It’s Monday, November 14th, and I am back in Berlin. It was with bittersweet feelings that I caught the train from Prague here yesterday afternoon. On the one hand, I’m thrilled to be back with Dave and get to see him everyday. I really love our flat in Berlin and am looking forward to all the wonderful Christmas festivals and traditions the Germans are so famous for. On the other hand however, I had an absolutely fabulous time in Prague. I met some amazing people, learned so much through the TEFL course and loved getting to live in my favorite European city again. Luckily Prague is only a 5-hour train ride away and now I have 20 amazing friends all over the world that I can plan to visit in the future! Dave and I are also in the process of planning our first Euro-trip together (we’ll be visiting Brussels, Bruges and Amsterdam at the end of the month)…so some great things to look forward to!
Well back to the last week or so in Prague…
I think the last post I wrote about my time in Prague was about teaching. As the last weeks of the course progressed teaching was on the forefront of everything. In addition to the usually twice-weekly teaching sessions we were also required to complete two grammar sessions for our classmates. And while I think I can admit that my grammar has improved these last 4-weeks, it’s still pretty abysmal. So though these lessons were shorter in length they took just as long to prepare for. And on top of all of the teaching we had a grammar test to prepare for on the last Thursday of the course. Needless to say it was a pretty packed last couple of weeks. Fortunately everyone in our group passed the course (apparently there is typically a 5% failure rate) and we got to celebrate our achievements together with a graduation/champagne toast on Friday night.
While we did spend a great deal of time working we also got in a bit of fun as well. I’m pretty sure everyone was nocturnal the 3rd weekend in Prague. On Friday night we started a club called the Roxy before moving to two other venues. We left the last club just after 5:00am allowing us to catch the metro home (which closes from 12:00-5:00) instead of waiting for the tram. Because of the late hour of our departure we didn’t make it up until close to 3:00 in the afternoon. We spent the evening “eating breakfast” at Bohemia Bagel and then doing a little shopping downtown. Since it was our last “full weekend” together in the city we decided we had to go out again. We started at the oft frequented beer hall before it was decided that we had to try out Karlovy Lazne at some point on the trip. I’d been before and wasn’t too keen on paying 150 korunas to go again (it’s a little overrated), but someone found us coupons and we were able to get in at a discounted rate. It was packed as usual, but also a lot of fun. For those of you unfamiliar with Karlovy Lazne it’s a 5-story club that claims to be “The Biggest Music Club in Central Europe”. Every floor plays a different type of music and it’s always slammed with tourists. We spent most of the night on the “oldies” level, which essentially played Michael Jackson’s greatest hits on repeat. We danced so long we eventually closed the club and had to be bounced out at 6:00am. Again we were able to hop on the metro home and made it into our beds as the sun began to rise.
We had to be a bit more active on Sunday than Saturday though. Sunday night the whole TEFL group had bought tickets to the HC Sparta Prague game at 5:00pm. Following the game everyone was coming over to the hotel for a group-wide potluck. I got up around 2:00, ran to the store for some additional ingredients- made my guacamole and then helped clean up and prep for our guests. The game was awesome! Sparta was playing the 3rd place team and the both were highly skilled. It ended up going into overtime and then through 3-rounds of shoot-outs. Unfortunately Sparta ended up losing in the shoot-out, but it was still an awesome game.
After the game we headed home to stuff our faces with amazing food from the potluck. Everything was delicious, but my favorites were the Greek salad, veggie burritos, buckeyes and homemade Czech pastries! All sooooo good- remembering the meal is making me salivate right now:)
After the fun of the weekend it was time to get down to business come Monday. Lessons to plan, grammar to study for and jobs to begin finding. The early part of the week was spent working and enjoying our final “family” dinners at the hotel. Particularly memorable was the batch of fried dough Tamara made on Wednesday- so greasy and so good! Thursday brought final grammar presentations, the grammar exam and then my final teaching section. I had an elementary group (their English is extremely basic) and was a bit worried about the listening lesson on health and healthy lifestyle. The video they had to watch talked about things like ayurvedic medicine, but everyone seemed to comprehend the material and my concept checking went really well. I finished the lesson by asking about the what type of people were healthy. I thought I’d get answers like “athletes”, “runners”, “vegetarians” etc…but they took it to mean nationalities. Most agreed that Czechs were pretty healthy as were those living on the Mediterranean. When I asked about unhealthy people they didn’t have much to say so I suggested “Americans?” That got a big laugh and lots of nods! It was a relief to successfully finish up my last lesson, but now I’m in the process of job searching…hopefully something will come up soon!
After the my final lesson (and confirming that I’d successfully passed the course) I headed home to get ready for dinner out on the town. All 20 of us headed out to find some traditional Czech food and beer. We took a few wrong turns in our search for food, but eventually found a delicious spot not too far from Old Town Square. I had my final plate of goulash (can never get enough!) and enjoyed trying some of the other dishes as well! After dinner most of us headed to Cheapu Rouge for more drinks and some dancing.
Since half of the class had already completed the program a number of us went out sightseeing and souvenir shopping on Friday. It was sunny out, but freezing! After taking in the sights for a few hours we headed back home to get ready for the evening’s graduation/champagne toast. We met at the school at 6:30 and it essentially turned into one big party. Everyone passed the course so we were in fantastic moods and ready to party with everyone one last time. After hanging out at the school for about 2 hours we headed downtown where we all got down at Dejavu. Some of the staff and teachers went with us and we even met up with some of the former TEFL Prague graduates- it was a great night.
The next day was my last in Prague and I decided I want to do my last bit of sightseeing solo. I went back up to Pohorelec (old stomping grounds) and tried to find my favorite little chocolate covered banana chips (couldn’t find them, but got some chocolate/cinnamon covered almonds that might even be better!). After my search for candy I meandered down to the castle and then back down and into the city. I was only out for about 3 hours, but it was so cold I felt like it was longer! That night we did games and drinks up at the Villa and then went out to Nebe for a last hurrah! Most of our number was still around so I got to say most of my good-byes. Even though we’d only known each other for 4 weeks we spent almost every waking minute together during that time and I got to know a lot of people really, really well. I was sad to leave, but know that we’ll keep in touch and will now have 20 wonderful places around the world to visit!