Wednesday, September 30, 2009

London Calling

My life is all sorts of crazy right now, both job-wise (again) and in the ever familar "Who am I? What am I doing with my life? What will I do next? And why do things that I'm pretty sure I never had in my brain just come out of my mouth sometimes?" kind of way. I could probably write pages and pages of pseudo-intellectual bullshit along these lines. Speaking of, everyone should watch the film "Before Sunrise" because it's pretty great. Anyway, that would never stop me from having fun. Especially because these lovely ladies came to visit me this weekend from England, on a train, no less! A whole year since I'd seen them in Brighton was definitely too long:

Here is Emma beheading Holly ontop of 27 white crosses in Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) on Friday, which represents the spot where 27 Protestant nobles, merchants and intellectuals were beheaded in 1621 after rebelling against the Catholic Hapsburgs ending Czech independents for 300 years. Does this mean we're douchebags? Probably.

On our walk home the night before, we saw this creepy sight in the dumpster a block away from my flat. Dead body? Sort of.

Saturday, I finally got around to the Lennon Wall thanks to Emma and Holly's touristy motivation. I also finally got to Cross Club, which was crazy and awesome. Story behind this picture...until independence came in 1989, travelers, freedom-lovers and local hippies gathered here. After John Lennon was killed in 1980, this wall was spontaneously covered with memorial graffiti. During Communist times, the police would paint over it every night, but miraculously, every day, the graffiti would reappear. Thus, this wall is remembered as a refuge of sorts for locals craving freedom during this time. Here I am "Imagining" (apparently I wear this shirt in every picture I post here, oops)...

Sunday we wandered around the Jewish Quarter but everything was expensive to get into, so that's all we did really. Except watch the sunset in the park a block away from my flat! Here's a view of the vineyard from the hill we were sitting on. Yes, I have a vineyard a block away. In the city. And they have veggie burritos. Prague is just cool like that.

Emma, Andrea and I watching the sunset! Holly was sleeping because she caught a cold/hangover. ;-)

That's all for now. Maybe I'll actually talk about my life soon. Mostly, my job converted me to part-time by taking away my preschoolers and giving them to someone with kid-experience (about 10 of my scheduled teaching hours). While I'm upset I need to find more hours somewhere, I'm sort of relieved. I really don't know anything about children that young. I still have some other classes though and the visa process is beginning, so it's not so bad.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cash, money (still working on the hos).

Guess who got offered a job today! Holyshit, I believe it's me. I'm going to be earning some of those big fellas above soon. Don't feel too jealous though. For you Americans, that shit gets divided by 18 (or by 28 for y'all spending £££'s). Bet my flat is cheaper than yours though. And my beer.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quality Week in Praha

It's been a pretty eventful week, I must say. Not only did I attend 4+ job interviews (About 8 total now, I'm apparently interviewing as a profession), I also managed to fit in some other sweet activities. This was seriously the week of free shit and festivals in Prague. Let's start off with this:

Thursday night. Free concert in Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí). I swear the entirety of Prague was in attendance. Not sure the band or even what language the music was in (I'm assuming Czech), but it was pretty quality even if I spent most of the time trying to find everyone I knew who was there. Went out after to have a few drinks with my flatmate and her friends and drunkenly stumbled past these guys and gals on the way to the tram home in the Tesco window...

Friday night it was time for a good shwasting. There was a burčák festival this week going on at both Náměstí Míru and Jiřího z Poděbrad. Burčák means "young wine" and from what I've gathered, about a week or so ago everyone in Prague flocked to the country to pick grapes, which they then fermented to make burčák. It's young as it hasn't been fermented as long as wine generally is and the kicker is that you're never quite sure exactly how much alcohol is in it. It tastes sort of like an acidic grape juice and sometimes it may be closer in alcohol content to actual juice and sometimes not! This is truely my kind of drink, let me tell you. In any case, I popped down to the JZP festival where there was music, food, and lots of overpriced burčák, then to the Náměstí Míru on the way to my friends' flat where there was cheaper beverage. Unfortunately for me, I forgot to check my change and got ripped off by about 150 kc. Oops. I guess I learned my lesson, though. Here's Martin and I in the midst of a game of Kings at U Sudu, tickeling our glasses. This is one of the only pictures I have of the night as I drank almost the entire 1.5 L bottle of burčák. How much alcohol is in that? You know how it goes.
Saturday was pretty chill. Woke up, attended the birthday party of the lovely Tiki in Letná park, who just turned 4 years old. I'm pretty sure I've never used the word cute as much in my life as I did in those few hours. Post-bithday cake nap:

Trying to eat my wafer. Does the birthday girl always get what she wants? Methinks not.
After coming home from the doggie b-day, Andrea (my flatmate) and I were greeted with an impromptu fireworks show almost right next to our flat! I think it's a Czech holiday on Monday? Who knows? Who cares?! It was awesome. View from our window:

Sunday I was planning to mostly be a waste, eventually preparing and printing my lesson for the second round of an interview I have tomorrow (wish me luck!), but then I was told about this big bike festival/critical mass cycle ride right at Náměstí Míru and had to check it out. Sadly, I don't have a bike here so I couldn't participate in the riding part, but I did partake in the wandering, listening and 50kc vegan burritos portion of the afternoon. Here's an image of the Shakespeare stand (an English-language bookstore/cafe/pub down the road from my flat). There were some people reading poetry and a guy playing a pretty mean accordian. Did I mention the fog machine? Yeah.
Afterwards I popped in at a birthday party for my flatmate and her boyfriend's friend at Shakespeare and now it is bed time. Whew. Hopefully by the middle of the week I'll be employed. Emma and Holly are coming Thursday for the weekend from England to visit and I am pretty pumped. My first visitors!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Job Shmob.

