Greetings from Prague

Greetings from Prague, Things are slowly but surely improving. I’m sorry the emails have been so few and far between. And I know – I’ve totally messed up the whole picture thing. Sorry 😦 School is been a major pain in the rear the past two weeks. My instructors have assured me that my struggles are normal and that if I was understanding everything right away, they would be out of a job. So I trust that they have seen a teacher-in-training meltdown before, and believe them when they say it’s their job to help me pass. They’re not intentionally trying to fail me, although you couldn’t have convinced me of that last week! Last week I taught a 55-minute class…I made all my own materials and thought I had it nailed down. But when I got up, my mind just totally erased and I ended up with 15 minutes left of class and no material. I couldn’t even improvise because I was so flustered, so my instructor had to finish the class. Totally demoralizing. Anyway, all the other classes I’ve taught so far have gone well so I guess that was my own lesson in failure. I taught an excellent class last night and am hoping to do more of the same going forward.

The grocery stores here have been a thorn in my side for the past few weeks. What’s on the label isn’t necessarily what you’re going to get. I thought one time I’d bought what appeared to be a spongy chocolate cake with strawberry filling. But in fact, it was just like a candy bar, no strawberry filling. I did find some cheese I like so I’ve been eating the same kind of cheese for two weeks, and I ate what I think was turkey the other night. Restaurants are a much better option if you want to know what you’re going to be eating, and the yogurt aisles in the grocery stores are endless. So you can either (1) eat your weight in sausages from the street vendors, (2) exist on a diet of cheese and yogurt because they’re the only foods you can safely recognize in the grocery store, or (3) eat out, which isn’t too expensive of an option here…

Friday night Kaylee and I made Tex-Mex at the other flat for all the other trainees and had a blast.

Al's first taco

We even managed some guacamole, although salsa was out of the question. The grocery stores here have a rather limited selection so you have to get creative with what they do have. And besides, a few swigs of vodka and everything tastes good, everyone is happy… 🙂

Some of the other girls and I went to this boat party afterwards on the Vlatava River that a student had invited us to. It was a great time! Imagine being on a boat with the hippest crowd of Czechs, dancing to house music and meeting cool people. Definitely a good time. I spent the remainder of the weekend at home sick with a head cold and sore throat. You can only get medicine (even stuff like cough drops and NyQuil) at the pharmacy, and of course the pharmacies are closed on weekends because -people in Europe don’t work 24/7- so of course, I stayed at home in bed suffering. Well not quite suffering but I threw enough “I feel like crap and I want my mom” fits to convince everyone that I was quite ill.

Sunday morning I managed a 4-hour walk about town with my other flatmate, Veronica, and we had a nice time. We found a little Italian cafe that had good tea and a non-smoking section. We finally got to see the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square

as well as some other beautiful buildings that I don’t know the name of.

The weather was beautiful and we had a great time! Last night I found the most fabulous tea shop! It is right off Wenceslas Square

by my flat. You walk through a hidden little alley and then it appears, sweetly decorated with little lights and Buddha-stuff everywhere. When you walk in there are lots of little nooks to sit in; some are on the floor, some are on ancient benches, some are behind curtains, some are in sunken rooms…it’s awesome! I found a little curtained-off nook and then this yogi-looking guy came around and handed me a little bell. The tea menu is about 10 pages long with hilariously translated Czech-English descriptions, so you really just don’t know what you’re going to get. (A common theme here, it seems…) I rang the little bell when I was ready to order and the yogi came back to take my order. I ended up with a pot of the most delicious tea ever, and had a relaxing evening in a non-smoking (rare in Prague), ambient, quiet tea room. I felt like I was among the most chilled out people in town. I am not telling my fellow classmates about it though. They’re completely too loud-mouthed and will ruin it, so I’m keeping it hidden for myself. Yeah 🙂

That’s about it. I am hoping to do some more sight-seeing but school is keeping me plenty busy. When the course is finished I will probably take a train back to Italy to visit my soon-to-be in-laws! 🙂 If I can schedule it correctly, the train will take me back through Innsbruck and perhaps I can steal a day of skiing from the Austrian Alps. I LOVE YOU ALL! Please write and say hello. There isn’t anything better than a letter from home 🙂 Lots of love,me

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