analyze web stats
analyze web stats

Monday, March 27, 2006

beautiful weather

Today the weather was SO nice. It was definitely the nicest day in Prague since I have been here...but the weather should be even better in GREECE.
We had to go pick up our tickets today for the plane to Greece because they don't sell electronic tickets. Last Thursday some of the people going had gotten together and booked the tickets. The prices online had spiked, so they called Olympic Airlines and got better prices that way. The lady booked the tickets and gave them a confirmation number. She told them we had to pick up the tickets at the Czech Airlines desk at the airport before we left.. because there is no Olympic Airlines terminal at the Prague airport. So we made a trip out to the airport today. Luckily our dorm is in the best spot to be going to the airport because we're at the last metro stop closest to the airport.. so there's a shuttle that goes to the airport from our dorm pretty much. It still takes about 20 minutes on this bus.

Well, we headed out there and got to the Czech Airlines desk. Luckily the lady speaks English. That would have been a whole new problem if she didn't speak English well. It turns out she couldn't find our confirmation number and since they weren't Olympic Airlines they couldn't pull up some information. So after a lot of talking back and forth she finally tells us to head to this office in Old Town Square where they can book our flights again because our confirmation number is not in the computer. We had 1 hour to do it before it closed. Luckily, 2 of the girls hadn't come with us so we called them and they headed to this office ahead of us.
We ended up having to rebook our flights (luckily for the same-a little bit cheaper actually - price). And for some reason they don't take credit cards, so we all had to go to the nearest ATM and get out all this money. It was pretty ridiculous. Sometimes, those Czechs do anything to make things more difficult than they should be.

Anyways, we finally got our plane tickets. There are 8 of us going to Greece. Four boys and four girls. There are two guys from the Milwaukee school that is also studying with us. When we were in that office booking flights they had all these books and pamphlets about Greece and it looks so amazing. So as long as the skies are clear, I will be happy. We are flying into Athens and our plan is to take a ferry to Santorini where we can relax on the black sand beeches.

I would have to say that today is the first day I have wished I had a car here. I love public transportation.. really.. but when we ended up going to the airport for no reason and needed to get to the center of town, it was a pain in the butt. Subways aren't so bad, but busses with all their stops can get very annoying! It also didn't help that the European body odor issue could really be smelled on that bus as well.. and it was a very crowded bus.

But we felt much better once we go the tickets and feel we deserve to relax in Greece after awhile.

When I got back to the dorm, Laura was just getting back from studio (which mine was canceled today) and we decided to go for a run, since it was absolutely perfect outside. We jogged around the neighborhood that is behind our campus - there are really pretty houses back there. Its nice and hilly. There is still some exploring to be done back there, but it was a nice little jog.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

hello daylight savings

Well it is daylight savings here in the Czech Republic. If it wasn't for the British neighbors I would not have known. So I lost an hour of sleep last night. I believe everyone in the U.S. still has a week before they need to worry about it.
I went to Mass this morning at our usual church. It was so much colder inside the church than it actually was outside. There was a visiting choir from England and Ireland. I guess they often have visiting choirs at the church. The other weekend, when I was out of town, a choir from Connecticut had come.

Last night some of us headed out to a little reggae bar, called The Ridgeback. I'm not sure who discovered this place, but it turned out pretty cool. When we first walked in I thought we were going to feel a little bit awkward and out of place, because the only people I saw at first seemed to be Jamaican. Once we headed down the stairs we saw a whole variety of people just hanging out in this smokey little bar. One band had just finished playing so another one was setting up. We had to pay 50 Krowns to get in , which is only a little over 2 dollars. And the drinks were the cheapest drinks I've seen besides the pubs around our dorm. A half liter was 25 krowns.. which is about a dollar. And a 0.3 liter was 18 krowns.. not too shabby. The place was packed so we had to stand, but we were standing front and center when the band started playing. So, the reggae band started playing and everyone was just having a good time.. dancing around. A few different singers would jump up for different songs and sing for a bit. It was a really laid back atmosphere and they seemed to be singing/speaking in English most of the time. They were singing about loving everybody... it was just a fun place to be..

