Long overdue updates…

The first four months of 2015 have been a whirlwind of work and personal obligations with a jam-packed social calendar. I don’t think we’ve had a weekend “off” to lounge around and enjoy doing nothing since the first weekend in February! With all that’s been happening it’s been a LONG time between posts and we have much to cover.

Starting in early February we welcomed a slew of visitors… one after another. First we welcomed our friend Thomas, visiting from Germany. He made our place his home base while he explored LA and ventured to beach each day to surf. A week into Thomas’ stay Mathieu came to LA to escape the freezing winter in Montreal. We also got to see another Berlin friend, Artjom, who was spending a few months working in LA. Overlapping with the Berlin boys’ visits we got to see Nate for a few nights when he journeyed out west from Chicago.

In the midst of all our visitors we also had the opportunity to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day this year fell on a Saturday and Dave told me he wanted to take charge of the planning. He surprised me with a fabulous mini-break just a couple miles down the road in Redondo Beach. The day of love began with homemade french toast for breakfast followed by couples massages. After the pampering we drove down to Culver City and spent the afternoon touring the Museum of Jurassic Technology. A really funky and unique spot with exhibits fully immersed in the bizarre. That evening we indulged in some delicious BBQ in Marina del Rey, before retiring to Portofino Hotel for the night. The next day we spent lounging at Manhattan Beach, hanging out by the pool and enjoying some tasty seafood at Captain Kidd’s before another relaxing evening at the Portofino. The next weekend we helped Maddie ring in her 24th birthday with games and Max City at her swanky new apartment.

After a week driving around AZ, Vegas and CA our international friends made it back to LA and we had an extra day with them before they flew out. A few days after saying good bye we celebrated Dave’s 30th Birthday with a seafood dinner and drinks in WEHO. I surprised him with 30 balloons and 30 of my favorite things about him. I also booked a quick weekend getaway at a beachfront hotel down in Oceanside. We spent the weekend rotating between the beach and the rooftop pool before hitting up the Stone Brewery in Escondito for a tour, a tasting and some dinner on the way home.

Mid- March we spent a long weekend in Arizona at Gina’s house catching a few spring training games and cheering on the Dodgers. We drove out on Thursday afternoon and saw games at the Mariner’s stadium, Dodger’s stadium and Giant’s stadium. It was a quick trip, but the weather was great and we had a lot of fun checking out the different complexes and teams.

The day after we returned from AZ it was time for our second rush of visitors- this time the ladies. First we welcomed Jamie (out from Chicago) and hosted her for about a week while she was doing research in the area. The So Cal weather didn’t disappoint and she got to spend some quality time by the pool and lounging in our hammock. A few days after Jamie departed Emily and Lea flew out for a mini-Logger reunion. We did a lot of eating and laughing and even made it out to brunch with another former 2214 roommate, Lauren. The weekend with them flew by, but will get to see them again soon in Wyoming when we celebrate Emily’s nuptials this summer!

The onslaught of visitors departed and all the sudden it was April. I’ve said this before, but April is hell month for admissions professionals. This April was especially overwhelming given the recent turnover of staff in our office. I won’t go into the tedious details, but I’ll say it was pretty stressful and I had a serious countdown to May 1st on my calendar. Luckily, I only had to travel one weekend because I was manning everything on campus so I did get a few days rest in between the crazy weeks. My one weekend away was up in the PNW- so I got to have breakfast with Jessie in Portland and dinner with Jen, Paul and baby Aerin in Seattle. Seeing friends always makes work travel more enjoyable:)

The other weekends in April were spent celebrating Easter in Sierra Madre and attending the LA Times Book Festival. We got up early Easter morning for the traditional Sunrise Service in Wilderness Park then had breakfast in downtown Monrovia. From there we spent the morning wandering through Descanso Gardens and the afternoon playing games and eating ham in the backyard. At the Book Festival we had the opportunity to see Malcolm Gladwell speak and received signed copies of his book, David and Goliath. We also saw an interview with Al Michaels and LA Times sports reporter, Chris Erskine. And since the madness of April has died down we’ve been able to make it to a Dodger’s game, enjoy some time with friends and just hang out together.

