Sunday, February 8, 2009

Rad tančim a zpívam

I graduated from the course on friday. It was an almost hellish four weeks but I've got a fantastic feeling of accomplishment. I'm pretty sure I'm fully equipped to become a great teacher, too. Just in the lessons we taught at TEFL, I got a really proud glow whenever I heard my students using new lexis or grammar that I had taught them. Now it's time to job hunt. I've got an interview on Tuesday and am in the process of scheduling a few more.

I'm moving in to a new place today. I'll be living in Liben (Praha 8) with some Czech friends I just recently made, David and Karolina. I'll be sharing a room with David, but it's a pretty big room and he travels a lot, so i won't be wanting for privacy too much. Plus, I get my healthiest chunks of alone time when I'm just walking around the streets of the city. The apartment is pretty sweet. It's got wifi (hint: Skype: for those of you who haven't heard my voice in ages), a transparent aquarium-looking toilet seat and lid, and a beautiful view of the city when you walk out the front door.

Yesterday, Josef and his girlfriend Barbara took me out on a daytrip to Vesely Kopec, a centuries-old village out in the beautiful hills of Moravia. We went to celebrate Masopust (the czech mardi gras). A couple dozen locals were dressed up in ridiculous costumes, drinking, dancing, and marking everyone's face with coal. I'm still not sure of the significance of the coal. The whole experience actually reminded me more of the May Day festival in the Wicker Man than of NOLA's Mardi Gras. It was still loads of fun though. At one point I wandered up a snow-covered mountain and for a second thought that I was in the Sound of Music. Josef veered off the main roads for a while onto a country road in the middle of nowhere so his beautiful beagle, Rosara, could run alongside the car for a while. We ended up getting stuck in the snow and spent about 30 minutes shoveling the snow out from under his Škoda and trying to push the car out of the trap we had landed in. Needless to say, it was some of the most fun I've had in ages. Josef and Barbara took lots of pictures, so i'll try to post them when I can get a hold of them. For lunch we ate at this little uber-authentic Czech restaurant nearby that's been around for over a hundred years. I had my first non-smazeny syr Czech food so far (in my defense, being a vegetarian rules out about 95% of the Czech diet for me). It was what I think were boiled nuggets of potatoes smothered in sheep's cheese, with a side of cabbage. Delicious (is anyone else bothered by the fact that sight, touch, and taste are the only three senses that get their own adjectives regarding quality? or am i really just forgetting something. i guess smell has it too, but i'm having an impossible time thinking of a word that means "good sounding" If you can think of something, please prove me wrong). I also went to Josef's birthday party a few days ago and had some homemade pickled birthday cabbage. I had no idea cabbage was so delicious. I think my diet is about to get another staple food.

On my birthday a couple weeks ago, a few of us went out to Karaoke at this place called the Molotow Cocktail. The vast majority of songs sung that night were sad ballads in Czech. I sang the Final Countdown. It was nice.

thanks to pilates, I can now touch my toes. This is exciting.

In by brief moments of spare time lately, I've been doing a good bit of dancing, a very healthy enterprise. The main place I've gone is this club called Lucerna, where every Friday and Saturday night they have 80s and 90s dance night. It's quite a different experience from what you'd find in America. There are still as many meathead douchebags and flaky girls as you'd see at the American equivalent, but when the whole crowd goes crazy for shit like "cotton eyed joe" and "barbie girl" you can't help but shake your head in wonderment. They make up for it with healthy doses of Abba, Boney M, and Kylie Minogue (her Stock Aitken Waterman stuff). Though why they're always so eager to play Gloria Gaynor and the Village People and never go for the gold with Donna Summer is beyond me.

That's all I can think of for now.

PS-Czechs celebrate name days as much as they do birthdays, so I've chosen my own Czech name: Svatopluk. It's the name of a legendary Czech king and it means "Saint Column." Meaning the military form of "column." I intend to learn how to ice skate, eventually achieve Czech citizenship, and lead the Czech curling team to its first ever olympic championship as Svatopluk Herbert. So keep your ears to the ground, because the Svatopluk train is on its way. Later in life I will write and direct a Rocky style movie simply called Svatopluk and Survivor will come out of the woodwork to write a song more inspiring than Eye of the Tiger, the Final Countdown, Don't Stop Believing, and You're the Best put together. Just look out is all I'm sayin'.