I have a weird not-cold and am starting to get a bit emo about this whole not having a job thing. I feel like I'm blacklisted. Why doesn't anybody want to hire me? Monies and some type of purpose in my life would be ace.

I'm not really sure what I'll do if I don't find a job before I have to leave the Schengen Zone. All I know is going home is not an option, wherever home is now. Home is a funny concept, isn't it? Because most of the things that've made my various homes, well, home-like, seem to be ephemeral themselves.

I should work on that.

I know what options wouldn't work for me, however. I can't move back to Northampton again until most everyone I know has graduated, lest I end up in one of those nostalic "When I was in college..." comas. Plus, I know Northampton. I love Northampton. It's time for somewhere new. I don't really care to be tied to my past there right now. I should look forward and not back, yes? Moving back to Long Island is not an option, as it only took 5 days last time for me to end up crying in public and convincing myself that everything is wrong in the world, only to find that everything was quite fine again once a safe distance away. I'm not sure how one place makes me so crazy.

Thus, I will show up at schools' doors naked and covered in lesson plans if I have to. Or marry someone. Your guess is as good as mine, then. I still have time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stomping Ground

Still unemployed (working on that!), but I actually have a real place to live now, in a new neighborhood, with a fellow vegan lady from Long Island/Brooklyn (small world). This means pictures, yes?

Kitchen (the wine rack is my favorite part)!

My bed!

The other half of my room!

View from the living room windows

Living room!

My bathroom

New digs are Vršovice (ver-show-veet-say) in Prague 10, on the border of Vinohrady. Took a bit of adjustment at first and an epic taxi ride as I'm not as close to the metro as I was in Vysočany, but I've since learned the tram system and realized I live pretty close to everything. We have a really cute English bookstore/bar/cafe called Shakespeare right down the road and I live walking distance from Žižkov where there's a bar called Bukowski's that has free bottomless sangria for ladies on Tuesdays. Win. There's also a vineyard right down the road and I live 2 tram stops or a 15 minute walk from a Chinese food place with vegan General Tso's chicken. Now all I need is a job and life will be almost perfect. Here's hoping that this week brings employment!

Monday, September 7, 2009

In Progress.

Stolen pictures from other people, thanks Facebook! This about sums up the graduation ceremony. There were more champagne bottles where those came from. TEFL synonymous with budding alcoholism, what? We deserved every last bit of bubbling wonderfulness after the past month, however. Toni my flatmate left early this morning and a few other people are peacing out. Luckily, the majority of people from my course are sticking around, which is pretty cool. I stay one more night at the Hotel Pivovar and then move into my new flat. Pumped about it. Yay having a place to live!

I sent a billion e-mails inquiring about jobs this weekend, so I really hope some of them will get back to me really soon and I can line up some interviews for this week and partake in employmentz. Mon mons ($) would be favorable. Tonight I think I'm going to a poetry reading/open-mic at the Globe Cafe and I'm quite excited for the change of scenery. The drink, drunk, dance routine was getting a bit predictable for me.
This is sort of how I feel right now:

Oh scramble face...but for realz, this lack of structure is a strange luxury after the past month and some. I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I really want noodles. And coffee. With soymilk. Preferably for less than 80kc. Also, a very large and convenient selection of books in English, I'm way too indecisive for the small collection I brought with me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My second graduation in 4 months!

Whoa. Somehow I graduated from TEFL Worldwide. Passed, though not sure what kind of pass yet as I haven't gotten my certificate/been to the graduation ceremony that's tonight. After my last lesson yesterday though, Terry told me I definitely passed the course. Except for one bad lesson I don't think I was ever really in danger of failing, though, but it's still good to hear!

I think I've worked harder in this month than I have in a long time. Smith College definitely kicked my ass and sent me into more than my fair share of crazy, finals-induced, crying panic attacks, but the thing with that is that my work was spread out over the semester. With the TEFL course, you don't get a chance to breath for the entire month. I literally feel like I just got to Prague a few days ago as I haven't really had time to think or take anything in with the work load. To put it all into perspective, I spent the entirety of last Saturday writing a 12-page paper. There's also the added factor that at Smith you write papers, get graded, do a shit ton of reading and maybe some Powerpoint presentations...but never do they make you stand up in front of people you don't know and TEACH them what you learned. I don't just mean present, I mean get them to create something in front of you that shows they understand. That's the difference. I can write a mean paper, sure, but standing up there and proving I know my shit in front of a group of people is an entirely different art.

Now begins the whole getting a job and legal visa to be here process. And the clock is ticking. Two months and my tourist visa is up. Thus, if I don't sort my shit out in that time deportation could be upon me. Attended the TEFL job fair this morning and got a few good leads to follow up on. Went to another interview this afternoon with a company called TeaTime that sets you up teaching English to teenagers in coffee shops. It seems like a great job and I'm very interested, but they would set me up for a self-employment visa rather than a work visa, which means I'd basically be a freelance English teacher. Not to mention it's only part time, so I'd still have to sort out more hours. I like the idea of freelancing and did a bit of research into the different visas here before I came so I sort of know what it entails, but my logical side chimes in that I should start off with a good ol' fashioned work permit, settle into a specific company and THEN start thinking about the freelancing thing once I have more of an idea of how the English job market functions and am in possession of a document saying I can stay here legally.

I get kicked out of my flat in 2 days, so my other main priority is not being homeless. Hopefully I will sort that out quite soon, but I think I'll be fine and am looking at some places and such. Does want somewhere to live, kthx.

That's the update for now. Lot's of free champagne in my future tonight. Hopefully I'll actually be able to get some touristy updates here soon and more pictures!