We loved welcoming all our visitors even though our quarters are a little cramped and space is soon to be at an even greater premium when we welcome a permanent guest in September of 2015!  In the midst of all that’s been happening this year the biggest and best news yet is a new addition to the Chebuske family due to arrive in September of 2015!

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We have a lot to learn and do before Baby C. arrives, but we couldn’t be happier and can’t wait to meet the new addition♥

Until next time…Daverian+1

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New Digs

We’re official residents of Los Angeles! We have been set up in our new home for about two weeks now and absolutely love the space. We’ve moved around so often the past 7 years or so that our stuff is scattered to the ends of the earth….well most scattered throughout the basement, garage and attic of the Chebuske’s house, but still- most of our furniture is 3000 miles away. Luckily the place came furnished with a few key pieces (i.e. couch and dresser) and we were able to borrow a few other pieces from my parents. We’ve slowly started to pick up other items along the way, but it’s definitely a work in progress.

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The weekend of July 19th we drove down to Yorba Linda (about a hour from LA) to celebrate the nuptials of our great friends, Alexis and Peter. They were married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at the Nixon Library followed by a sweet and incredibly fun ballroom reception. They had amazing food (surf and turf!), plus a fully stocked open bar. You can tell though the evolution of my photo booth pictures that I overindulged a bit in the free flowing wine.

Let’s just say that it’s a good thing we had a nearby hotel room and sitting through the Angels v. Mariners game the next day was not my most pleasant baseball viewing experience. We met our friend Sachi for the game and unfortunately I was not the best seatmate. She and Dave had a great time though and the Angels came back in the bottom of the 9th to pull out a W. We’re planning to take her out to a Dodger game in the near future so she can get a National League experience and I can be a livelier viewing partner. In spite of the white-wine overload we had a wonderful weekend getting to see Sachi and were thrilled to be a part of the Colantoni’s big day! Congrats again to the gorgeous bride and handsome groom!!

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The week following the wedding was a short work week for me as I got my four stubborn wisdom teeth pulled this past Wednesday. The surgery went well and there’s has been a surprising little amount of pain, but the antibiotics and anti-pain medication has wiped me out! If I’m not sleeping the only energy I have has been invested in long hours of television watching and some internet surfing. It definitely could be worse, but by Friday I was looking forward to some mental clarity, the ability to stay awake for more than 5 hours at a time and the option to fully open my mouth again. Even though I’m still not in tip-top shape I didn’t have long to wallow in my drugged stupor as we had some plans for the weekend. Yesterday morning we drove down to Long Beach to check out the World Series of Beach Volleyball. Sachi works for Mikasa and hooked us up with awesome VIP passes for the tournament semi-finals. We watched the best in the world battle it out from a shaded platform with complimentary food and drink. The US women took down the Netherlands and then later in the afternoon defeated the Slovakians to make it to the Gold Medal match. The US men had an unfortunate loss to Poland and we missed the later US Men’s team play as we had to head north to meet my parents and Maddie for an outdoor concert at the Santa Anita Race Track. We watched the Cal Philharmonic play “magical” melodies from Disney favorites like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Fantasia. We had a fun night with a picnic dinner and then music under the stars. It was the perfect end to a summer day.

We only have a few days left of July and then we’re on to August! We still have some work to go to get our new home fully functioning and I’m sure we’ll spend some quality time with family and friends. I have my fall travel schedule outlined and it looks like I’m going to be spending most weekends in October, November and early December out of town so I have to capitalize on the weekends I’m around. Hopefully a few more concerts and some beach days are in our future…maybe even a camping trip or two- there’s so much of the west left to explore!!

Until next time…Daverian

Good Bye Berlin

It seems like just Yesterday that we arrived in Berlin, confused, excited, a little scared but most of all ready for a new adventure. In reality it’s been two full years since we touched down at Tegel airport and we have loved every minute of it. There are too many things to mention that we will miss about this great city, but in our last few weeks in the city we tried to hit a few of them. Before we left for our eastern Europe trip, I had finished my thesis and handed it in and Adrian had completed her time at Phorms, so we had a few weeks of free time before heading back to the USA to say goodbye to Berlin properly.

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Dave turning in his thesis!

