I survived orientation

I’m extremely lucky that my program gives us a lot of help and support, but that meant I had to go through a dreaded orientation. It happened in CIEE’s Study Center in Vysherad which is on top of a huge hill. The perks are that we get amazing views of the city, free WiFi, and food. Plus we get to bond with other people in our program… which is pretty cool.

View from the study center

We arrived in Prague on Friday, August 16 and orientation was from Saturday- Tuesday. I wasn’t struggling with jet lag too much, but I was tired from all of the activities we had to do. We accomplished more than I thought in a small amount of time- introductions and name games, an intensive language course, and we got a personal tour around the city (mic packs and earpieces were included). Plus, we had to take trips for different things like opening a bank account, buying a metro pass, and exploring the neighborhood we were living in.

One of the biggest reasons that I came back to Prague was because I know the language and it feels familiar. After taking 4 months of Czech and not brushing up for 4 years, let’s just say I was a little rusty. I think the hardest part of orientation was feeling like I was doing really well in Czech and suddenly struggling. I took Italian in high school and college and didn’t do well in it. I don’t have the right voice for a romance language, so when I started getting confused about Czech, it was extremely discouraging because it felt like the only language I was decent at. Don’t get me wrong, my teacher was great, but I needed more than 5 days of intensive Czech lessons.

CIEE gave us housing for a month and we all lived in the same building during orientation. It was nice because our program wasn’t huge, but we’re all gonna be teaching in different places in and outside of Prague. Some people are sharing apartments with one another, some are doing homestays, and some have apartments provided by their school. For two weeks we were able to get drinks, have dinner, and create strong relationships with people we can rely on for the next 10 months.

I’ve made some friends with the people in my group and I’m comfortable enough sharing different things with them. There’s a few more weeks before we have to move out of the shared apartment building and find our own palces/ start getting used to our new normal. Orientation is all fun and games until it starts feeling like a glorified vacation with a little stress mixed in. It’s overwhelming, extremely new and kinda different, but I’m lucky that it’s also manageable.

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Alright, Alright, Alriiiiiiiight *Kevin Hart voice*

There’s going to be A LOT of new people here, so welcome to my blog! It’s not 100% where I want it, but I might as well post now and edit later because I know you’re all dying to know what I’m up to!

The Flight

I took an 8.5 hour flight from JFK to Prague and that was fine… for the most part. I definitely should’ve splurged on first class because the seating was TIGHT. I didn’t have space for my bookbag under the seat because there was an oxygen mask box attached to the bottom of the seat in front of me and I sat next to a man with large legs, so we squeezed into the seats. I’m really glad I chose an aisle seat because I had chances to stretch my legs a bit. The food wasn’t bad, for dinner I got chicken with potatoes and vegetables and it was actually seasoned (which I was surprised about), some cheese, a salad, and a cookie. AI was only able to watch one movie, Isle of Dogs, but it was amazing. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it.

When I got my luggage, one the wonderful people at the airport decided to break the wheel off my largest suitcase!!!

I’m not gonna lie, I was pissed. Not even pissed, but slightly livid. I just bought the set of suitcases for this trip, BUT I didn’t freak out. They had an extra suitcase, so I figured that would work until I got home- WRONG. The suitcase was the same brand, around the same size, but it was flimsy and I didn’t realize until I filed my claim for it and left. One of the people working for the airport found the wheel while I was figuring out what to do, it was a clean break and I’m gonna try and find a luggage repair shop when I get more settled.

The Apartment + People

I have housing for a month and it’s really cool because it’s an apartment that I’m sharing with people from my program. This week we have orientation and we’re living in the same building. It’s a great way to get to know each other aka make friends and last night a bunch of us played some games and went out. After a month we all get split up into either a homestay, apartment from your school, or find your own apartment. Not gonna lie, it’s gonna be hella weird not seeing these people everyday but I’m planning on getting an apartment with two girls and I’m really excited. There’s about 24 of us in the program and we’re from all over, but I think we mesh really well.

Alllll the Feelings

Being 6 hours ahead is… aggressive and hard. The other day it was 11pm when I went to bed and I realized that none of my friends were gonna be up when I woke up at 8am tomorrow. 6 hours is a long time when you want to hear about what your friends are up to and how their day is going, but it’s only 2pm their time when you reach out. I know I have to find more community here, but I miss MY people.

Also, the funniest thing happened to me- we took a walk through the neighborhood with our group and while we waited for our guide, I saw a family that was on my flight walking down the block. What are the chances of that? I always feel like New York is small, but Prague feels so much smaller!

To finish this up, I’m really glad I came back to Prague! I’m a little homesick, but I feel like I know what I’m doing because everything feels super familiar. I’m learning Czech again and trying to figure out my new normal isn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it’s okay because I’ll adapt.

