Yeeeeah…
(Self Portrait #2, December 23, 2011; Rome, Italy)

Yeeeeah…

(Self Portrait #2, December 23, 2011; Rome, Italy)

I have officially spent my first 24 hours in Italy.

And I think I am going to gain 50,000 pounds. And I am very okay with that.

And finally,

I’m sitting here attempting to find the words that would appropriately and eloquently sum up my time in Prague. But I feel like I’m coming up short.
Maybe it was the two delicious meals I ate today, or maybe I’m emotionally drained from all of the hugs and “goodbyes” and “thank you so much for everything”s.

But, really, I think it’s because it hasn’t quite hit me that I’m leaving. And when it does, it will hit like a freight train and I will likely get emotional. So here I am now, before I unleash my petulant tearful whines onto the interwebs.

There are so many things I am going to miss about this city and the people in it. I will miss the silence on the trams and the sound of car tires on cobblestones. I will miss the way the Prague Castle shines against the night sky like a cardboard cutout. I will miss the lady on the trams announcing the stops (I swear, it’s because of her that I’ve learned how to pronounce Czech words). I am sad to leave the amazing Czech people I have met—program staff, university friends, and professors who have taught me so much about this vibrant culture. I will miss cheap beer and wine by the liter. I’ll miss dancing around my room to “Levels” or recording music videos of Adele songs with Chloe. I’ll miss hearing Rihanna in fancy restaurants (sort of). I’ll miss saying things like “typický,” “ahoj,” “děkuju,” “prosim,” “na shledanou” and all of the other marvelous Czech words we’ve learned. I’ll miss pointing at menus, being afraid of asking directions, and feeling intimidated by small children who can speak Czech better than I can.
I’ll miss 8:50 Czech class with Luděk, the wackiest teacher I’ve ever had, but in the best way. I’ll miss having to jog to keep up with Marie Homerova as she shows us around Prague in “the second carriage!” I’ll miss hearing about the weather every day in “Jews class.” I’ll miss the amazing discussions in National Identity with the smartest, most Dutch man in the world, Professor Moree. And I will miss actually EVERYTHING about Prof. Holub’s class—his outfits, his jokes, “stuuuuudents,” our facebook threads.

And of course, all of the wonderful friends I’ve made on this program. I don’t think I can handle mentioning everyone by name right now (too sad!), but I will eventually. This isn’t the last time you’ll hear from me on this blog of course. I fly to Rome tomorrow with my family and will be spending ten more days in Italy before going home. So I will be posting about Roma in the next few days!

But for now, na schledanou Prague. I can’t even begin to express how blessed I felt every single day that I lived here. This city’s history is so deep and multifaceted and fascinating. It’s also really inspiring. I have learned so much about human rights and the struggles of new democracies and basic freedoms. I have gained so many new perspectives, and that was refreshing. Being so out of my comfort zone all the time is exhilarating and I think the most important thing I’ve realized here: I never stopped learning. Not for a single second. My brain was on constant overload at all times and I absolutely loved it.

Thank you for that, Prague.

See you in Italia! Ciao bella!

Christmas in the Czech Republic! (vánoce v česká republika)
Christmas is usually celebrated here on the 24th—the streets are quiet, the shops are closed, and people go to church (the only day they do so). In the evening, they celebrate with a big delicious feast of…fried carp. Right now on the streets of Prague, you can see these huge vessels containing live carp that you are supposed to buy and keep in your bathtub until Christmas. It’s a funny little tradition here, and I had the opportunity to have a traditional Czech Christmas dinner the other night: carp, salad (of the potato variety), peanuts in their shells, and soup.I’ve never really been partial to fried fish of any kind, but I tried the carp in the interest of being as Czech as possible.
Thanks to my friend Ryan for the picture (that’s his bathtub and carp)! I’m just going to tack the wonderfully, delightfully different holiday traditions onto my list of things I’m going to miss about the Czech Republic.
But I’m not talking about leaving yet, though it is 4 days away.

Christmas in the Czech Republic! (vánoce v česká republika)

Christmas is usually celebrated here on the 24th—the streets are quiet, the shops are closed, and people go to church (the only day they do so). In the evening, they celebrate with a big delicious feast of…fried carp. Right now on the streets of Prague, you can see these huge vessels containing live carp that you are supposed to buy and keep in your bathtub until Christmas. It’s a funny little tradition here, and I had the opportunity to have a traditional Czech Christmas dinner the other night: carp, salad (of the potato variety), peanuts in their shells, and soup.
I’ve never really been partial to fried fish of any kind, but I tried the carp in the interest of being as Czech as possible.

Thanks to my friend Ryan for the picture (that’s his bathtub and carp)!
I’m just going to tack the wonderfully, delightfully different holiday traditions onto my list of things I’m going to miss about the Czech Republic.

But I’m not talking about leaving yet, though it is 4 days away.

"The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness, and human responsibility."
Václav Havel.

"how to master every language in the world like Jiři Holub"

My Central European Politics professor is not only a professor, former ambassador, Jedi, and sharp-dresser. He also can speak up to about 18 different languages. It’s really quite disgusting amazing. We asked him how he learned so many, and he gave us a half hour lesson on how to approach learning language.

My friend Rachel made this summary for everyone’s benefit:

  1. You must begin with Latin. Latin is compulsory. You must study Latin for one year. Then you can go on to learn French and Portuguese and Romanian. Latin is the base of all European languages. You must learn 1 to 2000 words, then travel to Spain when you are 40.
  2. After you master Latin, you must study German, then Swedish.
  3. After that, one Slavic language. You already know 300 Czech words. I say you really know 5,000 words if you think about them and switch them around.
  4. You must study language for 10 hours per day.
  5. So you know Latin, German, and English. But stuuuuuudents, we must study Greek! This is compulsory!
  6. After you master Greek, you must turn to Asian languages. Study Chinese first. Without Chinese, you cannot understand ancient Japanese legal texts. Which is, of course, why you study languages.
  7. And finally you must study Arabic. Arabic is compulsory!
  8. Do not worry about grammar. Grammar is not so hard. Vocabulary, now, that is what you should focus on. 5,000 words in every language.
  9. To be proficient, you must study everything twice. Ya.
  10. To learn you must start tonight. Tonight you start Greek.

10 easy, fool-proof steps! You can find the original post on Rachel’s blog!

I currently have 2 internet browsers (one for each paper), a total of 14 tabs, and 6 word documents open.

Guys, finals still happen abroad. Apparently.

Půjdem spolu do Betléma”


This is a Czech Christmas carol that my Czech class will be performing at our end-of-semester ceremony. Hilarity will ensue.