First, we made an effort to try and hit a few of the tourist attractions in Berlin that we just hadn’t gotten around to. First among them we a trip underground to one of Berlin’s old World War II bunkers. Berlin was very heavily bombed during the second World War necessitating the building of numerous underground bunkers for the citizens to hide in during air raids. Most of these bunkers are no longer accessible, but one near Gesundbrunnen in the northern part of the city is fairly well preserved and there are daily guided tours that take you around the bunker. Some of the highlights were the fluorescent paint that was used to light the rooms in the absence of electric lights and some of the stories about the dangers faced by the average Berliners during the war including the cramming of 100s of people in rooms designed for 20 and using candles at different heights to gauge the amount of breathable air in the facility.

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On the recommendation of Adrian’s cousin Jamie, we decided to check out the Berlin Film museum (free on Thursdays). The museum had some very interesting architecture including one room with mirrors on the ceiling and floor creating a very interesting perspective.

The exhibits were also very interesting as the detailed the history of German film making over the past century. It is a bit surprising to learn how much innovation in Cinema there was in Germany especially during the early 20th century (The film Metropolis is, even today, a remarkable example). Of course, World War II and the Nazi regime put an end to all that; it’s certainly sad to think about how much great art the world has been deprived of thanks to wars and totalitarian governments.

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Another sight we wanted to be sure to see was the Panorama Point nearby at Potsdammer Platz. We took the self proclaimed ‘fastest elevator in Europe’ to the 25th floor and were not disappointed by the 360 degree views we found at the top. We were also pleasantly surprised to see an marriage proposal on the building across the street, happily reminding us of our own upcoming wedding this fall. We hope she said “Yes”!!!

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We also took a trip to Hohenschönhausen, the old East German secret police prison in East Berlin. The Prison is now a museum dedicated to remembering the persecution of the East German people under the DDR government. The East German secret police or Stasi used surveillance and interrogation to prevent the population from trying to escape East Berlin and also to silence critics of the regime. The museum included a tour of some the interrogation rooms and cells and some stories of the different inmates who spent time there. The tour was pretty dark, but learned a lot! Shortly after visiting we watched the film ‘The Lives of Others’ about a Stasi spy which included several scenes in Hohenschönhausen. The film was excellent and really brought to life some of the history we had just learned about at the museum.

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Of course the most important thing we wanted to do was to spend sometime with our friends and what better way to do that then with outdoor barbecues. One of our favorite activities in Berlin was taking advantage of some of the many parks around the city, starting up the grill and enjoying some food and drink with friends. We took advantage of some of our free time by making it out to Plotzensee for a bittersweet ‘farewell’ party with some of our best friends. We were also able to attend a BBQ in Golitzerpark with some of Adrian’s friends from work, a night out clubbing at the Kulturbrauerei, a visit to Bad Saarow with Jon and Paul and lots of time reminiscing over the past two years at our favorite neighborhood cafes and bars. We filled up on food at our beloved Kollwitzplatz Markt and said a fond farewell to Prenzlauer Berg with a trip to Mauerpark and one last Sunday brunch. Adrian was also able to visit the Barbie Dream-house with Saskia and had a great time checking out one of her favorite childhood toy’s homes:) It was a busy last couple of weeks!

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IMG_3662 IMG_3676 IMG_3681Our last Friday in Berlin Dave had to defend his thesis. He was a little nervous (who wouldn’t be?), but he totally kicked ass!! Getting a perfect score on his defense and a 1.3 (1.0 is the top grade in the German system) on his master thesis!! I was so proud of him after all his hard work over the course of the semester and we popped a little bubbly in Kollwitzplatz to celebrate.

IMG_3805 We spent our last weekend in Berlin fervently packing, trying to shove two years of our lives into three suitcases and 4 boxes. We were able to get almost everything done by Monday night so that we could spend our official last day, Tuesday, savoring our city. We took the 100 bus from Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburg Gate. Then we walked through Tiergarten, visiting the Rose Garden and the site of our 2012 engagement. We laid out blankets and spent a few hours reading and enjoying our absolute favorite place in Berlin. We then hopped back on the 100 to Zoogarten for our final trip to our favorite biergarten, Schleusenkrug. We shared a flammkuchen, a pretzel, a piece of Apfelkuchen and of course a slew of beers and spent a few hours reminiscing on our time in Berlin. Schleusenkrug was the very first place we visited when we arrived in Berlin and we thought it only fitting that it should be our last. It was the place we came to celebrate our engagement, my first job in the city and Dave completing his thesis. It’s a really special place to us and we were sad to bid it adieu.

