Saturday, June 30, 2012

Back Entry: The City of Lights

Remember that time I went to Paris with one of my very best friends from university? Oh, you don't? That's probably because I never actually posted anything about it here. Whoops.

So for the sake of catching up, here is a not-so quick version of our four (ish) days in Paris. (Warning, this is the LONGEST POST EVER!)

First of all, we took a stupidly early flight. As in, Flannery arrived in Prague on Friday night and then we turned around and got on a plane that left before 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. However, arriving in Paris (not so bright eyed and bushy tailed) early in the morning, was great. It gave us a little sense of what we were getting into. 

It took us like 30 minutes to figure out where to buy tickets for the train and then where the train was to get into the city from Charles de Gaulle airport, but we managed. Then the train proceeded to get hella crowded. (We found out on the trip back to the airport that this is just a thing. This train is always crowded. Get a seat while you can.)

We were honestly super excited about the hostel we were staying in. It's website is super stylish. They have an active Facebook page (as any good hostel should) and breakfast is included. (!!!!!) Add in that it's literally a three minute walk from the base of the hill below the Sacre-Coeur and it was pretty much gold. 

So naturally we made it to our hostel and took a nap. (It was now like 11 a.m. and we got up at like 4:30 a.m. after spending most of the night catching up on girl talk. It was a much deserved nap.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I (Still) Hate Moving

I started out rather ambitious this week, but of course that ambition has dwindled as the days go by.

Here's the thing, I haven't got any work this week. I've got absolutely no where I have to be. At all. This leads to a lot of sheer laziness.

I have been getting out of the house a bit and running errands. Buying this or that for my upcoming trip. Deciding not to buy stuff because it's more trouble than it's worth.

On Monday, I was totally ready to make this a productive week. I started out by going through every piece of clothing I own. I managed to fill up to small trash bag with clothing I'll donate (or let my friends rummage through) and then another bag with clothes I will just trash. No one needs a pair of jeans with holes in them.

But here I am with a huge box still full of clothing, my carry-on bag full of clothes which I think I might want to take on holiday but realize I'll have to minimize before I actually finish packing plus a bunch of other clothes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Talk Funny

Now that I've been living abroad for three years, I've picked up some oddities in my language. Some of it's pronunciation but most of it is vocabulary and some is even grammar.

When you're an English teacher, you tend to simplify your language as much as possible and also really enunciate. Now, believe me, I still talk hella fast when I'm not talking to students (or to higher-level students), and I do not enunciate if it's not necessary. I'm from the South.

That said, I never truly sounded like a Texan. Sure, there are moments when I'm drunk or talking to my mother (and certainly when those two things occur simultaneously) that I sound like a true Texan. And yes, I've always said "Y'all."

It's a really convenient word. So gender neutral and all encompassing.

Anyway, over the years, and particularly while I've been living in Europe, some slight differences have slipped their way into my every day conversations. Some of my friends tell me that I sound more "European." I have no idea what that means since 90% of Europeans are not native English speakers.

So below is a list that might help you decipher what the hell I'm talking about next time we have a conversation.

flat - What the British and most Europeans use to refer to their apartment. I currently live in a 5-bedroom flat with 4 other people, among them a British guy.

flatmates - After referring to said British guy as my roommate he hastily corrected me and clarified that we're merely flatmates. I was confused. Apparently in these parts those are different things. To me, this is like saying apartment-mates and seems unnecessarily convoluted. However, I now comply so as not to confuse. God forbid anyone think I share my bedroom with someone.

have/has... got - In America we would say, "Do you have a pencil?"  or "I don't have any change on me." Now all of a sudden I find myself asking, "Have you got a pencil?" and saying things like, "Oh, I haven't got any change on me." This is what happens when you teach a British English curriculum.

football - This is probably the most difficult for me to admit to. Nowadays, I find myself saying football when I actually mean soccer and clarifying with 'American football' when I'm talking about a sport I actually care about. The Texan spirit inside of me feels like this guy:

Friday, June 22, 2012

See Me in Action

If you've ever wondered what I do all day, well, today is your lucky day.

I've decided I'm willing to bear the embarrassment for your entertainment information.

Check out this ridiculous video I made as in invitation to our summer camps.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Drinking in Public

So when I first moved to the Czech Republic two years ago to do my TEFL course, I remember being really surprised that you could drink in public.

You can walk into a corner store, buy a beer, ask them to open it for you, and then walk out the door drinking it. Walking down the street with a beer in hand, no problem. Chilling out at the park with a beer in hand, no problem. Walking between bars with a beer in hand, no problem! This is pretty much how Europe in general operates. Drinking just isn't seen as a major vice or issue. Do what you want.

- photo jacked from The Rudy Report

Monday, June 18, 2012

Coming Up: Sept. 1, 2012 - A New Location

I was re-reading some of my very first blog posts last night.

The ones in May 2009 when I was merely anticipating my move to Taiwan and talking about all the mixed feelings I had.

The one in early June when I actually got on a plane to leave Austin and bawled my eyes out.

The one recapping my very first day in Taiwan on June 11, 2009, when I was a) exhausted from 12.5 hours of flight and b) completely and totally overwhelmed and in shock at how different everything was and c) completely in awe and ready to persevere.

It's amazing how, three years later, things have changed so much and yet so little.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Strawberry-Basil Lemonade Bread

So I was standing in line today at the Ovoce-Zelenina store (Fruit and Veggie store) with strawberries in one hand and a bunch of fresh basil in the other. The smells of the two combining in my nostrils automatically got me thinking about this amazing Strawberry-Basil Lemonade cocktail I had in Austin a few years back at one of my friend's bars. It was delicious. 

I started thinking about considering getting out of line to grab some lemons with which to make some lemonade when suddenly it dawned on me that I could make a Strawberry-Basil Lemonade-influenced bread and then have an on-the-run breakfast/snack prepared for the whole week.


Check out the recipe below. Let me know how it works out for you.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Musings of a 26-year-old Job Seeker

Quite awhile back I mentioned that I was looking for a job in the UAE. It's funny how this whole thing has  taken on a life of its own and evolved greatly.

When the idea first started to form and it was just a little seed of curiosity, I told myself that I'd love to go to the Middle East but there was no way in hell I was going by myself. I would have to find a friend who wanted to go with me.

But as the weeks went on and I began to feed my little curiosity seedling with blogs, videos, news stories, and history books full of information, I started to think to myself, "Well, there are a few countries that I could probably handle going to on my own."

Namely, the UAE, Oman or Qatar.


Once upon a time (back in late October... yes I realize this is a rather belated post), my friends and I spent a lovely autumnal weekend in Krakow, Poland.

Wawel Castle
Krakow is tiny. It's also one of the coolest European cities I've been to. Maybe it's because it's so quick and easy and unpretentious. Having lived in the Czech Republic for so long, I've developed a liking for the matter-of-fact, no-bullshit attitude most Central and Eastern Europeans tend to have.

The journey started on the night train on a Thursday night. It was a long weekend for us as well as my friend's birthday so we took advantage. Since it was me and five other friends, we managed to get a couchette cabin all to ourselves. Three fold-out beds on either side. Of course given that we are a bunch of 20-somethings on the way to a vodka-themed weekend in Poland, there wasn't much sleeping done.

Party in our cabin!
-from Olga
What there was, was a lot of champagne, vodka, beer, sandwiches, chips and mingling with the 10 to 12 random Erasmus students who were on the same train.