I didn't want to make it a late night, so I left with a couple others to catch the last metro of the night. As we were leaving, this little jamaican guy that had been singing came up to us and started speaking in spanish to Laura Torres, my flatmate, who is originally from Columbia. He asked where we're from and she told him "kansas". He was like "why are you speaking in spanish??"...haha. I told him I don't speak spanish, so then he starts speaking in English and telling us not to leave because there is going to be so many fun things going on later in the night. We told him we'd come back some time and bring more friends. I asked him if they have live music every night and he said they did. He said he's there every night. Apparently, someone said he speaks like 6 different languages. Pretty impressive.

It's fun finding these places in Prague that are so different than any bar or club I've ever been to. I'm sure we'll be returning sometime to that place.

The trombone, trumpet, and saxophone all playing...

Two of the singers:

Friday, March 24, 2006

"If I don't stop shopping, I'll end up a bag lady; a Fendi bag lady, but a bag lady....."

Yes.. I did go shopping today. It was pretty much the first time since I've been here, so I was READY! It was a super nice day today, too, so I went out and just walked all the way into downtown. Usually we would take the metro, but it felt so good and I decided to do some exploring on my own. I walked by the Prague castle where it looked as though the tourists were out in full force. I guess with spring break there may be more than usualy these next couple weeks. I like having those tourists around though, especially when you hear the Americans talking and you can actually understand what they're saying. Its kind of nice.

I headed to a big, new mall they have here. We go there sometimes to go to the "super walmart" type store - called Carrefour. It has a big supermarket, so when we want some good fruits and vegetables we head there instead of the little grocery store near our dorm. I was mainly in search of shoes today. I wanted some boots that I could just walk in. Everybody here has boots and they come in quite handy when it rains and they either stick their jeans in the boots or roll up their jeans and still look stylish. We all get our jeans drenched and muddy from stepping in puddles and walking in the wet streets all day. So this would prolong the washing of the jeans.
I also wanted to get some nice shoes that don't have huge heels, because the only nice ones I brought do have huge heels and my feet end up hurting if I'm standing up in them all night when we're out.
So I succeeded with both of my endeavors and have two new pairs of shoes today!

Last night we also went to this same mall to see a movie at the cinema they have on the third floor. We made it a girls night and saw Pride and Prejudice.. it was very very good. The majority of the movies seem to be in English, but they have Czech subititles. Some movies are dubbed over and then they have a few Czech movies. It was nice being in the movie theater - it felt just like sitting in a movie theater in the states.

Also, I now have made plans to go to Greece. And its in 4 DAYS! I am so excited for this- this is definitely a trip I had to make while I was over here and I was starting to get anxious. It's supposed to be cheaper to go right now than it will be later because its not as hot as it will be, but it will definitely feel awesome to us. We'll be spending five nights there. I need to start doing some research.

And in sculpture class, our teacher changed his mind about giving us 4 weeks on the hands we were sculpting and told us to finish them in class and we'd start a new one next time. I think he realized that was a little too difficult for us.. since we can't really look at a hand because we're using our hand to sculpt. So we finished the hands to some degree and had to throw them right back in the clay tub.

My hand was going to be a surgeon hand, but I didn't have a surgeon knife on hand, so he was just holding a sculpting tool.

And here is Allison thinking with her hand:

Well, that's about it right now!

Monday, March 20, 2006

back from krakow

well.. it's just one thing after another for me and my computer. I got my computer back - which was exciting -but- like 2 or 3 weeks ago we went and paid for our internet for the semester and when we went we had to write down a number we had picked when we first connected to the internet. Since I didn't have my computer I couldn't look up the number to check for sure, but I thought I knew. Well, it turns out I was wrong. I had it half right - but left off 3 of the numbers - I sometimes use the shorter verson and sometimes the longer version. So I got it wrong and now the internet is telling me i haven't paid. There are some directions it takes me to which explain what to do in case what i did happens.. so HOPEFULLY I will be fully connected sometime soon. I would just like to blame kstate for this incident because they're always making me change my password which leaves me with too many passwords for my little mind to remember. :)

Anyways.. on to more exciting things. We just got back from Krakow at about 7 this morning. We took the train over night. We did this on the way to Krakow too - this is miserable. There may be better trains than we had, but our train contained some of the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat on in my life. The train rides didn't provide much sleep.

