Thursday, October 28, 2010


On Thursday Oct. 28 (Czech Indep. Day) I went with Romana and her Family to Prague. Zdenek (her husband), Tereza (her daughter) and I drove to Prague and met her daughter, Klara there. We walked around Prague and up to the Castle and then down to the museum to see a photography exhibition on Decadence. It was very extreme but I am glad I went. It wouldn't be my normal exhibition but it was an experience. After the museum we went shopping. It was a wonderful day and I don't have really anything profound to say in this blog entry. I just wanted to show off some pictures :).

Birthday Surprise

So the first horrible day that I have had, happened Monday Oct. 25th. I had spent all weekend creating a wonderful worksheet about the history of Halloween for my students and when I got to school the worksheet wouldn't open because my computer uses a different version. I had to quickly re write a crappy version to share with my students and everything that could go wrong did. It was one thing after the other and nothing seemed to be going my way.After work the colleaguesin my Kabinet (office) were having a get together at a local pub. I had my Czech language lesson so I wasn't able to get there until 6pm. The walk from my language lesson to the pub was sooooo cold that Ihad to stop at a local store and buy a hat and gloves. I was not in the best of moods and actually thought about skipping the gathering.
I finally arrived and as I walked in, I saw my good friend Iva (who is not in my Kabinet and should not have been there) as well as Mirek (another friend who isn't in my office) and everyone began singing, This Land is Land and Oh Suzanna. As I looked around the table, I also saw Katerina's mom Anna and Michal's parents Eva and Lubos. They had thrown a surprise birthday party for me. I was absolutely shocked and had no idea. They did the
party early before my birthday because on Wed we had 5 days off for Fall break and people were going to be gone. There was cak
e, food, and presents and I was absolutely overwhelmed by all the love I was getting.
It was absolutely the best night and definitely the best cure for my icky day and I just feel so lucky to be in a place where people take time to appreciate others. Thank you friends!!!!!

Stuck in Prague

Of course, after the documentary in Prague, Calan and I missed the train back to Tabor by 10 minutes. We raced to the bus station to find out that we also missed the last bus back to Tabor. Sooooooo we were stuck in Prague with no place to stay and no idea where to go. I called Romana and she connected us to her daughter Klara who helped us out. We took a bus to the communist dorms where Klara is staying and luckily they also use part of it as a hostel. The accommodations are not 5 star by any means but we were thankful to have a place to sleep that was relatively inexpensive.
We stayed the night and got up early to catch the 9 am train back to Tabor. It was a long night but always an adventure and I am always glad to be stuck with Calan on an adventure.

Freedom Riders

Calan and I went to see the documentary, Freedom Riders, at the US Embassy in Prague Friday Oct. 23rd. We met at the train station and then headed to the Embassy. The author of the book, Freedom Riders, was there to introduce his film. He spent about 10 years researching this topic and looking for Freedom Riders that are still around. Raymond Arsenault is a historian and collaborated with other historians to make this documentary. He is premiering it in Germany, Czech Republic and various places in Europe before it will be shown in the US. It will be shown in the US on May 14, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides to the south. Hollywood is even casting roles to make it into a motion picture with Tom Hanks.
For those of you that don't know (including me before I saw the film) in 1960/61 a group called The CORE (group of whites and blacks) decided that they were going to peacefully protest segregation of blacks and whites by taking the bus to the heart of racial animosity, the South. They rode the bus to Alabama and Mississippi. Along the way, one of the two buses with Freedom Riders was assaulted by mobs and burned to the ground. The other bus was attacked when it got to the station and most of the Freedom Riders were hospitalized.
After the CORE was attacked a group of college students picked up the Freedom Rides and again they were met with severe hostility. The US government at the time ignored the problem and it wasn't until many attacks on the Freedom Riders that martial law was put in place to protect the riders. It was because of the Freedom Riders that Civil Rights was brought to the attention of many and because of this unknown group of individuals, that the Civil Rights Movement began.
The Freedom Riders put their life on the line, dropped out of college for the cause, and sacrificed so much in the name of peace and equality. The 2 hour film was absolutely AMAZING and I STRONGLY STRONGLY encourage EVERY high school classroom to show it. I was absolutely moved from the film and it even brought tears to my eyes. I feel honored to have met Raymond Arsenault and be a witness to brilliant film.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Comfy Cozy

It is chilly outside, but warm and cozy inside my flat. The weather reports that we are suppose to get snow in mountains this morning and then in the "midlands" are suppose to get snow today or this evening. It definitely is cold enough outside for me to believe that it will actually snow.

I am not worried though because I am comfy/cozy. I built a fire in the fireplace and set up some solitare. There is nothing better sometimes than a good cup of coffee, cards, blazing fire, and Indigo Girls CD playing . I am content :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Crazy Hair Day-Czech Style

I have three conversation classes a week. I meet each one once a week for 90 minutes. I have three different groups of students. I told my groups about "spirit days" in my American school and the class decided that they wanted to do them as well. We brainstormed a list of ideas and the kids picked a different theme for each week. This week was crazy hairstyles. If any of you know me at Cavelero, I am the queen of school spirit. I love to get dressed up and show off my school spirit. So far the spirit days have been day, red day, stripes day...but crazy hair day I was nervous about. First of all, the Czechs don't normally have spirit days so since I walk to school, I didn't know what people would think of me with my hair all wierd.

I decided to wait until I got to school to do up my hair and I have to say, it has been one of the best spirit days yet. I was thinking the kids would "forget" or be lame...OH NO....they went all out too! I was so proud of them! Here are some pics of my students and their CRAZY HAIR! My students ROCK and I am having so much fun being their teacher.


