úterý, října 31, 2006


So halloween is, well, not celebrated here. Sometimes little kids can go to Tesco (like target) and go around to the shops and get candy, but if people do anything for Halloween, they go to the graveyard to their families graves. Little different atmosphere.

It's starting to get cold here. Tomorrow is supposed to be the first snow, but I've been told many times that I am here for a very nice fall because it's warmer, and not so foggy. I have to buy warmer clothes! Sweaters are always worn here, along with millions of other layers.

The bad part about the cold is that I'm already getting sick! I haven't been sick in like a year, and this is the second time since I've been here. Now for me isn't really a good time because this weekend is the third AFS weekend, and I don't want to feel bad. This means I think I'm not going to dancing class tonight and instead will sleep, and try not to get a cold. And coldeze don't really work for me mom. Maybe just for you.

Anyway, I'll update again maybe before I go to Brno, but most likely after.

pondělí, října 30, 2006


So I'm having some trouble getting pictures online. My dad and I are working on a way, but right now I only have a few. But don't worry: I have taken around 600 so once we figure it out you can feast your eyes on the czech republic. To tide you over, there are a few on my picasa account at http://picasaweb.google.com/beccaintheczechrepublic. There aren't many here, but it's a few to start. I'll let you all know when we get the rest online. There are also a few additional pictures on my flickr account at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14279724@N00/. Eventually all of these will be in one place, and some may even appear on the blog!

And then it came again...

So I'm back again. It was good to talk to a lot of you last night. After the confirmation that my blog actually has a healthy readership, I will try earnestly to update regulary.

First to start: Hi Grandpa!

Okay, anyway, I have had some requests for some post topics (thanks Mom). I guess it's true though because I promised at the beginning to write posts on some aspects of everyday life, and so far I've only done school. But don't fret, there are still 8 more months (wow, it's already been 2). The one thing that has come up repeatedly is Daši and Luci, and just life with 4 year olds. I guess I unknowingly haven't mentioned them at all. But don't worry, they exist and are as energetic as ever.

So here it goes: 4 year olds have a lot of energy, can keep themselves busy with the simplest things, are very loud and very cute. So Daši and Luci are 4 and like 2 months. I actually expected them to be a little older when I got here, but it doesn't really make a difference now. I don't actually see them that much during the week because they are in preschool while Dana and Pavel work and I'm in school, and now I've started some activities after school and such. They usually got to bed at like 8, so I will usually only see them for like an hour or 2 on schooldays. It's a little odd because once they go to sleep the housepretty much shuts down. This means I have been getting a lot of sleep lately because I will usually go to bed by 9:30.

Weekends usually consist of them waking up early (about 7), as I think all li9ttle kids do and is the reson why elementary schools should start earlier than high schools. They will play various tings (I usually join them for a little while, but I can't handle too much Barbie in one go), or watch some kid's tv program (about the only thing other than the occasional BBC that I watch here). We usually go to some relative's house or have people over on weekends.

Overall they are very cute little girls, but I'm still getting used to living with little kids. They require a good deal of attention from someone and often get into little fights that arequickly resolved, but usually result in tears.

Again I will answer any specific questions on the topic that I haven't answered because I'm not exactly sure what people want to know!

sobota, října 28, 2006

Once in a svatek

So today was a holiday. That means that nothing happens in Opava. I was supposed to meet Oey, an exchange student from Thailand in the centrum at 10, but apparently certain buses don't run on holidays. And then the train an hour and a half later was half an hour late. And then nothing was open, but we happened up on (appon; can't remember the spelling!) an asian bistro (many in Opava) that was open, after passing up a scary looking czech cafeteria. We only have like 45 minutes before I had to leave, but it was nice to talk to her. And then I went to the basketball games of the team I am joining. They lost both, but didn't play too badly. Hopefully I'll get to play soon.

I had some "feeling czech" moments today. The first was when I rolled up the bottom of my pants. Everyone does it here. I've never done it before. I guess it's so they don't get dirty. The second was that I bought a 1,5 L bottle of water and carried it around. Everyone also does that here.

This was supposed to post on Saturday. Let's all go back and pretend that it's saturday. Whooo.

pátek, října 27, 2006


So this post isn't going to have much actual information in it, other than the fact that I sent out another email today. For those of you who haven't been reading this (and then you wouldn't actually be seeing this), it's another update on my life. More to come later!

úterý, října 24, 2006

Sitting and Waiting...

So right now I'm sitting at home, when I should be at school, because apparently today the trains don't run after 8am, and I didn't know that, so my perfect plan to go to school for second period because my first was cancelled turned into me missing the first like 3 classes, because that's when the next bus goes. Anyway, I attempted to inform some of the girls I'm sort of friendly with, so hopefully all will be okay.

Right now I'm in the middle of figuring out how to upload photos, and in the middle of writing another mass email. But I am stuck! What should I write about? Anyone have anything they are particulary interested in? It's hard for me because life right now is pretty boring. I don't have any friends (here at least!) to go do things with, so my life pretty much consists of learning languages and being at home.

