Monday, April 26, 2004

Two months left

Every once in a while I look up and realize I'm in Prague. It's surprisingly easy to forget that in the day to day banalities, and it is undoubtedly the height of gauche to mention it as incessantly as I do on this site, but dammit, here I am.

And not for much longer either. I'm in the Globe once again (although after hearing the owner chew out an employee last week I swore I wouldn't come here except out of neccesity,) with seven weeks left in the Czech republic, terminally low bank account bolstered enough to get us through the remaining weeks, miserable weekend weather giving way to beautiful spring time sunshine perfect for my inside days, and maybe it's the beer but suddenly I'm quite a bit happier than I've been in several days. I realize that I need to strike a balance: to allow my enjoyment of Prague to fuel me through the next couple months, and when that inevitably gives way to traveler-alienation I will think expectantly on our immenent homecoming.

And now we have plans, plans, plans. In early June Martina, Zach, Courtney and I will head south to the Slovenian Alps for a weekend of hiking, in late May our fellow teacher Dana has invited us to spend some time with her in Southern Bohemia in late May, this weekend will go to Terezin, a Hapsburg era fortress cum WWII concentration camp... enough to get us through the coming weeks.

Right, well, enough.


Saturday, April 10, 2004

Well, gee, we just don't know...

Easter fast approaching-

Easter in the Czech republic, and I dearly hope we get to witness this first hand, means some serious ass-whipping. Institutionalized, traditionalized ass whipping. By which I mean the repeated striking of rear ends.

You see, come Easter Monday (a concept that is unfamiliar to me) the boys and men in a given village gather up in the town square, each wielding their own implement of destruction, namely a rod formed from eight sticks braided together and decorated with pastel ribbons. They down a half liter of their choice alcohol and set out to the homes of various families, knock on the door, clear their throats and intone the Easter Carol-

I'm sorry. I don't know what the Easter Carol is or I would eagerly transcribe it for you-

Whereupon the women of the household... hmmm... How best to put this... present themselves Cheeks Forward-

*Whack!* (and *Whackety Whack!* as well)

Having recieved their Easter blessing, the women turn back around and give the men their due, decorated eggs for the younger folk, a shot of booze for the elder. The men, still relatively sober, then continue up the lane to the next house-


*whackety whack whack whack!*

Eggs/booze presented

Stagger up the lane,

Carol, most of the words still remembered...

*Whackety Whack WHACK!!*


stumble up the lane and so on, the carol becoming increasingly garbled, the whacking a little bit harder each time, the route from one house to the next a little less stable until they come to the edge of the village and, as my student explained to me,

"some men are maybe sleeping in the gardens..."

And then, noon time rolls around, and the process repeats itself with one key difference,

Now the women take up their braided sticks. And they've got revenge on their minds.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Friday, April 02, 2004

It's Official

We're heading to Austin this Autumn.

Courtney's been accepted to UT as a graduate student:

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to the University of Texas at Austin. It is recommended that you contact your graduate adviser as soon as possible. It is a pleasure to welcome you as a graduate student.


Thursday, April 01, 2004


Careful lest I speak to soon, but perhaps winter is behind us... Buds appearing on the bushes, the sky clears up on a nearly regular basis, the air is breathable, and suddenly everyone is sick. The Polyglot Plague has swept through the language school, felling native-English speaker and Czech grammarian alike. Courtney had it last week, all week, I have it this, but just in time for the weekend don't you know, so I don't have to miss precious work time (sneer.)

April is a crazy damn month of course, I typically swing from overwhelming feelings of euphoria and freedom to those of a snarling animal unhappy with the abrupt end to hibernation. Winter kept us warm and all that. Work continues to settle toward monotony, some days it's easy and fun, other days a struggle to be onstage for an hour and a half. Especially if the audience/students are lawyers. I've learned that Damn lawyers require a stricter approach, they want someone to put them in their place, to make it abundantly clear that the instructor is some sort of superior being, that they are scum for not understanding conditionals. Every lawyer adores a fascist. I'm a little surprised, but of the classes I teach the ones with lawyers are the most similar to my experience substitute teaching at public school; much like hormonal teenagers lawyers push the limits constantly and if you let them get away with it they lose respect for you. I prefer classes with adults.

We haven't had much chance for sight-seeing, money concerns and bad weather have put something of a damper on out of town excursions and the center of Prague is becoming increasingly glutted with the tourists. But with the warming weather and our first full paycheck in a couple of weeks we should be able to escape toward something novel soon. Easter is approaching and the Czechs have some interesting traditions concerning it, hopefully we'll be able to get to a less touristy place and visit an Easter Market not squarely aimed at selling marionettes to westerners.