Divoká Šárka and other stuff

I had plans for last weekend but I got sick and they all got shuffled. Next weekend is Pride so I’m staying in Prague but I’m going after that.

Instead, after my morning lesson today, I went to Divoká Šárka. I’ve been avoiding this area for a full year now because I thought “Eeh, it’s still IN Prague, how good can it be.”

Apparently REALLY GOOD. I did a pretty hard hike, not long (2h) but A LOT of climbing, and I was exhausted but I still feel so alive. The nature is beautiful, the planes are really close 😀 and I was early enough that there was almost no one there! (Also I was totally on an unmarked path so I could perspire and expire in peace and it was well worth it.)

Last week was odd. I saw a Serbian guy steal a bunch of food from Albert and couldn’t gather enough Czech to tell people on time, I saw a little girl standing next to a car and scratching the paint off with her nails, I saw a man with a huge cross chase a homeless man off a tram for humming and walking in place (it’s a thing he does, I’ve seen him around a lot). And in all these situations I was too slow to react (well, the girl afaik was scratching her family’s car, that one I decided was none of my business 😀 ). Still though, I was pretty upset about my own lack of reaction to the other stuff. I REALLY hate causing a fuss in public though *sigh* I don’t even know how to work on that.

I’m making good progress with both my German and my Czech book. I have to remind myself often that it’s perfectly normal to read books slowly when they are in your 4th and 5th language 😀 (Yes I’m claiming French as my third, come at me.)

I bought a cheapo bookshelf! My original plan – and I still think I’ll do it, just now I don’t have to rush my social anxiety – was to get some wooden crates and tie them together into a makeshift shelf, but then I found a lady selling a “shoe rack” for 100czk and I jumped on that instead.

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Now things aren’t just laying around, yay after 8 months I made decoration progress… ANYWHOOOO

Oh and finally, plant update. The palm tree is doing pretty well despite the parasite. It seems to enjoy the weekly showers 😀 My Winter flower leaves are growing WAY UP and now there’s a full on clover next to them so that’s nice 😀 at least one flower I have is making it. (My succulents now are 50:50, I think I underestimated how much water some of them would need. Whoops.)

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That is one happy waving dolphin.

Aaaand remember the tiny little plant I stole from Vysehrad? IT’S A BIG BOY NOW!

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ETA: duh, I dyed my hair finally. Into my natural color… well, natural if I hadn’t started going gray when I was 25, thanks.

Hrubá Skála – Český ráj

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This weekend I finally went to Česky raj. My walking partner is injured so I went alone. I decided to take the easier-to-find route, starting from Hruba Skala zamek, instead of finding my way from Turnov, and as I made my way down to Turnov at the end of the hike, I saw what a good idea it was. While the hike up would have been healthier (whether I would have survived is debatable) I definitely would have gotten lost. I did anyway for a bit but I found my way back just in time to catch the train from Turnov mesto – and talk mushrooms with a local picker.

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I only saw the first castle from the outside, I was trying to save as much money as possible 🙂
I bought the hiking badge there since I wasn’t sure what was on the other side and I was off.

The hike wasn’t that hard. There are some ups and downs but mostly it’s flat with a beautiful view so you can stop every now and then and just breathe and enjoy. (Minus the tourists, and Americans testing a way too noisy drone …)

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It’s a beautiful forest but, too touristy for me. So many people, there was no way to really disconnect. The only part that was tourist free was the walk down, because they are picked up at Valdštejn.

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This was a fun find

I did see A LOT of blueberries. And apparently there are edible mushrooms. So I really need to get into that, because I can only walk without a purpose for so long.

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Žďárský Potok

I haven’t been writing because I was kinda overwhelmed by my camp work, but now it’s over and I’m on the bus and ready to talk about it 🙂

It was so good! One thing I didn’t realize is how very Czech this whole experience would be. I’m sure for people who grew up here it’s no big deal, but as an immigrant I am clearly detached from whatever is “real Czech life”. Especially with my job. Some of my students are Czech but frankly it’s 50:50. And ALL of my friends are foreigners.

So this camp was… Czech kids, Czech leaders, Czech village IN MORAVIA, Czech habits… I loved it. We went hiking, walked in the forest in the middle of the night, grilled špekáček and occasionally I even spoke Czech with the kids. :)) (not the adults so much, they are too fast, I’m now on vocabulary level of like 3yo Czech kid 🙂 )

I sang my first Czech song in front of the (I’m sure super judgmental) teens and it was great! I mean.. it was Maja the bee. They clapped. :))

Oh, and lol, we had shared batrooms: good lordt everything christians told me about Czechs is true! :)) but since I’m awkward ardwaark and they figured it out they kinda let me shower alone for which I’m most grateful.

I learned a Czech riddle! ” Šli dva, šli tři. Kolik jich šlo? Dva Šlitři!”

The camp itself is kinda overwhelming. Kids need constant entertainment and you have to plan a lot, not be repetitive, with smaller kids you have to wipe a lot of tears, know how to approach them etc etc etc… but frankly with these kids none of it seemed so hard. Well, the first group I was with. The second were older, teens, kinda moody, but I made it. (I also forgot a huge game I brought over and spent 45 min awkward questioning them instead of playing that but hey no brain no pain.)

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Preparing an “escape the room and defuse the bomb in the forest in the middle of the night” game 😀

I heard a lot of iffy things about camps, mostly the ones for foreigners, so I was really happy to see mine was a camp for local kids and the kids were mostly really happy – even when they complained about going to sleep or not being able to go somewhere, it was all really normal and kinda familial.