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IMG_3914 IMG_3923Post Schleusenkrug we went home to enjoy our final Berlin sunset (with some späti beers) at the Wasserturm. Then we finished packing up, had a last beer with Matteo and hit the hay. Wednesday morning we got up early, left our keys with the downstairs neighbor and hauled our three 50 pound suitcases and 4 incredibly heavy carry-on’s to Schonefeld airport. 20 hours later we arrive at the Chebuske home in Maine.

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It was incredibly hard to leave Berlin and we miss it everyday, but we’ve been adjusting well to life back in the States and we have a big day coming up in just three weeks;) We couldn’t be more thankful for the two amazing years we spent in Berlin and we hope it won’t be too long before we return. We met so many amazing people, were blessed to visit so many amazing places and fell in love with the most amazing city we’ve ever been able to call home.

Berlin, du bist Wunderbar! Bis bald!

Summer Updates

Time is flying by! So much has been happening the past month I figure the best way to tackle our updates is to do a (not so) quick run through…

The end of June brought lots of opportunities to hang out with friends and enjoy the lakes and parks around Berlin- particularly Plotzensee and Krumme Lanke. We had a bbq out at Plotzensee for Thomas’ birthday in June and have returned a few times since for a dip.

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IMG_1637At the end of June my wonderful co-workers and friends threw a Hen Party (Bachelorette in American speak) for myself and my fellow engaged friend, Sandra. We met up at a delicious Asian tapas restaurant for dinner and followed that up with an evening of drinks at CCCP’s and then dancing. They even put together a little book of advice and tidbits for married life! Everything was so thoughtfully planned and really made us brides-to-be feel special! Thanks ladies (and Jon!).

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June also brought about the festivities of Pride week and the big Christopher Street Parade. On the big parade day we spent the early afternoon out in Tiergarten watching the big parade and then in the late afternoon headed down to the smaller, more politically charged parade in Kreuzberg. We had so much fun celebrating with friends both gay and straight and enjoying the colorful events of the week. 

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July 1st signified the final two week countdown to the end of work as well as the arrival of my lovely cousin Jamie! Jamie stayed with us for two weeks and we had so much fun catching up, exploring Berlin and of course eating! She also rounded out her trip by speaking at a conference here in Berlin. Apparently it went very well- so that’s great news for her! Highlights of Jamie’s trip included swimming and sunbathing at the lake, her cooking up a massive Italian feast for us and some friends, clubbing in an abandoned swimming pool facility and sampling delicious beers all across the city. She was a great guest and we miss her already, but we’ll see her in just over two months when wedding festivities get going:)

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While Jamie was here we also hosted a big 4th of July BBQ to introduce all our international friends to the amazingness that is July 4th in America! We hauled a rolly suitcase full of beer, our grill and burger fixings to Friedrichshain Volkspark to get our America on. About 25-30 friends showed up and we had a great time introducing them to country tunes, drinking games and even a patriotic rendition of the star spangled banner- it was a very festive event.


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Another big update is that my work at Phorms finished up last Friday. It was a challenging, but rewarding year in terms of work. I learned a lot and will miss some of my kids and colleagues greatly. I gained an interesting perspective working in the classroom rather than in administration. And working in an international setting also taught me a lot. I’m not sure that teaching is where my future lies, but I love being part of a school community and am positive that education, in some form, is where I’ll end up career-wise.

We had a really fun end-of-year party for all of the Kita staff aboard a 3-hour boat cruise. The cruise took us around Tegelsee and we were able to bring our own wine and snacks aboard. It was a beautiful evening and a great way to remember the year.