We got to Krakow and walked a little ways in the wet, cold weather to our hostel - The Stranger Hostel. We all found beds and crashed for a couple hours. It was my first hostel, but I thought it seemed pretty nice.. it was clean and roomy. we were all split up into 4 rooms of beds. There were 20 students from our university and we joined some foreign students from the university of economics. This is another university in Prague and we often can go on trips or join each others activities.
Most of the day Friday we went on a walking tour around krakow. Our meals were also provided from the initial fee we paid when we signed up, so it was kind of nice not having to worry about paying for meals with a huge group. Friday was also St. Patrick's day so we went to a club in Krakow and I was surprised that they were serving green beer - I guess I wasn't expecting them to really get into St. Patrick's day there. So that was my first green beer ever.
The city was really cool at night - there were so many people out and walking around the city. It really surprised me. I was also really impressed with their English - I don't think we ran into anyone who didn't speak any English and they understood us really well.

On Saturday we went to Auschwitz concentration camp. It was quite an experience being there and it was hard to believe where I was. It was a pretty intense day, but we were really glad we got to go - I never imagined myself visiting Auschwitz. I bought a couple books written by survivors that I'm looking forward to reading. Our tour guide was really good - we heard so many stories that were so incomprehensible.

Sunday we went to these Salt Mines right outside of Krakow. We got a tour of these humongous "caves" made of salt. It was pretty amazing. There were chapels and statues carved out of the salt. They reach a depth of 327 meters - which is about 1,070 feet!! We walked down all the stairs at the beginning, but got an elevator to the top at the end of the tour. The temperature down there is constantly 59 degrees.. so that was so nice compared to the cold weather we've been having.

After seeing the salt mines we were walking back to the bus along the street when a car drove by and completely splashed water on me! This has never happened to me. One other girl may have gotten it too, but she definitely braced for it with her coat. So I got a little wet. It wasn't too bad and thank goodness it wasn't muddy water.. but everyone had a good laugh at me.

Well, I gotta go! We're going to meet up with our professor that is visiting from Italy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

My computer is back!

Here are some pics of what I've been up to

some of the kstate ladies - allison, anne, laura, and I at our America presentation at the P.M. Club in Prague

On the ski trip: the snow was so deep - this car looks like it had been there for awhile.

My studio project is an addition onto this building that was destroyed by the Nazi's. You can see where the building just cuts off.

A snowy day in Prague - the snowflakes were HUMONGOUS

The Czech hockey game we went to

The intense czech hockey fans doing a cheer

The Dancing House - famous building in Prague - shaped after the form of Fred and Ginger dancing together.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Czech keyboard time!

Well I'm typing on a czech keyboard right now. For the most part it's the same, except there's a an extra button down by the shift button - I've noticed. So every time I need to capitalize a letter I hit the wrong button if I'm not thinking about it. It's a little frustrating.

Anyways, today the only class I have is sculpting. Last week we didn't do anything besides establish the next time we were having class, but today we jumped right into it. Our professor looks like a lot like Professor Snape from Harry Potter, so everybody kind of gets a kick out of him. He also smokes a cigarette in the classroom as he walks around and helps us. So our first project is sculpting a hand.. it can be doing anything and I think it's supposed to be holding something. I didn't really know what I was doing when I started, but just kept going until it started forming what looked like part of an arm, a wrist and the hand. The fingers still need help, but we get 4 weeks for the project. We ended up staying there for 2 1/2 to 3 hours so it's a good thing I don't have any other classes.