The place was beautiful too. I didn’t get to enjoy nature too much because I wanted to make myself useful so I stuck around the kids, but when we went on the hike I noticed it was basically a pine forest, which was a new one for me. On the ground, instead of leaves, it was all soft pine needles. (I know, it’s logical, but I was thrilled so ssh.)

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At the end of our hike, I bought my first Hiking Badge!

Of course, the camp was only a 5+2 days deal, so in between I spent time teaching the Russian teens on summer vacation and trying to keep up with the business English classes.

The Russian teens thing is going pretty well. Tomorrow is the last class and they don’t hate me. I am, however, not sure how much they learned. But ah, it’s summer, I hit them with some grammar and vocabulary, some of it will stick for sure!

Very much related: I bought a new set of Dixit cards, beautiful… but like… they seem to have a not very well hidden religious theme?

This Friday my 3-week work stretch with no break will finally be over. Idek what I’m doing 😀

 

Petřín and the National Museum

This Saturday we went to Petřín, around the corner. Walked up to the Church of the Archangel Michael (absolutely adorable, tiny and cute) and via some ponds and the fascinating old-graffiti rocks made our way up to both the Rose Garden and Flower Garden. Then down along the Hunger Wall to Tom’s Burger for a well deserved and excellent lunch.

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After, we made our way to National Museum where the plan was to see just Retro exhibit but because of a tickets mixup we ended up seeing both Retro and Noah’s Ark. Retro sparked some nostalgia and was interesting to my inner history nerd, but the Ark was truly wonderful. At the end of it we spent about an hour watching a documentary of sorts with videos of animals from all over the world.

It was a great last Saturday before the 3-working-weeks stretch.

This week I’m going to the camp and I’m kinda scared, nervous and excited. I’m crocheting a Golden Snitch for the kids but since I also started teaching teens last week, I don’t really have a lot of free time. (Oh but exercise and healthy eating are going well – would be better if I could quit sweets but at this point I don’t even know how.)

Taking the next 21 days a day at a time.

Veggies and Soju

As (for now) the most intense month of my 2017 gears up, I’m trying to take care of myself, mentally and physically. (It’s hard.)

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This weekend I went to the Prague Market (in Holešovice) and I WAS BORN AGAIN. Sooo much fruit and GOOD vegetables! That’s potatoes, courgettes, not-pickels, beet, onions, cabbage, blueberries and cherries in the pic! (They also have cheap clothes and interesting cheese.) I filled up my backpack and my bag and then my fridge and then my boxes.

So basically I have meals for this week all set 😀 (And possibly longer… if I figure out how to freeze courgettes. The most common system seems to be through grating and god, life is too short. And I have really cool round courgettes so grating would be extra hard.)

I found a decent set of exercises I can do at home and I started doing them. It feels really good while I do them, and really not good when I stop and the pain starts 😀 But overall, I think it’s relaxing me. When your body is busy sweating, hurting and counting, you don’t have time to stress over money or future or lesson plans.

I heard this weekend a good friend of mine is moving to Portugal some time soon, as soon as they manage to set up a business there, and I’m sad. I keep thinking if staying here is a good idea and everyone leaving always makes me second guess myself.
But, finding a good market, discovering an amazing mountain – I found a GREAT trip for September but, more about it then 😀 – finding places that are “my own” in this city, makes me think I just need to give it time, and make some more local friends. Of course Americans are leaving. My Korean friend would have left sooner or later anyway. I need to make Czech friends, for stability at least. (And start making more money. Is it September yet? Do I have security? No? Ok I guess….)

But this reminds me! My friend gave me “Soju”! Plum Soju because she knows I like sweet drinks. ❤ It’s weirdly delicious. Like, I tried it and thought “hm, kinda tastes like it wants to be bitter… idk…” but then I couldn’t stop thinking about it and had some more 😀

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At the market, I bought 2 tomato plants, which I have to replant some time soon – reminder to self to buy soil – because I was looking at the tomatoes being sold at the market and… they are horrible. I’m not sure if they are over-watered or what but they are all really soft. So, I’ll just have my own, hopefully.

And on that note, a thing I forgot! Last time at Vyšehrad I stole a little bit of a succulent with root and planted it in a pot. It looks pretty happy for now,  but we’ll see how it does. The white layer on the soil is a residue Prague water leaves on my soil EVERY SUMMER. It also makes me feel sick. I started buying distilled water just for summer for the plants, a big bottle of water for me, but I still haven’t bought any this year. Guess it’s time 😦

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Alright week, come at me!

Kasematy and poetry

Tin Ujević is probably the greatest Croatian poet and despite never reading him I can quote several lines from his most famous poems, thanks to my mother. So I thought it was time to give him a try, even though I know my rocky relationship with poetry.

Well, I ended up skimming the entire second half of the book. There is no doubt he is an amazing writer. But even in prose one thing I hate is descriptions of places. And 90% of his poetry is describing places. BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, but still… places. Some bits were historically interesting, but most of it was just…. idk, fields. Well, they certainly do exist.

Jesenjin (or to be English about it, Yesenin), Byron and Rimbaud are still the only poets I care about, apparently.

Anyway. This Sunday we finally went to the Vyšehrad casemates! It was too shot but I love dark, cold places and history so it worked for me 😀 The tour ended in a room where the original Charles bridge statues are kept.

And now it’s 8pm and I’m almost ready for sleep. It’s gonna be a long summer 😀