středa, ledna 31, 2007


So, I thought it was about time to write a blog about my trip to Vienna (and I promised Grandpa I would...). So here it is.

So I went to Vienna (Wien in German, Viděn in Czech) with Marta (Iceland). We left Brno Friday morning, and got to Vienna at about 10:30. It was funny going through passport control (a person comes on the bus and checks stuff). The checker-guy was very slavic looking, and looked rather suprised to see both an icelandic passport (very cool) and an american passport in the same day, at the same time. A brief note about icelandic passports: they are very advanced. They have like this page in them that has a chip in it with all the info, and they just look cool too. Ours aren't nearly so cool. Czechs just have an ID card that they have to show to travel throught the EU.

The first thing we did in Wien was, well, obviously, get off the bus, but the first hurdle was buying a metro ticket. We bought 72-hour tickets, but this handy little machine was one that took credit cards, and for some reason it kept spitting out Marta's card. But eventually we figured it out, and were on our way. The Wien metro is very clean. The whole city is very clean. There is hardly ever trash or anything on the ground, and there are very few homeless people. Vienna didn't strike me so much as other cities that I have been to, but it's a nice city. It definitely has an older median age, and is a "high-class" city. Friday we just spent wandering around Vienna. We got off at a subway stop and just wandered from there. We spent a couple hours at the Museum Quartier, not going into any museums, but just looking at the shops. Marta and I both like modernish art, and spending a lot of time in museum shops. We found a lomography shop (best kind of photography...), and spent a long time in there. We both decided at some point during the weekend we would buy a camera. From there we kept wandering, just turning when we felt like it. We came across a couple cool shops (one was almost exactly like the crystal dragon on pearl street) and ended up on the main shopping street. We went in a few department stores, walked into Starbucks, and then decided against buying anything, and then kept wandering. Somewhere on the way we found the british council, basically an english language library/resource center. Pretty cool. They also had free internet, so we spent some time on there finding things to do. I of course, compared the prices of the cameras at the store, in prague and on ebay. After that, we both decided that we really wanted one of the cameras. I ended up getting the supersampler, and marta got ...something. I can't remember the name. you can look up lomography on google.

Friday night we went to a relatively cheap italian restaurant, and then to an english language movie theater and saw "The Queen" in english, without subtitles (that was suprising). It was pretty good. By the time we got back to our hostel it was like 10, and time for becca to go to bed in order to get enough sleep to function during the SAT!

Saturday morning was the SAT. I knew what bus to take to get there, but I hadn't looked at the times or anything. So I left for the metro station at 7, because I wanted to get there by 8. It all worked out fine until I had to walk from the bus stop to the school. I got a little lost, but thankfully with the help of a dog walker, I made it there. I was worried because I got there at like 8:10, but we didn't actually start the test until 9:15! I think it went pretty well. There was 1 math question I had a lot of trouble with, and ended up guessing on, but other than that, I think it went well. It was tiring though. The scores come out on February 15th, so I'll let you all know the results then. After the SAT I went back to the hostel to take a nap. I was so tired, and ended up sleeping for like 1.5 hours. While I was at the SAT, Marta just went around the city, and looked for second hand shops. After sending a few SMS's back and forth about when to meet, and then promptly realizing each one cost 12.5 crowns (like 60 cents) rather than the normal 2 crowns (10 cents), we met up again. After a long time. And a snow storm. Because marta ran out of credit, and then it started snowing. It snowed like 4 inches in 20 minutes. Strangest thing ever. I walked into a store, wandered around, saw a guy come in covered in snow, went huh?, walked out, and saw the snow. Marta and I finally found each other after agreeing to meet in front of the church because she couldn't send messages.... Anyway. Then we went to Starbucks, because we both decided that though we had decided the previous day not to, it was snowing, and coffee sounded good. So I got a frappuccino of course. Starbucks is expensive in Wien (3.80 euros for a tall coffee frap), but still very good nonetheless. Then we went to wait on line for standing room tickets at the Opera. The line was incredibly long, but we ended up getting tickets. THe one thing we didn't know however was how the standing room only thing worked, and so we ended up going up stairs, and realizing there were really no places left. so once it started (Don Giovanni), we like wiggled our way in between people, in a place where we could see the right side of the stage only, and all the action seemed to be happening on the left side! We ended up basically just reading the story on the screen thing that translated it. At intermission, Marta really wasn't feeling well, and so just decided to sit on the wall. I have to say I don't so much enjoy opera, but it was a "culturing" experience, and fine for only 2 euros (amazing price), but I don't plan on going again anytime soon.