Here’s some pictures, I wanted to upload more buuuut my WiFi is trash so:

Wenceslas Square

It’s coming full circle

If you know me, you know that I’m really invested in my church. I attend Hillsong and I never thought I’d be in this deep, but the people I’ve encountered aren’t just my friends or people I go to church with- they’re a big part of my community, they’re family! When I graduated from college in 2016, I wasn’t 100% sure about what to do. I knew I wanted to teach abroad, join the Peace Corps, get a “real job” or possibly go to grad school, but I didn’t know in what order. Something I did know was that I needed to find more.

What exactly does that mean? Let’s take it back to May 2016- I was living at home in New York… again. I didn’t know a lot of people because I went to school in Central PA, my best friend got married and moved to the South, and I didn’t want to go back to my old church because I grew out of it. Fast forward, I went to Hillsong (no, I didn’t know it was famous when I started going) and stayed for 2 years. I got involved in the church by serving on volunteer teams, joining connect groups, sitting at conferences, and doing midweek stuff. I was challenged, forced out of my comfort zone and learned to be really flexible and adaptable. I found people who really cared about me and learned more about who God wanted me to be and what His plans were for my life.

It’s crazy because today, August 12, was my last Sunday. When I first started going to Hillsong in June 2016, we were in 2 locations- PlayStation Theater and Irving Plaza. In November 2016 we became one house and began having the majority of our services at the Hammerstein Ballroom. On August 12, 2018, we randomly (not random, it was all God) ended up at PlayStation again. Even though everything was completely different from the first and the last time I was in that venue, one thing was the same- the feeling of being at home.

Life came full circle. Thanks God.

7 days

I’ll be in Prague in a few days and I’m…. overwhelmed? Excited? Nervous? Unprepared? Not 100% sure, but I know that I’m feeling a lot of different things. The biggest thing is that it doesn’t feel real yet. I’m wondering when exactly this will hit me, it’ll either be on Sunday at church or it’ll be on Thursday when I’m taking my Uber to JFK. Maybe it’ll happen when I finally start putting clothes in my suitcase (no, I haven’t started packing yet).

People keep telling me how brave I am for moving to a country for 10 months by myself. Or they give me a look of pure excitement and it seems weird to me. I feel like people do stuff like this everyday or they take larger risks and teaching abroad shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Right now, I think I’m most excited to get a new number for a few months and detach from the life I’ve had here. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I feel like there’s toooo much going on and I need a break. I know I’ll miss it once I’m gone, but right now? I’m ready to get away, even if it scares me because what’s life without a little risk?

I’m baaaaack

Hi everyone!

It’s been about 4 years since I’ve written anything for this blog and that’s because I haven’t been in Prague- but guess what? I’m moving back!

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to revamp this blog and bring it back to life, but I think it’s the right thing to do. One day I want to export this entire thing and put it on a real website, but for now, Tumblr is going to.  I don’t feel like I was able to keep up with it on a daily basis a few years ago, but a lot has changed since then. I want this to be a resource for people and something I can look back on in the future. This is a big step in my life and I want to document it- maybe not all of it, but at least some of it.

If you know me, you know one of the things I talk about is how some people are “real adults” and I feel like I’m finally turning into one. I’ll be teaching English for 10 months in Central Bohemia in a little town refer to as SČ. When I get there, I’ll mostly be teaching older children in grades 6-9 and I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little scared. Not scared, but nervous. I’ve been in classrooms with kids up to 5 years old, 5th graders, and adults- but middle school? That’s a completely different realm for me.

Last year on my birthday. I said I wanted to start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and that’s exactly what I’m doing. This experience is all about being independent, seeing if I want to be an educator, and trying new things along the way. It’s not going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

7 Day Countdown- Friday

Today was graduation and that was… long, to say the least. It started at like 9:30am and I went to bed pretty late and I feel like graduation should have been yesterday, lol. Anywhooo, today was a good one! Graduation was in three parts and I got my Charles University diploma as well as two letters that spoke about what I did (at the radio station and as a blogger) and a free t-shirt (because everyone loves free stuff) and then after we had a great lunch at this fancy-ish place. It was nice to just chill and get free food on the last day.

It’s really hard to believe that I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon. I think I’m a llittle bit in shock, kind of like everyone else. It’s one of those things that I’ve been waiting on and I wanted to come and now that it’s here, I feel like it’s not real, you know? I didn’t get a whole lot of closure and get drinks/ say bye to people because I had hair things to deal with plus I had to pack and I did enjoy getting those last moments of silence before bed. I have to be out by like 9am tomorrow and all I’m really worried about is having enough time to get my plane from London to JFK and having my bags make it on the plane, haha. Let’s see what happens and put good vibes into the air. Time for my last sleep in my Prague bed.