Something I guess which is kind of interesting is that I think I'm going to be on a basketball team. It's in Krnov, about 15 or 20km away, and it consists of like 15 girls between the ages of 12 and 17, with the average age probably being 13 or 14. It's okay they. They were really nice, and it'll be good exercise, and I just want to have friends, whether their 13 or 60. I'm also doing african drumming one day a week, which has a couple kids my age in it, so maybe I can become friends with them too. Right now it's hard in school to make friends. I thought I was doing okay, but there are good days and bad days. It's pretty much one big group, but that's hard to cut into and right now I just want like one friend at a time who I can talk to, and then maybe introduce me to other people. It would be great to be part of the big group, but I can only have conversations with one or two people right now, not 20. Hopefully it'll get better; we'll see.

čtvrtek, října 19, 2006

PSATs and Prague

So I haven't updated in a while, but I just got back from Prague, so I have a little bit to write about. Prague is a beautiful city, but I think there are more tourists there on a given day than czechs.

I went to Prague to take the PSATs (I know, I know, why?). I left at like 8 on Tuesday morning, and got there at like 1. I got to wander around a little bit on Tuesday, and saw Charles Bridge, and went around the old city (stareměsto). The metro there from the train station was the first time I had really seen an american (other than the other girl in my district, and my english teacher) in 6 weeks.

The old city has so many tourists. Every store and restaurant has signs in english, german, usually also czech and sometimes italian or spanish. Everyone speaks english. Everyone. There are tour groups everywhere, from all over the world. The common guidebooks you see say Prague, Prag, and Praga. Charles Bridge is also incredibly crowded. That whole area is one of the main destinations for tourists.

After that, I met Jen, another girl from the US who goes to school in Prague. We went to Vasiclav square, and got lunch, and talked. That is like the shopping centre of Prague. The one thing we did find though that I have missed is a place where you can get coffee to go. It's completely unheard of here, and I like just walking around, drinking coffee. Jen and I tried to find the Jewish Quarter, but by the time we found some of the synagogues, we had to go, so hopefully next time I'll be able to see more of it. Apparently there was a terrorist threat against the Jewish Quarter, so there are lots of police there.

The PSAT went well, I hope. I took it at the International School of Prague, but on the way there I ran into a group of students from Riverside school and christian international school of prague (the two other, smaller, international schools in Prague), and so I went there with them, and took it in the same room. We had to take the bus back into Prague (ISP is on the very outskirts), and we had to wait, so I got to talk to them for a little bit. Most of them have lived in Prague for a couple of years (the longest I think was 12), but none of them really know much czech. I probably know the same amount or more than they do, and I've only been here for 6 weeks. They were nice though.

After the PSAT, I went back to the old city, and got a bagel for lunch (Jen and I passed it the day before, and it looked really good), and then I headed back to the train station so I could catch a train back to Opava to be back in time for dancing. Wel, as it turned out we didn't have dancing last night for some reason. As soon as I found this out, I stood up to get off the train (There was one a couple of hours later, and I wanted to see more of Prague), but right as I got to the door, the train started moving! So I had to sit back down. I guess I'll have to wait to see the rest of Prague. The other interesting thing that happened on this train ride was that, from what I gathered from someone's broken english, there was a bomb threat on the track near Prague, so we had to stop in Kolin (like 30 minutes away), and wait. It turned out to be a false alarm, but it's a story to tell about my first time in Prague.

Prague is a pretty amazing city, but I'm glad that I wasn't placed there. It would have been cool to go to school in the city, but most people there are having a lot of problems. Most of the host families apparently only hosted to learn the students respective languages, everyone speaks english, and so people are having a hard time learning czech, and a lot of people are having problems with school for various reasons. With so many tourists also, and just being such an international/big/tourist destination city, Prague doesn't have the same czech being as smaller towns do, or even bigger towns (like Brno, the 2nd biggest city), in other parts of the county. I like my town, and I think I am getting a total czech experience now, which is what this exchange is about, learning the culture and the language. For me, right now, Prague is a place to visit, and who knows, maybe later I'll want to move there (it has been added to my list of possible cities to live in; a semi long list).

pátek, října 13, 2006

Long time

Hey everyone. I haven't posted in awhile, but there hasn't really been anything to post about.

AFS camp was fun, but I won't go into details because it's all people, and I don't think anyone would know any of them. The one interesting thing though is that out of 17 people, only 2 (including me) can have any type of conversation in czech. Me and a guy from Brazil.

Today I went to Brno for the 3rd time in 2 weeks. I still haven't seen the city though. That's the next AFS thing.

What else. I was going to do czech lessons with the other exchange students in Opava, but I went to the first one, and it's extremely basic (zakladni), and I guess I've just studied to much!

I am doing African drumming lessons however, which is really fun (and Hannah, who knows I may turn into a drummer. dum dum badum).

That's basically all that's happened in the past couple of days. Nothing too exciting. School, home. School is going well. I'm in the process of making friends (I miss you guys!). I really like spanish for some reason. Yeah, that's about it.


