Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's Finally Real

I'm finally here and have been for 5 days now. It's hard to believe that we are here, and at the same time it's hard to imagine not being here. I've already fallen in love with the city, my school, and the people. So much has happened in the past six days that it's hard for me to write it all here. 

I suppose I will start with the beginning of my journey. I like to call it delayed flights and lost luggage. Our first flight was delayed, making us almost miss our first connecting flight. Then that flight was late getting to London, so we almost missed our flight to Prague. I think the most funny part of my travel is a tie between getting made fun of by Brits on my transatlantic flight and running through the London Heathrow airport without shoes on. It was a long journey to say the least and we finally arrived in Praha, about 16 hours after leaving Kansas City. I traveled with Jason, and we met up with a lot of other friends on the flight from London. Baggage claim was a nightmare. My worst fear of losing my luggage actually happened. Jason and I's were both lost in Philadelphia, so we had to fill out some paperwork with a sort of unpleasant Czech lady. 

We then met up with our Czech buddies who were preciously waiting for us all in a little group. We then made our way to our home for the next four and a half months by way of bus. We are all living in Masarykova Kolej. The next few hours were full of paperwork and running around campus. Filling out dorm agreements, getting student id cards, and metro passes. My buddy was very helpful with all of this! :) I had intentions of a nap after so much commotion, but came back to find my roommate Caitie, who I know from KSU leaving for IKEA with her buddy, so of course I tagged along. We just went for necessities such as sheets, hangers, a blanket, and a towel. Once back from shopping we went to dinner not far away from campus at a sandwich type place called Boulevard Crocodile. This was my first attempt at ordering food in Czech, I failed miserably. I have plenty of time to practice though! We then got my first Czech beer in the pub in the basement of our dorm, it was delish, but I was so tired we went to bed by midnight.

We slept for 13 hours, and awoke ready to venture out into the city. I went to the city center with my two roommates from KSU, Caitie and Winifred, and two French boys both named Cyril that Caitie had met already. The city center is beautiful. 

It’s so hard to explain what it’s like walking around such a beautiful old city with cobblestone streets and sidewalks and buildings from the 9
th century passing you by. We found a perfect restaurant that served traditional Czech food. My first Czech meal was potato dumplings with smoked meat and cabbage. And of course a beer. My favorite beer is dark Budvar. 

Me and Winifred then made our way to the Vltava River, which runs through the city. It beautifully curves along the streets revealing glimpses of the red roof buildings. 

That night we went out with a few of our KSU friends Czech buddies to a place called Image Bar. A bunch of international students went out that night so I met people from Germany, Finland, Netherlands, and France. And also more students from the Czech Republic. In Prague they love 80’s and 90’s American music. We danced to it at Image bar for awhile while downing delicious Czech beer called Gambrinus. I also experienced a new shot called a B-52. It’s Baileys, Kahlua, and Absinthe and then you light it on fire and stick a straw in it and take it as fast as you can because the straw catches on fire. Scary, but so fun and delicious. We then made our way to Lucerna Music Bar. They were having an 80’s & 90’s Video Dance party. It was ridiculously fun and sweaty. We danced on stage the whole time we were there…For about 4 hours! We then made it home by way of tram at around 3:30 am. Thankfully our Czech friends show us the way home since we are not familiar with the tram system yet. 

When we got back to Masarykova I looked in the office and realized my luggage had been delivered and was very ecstatic to get it the next morning!

Day 3 was uneventful because I caught up more on sleep. Although we did go to a really delish Chinese restaurant that is really close to our dorm. My KC friends think Kin Lin! It's very good and cheap, which is always nice.

Day 4 was the beginning of orientation week. We had a meeting introducing us to the college and International Office. I know that I chose the right place to study after this meeting. Me and Diana ate lunch at a restaurant that afternoon, and the whole menu was in Czech. Thankfully we know how to ask if you speak English and our waitress did and translated the menu for us. We ended up ordering the same thing and it was delicious. I haven't tasted anything here yet I haven't liked. That evening we went to a welcome party for the International Student Club. It was at PM Bar and all of us traveled from the dorms together. It was quite an interesting journey getting 40 people on the same train at the metro. At PM Bar we had dinner and of course. We stayed until almost 1 so we had plenty of time to meet lots of new people. I met more people from all over the world and am realizing this is going to be even more of an experience than I originally expected. I’ve met so many great people, and although some of their English is broken, it’s fun to be able to communicate and find out where everyone is from and what they are studying and everything. We made our way home again by tram, thanks to our Czech friends. 

Our morning meeting came way too early. Although it was good to find out what courses we can take. They do things a little differently here in the Czech Republic with their courses. You can go to any classes you want in your faculty the first week of class, and then at the end of the week, you register for the classes you liked. And also there are over 20 studios to choose from. I am going to take the interiors studio, although a couple of the architecture studios seemed interesting as well. It may be a tough decision. Later today we had a presentation on Czech culture and also all of the activities that ISC does. And they also presented the trips that are offered during Orientation Week. I am taking a trip to Moravia, which is Eastern Czech Republic, and also a trip to South Bohemia which is the area south of Prague.

And this ends my ridiculously long post. I have been able to Skype a lot today with family and that makes me happy. And also makes me realize that I am living in a completely different world right now. But I also couldn't be happier. Until next time.