Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thank you lord for your guidance

Some great news to report! First, I got two job offers! One from a large traditional school (this one teaches every kind of English) and one from a more corporate-centric school (this one focuses on Business English, General English and private lessons). After careful thought, I've decided to go with the more corporate one for 3 reasons.

1. I have lots of business experience so it plays to my strengths well.
2. They do 90 min classes not 45 min ones like the other school (this means I only have to plan half as many lessons)
3. They pay better, which means I have more money to use for traveling over here.
Bonus: They also help much more with the visa process here which I would call a nightmare but that's being unfair to most nightmares.

But the good news doesn't stop there! After entirely too much looking, I found a great flat for Tim and I to live in. It is relatively cheap, close to the airport (easier when people visit us), only a short distance from the center of town, and best of all, a place i really like and felt comfortable in the moment I set foot in the door. I've attached a video I shot of the place for anyone who wants a 3 and a half minute guided tour of our soon to be new home (this video was originally shot to show the place to Tim since he couldn't make it to the flat's viewing). Sorry for the lousy camera work but it was shot on my digital pocket camera.

Thanks to everyone who has been praying for me!!!! It really has seemed to help through this tough but meaningful experience. Hopefully before I know it, my friends and family will be dropping by to visit and I'll be traveling to a new city every chance I get! See you soon!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Light at the end of the tunnel

Something amazing has happened. For the first time in weeks, I'm caught up. I'm ahead of the game. I have finished my interviews (i should here back from the last 2 on wednesday), i don't teach again until thursday, and I even emailed several people about setting up a time to look at flats(apartments). I'm absolutely caught up.

Since I'm still in shock over this fact, I won't add much except to say that hopefully we manage to find a flat by next week. If we find a good flat and I get an offer from one of the places I interviewed with today, then life will be nearly perfect. Once I know for certain where I will be living, I'll send pictures.

In the mean time, since I try to make it a policy to never a have a post without pictures, here are some of Wenceslas Square. This is considered the center of Prague and is named for Bohemian Duke (and Saint) Wenceslas who is revered in the Czech Republic in much the same way King Auther is in Britain. He is best know to Americans as the subject of the Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas".

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My new home

Well its official. Tim and I will be living in Prague for at least the next year. I have been offered a full-time job and Tim has 3 promising interviews in the upcoming week. With this school, I will have the option to focus predominately on teaching Business English or if I prefer, to teach a variety of classes. I'm not sure which i'll opt for at this point.

However, now that we are confident of work, we are looking for a nice flat (that's an apartment in Euro-speak). Once we find that, all that will remain will be to pass this teaching course, decide which job offer to accept and start working and traveling. So this awe-inspiring, cosmopolitan city will now become our home for a year. (strangely enough, for a city that has the population of Dallas, it never feels very crowded or busy here)

Hopefully lots of you will be able to come over and visit us during the coming year. We will welcome guests anytime. When you take out the cost of accommodation, traveling to Europe isn't all that expensive :) Plus, you'll get to see sights like this as part of your everyday, walking around experience.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wow, and I thought grad school was challenging

First let me preface this short post by saying that I think this city is indescribably fascinating and it looks like I'm going to stay here at least a year. That said, right now I'm working like i'm enrolled in med and law schools simultaneously! 14 to 16 hour days are quickly becoming the norm.

Fortunately there is a light at the end of the work! Once we graduate this program, hopefully Tim and I will both have jobs and we'll be able to take some R&R for a week or so. For now, we work hard and relax harder :D

Also, if anyone has any tips for staying sane through absurd workloads, I'd love to hear them. Remember, sarcasm is always welcome (quod erat demonstrandum!)

PS. For those of you who like pictures, here is one of the Old New Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Prague. This is the oldest active synagogue in Europe (it was built in 1270).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And video's too!!

In Prague, they love Jazz. Who knew?

Here is Old Town Square, the center of Prague.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's life without challenges?

Sometimes in life you need someone or something to push you, to help you find out what you can really do. This TEFL course has done that for me. This is one of the most challenging things I've ever done and I LOVE IT!! The city is breath-taking, the weather is gorgeous and the food is good and cheap. It has all combined to make a wonderful experience so far.

Sunday was great. I was able to find a couple free hours to visit the Prague Castle and St. Vitus's Cathedral inside it. The castle of lovely but the Cathedral was beyond words. It was on par with Notre Dame and I don't say that lightly. I put up a couple of my favorite pictures below and a bunch more if you click here.

For now, I'm going to do a 1 on 1 lesson with a student and then I don't have to teach again until next Tuesday! Which means that I get to take a huge break (2 hours max) and then get right back to looking for a job, analyzing the 1 on 1 lesson and preparing for next week. lol, such is life for the moment. But right now, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.


PS. I did manage to find Dr. Pepper here (although it tastes a little weird) but its still DP!!!! And don't forget to click on the pictures to make them bigger

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Settling in to my new surroundings (video included!!!!)

We have now been teaching for two days. Its going well so far. I've only had fruit thrown at me once!!! Ok it was only a threat from one of my teachers if I forgot to break the class up into groups but it definitely helped me not to forget.

One of my friends actually had his class start so poorly that he walked out of the class, then came back in a few seconds later, introduced himself and began again (it went much better the second time).

Oh, I managed to break our flat's shower. I stepped into the tub and didn't realize how high and sloped it was. I slipped and started to fall. However on the way to breaking my head, I got tangled up in the shower curtain which broke my fall. It also broke the shower. Look at the photo provided to see why this is a big problem.

I explained this incident to Tim by telling him "Well I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we don't have to go to the hospital. The bad news is, our shower is busted." He suggested we wrap me in duct tape and roll me down a mountain to make up for what I'd done. I thought he took it rather well.

More updates, videos and pictures coming this weekend. Thanks again for all your prayers everyone!


PS. Here is a video I shot in Old Town Square and a few pictures of the Tyn (pronounced teen) Church at night. As always, click on the pictures to make them bigger.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Our teaching school just kicked into gear (and kicked us in the butt hard!!)

Hi everyone. I'm happy to say that our teaching school has kicked our workload into high gear. This promises to be one of the most challenging months of my life and I can't wait. It will probably entail many long nights of hard work like tonight (current time 3:45am and I just finished my prep for tomorrow). But it promises a truly gratifying sense of accomplishment as reward.

Tomorrow is my first teaching day. I'll let you know how it goes but I'm well prepared so I'm hoping for the best. Sight seeing will have to wait until this weekend. More pictures will be forthcoming then.

Thank you to everyone who has kept me in your prayers. They are a great comfort in a place where almost everything is alien to me. And now its off to bed for me.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pictures from Prague

I'll keep this brief. Prague is still stunning and here are a few pictures to prove it. (with more coming as I take them) Pictures at this link.

Important News!

Big news item today. Its not that Tim and I made it safely to Prague (we did). Its not that our flat here is decently nice (it is). Its not that the city is gorgeous or that we're thrilled to be done with our flights (it is and we are). No the big news is that they have Dr. Pepper in London Heathrow Airport! I was far more excited by this than any reasonable person should be and so naturally I had to buy one to support DP in GB.

In other less important news, Prague is, in fact, stunning and this looks to be a fun and very interesting month (both for better and for worse). I'll try to keep you guys updated as much as possible. In the mean time, here is a picture I shot over the river at sunset of Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle.

Click on the picture to see its full size