čtvrtek, října 05, 2006


So I'm off to AFS camp for 4 days, and so I know, those of you who check regularly will miss the update of my life here, and will forever be scarred, but I'm sorry. When I get back I will be sending out another email, so look forward to that. Anyway, čau.

Birthday Package!

So anyway, it's a good thing I'm not going to school today (AFS CAMP!) because otherwise I wouldn't have received the wonderful package with presents from home. It was amazing. I have to say. Though it does cost a lot to receive it (154 crowns), I'll overlook that. Tana: Blanket. Warm. Fuzzy. And it's cold here. Hannah: čaj means tea, which means they don't have chai! Imagine. And the pictures, well yeah. Laughable. Mom, Dad, Manda:The shirt! Děkuji! They don't make them quite the same here (strange english sayings...). And thanks for the PSAT book, and the pencil case, and everything, and mailing it to me, and all.

Miluju vy!

pondělí, října 02, 2006

My Birthday

Včera byla můj narozeniny. (Yesterday was my birthday). Byla dobra. (It was good). I'll start from the beginning. In the morning, I made pancakes for breakfast, and they turned out pretty well (I'm glad I found maple syrup). I had a little trouble turning on the stove (child safety really does work), but past that it was good. I was a little worried because I had to cook them in a pan rather than on a griddle, and I've never done that before, but it was okay.

Then we went and played squash (similar to racquetball, but only in the fact that you play inside, use a racquet, and play with two people). I definitely like squash better than aerobics (I tried that a couple of days ago and it didn't go well). More power, less dance. I'm not very good, and apparently I play like I'm playing tennis (not that I've ever played that before either), but it's fun.

Then we went apple picking at babička's. The apples are good, but I don't like doing it for 3 hours. I ended up playing around with my camera and getting some good pictures for about the last hour.

At like 3, family (host uncle, aunt and grandma's) came over, and it was another little birthday celebration. I'm glad that it was family too because it makes me feel like part of their family. I had no idea what was going on for part of it though because they were singing in czech and yeah. Chocolate and flowers are common gifts here, so now I have lots of fancy chocolate and three vases of flowers.

Yesterday was also the second time I've talked to mom, and the first time to dad since I've been here. I was really happy to talk to them. I cried a little at the beginning and end, but I realized I don't really want to go home yet, I just want to see them.

We had burritos (czech style) for dinner. They were definitely intersting. Instead of tortillas, they used homemade crepe like things. Ketchup is often used for tomato sauce, I've noticed, and there was lots of cheese, and little bits of ham (like in everything).

Anyway, that was my birthday, it was pretty good. I'll definitely remember my 16th birthday that I spent in the Czech Republic.

Yom Kippur

So right now it is 16:13 on Yom Kippur. I'm hungry. Anyway, here was my Yom Kippur (Jom Kipur). It was quite interesting.

On Rosh Hashanah (roš hašana), I asked about Yom Kippur. I got a time and a date. I thought, okay this is going to be semi-major. Yesterday (sunday--> my birthday! I'm now 16!), I texted (everyone here texts; it's cheaper than calling) the guy from Germany (Johannes) working in the Jewish community about Yom Kippur, and how I should get there. He didn't know about it. That was strange, but then later he wrote back and told me which train/tram to take.

Today was the first time I've riden the train alone. It's about a 25-30 minute train ride from Opava to Ostrava. Then I had to take the tram. That was interesting because the trams don't go from the train station, but rather from the bridge, but of course I don't think anyone knows what I'm talking about, so I'll just talk about the Jewish stuff.

The Jewish community in Ostrava is housed on 2 floors in a building in Ostrava (about 6 rooms). I got there at about 9:30. The service was supposed to be at 10. They have a worship room type thing with an ark and a torah, and then a meeting room, and an office. There were 7 people there for the service (me, Johannes [he isn't Jewish], a german/czech/english couple[I'm not sure, but I don't think they live in Ostrava], the director of the community, and then a cantor [I'm not sure from where either]). The service lasted 20 minutes and consisted of a kaddish for parents and a short prayer. That was it. It was very different for me. I'm used to a big community, and a long service.

I think I may be the only person in Opava fasting today. That's weird to think about. I got a little homesick thinking about break the fast and what that usually is at home, and how here I'm alone in this.

After the service, Johannes took me into Ostrava just to walk around and kind of see the city. We went to this tower, where I think the only people who speak english in the city work. It is like a viewing tower. It was interesting, and I took a few photos (I haven't figured out how to uplodad them yet, but I'm working on that). We talked with the guy who worked there about the Jewish history of Ostrava.

Then I went back to Opava. I didn't go to school today, as I normally don't on Yom Kippur, but instead experience a very different version of the holiday. This community only gets together a couple of times a year, and the next time is December 16th, for Hanukkah, and I think I will also go to that.

Sometime in the next month or so, I may also visit Krnov synagogue, which is about 15 km away. It is a pre WWII synagogue, but today stands only as a building, and it sometimes rented out for functions, or used as a museum.