Professor Snape from Harry Potter aka my sculpture class instructor

For my studio class we were supposed to go see a model of the city of Prague that is at a museum here - The City of Prague Museum. It was made in the early 1800's and it shows how Prague was at the time. The area I'm doing my studio project has changed a lot over the years, so he wanted us to see how the square had once been. The model was was huge and surrounded with glass, but it was really interesting. It was made by one man back in the 1800's... pretty impressive.
This week has gone really fast and I can't believe we're leaving for Poland tomorrow! It's going to be super cold there.
We get back Monday morning at 7 am - so we're riding the train all night I guess. Hopefully I will be able to sleep on it. On Monday and Tuesday one of our professors from kstate is coming to Prague - he's teaching the kstate students in Italy and I think next week is their spring break. So hopefully we'll be awake enough to show him around!
And yesterday my Czech buddy called the computer people and I guess they had to order a whole new LCD screen for my computer - I guess the backlight is probably connected to the screen - but they had gotten it in yesterday and they were supposed to call my buddy back today - hoping it would be done. I haven't heard anything yet, but if it gets done I could possibly pick it up tomorrow morning before we leave for the trip. If not I will definitely be able to pick it up Monday or Tuesday, because they said it would definitely be done by this Friday!! good good news. Monday is packed full of classes though, but definitely Tuesday - I'd say...

All right - I will stop rambling.
I'm going to write emails once I get my computer back!
Thanks for the messages - feel free to email me if anybody wants to.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Sorry about the lack of postings lately. It's difficult to do without my own computer. I have yet to get my computer back, but I intend on calling on Monday to find out if I haven't heard by then.
Today I got my first package! It was exciting and I have been waiting for its arrival for a few days now. One of my flatmates from Kansas got a package yesterday and it was sent to her after mine was sent, so I was a little bit worried. The front desk called at 9:30 this morning and told me to come down and sign for my package. We leave to go skiing tomorrow and in the package were some warm, thick socks for skiing, some leggings, and a neck warmer thing for skiing. It came just in time! There was also poptarts in the package! I don't really eat these at home too often, but when we recognized the lack of poptarts here, I really missed them.
When they called about the package, I also realized we had no water. This happened one other day - the water had to be shut off for some reason. Today it happened again, but it was in the morning so we couldn't really do anything until we had water to take showers and brush teeth! It was turned on by about 11, so we could continue with our day.

Today has been a wet wet day. It snowed over the night and now it has been raining all day, so there is all kinds of slush all over the streets and sidewalks. It's not too fun to walk in.
Last night we had our America presentation at the club we go to every Wednesday for the whole semester and listen to presentations by the students from all the different countries. Each country presentation is supposed to include food and drinks from the country. We made grilled cheese sandwiches, pb&j sandwiches, smores, puppy chow, little smokeys... and for drinks we made jungle juice (a mixture of alcohol and juices basically) and jello shots - my dad know what those are! We couldn't use JELLO- we had to use some other gelatin stuff that wasn't nearly as good. It was a pretty fun time. The two Costa Rican students also did a presentation yesterday.

Other than that, we've been going to school all week and had to turn in our decisions on what classes to take today. So now real school will begin - as real as it will be I guess. Most of the classes I went to this week basically just talked about what time we would meet the next week and what we would do.

Tomorrow we leave to go skiing! We're not sure where exactly we're going or how many days we're actually skiing either. We're leaving tomorrow morning and coming back sometime Sunday. I haven't skied in a few years now, so I'm excited. A lot of the girls are trying out snowboarding. I thought about it, but I decided it might be more enjoyable for me if I just ski.
The next weekend we are going on a trip to Krakow, Poland.

I really want to post more pictures, but I have to wait to get my computer back! So, sorry about that.

Friday, March 03, 2006

So, I made it through the first week of classes. We don't have classes on Fridays, which is definitely a first for me. At K-state we will always have studio on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 4 hours on each day and usually there is another class or two on those days. We are all trying to grasp how this semester is going to go. We get to pick from all these classes and we could probably take on a lot of classes and bring home a lot of credits. Most of the classes only meet once a week and studio meets twice a week, but from our understanding it's not all that important that you show up for every meeting. There are many classes that hold our interests, though, so we have to decide if we should be selective or try to take most of them. The classes such as photography, figure drawing, and sculpture all start next week, so I have yet to hear how those are going to go, but I'm sure I will be interested in most of them.

