Prague - first teaching attempt

They say that it wan't an unmitigated disaster, but I don't think I believe them.  Sure as hell FELT llike it, and I still don't handle that awesomely.  Fuck.

Excuse me while I attempt to wrench myself of out wallowing in abject humiliation.  I was going to see if I could bum some vodka from Aaron, but he drank it all last night.  ~_~  I'm thinking chocolate ice cream then vodka, since he said that he would pick up some more.  ...and he's buying the ice cream next time, since he's the only one who's eaten it yet so far.

Dude, between Aaron and Stefan switching rooms, Rosalie splitting a beer with me and general basic activity, I'm really pretty much out of my funk.  Now... for the ICE CREAM.

(Also, Mila (our instructor) said that the feedback from the students was actually not negative.  O.o  I'm baffled, but very greatful, both for their rating, and him telling me.)
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    people chatting
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Prague - First Day of Classes

First day of classes were kind of intense.  It was, of course, all introductory stuff, but both teachers went about a million miles an hour.  I think that all of our eyes were kind of rolling in our heads, but that we had at least a decent handle on it.
Tomorrow, we're going to do an 'on-site' teaching session (yes, on our second day), but it's not as freakishly intimidating as it sounds when they first tell you that.  We're eaching going to spend about an hour with a bank employee who has pretty good English and has been taking classes from ITTP 'teachers' (trainees) for a while.  This first meeting is supposed to be mainly a 'getting to know you' type thing, mainly socializing, but with a mind to let us get a handle on their grip on English, strengths, weaknesses, things that they'd like to work on, what they are/want to use English for, etc.  I'm really rather nervous, but also kind of excited.
In the morning, though, we're going to observe an English lesson in a local school.  Both the on-site and the in school sessions are individually.  However, since three of us are going to the same school, we're planning on going there together in the morning, even though our appointments are for staggered times.  It's right in Prague 1, where I haven't had much opportunity to look around yet, so I'll probably be quite happy to poke around while Rosalie (that's actually her name, and she's apparently more likely in her 50-60s) goes first and Stefan (that's how his name is spelled) goes after I do.  We have a form to fill out while we are in the class, to guide our observations.  Again, nervous, but kind of excited.
Since we have just met the three people in the past two days, we've been asked several times what we plan on doing after the course; stay in Prague, elsewhere...  They've said point blank that basically if you pass the course, you can get a job.  Then later, they talk about the fact that teaching English in Prague is rather competitive and that a single position will easily get 20 CVs coming in.  I still really don't know what I want to do.  I really enjoy listening to the Czech language, but I don't think that that's a terribly good reason to stay, to be perfectly honest.  I do quite like the city, and still like the other members of the group (though it'd have to be a pretty dramatic second day to change that after liking them the first, wouldn't it?) and Aaron and Rosalie sound like they're seriously considering trying to stay here.  Rosalie has back-up plans, but Aaron is gung-ho about staying at least a year.  I think that if I'd spent the last 3 years in El Paso, I'd probably want a way to get the heck out too, though.
I think I may start to do a little mild research about opportunities in Thailand and Japan, to see what options are out there.  Ugh, a month simultaneously seems like an eternity and the blink of an eye.  I know that's not quite what Einstein meant with the Theory of Relativity, but meh, it works.

It is possible that Aaron has a rather exemplary prosterior.  <.<  But I'm not going there.
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life in a box

Prague-Day 3 (pt1)

Well, I was only half an hour late.  But I only had half of the money, though I thought I had all of it.  Turns out that the email that I was looking at only had the remaining tuition on it, not the remaining tuition AND accommodation cost, so... hell.  Now I need about 13,000 more Kč by 7:00 tonight.  That's about $730.  And I just pulled out 10,000 Kč this morning, which was more like $860 because of the shitty conversion and commission that the banks use.  I am going to be SO broke when I get back.  So, so broke.  Balls.

I'm presuming that when I actually start the course, it'll feel less like I'm just tossing cash out of a bus window?  In case anyone is interested, there seems to be a distinct possibility that that bus is heading for that cliff up there.  ~_~  Surprising to very few, I'm sure, but it is indeed quite possible to feel very alone in a big city.  Oh, woe.  Poor me, poor me.  I'll shut up and drink my orange juice now. 

I'm sitting in a KFC, since that's the only thing with WiFi around here that has stuff cheap enough I felt I could get.  I feel like a 'world experiencer' or something.  David Bowie was playing when I sat down, but now it's something really current American and grating.  Oh look, an influx of barely pubescent boys!  This will make this better, and by 'better' I mean I'm digging through my bag for earphones now.
Maybe try to get on AIM or Skype.  Don't think JJ has a microphone though.  It could be some fairly amusing internet charades, though.

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wordy bastard

Prague - Day 2

So, today I managed to forget that I'd put my ID and credit card in my back pocket last night (which scared a good 16 months off of  my life some 8 hours after I got up and realized  that I didn't know where they were), spent about 5 hours in the National Museum, found the Oxford Bookshop, got a power plug adapter, walked by (yes, by, not in) about 6 more bookstores (seriously, search "knihkupectví loc: Václavské náměstí, 110 00 Praha, Czech Republic" in Googlemaps), ate, went to a concert and managed to get back to the hostel.  Woo.

So, that went (in actual, chronological order) ...
  • National Museum
  • Oxford Bookshop
  • adapter
  • bookstores
  • food
  • found ID&cc
  • concert
  • hostel
(Forgive me, but I've realized that I want to remember some of this trip in the future, which means writing stuff down due to my crappy memory, but I don't have a decent notebook, but I do have a computer.  Then I recalled that despite all recent evidence, I actually do have a livejournal, so I may as well do this here.  So, on I ramble.)