I went to Vsetin Friday night to hang with Calan and then she and I went to Bratislava. We met Brock at the train station and then waited for Hungarian group to arrive. While we were waiting Calan and I stood on a bench and played the "name which car is Franky's" game. It occupied our time until she and I got yelled at by a Slovakian bus driver. Since he was super rude from the start, I just played the "dumb American" card and pretended I didn't know what he was saying...he didn't like us too much. Oh well. I have to say that the Slovaks we met weren't the friendliest people in the world.
We finally met up with Franky, Kent, and Emily M from Hungary and set off on our journey. We found a small restaurant for lunch and then explored the city.
We found our way to a cheese store and I had to stop and pose for some pics because everyone knows how much I love cheese...NOT. Franky was inside getting us directions to the "dog show" in Senec and a hotel to stay at.
There was suppose to be Vizsla dog show going on that weekend in Senec, which is about a 15 minute drive from Bratislava. Franky owns a Vizsla (Luna) and people call my dog (Nalla) a grey Vizla (even though she is a Weimer) because they are cousins and look similar. So, I went with Franky to Senec and the rest of the gang explored more of Bratislava. Unfortunately, we drove around and around and around and around, met some nice and interesting people, while trying to get information about the "dog show" and it was no where to be found. We still had a great mini road trip and a lot of laughs. We will have to find out when it really is and make a return trip!
We headed back and met up with the gang. We found a restaurant to have dinner and the went next door to the pub where a band called The Cellmates played 1950's music and we all sang and danced. We had so much together as a group!!! The Hungarian and Czech teachers are just a blast to hang out with! I can't wait until the next time we get together. I think another night of "fun" is in order soon!! You can check out my pics on Facebook.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cervena Lhota

On Sunday Oct. 10 after our bike ride, Romana and I went t Cervena Lhota. It is also known as the "Red Castle" since Cervena means red. The castle is located about 5 minutes from her parent's cottage outside of Tabor. The castle is absolutely beautiful and to be honest, you wouldn't even know it was there unless someone told you. It is situated off the road, in the middle of a "pond".
The legend is, it is called the Red Castle because many many many years ago there was a man and wife who lived there. Apparently the man didn't like his wife and wanted to kill her. One day when she was looking out the window, he pushed her and she fell. At that time, the castle was colored white. When she fell, she spilled blood all over the side of the castle. The man told the servants to re paint the castle white to cover up his crime. They did, but the red stain shown through over time. He again asked the servants to re paint it white. They did, and again the red blood stain shown through. Finally the man had the servants paint it red so that no one could see the red blood stain....and that is how it got its name....not quite the happy fairy tale you though it would be....

J. Hrades

On Sunday Oct. 10, 2010

I went with Romana to Jindrichuv Hrades (means Henry's castle) to watch her daughter play in a volleyball tournament. At around 11 Romana and I set off on a 12km bike ride. The day was absolutely beautiful. The weather was PERFECT and the scenery could not have been better. Imagine your ideal European village and that is what we experienced, along with open fields where you could NOTsee a house, building, structure, for MILES! The bike paths were mainly flat so they were perfect for riding. We were following Romana's bike map and only got lost a couple of times but I think those are the best times because you get to experience sights you wouldn't get to normally see.

We biked through fields, river trails, hiked up a river bank, and breathed in the freshest air you could breath in your life. I don't even think my words could do justice to the surrounding scenery. The fall colors of the leaves were spectacular, the views amazing, and the terrain was perfect for biking. We biked to a couple villages. We stopped to have a picnic lunch in Straz and visited the castle of a famous woman. It was GREAT because the castle had MY initals, ED. SO, I have found my castle. You can see in the pictures that it has my initials, so it will be my castle :). We made it to our final biking destination, Jimcina. There was another castle there but it was closed and we had to get back to pick up Romana's daughter so Zdenek (her husband) drove to where we were and picked us up. It was the perfect bike trip.


On Saturday, I went with Iva, Martin, and Maky to a small town about 30 minutes or so south of Tabor. The town is named Trebon and it is known as a spa town because...there is a spa there. It is also a town famous for its carp. Every year at this time, they drain the man made "pond" and then the fisherman go out with their boats and nets and catch the carp. In the Czech Republic it is tradition to have Carp and potato salad for Christmas. There were hundreds of people in Trebon to watch this tradition. We had a good spot and were able to see the experience.

After we watched the fisherman we traveled into the actual town and walked around and looked at the castle and surrounding architecture. Trebon has about 15,000 people so it was such a beautiful small, authenic European village.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day to Day

These are some pictures of my day to day life...nothing too exciting...just wanted to share.

This is me getting my first Czech haircut. All went well. I just got a trim so that isn't that hard to screw up. I had my friend Iva go with me so she could translate if I needed her.

This is a picture of my walk to school in the morning. There was a beautiful sunset. It just makes you breathe in the magic that surrounds you and realize how lucky you are to be where you are!

This is the sweet shop/coffee house that my friends and I go to a lot. They have great ice cream cones. My favorite is the "cookies" one. It has chunks of oreos amidst vannilla ice cream. This place is only 1 minute from my flat. If you continue walking up the cobble would reach my flat.

My friend Iva and I went to see this band. She has a friend that is married to the guitar player in the middle. It was such a brilliant night. They were playing in a wine bar in the Tabor town square. We were in this "cellar" with wine bottles everywhere and people sat where they could. The atmosphere was relaxing and people were enjoying taking time out of their day to enjoy good music, friends, and ambiance.