On teaching and living in the Czech Republic

I landed in Prague exactly ONE WEEK ago. The first few days felt like a vacation. I was staying with my mom in Old Town (Prague 1) surrounded by tourists. I spent a good bulk of time meandering around the main sites and being annoyed by how often other people casually walked into me (which hurts, FYI) without a care. Not cool, fellow tourists. Not cool.

I began the student housing move-in process (to Prague 9) on Friday and stayed the night on Sunday for the first time. Instead of my attic apartment in cutesy Collingswood, I now live up a steep hill on a quiet street with three roommates. Walking to class in the morning hasn’t been a big deal. But coming home at night after a looooong, exhausting day? Yikes. Brutal. So brutal.

Since Monday, I’ve taught half a lesson twice and am in the process of planning a solo lesson for tomorrow afternoon. It’s really weird to be back in school at all, let alone as a student AND teacher-in-training. I’ve been teaching real students, not my classmates. I didn’t expect that before the course!

As part of the certification, we learn how to teach students of different levels — elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate. So far I’ve taught intermediate (yesterday) and pre-intermediate (today). It was awesome to successfully teach my students the meanings of “relative pronouns” and “nickname” today. SCORE.

One issue off the bat I need to tackle? I talk WAY TOO F’IN FAST. I’ve always been a better writer than speaker, so switching up my professional life like this is pretty huge. But also a really good thing. I needed a push like this to break out of my comfort zone and hopefully help open better doors in the future.

I feel like I’m learning so much so fast that my head wants to explode. It doesn’t understand what I’m doing to it!

At this juncture, I’m still not totally sure if I’ll stay in the country after the course or move on. If I do switch countries, it will be elsewhere in Europe for now (open to Eastern, Central, or Western). I’ve heard it can be hard to get visas in some Western countries coupled with little pay off though, so I’m trying to keep that in mind.

But let’s talk about the adjustments I’ve already had to deal with:

  1. Not being near my likeminded Philly friends. I feel like each time I mention beer here, I sound like an alcoholic, which is actually NOT the case. I’d just really like to find ONE sour bottle in this country. Just one. That’s all I’m asking for. It’s only been a week and I don’t think I could possibly drink one more pilsner. It’d also be cool to find someone who wants to chat about cool breweries and styles and exchange beer lists and plan a beercation with… [I am 100% going to Berlin for Cantillon on Oct. 1 soooo]
  2. Not always being able to check in on Yelp. It used to be that if I couldn’t find a business, I’d add the listing. Here, if I can’t find a business, it’s probably my fault. I also turned my cellular off, so I can only use my phone in wifi zones which means way less time collecting duchessdoms.
  3. No AC. It has been HOT here. Hopefully it breaks soon…
  4. The HILL. I feel like that needs another mention in this post. Just in case anyone finds me post-heart attack. Ya know.
  5. Feeling like an idiot in the grocery store since I don’t know 99% of the language. I seriously bought two paper towels thinking they were four rolls of toilet paper. Nope. Fail.
  6. Spotty wifi. If I take awhile to get back to you, pls be patient. The wifi in my student housing isn’t ideal.
  7. NO DELIVERY. Maybe I should have listed this first. Guys. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a long day of work, walked into my apartment, switched into sweats, and pulled up GrubHub. No matter where I’ve lived over the last several years, the delivery guys have always gotten to know me. I don’t cook. Like, ever. Now I have to make an effort for my food.
  8. Not being able to contact anyone from home until mid-afternoon without potentially waking and angering them. So many times, I wake at 7:15 AM and think, “Let me text *friend*” before realizing *friend* is very likely halfway through their dreamworld.

I could go on. I expected most of these. I didn’t think this move would be easy. The currency is also killing me. I hand someone a 1,000kc bill for 600kc and feel like an ass, but the USD equivalent is so low.

Okay. Time to stop procrastinating and FOCUS! Two more days of intensity and then *hopefully* a sweet, sweet break.

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