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After I left the Museum, I started to wander around Wenceslas Square a little, meaning I wandered down to the first street on the right and then away from the square (which incidentally, would have to try really hard to be less square, because it's basically a few blocks of a street where they let it be really wide and then stuck shops all along it.  There's a Starbucks at either end, fyi.)  There, I bought orange juice and then saw a sign for the Oxford Bookshop.  So I went in.  I bought Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things, since I finished reading Good Omens last night and wanted more.  See, if I was being too stingy to get the audio guide, why did I pay 256 Kč ($14.40) for a book I probably don't really need?  Because, well... Neil Gaiman is like literary comfort food, even if I've not read the story before.  So there, self.

Oh god, think I just  tweeted that AT N.Gaiman instead of mentioning him in the tweet.  I meant his books are literary comfort food, not to tweet at him. ...Nor that he's food. O.o  Hm.  Well, in any case, I read the introduction, asked if she knew where I might be able to find an adapter plug and then left the book on the counter.  Because I'm awesome like that.

Then I followed directions and the map and got an ADAPTER! And then walked by a bajillion BOOKSTORES, one of which also had old maps.  Man.  I spent 10 minutes outside ogling, but managed not to go inside.  Then I went back to the Museum to buy a ticket for the concert that somebody'd handed me a flier for earlier: 
400 Kč is $22.50.  This?  Totally worth it.  I got the ticket about 4:20, went back out to the square, wandered around a little to see if anywhere might have WiFi, walking into the Starbucks at the top of the square, walked back out after roughly 20 seconds and then remembered I had a sandwich in my pocket from the plane yesterday.  Sat down on a bench, had my sandwich with my orange juice from its litre carton (I am class personified, but if you want the full picture, you must know that I was wearing my ASC sweatshirt under my Nepal coat, so the black hoodie poked out, and I was wearing a brown beanie, had my blue gloves shoved under my legs to keep them warm while I ate and my huge brown backpack was propped up on my shoulder.  CLAAAAAAASS, baby.)  Checked the time again... by turning on my camera and checking the clock on it, since I haven't a watch and am waiting for a recommendation from the training place before I get a phone.  With 45 minutes to go, I shuffled into an outside corridor thing off the square and read more Fragile ThingsWhen I sat down that time, I noticed something in my back pocket, and lo and behold, there were my drivers’ license and credit card. Oy vey.  After a few of the stories, it was time to go to the concert!

Take a look back up there at the picture of the interior of the Museum.  Now think about acoustics.  Now drool a little.  Yeah.  It was a string quintet with a piano.  I might go to the other two concerts too.  >.>  They had the piano, music stands and chair for the cellist set up on that huge landing between the upper and lower staircases.  There were about six chairs on either side of that landing for audience, and then cushions laid out on the stairs for the rest of us.  There were probably 30 or so people there, and it was gorgeous.  If I go to either of the other ones, I'm going to stick my bag somewhere and dress a little nicer, because I felt like SUCH a hobo with my get up and my bag leaning against my leg on the stairs.

It was obvious that the group enjoys playing with each other, because they'd get to certain phrases in different  pieces and they'd catch each other's eyes and start grinning.  Really, really wonderful.  Oh man, the acoustics.

When it ended, I managed to figure out how to get back to the hostel and only missed on bus stop reading.  I am VERY glad that I stopped to ask directions when I got off the bus here yesterday, because a very kind fellow in an auto repair shop printed me off a little map of just these few blocks.  Without it, it would've taken me about three times as long to find the hostel again.  Not that it's really all that difficult, but it's a few blocks away and my sense of direction is infamous for a reason.  And now I've been re-capping for about two hours, and I should be asleep, but I need to pull up directions to my 'give us the rest of the money' meeting with the program people, look up how much I need to give them, figure out how many Kč that is and where to get it before the meeting... and how to make sure that I wake up in time to get to the meeting.  It's quarter to one here.  Oh well.  Tomorrow is another day... except that it's today for you guys.  Heh.
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Bobby smile

Family wins

I will say straight up, I haven't check my flist in ages, but I wanted to update something.

I had a fabulous Christmas, complete with quite a bit of travel.  Up to Annapolis, MD on Christmas Eve, left 7am on the 26th for Augusta, GA and got back to Staunton today at 7:15 or so.  Got to see 7 out of 7 cousins up in MD, and only 2 of 17 in GA.  However, I did get to spend time with my uncle down in GA, which I must admit was the most important thing to me down there.

Now Mateo and Alyaa are visiting and we've had a fabulous 5 hour visit  so far.  She's lovely and charming I'm glad to have her in my extended quasi-family.  ^_^

I'd love to do a longer post, but it's waxing on 1am and I'm starting to yawn.

Anyhoo, I'm back in town, and after tomorrow, I expect I'll be helping McCrazy for a few days, until the 2nd, though I've been claimed for New Years Eve.  Call if you want to get in touch with me, or text.
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Commissioner Awesome


I spent five and a half hours carving my pumpkin.  It needs a better camera than my webcam to do it justice, but look: pictures!

  The glare is lame.  But the pumpkin is not!

  Again, crappy pic.  And I didn't carve it backwards.  (For those of you who can't tell from the previous picture, this one says "Coraline."

Well, here:  my reference pictures.


I'm quite proud.