Sunday we decided to take it easy because Marta was feeling better, but not up to much walking. We tried to call Sanja, a serbian girl we met in Prague during New Year's and who is studying in Vienna (and was an exchange student in Texas two years ago), but we couldn't figure out how to use the pay phones, so we didn't get to see her. We ate a lunch of appetizers from a japanese restaurant, and then went to an Andy Warhol exhibition at the Albertina. It was a pretty good exhibit, all of popstars, but pretty small. After that we went to another starbucks, and experimented with our cameras, and then at 5:30 we headed home.

čtvrtek, ledna 25, 2007


So tonight I made fajitas for my host family (well, quesadillas also for the kids). They turned out pretty well, and went over pretty well too. For me, it was just REALLY nice to eat food that has not had tremendous amounts of animal fat poured on it while cooking. Like, real food again.

Czech food is heavy. Oil/animal fat is nearly always added to the pan while cooking. It is lots of sauces, and dumplings and pork. I'm not a huge fan. I really like the sweets, but am now trying not to eat TOO many. =)

What a way to make my day!

So I was wandering around Brno this afternoon after buying bus tickets for Marta and I to Vienna, and I came across the Design Center Czech Republic. And they were having a [free] exhibition. It was amazing. Modern consumer product design. What else can a girl ask for?

Turns out it was the results of a student design contest. It was quite amazing. I have to say thought that my favorite things were these two like "life-in-a-box" posters. The concept is having everything one needs to live (bed, bathroom, table etc.) enclosed within a box, that you can open, and pull things out and down and stuff. That was one of them. The other was like a combination desk/bed thing, that you can convert for the uses of sleeping, working and hanging out. The motto was "work hard, rest well".

The Design Center Czech Republic is a really cool concept. It's a government agency concerned with promoting design in everyday life, basically. They run annual competitions for the best product, interior design and design packaging, among other things. And it is centered in Brno.

The mission of the DC CR is: "using effective tools, to promote the introduction of graphic design in the manufacturing, trade and services as one of important factors for enhancing the overall quality of products, their competitiveness and exportability, and, at the same time, to participate in the creat of harmonious level of the material culture of society that determines the national identity of products and thus helps to build their positive image abroad".

úterý, ledna 23, 2007

An idea of czech classes

So I decided I would give you all a short insight into a czech geography class. By copying my notes. I don't expect any of you to understand. I don't really either. But if anyone wants a translation, or a version w/o all the hooks and stuff, let me know.

sinolog= odborník na všechno čínské
konfuciasmus= náboženství na přelomu eilozofie

buddhismus= východo-asijské náboženství
velká zed´= 6400 km

Oppiova (1830-1842) válka => britská kolonie
=> před radě bezpečnosti = stálý člen

pokračování v probíraní Číny

nerostý: rtut´, stříbro, cín, železné rudy, wolframu, fosfátů

2. posílila lehký průmysl, zmoderní- vala závody byly vytvořeny zvláštní ekonomické zony

S, 2-naprosto pusté oblasti
nejznámější řeky- Chang Jiang
Huang He
východ- hospodářsky vybavena
od jíh na sever- monzunové časti, subtropické časti

So I think that is enough for today. If anyone wants a translation, let me know. Or y'all can try it on your own!


So I nearly forgot the reason I got on the computer in the first place. To write a post. Figure.

So the big news today is that it is snowing! The first measurable snow of the season. January 23rd. I think this is like the latest it has ever been. Yesterday was a beautiful day, when I was dying to get out on the water. And then today, the snow has come down like there is no tomorrow. I guess winter finally decided to show up, and show up with a show (there's a saying that I can't remember...)

