Saturday, August 25, 2007

Prague Blog

We returned from Prague and just now getting back to normal. It's taken four days to come back to reality and realize that school/work starts next week. Exciting/terrifying!!

Prague was great. This is my third time to the Czech Republic. My lovely husband is from Prague, and we stay with his family when we visit. They live right outside of Prague, in Ujezd nad Lesy, (Praha 9 or 21, depending on who you ask...) a train and bus ride away from the center.

Prague is called "the city of a thousand spires" because beautiful spires rise from buildings across the city and can be viewed from afar and are just fabulous. Prague is also amazing because it is untouched by war, yet has survived some major battles and drama over the years, including invasion by Soviet-led Communist troops, as well as the devastating floods of 2002 which God knows killed off a huge animal population in Zoo Praha (that was a very disappointing trip - the family's still trying to convince me to go back), among other damages.

Prague is a magical city, as just about anyone who has been there will attest to, with Prague Castle looming over the shadowy cobblestone streets and architecture that varies between mythical medieval and pastel-colored quaint cottage-y buildings. The same can be said for smaller towns or villages around the Czech Republic, such as Telc, where we took a day trip this year, with hubby's parents. Telc is a national landmark, none of the buildings can be torn down or altered. They are cute, aren't they?
I love the Czech Republic because they paint on their buildings there. No, I don't mean paint their buildings - they paint on their buildings. Often you will see restaurant (restaurace) or pub (pivnice) names and signs painted on the side of an establishment, as opposed to a hanging sign that we Americans are used to. (Often hanging signs are dedicated to the brand of beer - or pivo - they sell, instead.) I'm sure this is common practice in other areas of the world, but I have noticed it most predominantly in CZ, perhaps because I have been there the most. Anyway, not only do those wacky Czechs paint on their buildings to advertise a business, they also like to simply decorate buildings with paint. (See green building picture above.) They like to play mind tricks with us civilians - see the green building picture....along the bottom of the building is what looks like black and white bricks, but no! That is simply an illusion to look like 3-Dimensional bricks and is really just paint. This building is not the best example, I've seen better, more realistic paint-brick-work, but you get what I'm saying.
Anyway, Prague was a blast. The family was great, the homemade appel strudel was lovely, and the beer flowed all nice and crisp and cold and beer-y. For now I can't explain anymore - just go there (before they start using the Euro!) and experience it yourself.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Teaching Fellow Summer Training Graduate

Well. It's over. My 7 weeks that I was dreading so much... the June 2007 summer training for the NYC Teaching Fellows. Today was the last day. Hooray!

Our group was so rockin' - IS so rockin' - that I just love them to pieces. I wrote this in an email to a friend back on 6/23 (training started 6/18), "I've never felt so surrounding by like-minded and really truly intelligent people, with a similar sense of humor. It's a relief." And it's true! They rock!! We are the only English Fellows at Pace, and everyone is so special in their own way. Really, everyone contributes to the whole group in such an important way.

Ok. Enough gushing. But the overall idea is: Good group=good training that is actually not time completely wasted. Yea!

Training is over and now I guess I'm a "real" teacher. We'll see!

Good bye summer training, hello vacation... this time tomorrow i'll be on a plane going to the Czech Republic. Yay, summer!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

One more day...

One more day left to this crazy Teaching Fellows Summer Madness. It's been great. And exhausting. And overwhelming. And highly informative. And slightly scary. But great.

One more day left of AM student teaching and PM meetings at Pace. One more day where I'll have to get lunch, sit in City Hall park. aww. Kinda sad! But then the excitement starts! First, Friday: our skit. With no definite plans, and no rehearsals to date, who knows what will happen. And then, Saturday. Ah, Saturday - Andy and I are out of here for more than 2 weeks, to Prague!

But for now, it's just one more day. The workfolio is done and I can finally focus on something I want - going to start Maus II tonight.

One more day and then summer vacation! One more day and it's the end of the summer training era!

Feeling kind of nostalgic now! Had to get it off my chest.