Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lessons I learned in Czech Culture...

Prauge has an incredible sky... this afternoon, while waiting for the bus, my friend Carrie pointed out the rays of light coming down from the clouds. What a beautiful reminder this was of creation... and the majestic and glorious God whom created it.
Life in Prague is nothing short of interesting. I have learned many new things, eaten many new things, and have come to dislike some things too.
Here is what I learned in Czech Culture class today:
1. Czech's are really quiet people... in fact the bus ride can be SILENT
2. people avoid conflict
3. only really old people truly know what communism was and the real effect to society,
culture, and economics
4. it is prohibited and frowned upon to be loud in your apartment after 10pm because many Czechs start their work day between 6-8am
5. it is custom to toast a "cheers" before the first drink while keeping eye contact- this is very important as well as wishing each person a "good" or "happy" meal before beginning to eat
6. don't wear shoes into a Czech's house
7. never show up early to a dinner party! WOW!
The coolest thing I learned was that Czech zoologists were the first to breed Giraffes in captivity and the Czech Zoo is ranked No. 7 in the world!
Now, what have I learned on my own:
1. Czech beer really is good.
2. Food shopping is CRAZY... the Billa is packed with people ALL THE TIME, everything is, of course in Czech and you pretty much just buy things that look like things you ate in the states... my fridge happens to have turkey meat, bread, franks, ketchup, mustard, margarine, eggs, bottled water, soy milk, lettuce, and a carrot. Luckily, I ran into our school business manager in the market who informed me that you weigh your fruits and veggies on the spot and put tags on them for the checker to scan-- good thing he told me that so I wasn't the one who held up the line while the checker had to weigh all my veggies! sheesh!
3. IKEA is also crazy. People buzz around there like bees in a hive. It will be too soon that I have to endure the IKEA again. But I do think I accidentally flirted with some of the hired help. THe table and chairs that I was going to purchase was too heavy for me to lift so I went to the help kiosk to see if anyone spoke English. This younger, handsome gentleman said he did and came to help me lift the box onto the cart. I thanked him and said I might need to find him again and he said he would like that... oops!
4. PDA, as in Public Display of Affection, surrounds every street corner, metro escalator, bridge crossing, park bench... At first I thought it was just in my head, but on a walk through Mala Strana two nights ago, Carrie and Ana and I all agreed that this city is apparently in love- or at least lust!

Today, I admitted for the first time that I am overwhelmed. Not in the sense that I am emotional or regret my decision to be here, rather there is so much physical work to be done in my classroom, curriculum to plan, adjustment to a new work environment, learning simple Czech words, and to be able to perform a wide variety of first time job tasks.. and all of the preliminary work will wrap up in just one short week! Today during the debrief session, I shared that although I had finally slept through the night (a full 7 hours is a start...) and was feeling more alert then the past few days, I was also beginning to feel some stress at all the new things I had to learn for my job. This is my biggest concern right now. Please pray for me. I need strength and confidence to stand on the knowledge I have to do my job well but also to be flexible and able to learn new things while adapting to a new school environment. Much love to you all...

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