And someone commented about the big wind storm that hit Europe. We had like 2 days with a lot of wind, but nothing extreme. I did read that like 4 people died in the country or something. I think it was worse in Germany, and on the coastal regions of Europe. We did go up into the hills though, and there were a fair amount of trees down. I'm just assuming it's from that.

pátek, ledna 19, 2007


Coaches all over the world should learn something from my new rowing coaches. They are absolutely brutal. After not having done much of anything since swimming ended, this is even worse. But hopefully it will kick my butt back into shape. After two hours today, we ran for about 25 minutes, most of it with hand weights, doing various things. And then did stations (sit-ups, pole climbs, pull ups, jumping thingys, and other various things) for about 50 minutes before playing football (soccer). It was dead tiring, but it's good. I just wonder what it will be like on the water...

středa, ledna 17, 2007

Rowing and a little dancing

So two big things have happened since I last posted. The first being that I joined a rowing (veslovani) team. So far though, I have only been to one practice, and we ran for 45 minutes, inside a tiny gym, doing an obstacle course. Let's just say I am sore. After 6 months of not too much exercise, that was brutal. I may be able to get out on the water on Saturday though, if there are enough girls, and if the weather's good. On the team, apparently, there are 10-15 "young kids" (less than about 14 I think), 10-15 "high schoolers" (I think I am one of only 3 girls though), and I think 10 "older people" (19-20 years old). It should be good though. I'm not too sure about the set up of everything, but a girl who was here from Brazil last year was on the team, and had a good time. And the two other girls apparently go to my school, and seem really nice, so I am hoping for the best.

The other thing I have done recently is go to Marta's (Iceland) end of dance class ball (I had mine December 10th...). She lives in Uherské Hradiště, which is about 75km away, or about 1 hour and 20 minutes by bus. After some confusion with me waiting at the bus station for her host father to pick me up, I got to her house, and then we just hung out and got ready and waited for Diego (Brasil) to come. The ball started at 7, and the beginning is basically just the class dancing the dances that they have learned (polka, jive, cha cha, slow fox, waltz etc.). And then it is just sort of like anyone can dance. I ended up dancing a lot with Diego, basically just because, well, neither of us knew anyone else there, and for the first time, I actually enjoyed it. I don't hate it so much anymore, and realized I am not too horrible. Diego and I ended up joining Marta's dance class in the ribbon/heart giving (girls give ribbons to boys, boys give hearts to girls; the ones with the most are like, well, something), which all started with an attempt to take pictures for Marta, and then also a strange muscial chair contest that we did because Marta's dance teacher is also Diego's dance teacher, and so he wanted to have the foreign kids do something, and it was fun. It was normal musical chairs, but you dance the polka... Diego and I ended up winning. It was fun. The dance lasted until like midnight, and then Marta, Diego and I ended up staying up until like 3, only to have to wake up at 5:30 (Diego and I) to go catch our respective trains/buses. It was fun. I ended up not going to school today, but rather going home, organizing my school stuff, starting to translate some physics and sleeping. Tomorrow I start my new schedule (which I was given like 1.5 weeks ago, but have missed a lot of school due to various illnesses). I'm a little nervous because it's hard to meet a bunch of new people at once, but I am just going to do it. The worst that can happen isn't that bad. So wish me luck for school, and that I don't get too much work! (that i am worried about; it takes like 3 times as long to do anything).

neděle, ledna 14, 2007


I came across a quote that really hit me:

"I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world."
-Maryanne Radmacher-Hershey

sobota, ledna 13, 2007


So I got skis today. Well, borrowed them. If nothing better comes along apparently. So the slight hitch in this is that there is absolutely no snow. I have three ski trips planned for February, ranging from 4 days to 8 days, and there may not be snow for any of them. Today was 12 degrees Celcius (like 54 Farenheit) and it's crazy. Last year was the coldest winter they had in a long time (it got down to like -30 Celcius, or -22 Farenheit), and this year, it is incredibly warm. Everyone had ski trips planned for Christmas, and then they got cancelled due to the lack of snow. I hope it snows sometime, because I would like to try skiing again, but there is no guarantee.

úterý, ledna 09, 2007


So I am going to Vienna to take the SAT on the 27th. I am going to make a weekend out of it, and go with one or two of my other exchanger friends. Anyone have any suggestions about what to do there?