My studio selection has come down to two studios. One studio had a lot of different projects to choose from. The professor, Fanta, has many czech students as well as foreign students. So the day we went to the meeting he said he was going to speak to the czech students first. He ended up talking to them for almost an hour before talking with us. Once he explained the projects and looked at some projects for last year we could talk to him or his two assistant teachers about them. Allison and I talked to Fanta about a ceremony hall in a cemetery in a town outside of Prague. He sat down and talked to us for awhile and tried to explain how we could go visit the site. We nodded and all but really had no idea how to find the train stop he had said and it sounded so crazy we couldn't even attempt to try to spell it. He said he'd try to find some czech students that were doing the same project and we'd be able to join them when they visit. To my surprise, only a few hours later, as I was leaving another class, I got stopped by two czech students asking if I was American and taking Fanta and doing the ceremony hall. They said they were going to visit and I could come with them. So I was pretty impressed with how quickly he found two students for us to go with.

There is also another professor that I think I would enjoy his projects a little more, so I'm leaning towards that studio. He has an option between an architecture project or an urban design project. I've never done an urban design project so I am interested in that. It's hard to make these decisions! I almost want to do two projects!

Anyways, now Lent has started and this week I couldn't eat meat on Wednesday and can't today. This is rather difficult when eating at the menza in our dorm... Most czech food consists of a meat, a sauce, and either rice or potatoes or dumplings. We intend on starting to take pictures of the food. It all tastes good for the most part. Laura made a point after a few days after being here that there are many "czech surprises"- a lot of times with food, but basically with everything. We'll be eating something and all of a sudden -Surprise! - there's something completely random in the meal and we have no idea what it is. We basically just go by taste and assume we'd rather not know what we're eating. Yesterday, the day I could eat meat I was served the strangest meal I've ever seen here and it didn't contain meat. Of all days! Not the day I can eat meat! I have absolutely no idea what it was and it didn't taste too good.
Anyhow, I'm probably talking about food because I am hungry right now.

I just glanced out the window and noticed it has started snowing. I hear tomorrow is supposed to be cold and snowy. The plan for this evening was to venture out to a laundromat that's nearby and wash and dry some jeans. Laura and I and two or flatmates are going to combine our jeans together, because this is a rather expensive place to go. We can do laundry in our dorms, but we had to sign up at the beginning of the month and reserve the room on a day, which we did, but there are only washers down there and no dryers and we need to dry our jeans.

Sunday we plan on going to a hockey game - two czech teams are playing. Laura and Allison are currently getting the tickets right now! Next weekend we are going skiing and the next weekend (i think) we are going to Krakow, Poland. I just signed up for this trip- the international office is planning it for us. Some of us are also working on planning a trip to Greece! I am so excited to go to Greece! We know our Italy colleagues will be going to Greece for their Spring Break. We don't exactly get one here, but we'd love to go when they are. Unfortunately that is really soon, so we're not sure if we'll be able to get a good deal.

Well I better go!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

well, my computer is now in the process of being fixed! Yay! I will hopefully have a glowing screen the next time I see that thing. My czech buddy went with me to this far off place in Prague to take my computer. He did all the talking in Czech to the guy and the guy said that the warranty is good over here and everything so I won't have to pay for anything! That beats mailing that thing home. So hopefully it won't take too long to get fixed. Right now I'm taking over my lovely roommate's computer _ thanks laura!!!!
This week we've just been going to classes so far. They've been interesting. One studio meeting we attended the professor spoke in czech most of the time and then would shortly say some things in English - so we were clearly not getting the whole thing. A history class we went to was in English but we were so lost through the whole thing. There was no order at all and the guy was jumping all over the place - with dates and buildings. It was pretty crazy. Tomorrow we have a lot of classes to go to and then next week we have to figure out what we're taking! I think I know the studio class I want to take and the professor wants to know tomorrow if we're in it or not. So I'm going to a couple more studio meetings and then I'll have to decide. It's pretty easy here to take a lot of classes and come back with 20 or more credits. I also attend a meeting tomorrow about all the fine arts classes we can take. These should be more exciting. There's sculpture, photography, and figure drawing among others. So who knows what I'll be taking this semester!

Tonight we're going to the P.M. bar - we went to it last week too. Every week students from each country do a presentation on their country. The Czechs are going first tonight to kind of show us how it goes and us Americans have to go next week. So we have to try to plan this in a week!

well i have to go get ready for this thing! i'll be back later!