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All in all, Berlin in Summer is just an amazing place to be and we’ve been taking advantage of all that it has to offer. We finally fit our May date at the zoo in and had a great time wandering around one of the world’s top zoos. Almost all of the animals were out enjoying the sunshine which was great for us.  Favorites included the elephants (always my favorites!), the wolf puppies chowing on a recently deceased chicken, the immense amount of monkeys and apes, the swimming hippos and the bears (both brown and polar). Plus we got to feed baby goats at only 10 cents a pop!

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We’ve also been able to hit up some new bar and restaurants, catch up with friends, explore more of this amazing city and even get in some beach volleyball. Unfortunately last night I had to say good bye to one of my absolute favorite people and Berlin bestie, Irene. She is moving back to Australia to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor (such a smartie!). Hopefully we’ll get out there to visit her soon or she’ll hop across the Pacific. It’s the first of many sad goodbyes to come. Dave’s been spending much of his time working hard on his thesis, but is nearing the finish line. We have 6 more weeks in Europe before we head back to the States and we’re planning to make the most of the time we have left. We are embarking on a “final” European adventure at the end of July/beginning of August and are excited about exploring a few more countries out east. We’ll be flying into Croatia and then making our way around Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia before renting a car in southern Germany and making our way back north to Berlin. It should be an exciting trip and we can’t wait!  It’s been a busy, but fun start to Summer!

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Until next time…Tschussi!!

World Tour USA 2012- Part I

The first leg of my USA World Tour stopped in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  I got to spend an amazing couple of weeks visiting family there and hanging out with my parents and Maddie who flew out for the trip- a perfect welcome back to the good old US of A!

I had a long trip from Berlin, of course because of the distance, but also due to the fact that I had to make two transfers on my way to Milwaukee. Luckily everything was on time and I made it in one piece. My parents and Maddie flew in from LA the same day and our flights were only about 20 minutes apart- so we met at baggage claim, surprising my grandfather, who had no idea I was coming! It was so good to see my family after so many months and we spent the next two weeks catching up, watching TONS of baseball (Brewers, Chinooks, high school and little league!), eating delicious American food and exploring a bit of Milwaukee. Highlights of the trip included tailgating at the Brewer’s game, visiting the Harley Davidson museum, a food tour of Brattle Street and our day at Summerfest. Of course just relaxing and spending time with my whole family, particularly my grandma and grandpa, was the best part and I’m so happy I was able to spend as much time as I did in Wisconsin.

Dave wasn’t able to join me in the Midwest given the fact that his finals went into the first few weeks of July, but we met up on July 10th at Boston Logan. His flight was delayed by 5 hours due to a fire in the control tower at Newark, but thankfully Logan has free WIFI- why every airport doesn’t offer free internet is beyond me!  We spent the next couple days hanging out with family and friends, speeding around Casco Bay in the Spensington and getting ready to head down to Massachusetts for Paul and Robin’s wedding. We went down to Sudbury on Friday for the rehearsal dinner was tons of fun and incredibly delicious. Then since Dave was in the wedding party he spent the day Saturday hanging out with the other groomsmen and the Paul while I had cocktails and gossip with other girlfriends in our hotel room. The wedding ceremony was my favorite part of the day and both Paul and Robin looked great and so in love. The reception that followed was also wonderful and the after party continued back at the hotel bar long into the night. Congrats guys and thanks for inviting us to be a part of your day!

After the wedding we headed back to Boston with friends, Dan and Alix- who were nice enough to let us crash with them for a few days. We took advantage of the weather on Sunday and spent most of the day at the beach before heading up to one of our favorite Boston spots for dinner at Red Bones BBQ. Monday morning I headed over to visit Northeastern and check out the new Visitor Center. It was great to see some of my wonderful old students and catch up with former co-workers and I wish I could have spent longer catching up with everyone!  Beer was calling though and I hopped the T over to meet Dave and Dan for a tour of Harpoon Brewery. After Alix got off work we all headed over to Fenway with the intent of scalping Red Sox tickets. Unfortunately prices were a little high so we opted for beers and the view at Bleacher Bar (the bar looks out into Fenway through a panel in centerfield). The red sox are a terrible team and all their players should be traded immediately. And the Sox actually won one!

