sobota, prosince 30, 2006


Woo-hoo! I'm going to Prague for new year's with like 14 of my other exchange buddies. I'm excited. Sorry for not updating recently, but the past couple of days have been nothing other than sleeping until 11 and playing board games. Read it: winter break. So I leave tomorrow afternoon for Prague, and get back on the night of the 1st.

And something else. I know I'm crazy, but I've decided to take the SATs again. But hey, I'm taking them in Vienna. I mean, that's got to count for something.

středa, prosince 27, 2006


Helle, so I finally have some real pictures on the internet. There are lots. Most of them have been annotated so far, and they will be organized soon. The web addresses are:

I have right now like 1000 pictures, and each one holds about 500, meaning that more websites will come.

Have fun!

neděle, prosince 24, 2006

Vesele Vanoce!

Vesele Vanoce! So Christmas here is celebrated on the night of the 24th, with dinner and the tree and presents and everything. The tree was put up yesterday, and then today was the dinner at four (traditionally fried carp and potato salad; kind of like an american picnic). But I had fried chicken. And the kids had fish fingers. Only Babicka had carp. And then we went upstairs (the tree is in the kids room), and of course Jesizcek had brought the presents), and opened presents. Then it was over.

Overall, I have to say Christmas isn't all it's cracked up to be. I like the history of Hanukkah better.

středa, prosince 20, 2006

Snow....wait, what snow?

So I have just been informed by Lena, that all you people over there in Boulder/Louisville/Lafayette had a snow day today. So I though I would do a little czech weather report.


It's crazy. A bunch of people are cancelling Christmas plans to go to the mountains because there is no snow. Apparently the best place has 35cm of ARTIFICIAL snow.

This is crazy. And apparently Brno doesn't get as cold as Opava, nor does get as much snow. But I do get to go skiing (if there is ever snow; my family likes to ski).

Mornings here have been around -1 or -2 (celcius), and a little bit warmer during the day.

New Family

So on Sunday, I went to my new family. I found out that I would be going on Sunday Saturday night.

Anyway, they live in a village of about 5,000 people about 25 km from Brno, where my school is (the same school that I started). There are parents, Dana and Martin, and two little boys, Radim (aged 6) and Vladan (aged 8).

So far things are going well. They are very nice, and I like them. The only thing I worry about is the distance from Brno, where my school, activities and hopefully most of my friends will be. There are buses going semi regularly, until about 11, which isn't too bad.

I will be sending out an email update within the week, with some more info, including the address (snail mail!)


Happy Hanukkah!

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile.

So, it is now (obviously) Hanukkah, and yes, I have been celebrating. The first night, I went to t the synagogue in Brno, which is nice. It is pretty small (not as small as Ostrava), and is a more orthodox synagogue. There are some families with small children, and I think three families from Israel.

It was a much different service than I am used to. The rabbi seemed to be rushing through everything, and mumbled the whole time. I am used to (and prefer) a more participatory service.

I went to the service with (I think) the boyfriend of the sister of the woman I was staying with. After the service, we walked back to the sister's house (like 45 minutes, in the cold), to do something there. There, we lit the menorah, and I attempted to make latkes without a recipie (they actually turned out pretty well, but they don't have applesauce here!). We played scrabble (not quite dreidel, but interesting in czech and english).

Lately, with my new family, I have been lighting the menorah, and attempting to explain the concept of Hanukkah in czech. I have given them geld (lovingly sent from my mommy), and then open my presents (also lovingly sent my by mommy!) alone.

There are very few Jews here, and for many people I am the first Jew that they have met. It is interesting to think that I may be the one that shapes people's opinions on Jews and Americans.

úterý, prosince 12, 2006

My first day of school in Brno

Yes, you read that right. Today was my first day of school in Brno. But no, that does not mean I have a new family, or that I will be living in Brno. It's more like something for me to do during the day instead of sleep late and wander around Brno. I guess it is a good thing.

Today went better than most of my days at school in Opava. Again (like the one day experience in Krnov), I was put in a class with 15 year olds. I would rather be in an older class, but as this is only temporary, I am willing to deal with it. They were nice. I only talked to a couple of people, but a girl named Bara (Barbora), showed me around, and we talked. She swims everyday on a team in Brno, and said that she would talk to her coach and see if I can come some time. She also said that there is another American who is there sometimes...I have no more information on that subject, but maybe I'll find out more later. Another girl named Nikola invited me to see something tomorrow (I'm guessing in the city somewhere), and to go out with her and some people on Friday night.

It was good. I hope it will be a good experience, even if temporarily, and gives me hope for the next school (which will most likely come).

Hanukkah Package!

So I got my Hanukkah package today! It was exciting, but alas, I still don't know what is inside seeing as it is not Hanukkah yet, and everything is wrapped. So I plan on celebrating Hanukkah here, in my own Czech style (definitely not a holiday for most czechs...).

Foreigners on the Trolley bus

So there are definitely a lot more foreigners in Brno than in Opava, and I have taken to asking where people are from if I hear them speaking English on the trolley bus that sounds different than czech accented English. So far, I have met a guy from Birmingham here studying medicine for 6 years, and one guy from "just outside of New York" that sounded a lot like Uncle Scott (we have any relatives doing graduate school until Christmas in Brno? =D), who is going home on Saturday and not coming back.

