here's the abridged version:

  • Rome was magical. Like Narnia status. I took a typical tourist picture in front of the Colosseum. I met some locals that took me and my friends out to dinner (who experienced Italy right? This girl). And of course I came, I saw, and I conquered. Boom.
  • One word to describe Florence? Rainy. It pretty much rained every day we were there. But I loved the outdoor markets and splurged on a few leather objects for myself and others. 
  • The third and final stop: Barcelona. Barcelona was like the polar opposite of Florence. It was sunny and warm, and it even was reminiscent of an American city from time to time. I saw some of Gaudi's work and took a tour around the Gothic part of the city, but the highlight of my time there was definitely the beach. Being at the beach in the middle of November....what's not to love about that that's what I would like to know! Oh and we almost missed our flight back to that was fun. I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life.
I loved everything so much, but myself...and my bank account are happy to be back in Prague. And now the moment you've all been waiting for (maybe?) PICTURE TIME!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weekend at Brno

A bit of a disclaimer....the title of this post is a little misleading. The trip I've come back from today only started at Brno, and we were only there for a few hours. However, I couldn't think of a good pun for Jihlava, the place we spent most of the weekend, so I've been forced to settle.

As I've stated the trip began at Brno, where we got a tour of the student-run radio station called Radio R.  The students that met with us were friendly, and they even let us do our own broadcasts! And I'll tell you what, if being famous means answering questions on Czech radio for about three minutes then I WAS SO TOTALLY FAMOUS.

After that we traveled to the small town of Jihlava, about three or so hours south of Prague. The town was holding a documentary film festival this weekend, and we had the pleasure of attending. The first movie I attended was Saturday afternoon, and I have to say it kicked off the festival in both a negative and a positive way. To start with the positive first, the film was very well done. I don't know really how to explain what I want to say about it at this moment, so I'll just try the best that I can. While I was watching this film, I didn't feel like I thought I would while watching a documentary. Usually I can respect a documentary, but don't find it very engaging. This one was about a very serious topic, and yet it was very engaging and moving. Now for the negative part: as I hinted about in the last thought, the topic of the film was very heavy and it was definitely a strong downer for the start of the day. It was about the United States middle class, and how the middle class has been struggling more than ever in the economy. People who have never really had to worry about being able to put food on the table are no longer able to feed their families. Granted this wasn't really any new information, but it's hard to hear stories of a family's struggles. No one deserves to be put through hardships such as this.

I spent the rest of Saturday in three more films, some of which were definitely better than others but I don't necessarily regret going to any of them. To close the weekend, we took a tour of a brewery, which was a very cool experience. I've never toured a brewery before, and never would have guessed all the work that goes into making one batch. (Now normally this would be the time where I share a little fun fact that I learned about brewing beer...but unfortunately I don't remember anything. That's always been a problem for me in tours, I could be the most attentive one in the group and still not be able to remember a single thing merely two minutes after the spiel was over. Long story short I should never compete in any trivia-based game shows. My dream of being a Jeopardy star ends here I'm afraid).

And last but not least I have some photographic evidence to share with you! Enjoy and feel free to be jealous.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I've been cooped up in the apartment sick for the past few days, so when I noticed how beautiful of a day it was today I jumped at the opportunity to clear my head and soak in some vitamin D. I ended up walking around the city for four hours, and during this time I came to a few realizations.

  1. I could never live in the city (okay, this wasn't something that came to me today...I've been pretty sure of that for a while. But it's even more concrete now! I almost got hit by a car today! ....granted it would have been my fault, but still! The city is a scary place!)
  2. I'm terrified of pigeons. I don't know why...but every time one flies near me I jump and cover my head. That happened to me a few times today and I swear I heard the people behind me laughing. But this is no laughing matter! What if that pigeon was trying to kill me?! I bet they wouldn't have thought it was funny then would they?! (Alright now I know those last few statements were a bit of an overreaction. If you haven't noticed by now, I have a tendency to overreact a lot. About everything. But at least I don't seriously believe that a dumb little bird was out for my blood. That should count for something...right?). This is also another reason that I am not a huge fan of cities. PIGEONS ARE EVERYWHERE. And it's horrible. Every time I walk by one on the street bobbing it's stupid little head as it walks I have the urge to kick it that bad? (NOTE: If any bird-lover/PETA member/etc. happens to read this, I am not an evil animal hater! Pigeons just freak me out...and just because I have the urge to kick a pigeon every now and again does not mean that I'm going to!)
  3. Prague is a really easy city to navigate. I don't know if it's just because I've been here for a while or what, but I feel like it's really difficult to get lost. Prague is such a little baby city. If I remember correctly it's almost about an eighth of the size of New York City! How nuts is that?!
Classes have been going alright, although there's a paper that I've been putting off starting for my internship class due in a little over a month (which is even sooner than I thought on account of the fact that I've hardly even thought about how close the due date is getting! AHH!). Something you may or may not know about me: I'm a fairly terrible formal writer. Essays are not my cup of tea. When I first signed up for this program I thought that I could opt to do a creative project in place of the essay...but nope! Unfortunately those odds were not in my favour (sorry....I've been the Hunger Games trilogy a lot while I've been sick....). Other than that I, along with the rest of the Communications/New Media/Journalism kids, are going on an overnight trip for our program this weekend. So hopefully I'll have some exciting stuff to fill you in on when I get back!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Over the river and through the woods, to Jenstejn castle we go

It will probably come as no surprise to anyone when I say that I've been itching to see some Czech countryside. Well finally that dream has come true! I just got back from a CIEE run trip to Jenstejn (it's pronounced Yehshteyn, for those of you who care to know) castle, and we were able to see plenty of country. And with good timing too, I almost forgot what trees looked like! The trees, the forest, it was all so beautiful. But of course, me being the daughter of Queen Murphy, things didn't go as well as they could have. The weather did not really cooperate with us as much as I would have rained. Typical, right? I should just always have my rain coat on hand (good thing we had fair warning of the forecast so I brought my jacket with me this time), it would make my life a whole lot easier. I can't tell you how many times I've left the apartment for school or my internship and the sun was shining so of course I wouldn't be worried about rain.....but as soon as I was leaving to go back to my apartment it would start raining. I feel like one of those cartoon characters that is constantly followed by a rain cloud. But I digress...

The castle was also really beautiful, although it wasn't completely intact. We climbed to the very top, and because there was no roof anymore (maybe it got destroyed by all the rain?.....but probably a military attack) we got an amazing view of the village.

Also, I learned that there aren't really any poisonous spiders in Prague, so that's cool. Although I would prefer if there were NO spiders at all......................................but I guess in the words of the Rolling Stones you can't always get what you want.

So without further ado...I have some pictures to share with you (rhyme unintended).