100 People

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of 100 people, with all the existing human ratios staying the same, it would look like this. There would be:
  • 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Americas (both North and South), and 8 Africans
  • 70 would be non-white, 30 would be white
  • 70 would be non-Christian, 30 would be Christian
  • 89 would be heterosexual, 11 would be homosexual
  • 59 percent of the world's wealth would be in the ahnds of only 6 people, and all 6 would be citizens of the United States
  • 80 would live in subsidized housing
  • 70 would be unable to read
  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition
  • 1 would be near death and 1 would be near birth
  • Only 1 would have a college education
This was posted on the wall of an English classroom. The numbers really hit you. 1 with a college education, something so stressed, and expected, in our society. It really is a valuable thing. 11 homosexuals. 11%. All the homophobics in the world are fighting a huge number. 70 would be unable to read. All is so far from the society I am used to, and the society I am currently living in . A real culture shock would be to go live in the subsidized housing, among those suffering from malnutrition. That apparently, is how half the world lives. 59% of the money in 6% of the people. You don't realize that until it's looked at like this. But how to change it?

pondělí, ledna 08, 2007

...and life continues

So today was my first day of school after the christmas break, and then my sick break. It went pretty well. School is hard because I constantly have to be on my feet, and talk to people and stuff.

I am in the process of getting a schedule that I can participate. I just have to convince the english teacher who is helping me that I don't need a million english classes. I think she wants to like show me off. But it's annoying. I think I will end up with math, physics, spanish, german, geography, english, art, music and maybe one or two others.

After school I was supposed to go to rowing, but the girl didn't text me back until 30 minutes before, and I had already left my stuff at school, so I will start on Friday (they don't have it this wednesday). Instead, when I was about to go home, some kids from my class invited me to go play pool with them. It was fun. One of the girls is going to the US next year (somewhere in the Northeast). We ended up staying for like 3 hours, and also playing fooseball, and bowling. My skills in all have disintegrated. It's sad, but hopefully not permanent.

I also bought a new journal today. Me, the person who had the same diary for 10 years and wrote 10 pages, is already finished with one. But the one I bought is really good. It has like hammars and drills and saws and stuff on the cover. I like it. I'll post a picture of it sometime. Writing has turned out to me my way of getting things out, and not keeping them inside. I suppose it's good.

neděle, ledna 07, 2007

sobota, ledna 06, 2007

Exciting things

So in the past couple weeks, there are been two things from back home which are really exciting to me. The first is:

Becca has a car! Well, a truck to be exact, but it has 4 wheels, and goes (I hope...), and is one of the ones I like. So now I guess I really have to work on getting my license when I get back, something which it looks like BVSD is giving me one less week to do. They have [finally] decided to change the school schedule, and start school a little earlier (August 17th) and end at the end of May. And have 1st semester finals before Winter Break. Finally. People realizing what students have wanted since the beginning of time. No one likes to have 2 weeks off filled with studying. So when I get home, I have 14 more hours to drive, and I also have to learn how to drive stick, and then I can drive my truck to school!

The other exciting news I got today is about my PSAT scores. So I know I'm crazy in taking the PSAT and SAT here, but hey, it seems to be paying off. I got a selection index (combined score) is 230, out of 240. It's very exciting because I got all the math questions right (score of 80), 2 reading questions wrong (score of 78) and 3 writing questions wrong (score of 72). In all the sections, it said that I scored higher than 99% of all juniors, both in Colorado and nation-wide. Now I just hope that these scores continue when I take the SAT this month in Vienna. I'm a little worried about the essay, seeing as I haven't written anything formal in like 7 months, but hopefully it will go okay. It was weird because I got a text tonight from Dad saying, you there? call us. At first I was really scared, because our calls aren't supposed to be this week, and it sounded like maybe something bad happened. So I got on the computer and saw that it was about good news, not bad, thank g-d. So I talked to my parents tonight, and heard about my PSAT scores. I'm excited, and just hope now that they don't go down dramatically on the actual test.

čtvrtek, ledna 04, 2007

Pictures Updated

So all the pictures up now on my picasas are all organized into Albums and everything. Check the links below.

Contemplating the workings of my mind

So I am being very czech right now, and taking 3 days off from school for a simple head cold. Partly because tomorrow I am watching my host brother (who is also sick) for a couple hours, and partly because the last time I went to school and was a little sick, I was constantly hounded with questions about why I was at school when I was sick. I have decided that czechs take 2 weeks off for a sore throat. And go to the doctor for everything. I haven't been yet, because, hey, I just have a cold.