My Opavian Weekend, and the posts to come

So to make it easier and less confusing for those of you following my confusing life, I am separating the past couple of days into a couple of posts. The first is here: My Opavian weekend

So Sunday night was my kolona (ples, bal etc.). Basically it was the ball that follows the end of the dancing class that czech kids take. Since the ball was in Opava, and I am currently situated in Brno, I had to go up to attend.

I went up on Saturday (my first experience taking a bus, and not a train, from place to place; rather nice actually, kind of like an airplane of wheels) and stayed until Monday. It was good to see Maria, Mint and Oey again, even if it had been only the previous weekend (or two; i don't remember) that I had seen them. We went to our old haunts (Pizzeria Uno; we tend to spend like 4 or 5 hours at a time there, just eating and talking), wandered around the christmas markets and just hung out.

Sunday was a lazy day, and then getting ready for the ball. Mint came over with Oey and we just hung out and got ready. Straighting my hair is something apparently everyone wants to do, so this time Maria's host sister, Vendy, did it. Though I have to say, Mint is more meticulous! I got help with makeup stuff (as most people know, it is not something I really know how to do), and then we went off to the "kulturni dum" (culture house) for our ball. It lasted from 5 until 10 pm, and consisted of us dancing (I can't dance, had a new partner, and hadn't been to the last 2 classes, which really didn't make a difference), a couple "professional" dance pairs, some little kids doing baton twirling and cheerleading like stuff, and some medieval interprative sword fight. I got to see the two people from my old class that I think I would have become friends with, and would like to keep in touch with, and hang out with my exchanger friends.

Monday, Maria "finished school early", and so I stayed until like 4. We did more old haunts (aka pizzeria uno), and more wandering around the christmas markets. I bought socks, and started to buy a few presents for a few people. Then I took the train back to brno, and came to where I live here. It was a good weekend.

pátek, prosince 08, 2006

A lazy day and the vanoční trh

So today is officially another lazy day. I haven't been to school in like 2 weeks (minus the one day at the school of the family that had a cat, and thus wouldn't work, and the one day with all the other exchangers talking to the school of the girl who would have been my host sister, but the parents are in Thailand, and thus that didn't work either), and so my days have been filled with sleep, reading, and Brno.

I am still waiting for a family, but that is supposed to happen soon (I hope; life is boring alone for 2 weeks with no one to hang out with). I rather looking forward to that. It will be hard, but I plan on completely starting over (minus the language==> that I have a pretty good handle on and definitely don't want to start over), and from the beginning trying really hard, and being outgoing and open to EVERYTHING (well, almost everything).

So yesterday was officially 7 months until the return date on my plane ticket; July 7th. That was a milestone. The past three months have gone by really quickly. The past 2 weeks haven't so much, but I figure with a new family, school, hopefully friends, and Christmas coming up, the next couple months will fly by. It's like I'm already 3/10 of the way done with an incredibly hard swimming set. I have to keep going, and when I finish I will really feel like I have accomplished something.

The Vanočni trh translates to the christmas market. A short czech lesson: r often functions as a vowel in czech words. Thus the famous saying: strč prst skrz krk (stick a finger down/through your throat). Anyway, in all the towns (most of the bigger ones anyway, like bigger than 10,000) there is a a market, with little house things selling things, a christmas tree, and good food. There is slovakian cheese, which is really good, but I can't remember the name right now; turecky med (turkish honey), which is like a hard sweet with nuts, and is really good; bramborak (like a latke==> they don't have any with jalepenos =(; medovina (alcoholic honey; i havne't tried it yet) and other delicious things.

This weekend I am going up to Opava to see my dear exchangers, and to go to the end ball for my dance class (I ended up missing the last two classes), so I probably won't be doing much dancing, but that is okay!

Anyway, I am going to try to update more often. I was going through some stuff before, but I am alive, and surviving. This weekend will hopefully be good, and once I get a new family and stuff, I expect things to slowly get better. I will send out another email with my new address and things (snail mail is always appreciated!), once I get them.

úterý, prosince 05, 2006

The hectic life of a lone wanderer

So I'm not exactly a lone wanderer, but that is sort of how I have felt recently. I'm sorry that I haven't updated recently, but I've been going through a lot of stuff. This is just to let you know that I am okay.

So basically 2 Fridays ago, I left Opava and Neplachovice to come live in Brno with a volunteer until they could find me a new family. That is where I am now. I found out I was coming to Brno about a day before it happened, which kind of messed with my head. I was picking up my life and moving with one day's notice. I knew that I would be moving, but I thought I would stay in Opava until I did.

Basically since then I have been in Brno, not doing much other than exploring the city. There isn't much, here, but it's a nice city, the 2nd biggest in the Czech Republic. Last weekend was our Christmas orientation, so for four days I got to hang out with the rest of the AFSers. I think this one was the best so far, and I truly wish it was longer. We learned about czech christmas, christmas in other countries, ate sweets, did a gift exchange, went to a disco, went swimming and just hung out. It was really fun. I hung out this time mostly with the asian kids (thailand, japan, hong kong), a girl from iceland, a girl from turkey and a boy from spain.

Anyway, I will let you guys know what happens over the next couple days, but I'm just telling you I am alive.