Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Visiting Season

Love this picture

Visiting season has begun and I'm extremely excited! Daniel and Amanda arrive thursday evening and will be staying for two weeks. Much fun will ensue :D

The National Museum at twilight

In work related news, I now have my ideal schedule. I teach one normal class and one private lesson monday from 3:30-7:15 (which gives me the morning free to relax and plan my lessons for the week). Tuesday and Thursday I'm gone from 6:30-7 with one 30 minute lunch break. Wednesday I teach from 7:30-4 with breaks for travel and lunch. Friday is totally free.

I love this schedule because it give me a light monday to ease into the week and prepare my lesson plans. Then I get to bear down and work nice and hard for 3 very full days (I have more classes in three days than any of my friends have in a full week). And best of all, friday is still free. I know it won't last forever but i'm sure gonna enjoy it while it does.

For now I leave you with some of my recent random pictures from my rovings in the city :)

Sarka park at sunrise

And here again the same day at sunset

This one speaks for itself

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Easter Market in Old Town Square

Today we begin with the most exciting news. Its finally Spring!!! I know this may not sound like a big deal to all my southern friends but when its been in the teens and 20s with constant cloud cover for 3 months straight, temperatures in the 50s are like heaven on earth. I've been outside every spare minute this week basking in the warm sun.

Part of the view from Letna Park

And the good news keeps coming. In a week and a half two of my best friends, Daniel and Amanda, are coming to visit for two weeks. I'll be showing them around Prague for a few days and then we're going to take a mini-vacation to Salzburg in Austria and Munich and Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Not only do I get to hang out with great friends, I also get to go to a place I've always wanted to visit (Salzburg. I've wanted to go ever since I saw the Sound of Music) and to a place I dearly love (Neuschwanstein) :D

(from the left: Michal, Pavla, Susan, Jana)

Now for another edition of "Meet my students". This time we have my group from Staropramen, a big Czech brewery. This is my most advanced group. They've all lived in English-speaking countries before, so our lessons focus on improving their vocabulary and helping them maintain their already considerable English skills. I really enjoy this group because their skill level gives me far more freedom to try interesting teaching techniques. I can show more videos, try more activities and push them not just to speak English but to think analytically in it (not an easy thing to do in your second language). They are all talkative, friendly and a pleasure to teach.

To end, I have a picture for my soon-to-be-visiting friends. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Dream


Its a simple question I get asked from time to time. Why did I leave? Why I am doing this? The answer is equally simple.

"Because I have a dream."

My dream doesn't include great riches, power or fame. It doesn't involve a corner office. Unlike Achilles, I do not want my name to be remembered for all time. My dream is bigger than that. My dream is the world.

I want to visit all 7 continents (yes even Antarctica). I want hike over Kilimanjaro. I want to stare up in awe at the majesty of Everest. I want to marvel at the Great Barrier Reef and the abundance of life it contains. I want to see the sweeping plains of the Serengeti. I want to look upon the pyramids and contemplate how it was possible to build something like this so long ago. I want to celebrate in Rio as I gaze down upon the city beside Christ the Redeemer. I want to stand on the barren coast of the frozen continent and bask in the magnificent emptiness around me.

Rio de Janeiro

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia

I've already seen the splendor of the Grand Canyon, rafted down raging rivers in the Rockies, seen the earth expand before me as I dived through the sky, melted in the relaxing embrace of the Caribbean and stood alone at the top of a mountain in Colorado. But I want more. I dream of visiting every place on earth that interests me and then going even further.

The Serengeti in Africa

And unlike many people, I will make my dream a reality. Sometime around August or September of this year I will leave Prague (if not sooner). I will most likely either move to Sydney or Korea (though other places are still possible). Korea as I have explained before is a fascinating culture and a place where I can save a lot of money quickly. Sydney is a place I have always dreamed of living and is also a good place to save. Both of these locations will provide me with unique opportunities to see and experience life in ways that I simply can't do in the US.


However the best part is that things won't get worse when I'm finished with these two dream locations. When these chapters end, I will have saved enough money to travel the world as a student. I will simply take a backpack, a camera, a world of curiosity and I will follow my heart. I don't know where that will lead but I know it will be a grand adventure. And nothing would make me happier.

And someday when I die, like the two brothers in the movie "Secondhand Lions", I want people to think of me and say

"He really lived"

Everest at sunset

PS. Of course I have other dreams about a wife, kids, a home, etc... but that's for another time ;)

Friday, March 5, 2010

What's new

I'm trying the scruffy to almost full beard look. What do you think? Should I keep it?

Sorry for the delay between updates but i've been waiting on news from the Swiss summer camp before updating everyone. Unfortunately I'm still waiting, so I've decided to move on. I'm currently looking at camps in Spain, England and the Czech Republic (in the countryside).

Look! Grass!

My classes are still going well. My students are great and the private lessons that I began recently are especially nice. The best news is that the weather is finally starting to warm up. Its cold again this week but last week was quite nice. I didn't realize how much I missed warm weather and sunshine until it started to return. Now i just have to be patient until Spring really gets going (this should happen around the beginning of April).

This is John, my senior teacher. He basically keeps an eye on me and helps me get better. Kinda goofy lookin Brit but a real nice guy (and yes I'm aware I used poor grammar there)

The man pictured above is Ondrej (pronounced like Andre). I teach him twice a week and he is one of my favorite lessons. His manager met me and told me very directly that my only job was to improve his spoken English. So we don't do grammar. We don't go through a book. He comes in and we sit down and talk for 90 minutes. We usually have a focus for the conversation as a way for me to teach him new vocabulary, ie restaurants, politics, weather etc. He's overworked, stressed and frustrated and I like him! Our lessons give him a chance to blow off steam, talk through his problems and improve his English. Its a perfect setup.

The only other news is that Tim's uncle Bob has been visiting us this week. He's a great guy and very interesting to talk to, so its certainly made the week fun. It has also had the effect of whetting my anticipation for the upcoming visits we'll be receiving this spring :)

And since its still too cold for green things to bloom, here are some pictures of the "school" I work at. Really its a resource center for lesson planning and administrative support. Fortunately, that is exactly what I need to succeed.

Our library on the right side. It doesn't look like much but its more than enough for us

Our computer bank. I print lots of stuff from here

The admin support staff. They're very good.