The next morning we woke up we woke up early and headed out to Sierra Madre after an absolutely stellar week in Maine and Massachusetts. The minute we landed we went into full wedding planning mode. We’re estimating that we won’t be back in the area until just a month or two before the big day, so our goal was to accomplish as much as possible in the two week period we had! And I’d say we were pretty successful!  We picked a date, found a ceremony and reception venue, picked a caterer and sampled tons of cupcakes. Additionally we have some great leads on a photographer, DJ and flowers and I was also able to find a dress! It was a jam-packed couple of weeks, but really fun to finally get to do some planning!

In addition to all the planning we had plenty of time for fun. We caught both an Angel’s game and a Dodger’s game, made it to the beach, had a big bbq with friends in LA, watched TONS of Olympic events, saw the LA Philharmonic at the Santa Anita Racetrack and enjoyed a great overnight trip with the fam up at Lake Arrowhead. Dave also had the opportunity to travel up to San Francisco for a few days to hang out with friends from college and while he was gone my mom, Maddie and I went to Disneyland (which I hadn’t visited since 2005). And when you go to Disneyland with us- you REALLY go to Disneyland. We were up at dawn to make it to the park for the opening and we stayed past the official close- to almost 1:00am- trying to get on every ride possible…an exhausting, but awesome day!

At the end of our time in California Dave and I drove with Maddie up to Davis. She’s going into her senior year and I couldn’t miss the chance to see Davis and have her show me around the campus and the city before she graduated. We had a lot of fun checking out the local farmer’s market, grubbing on burgers and brew at Burgers and Brew and hanging out with her friends our first night. The next day we biked around the greenbelt and all over campus- stopping to eat a picnic lunch in the arboretum. Our flight left for Maine that night, so we had one last (delicious) Davis meal of pizza and wings at Vito’s before heading to the airport. It was tough to say bye to Maddie since I’m not sure when we’ll see her next, but I know we’ll be talking a lot this year as the wedding approaches…yay for the best Maid of Honor ever!!

This concludes Part I of our World Tour USA 2012 post! Since we did so much on our trip I decided to break our post down into two parts. I’m putting it out here (so I hold myself to it!)- look for part II tomorrow!

Thanks for reading! – Daverian

Trip to the Alps

To celebrate finishing our first semester a few of my fellow classmates and I took a trip to Austria to go skiing. The trip turned out great! Here is what we did, with a few pictures to check out. I stole the pics from facebook so thanks to Matt and Anastasia for them!

Our plan was to leave early Friday morning around 10am, but we didn’t finish our last exam until Thursday afternoon and many of us were out late that night. We didn’t end up leaving till around 1. It was quite a hungover trip, but I had a good time riding on the Autobahn. The Germans drive really fast…. they think nothing of going 190 kpm (120 mph). No wonder their cars are so nice.

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TEFL Prague- Week 1

The first of my four weeks here in Prague is coming to a close- and with a bang!  Maddie arrives from Belgium tomorrow and I have to teach my first class!  I’m obviously looking forward to Maddie’s visit much more than teaching, but now I’ll have two big things to celebrate tomorrow evening…

The first week of class has been intense and challenging, but also a lot of fun.  We’re in class from 10:00am-6:00pm on Mondays. Then the rest of the week we have morning sessions together, but breakout teaching opportunities two afternoons.  The other afternoons we have off to explore Prague, relax and work on our next lesson!  Even though we’re only 4 days in I’ve learned so much already.  We’ve had some basic Czech lessons, learned to teach writing, reading, grammar and vocabulary sessions. We’ve had two 15-minute teaching opportunities and learned tons and tons about lesson planning and preparation.  Tomorrow I’m teaching a grammar and listening session to a group of intermediate English learners.  I’m definitely a little nervous, but I’ve done a lot of work to prep- so hopefully they learn something!

Other than class and preparation I’ve been hanging out with my classmates and floormates- cooking dinner, talking and learning more about the differences between Americans and British.  For instance, did you know the word “bung” means to fling or throw aggressively?  And apparently sweatpants are called “joggers”? So many fun and interesting nuances between the cultures.

Tomorrow after everyone complete their first round of teaching we’re going to have a big get-together at the Villa to celebrate the successful completion of our first week. I’m looking forward to relaxing, getting out of our rooms and getting to show Maddie around Prague! Can’t wait!!