Sunday, August 10, 2003

Hello from sunny Prague!

Hello everyone!

I'm sorry that I seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth, but last week was the busiest one I've had since I got don't be too mad at me! Anyway, lots to talk about today, so maybe that will make up for it. :-)

Anyway, I've already written this email once and then had the computer crash right before I sent it, so I don't know if I have the strength to write it all again, but I will try. :-)

OK, school update: I passed my lesson on Wednesday with flying colors. Good thing, too, since we had our final "tutorial" on Thursday where they tell us if they think we'll pass. :-) So, Betty told me on Thursday that her and Shaun think that I'm a "solid pass" for the class, as long as I keep going as I am. And she said that she "had a feeling about me" and that she thinks I'll do well, blah blah blah. It was nice to hear, and so hopefully things will keep on track!! :-)

Anyway, I had a lesson Friday that went well, too. Shaun is observing my group now (they flip-flopped again), and he gave me some great hints for my lesson on Friday, which helped a lot. Anyway, he said that it was a "lovely" lesson, and done very well, that he could see lots of improvement since the last time he assessed me, etc... So, that was great to hear! It was my first 60 minute lesson, so I had been nervous about making it last the whole hour-and indeed I did end up needing to fill the last 5 minutes-so I used a vocab review game, that even used words from the previous teacher's lesson, and Shaun loved that. So, good all around. :-)

On Friday night, my classmates and I were eager to celebrate the fact that we're almost done, so we went out to the Red Onion straight after school. We drank many half-liters of pivo (beer) and even dared to try some of the pub's incredibly sketchy food. I personally tried the onion soup (fairly tasty), potato croquettes (bland but OK) and the Czech equivalent of cheese sticks, which should just be called Cheese slab, since it's just a slab of breaded and fried cheese, served with tartar sauce of all things. (I tried to get some red sauce as a substitute, and ended up with ketchup, but that was still better than tartar sauce!)

Anyway, the great thing about Friday night was that we were a big group (over a dozen) of incredibly diverse, international people, who all get along really well. And, therefore, we have some very interesting and intense conversations. When we first got to the pub, it was just me and my 5 TP people, so we were talking as a big group. Started with European history and politics, segued to religious history, works of literature, American politics as they relate to the rest of the world, etc... as more and more people joined us, the conversation broke up into small groups, so that eventually, if you looked around the table there were 6-7 intense and incredibly varied conversations going on at once. It was so great! This is one of the reasons I came here, so it made me very happy. :-)

That night I made plans to go to see "The Hours" with two of my friends, Markia (from Slovakia), and Mark (from Nottingham in England). We met up on Saturday night and tried to find our way to one of the Palace Cinemas, a huge theater in a posh part of town that was supposed to be just like an American multi-plex. And, indeed, it was. It was ENORMOUS. We were, sadly, too late to have time to buy popcorn, but I'll get some next time. :-) Anyway, our movie was on the 3rd floor, and once we got up there, the usher had to show us to our seats (damned assigned seating!), in the total pitch darkness, and the whole time I'm thinking I'm going to trip and fall down the stadium-seating stairs because I couldn't see anything! And, because of our seating assignment, we had to crawl over the people on the end, causing a big disturbance. Naturally. But, it was worth it because the screen was HUGE. Bigger even than the screen at the River Hills theater. And, I know Dad will love this, almost all the people stayed to watch the credits until the very end! Only a few young people left once the main cast list was done, and everyone else stayed put for the whole thing! Quite unlike America, that's for sure!

Anyway, after the movie, we went in search of dinner. Along the same street as the theater, we found a place called The Cafe Louvre, which is somewhere I've read about and always wanted to go (Kafka used to hang out there!). But, once we got up there, my friends said it was way too hot to stay there and eat dinner. So, another dream down the toilet. :-( But, I'll go there on my own one of these days--I don't give up that easily! Anyway, we ended up walking all the way down to the street and ate in a cafe across from the National Theater and right on the river, called the Kavarna Slavia. I had, for the first time, goulash and dumplings, and it was delicious!

After dinner, we walked along the river for awhile, pausing to take in the stunning view of the castle up on the hill, and also to take in the fact that we're lucky enough to be living here. It was a lovely night, so we spent a long time just hanging over railings and watching boats go by. It was so nice. :-) After that, we wanted to go somewhere for drinks, so we walked in the general direction of a metro stop, and ended up at this Cuban/Irish bar, called O'Che's, and had a few pints. I also had a mixed fruity drink, my first in Prague, and although it was tasty, I probably won't be having any more. It cost 120 Krowns!! This is about $4.50...not too bad in the States, really. But, for purposes of comparison, a *half-liter* of local brew here cost me 22 krowns, about .80 cents, at the Red Onion. So, I think I'll be sticking with pivo, thank you very much.

Anyway, today I've decided that I'm going to do some sight-seeing. There's an English bookstore I want to go to, as well. And an Egyptian restaurant I have my eye on. And then I think I'm going to go see another movie at that same theater--and this time I'm getting popcorn!! :-)

OK, after writing this email TWICE, I'm tired out, and in desperate need of some lunch. So, I shall leave you here. :-) I hope you're all enjoying a lovely summer. Mom, how are those tomatoes coming?? Have you saved any for me?? :-) Anyway, take care everyone and I'll talk to you soon!

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