So my mind recently has been centered around college. Why, I don't know. I'm halfway through writing a really long post on my college search. I have decided that this is because I always need something to worry about. My family stuff is going really well, so now I need something else. But today I started thinking about my favorite movies. I haven't listed them in a long time. This all happened while watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which I remember watching a couple times after getting it for a birthday or Hanukkah present. And it was awesome cuz I figured out that some of the channels can be changed into english. or hungarian, but I usually opt for english. So anyway, right now my list of favorite movies is (in no particular order):
Brokeback Mountain
Bend It Like Beckham
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Clockwork Orange
Edward Scissorhands
Dirty Dancing
Good Will Hunting
Music of the Heart
Nowhere in Africa
Goodbye Lenin

úterý, ledna 02, 2007

New Year's

Hey, so I got back yesterday from New Year's in Prague, and I have to say I had a great time. I left Brno at about 2 pm on the 30th and got to prague at about 4:30. I spent Saturday hanging out with everyone at various pubs (and McDonalds...they all like it a lot). McDonalds is a lot more expensive here than in the States. I have eaten it more here than I ever did in the US. Saturday we had about 12 people, mostly AFS students, but also one volunteer, two of her friends (another boy from the Czech Republic, and a girl from Serbia, both living in Vienna). The girl from Serbia was on exchange in Texas with the volunteer. She was really nice. There was also a girl from Portugal who was on exchange here last year. We stayed out until about 2:30 in the morning, and then walked back to our hostel. It was the first time I had ever stayed in a hostel. It was nice. We had 11 people in the hostel, in one dormitory room.

On the first, we took our stuff to Diego's host brother's apartment, and then split up until we would meet that night at another pub. I went with Mint (Thailand), Marta (Iceland), and Poom (Thailand). We went to a really cheap clothing store (I bought a jacket!), and then headed over to a Thai restaurant in Prague. On the way there we took a bunch of pictures along the river (In 2 days, I took about 300 pictures => that's what happens when you are with asians!). The Thai restaurant was really good (according to the Thais), even though the cook was Czech. We had a really good soup, pad thai, and a chicken dish. Whenever they give us Thai food, it is always found that I am the only one other than the Thais who like spicy food, so we commiserated about losing our tolerance for spicy food. Marta turned red, because she is not used to it. And we had lychee juice, which is really really good. That afternoon before we went to meet the others at the pub we had been at the night before, we went up to Prague castle. It had just turned dark, and it was really nice. You could see the whole city, with all the lights, and some of the fireworks. I have a bunch of pictures. We took various pictures through the whole castle. I have to say the time I have most ever felt like a tourist was when we took pictures with the guards in front of the castle. Just something about standing next to someone who doesn't move is a little weird.

After the castle, we went for dinner in the cheapest place we could find around Charle's Bridge, and then headed over to the pub after picking up two more Thais (one student and one guy who was here about 4 years ago, and is now interning in the main office) and the host brother of the girl. At the pub were about 25 or 30 people. There were a bunch of people I haven't seen since the first orientation and some I have never met before (they came late). Among the ones I haven't met before was a girl from New Zealand (Amelia) and another girl from Brazil (Julia). I ended up hanging out for awhile with Marta, Amelia and Tang (the guy from Thailand), talking really fast english (marta's english is really good, as is Tang's, who is majoring in English). At about 11 we headed into Vaclaske Namesti, with a million (I'm not sure how many...) of our closest friends. I didn't drink much all night (1 beer and 1 absinthe) and I'm glad. In our group there definitely were some people who were drunk. We spent about 3 hours in Namesti, acting relatively crazy, hugging each other and dancing to the music. There were a group of 4 germans who kind of attached themselves to our group, and I guess had a really good night with a german girl and the two other americans...

Anywho, that night ended at about 3, after trying to find a dance club, but concluding that they were all too expensive, heading back to the pub, and them closing on us. We tried to get home, but it turned out that one bus ran at 3:30, and the next at 7, because it was a holiday, but we finally made it home at about 5 after some walking and taxi's (hailed by girls...they got a cheaper fare).

Overall, it was probably the best new year's i've ever had, and definitely one to remember. It was weird when I got off the metro for the first time at the horse in vaclaske namesti, and there was a concert going on, and it hit me that I was in a major european city for new year's.