Monday, January 26, 2009

Czech is hard.

We started Czech classes today, but before I get into that, let fill you in on the last few days. Suffice it to say that I never knew the number 4 could be so complicated ("čtyři", the hardest word EVER). I guess I'll always be wanting 3 or 5 of things.

Anyway, I moved into my apartment Saturday! I packed up all my stuff at Andrew's and hauled it across town to Křižíkova 17, which is in a charming little area very awesomely known as "Karlín" (pronounced "Karleen"). Again, I got completely freaking lost after I got off the metro. I walked up to an old German couple and asked, "Prosim, Křižíkova?" and they asked me, "Sprechen si Deutsch?" (or however you spell that) But they were able to point me in the right direction. When I found myself at Křižíkova 53, I knew I had gone the wrong direction. Eventually I found my place.

Krizikova 17 is conveniently located between a charming little pub and a sex shop. Yes, an adult movie store, to be more precise. On the upside, I haven't seen anyone ever go in or out of the sex shop, so it doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. On the downside, it's a sex shop. Next to my apartment.

On the whole though, I really like my apartment, with all it's little quirks. The good things: it's ginormous, an apartment this size would be outrageously expensive anywhere in America; my bed is comfy; the shower stays hot through the showers of five girls; we have a fully equipped kitchen that even has a pantry; it's only 1 minute away from the "Florenc" metro stop. The bad things: the place being so large makes it quite drafty, especially at night, and there are train tracks right outside our window that make it difficult to nap during the day. But I'd say the good outweighs the bad. There's also a pretty incredible view of the city right from my window.

I also met all my fellow USAC students and my roommates. My roommate's name is Casey, and I have three flatmates, Adriane, Lisa, and Amanda. I think we should get along just fine.

Sunday morning I tried my hardest to go to the International Baptist Church, but those tricky metro stops foiled me again. It was pretty much like the last time I got lost after getting off the metro, except this time I wasn't lugging baggage behind me. I had heeled boots on instead. Which leads me to...

-Wearing heels to walk for more than an hour on cobblestone streets.

Don't ever do it. Pain and suffering ensue. I had intended to change my shoes before the orientation/walking tour, but I had walked farther out of my way than I realized when trying to find the church. So I met the group at Wenceslas Square wearing my boots. Never again. My feet still hurt. Cobblestones + heels = big trouble.

The walk around the city was nice though. We went up to our school, in an area called Vyšehrad, which is the oldest Slavic area in the city. It is completely, breathtakingly gorgeous up there. I'm excited to go to school because I get to walk through that fortress everyday. Speaking of school, I have an amazing schedule. My classes go from 3:30 to 7 on Monday, 9 to 12 and 3:30 to 5:00 on Tuesday, NONE on Wednesday, 3:30 to 7 on Thursday, and NONE on Friday. I have a weekend in the middle of the week. Huzzah!

After orientation, the program directors (Jan and Petr) showed us Tesco, which is basically K-Mart. I bought a pillow because the one that came on my bed is total crap, then my roommates and I went back to our area and embarked on the adventure that is grocery shopping in the Czech Republic. First of all, the grocery stores are called "Albert" and "Billa" and from the outside they don't really look like grocery stores. Inside, there's a whole world you never knew existed. I spent about 10 minutes in the cheese section, trying to find a non-blu, non-meat flavored cheese. The bread is in bins like produce, separated by type. You can buy hot dog bun-ish rolls, delicious croissants, whole loaves of rye (for under a dollar) and all kinds of other bread that have cheese or salami or something that resembles chocolate baked into them. It's amazing. Grocery shopping is an experience, and thankfully, a cheap one. I bought several days worth of food for under twenty dollars.

As I mentioned earlier, the language is fairly terrifying. Romance languages are so easy compared to this crazy Slavic business. It seems like a cruel joke being played on me. Our teacher wrote this sentence on the board this morning: "Třista třicet tři stríbrnych střikacek střikalo přes třista třicet tři stríbrnych střech." That is a real sentence that apparently means something to some people in the world. F'real, though. Crazy.

BUT! She had us all take a turn reading the sentence and after I read, she asked me if I'd studied Czech before. Small victories, my friends, small victories.

And now I will go make myself a delicious sandwich out of cheese that smells like bacon, the most deliciously ripe tomatoes I've ever had in January, and a meat that I'm pretty sure is turkey. Word.


  1. Oh, my dear, I love reading your adventures. You write so descriptively and you're quite funny. I can picture it all right there with ya! Mom

  2. I KNEW "MOMFY" WAS YOUR MOM. Hello! To both of you! And Riggles, I could've told you before you left that Czech is hard. Duh. And I'm glad you found grocery stores - it took my friends who went to Prague last year at least a week to connect "Albert" with "sustenance." I miss your face. And I love looking at those puppies. Mmm, puppies.