Wednesday, December 29, 2004

went hiking. crazy sandstone rock formations. snow. castles. puppies. czech lessons. loooooooooooooooooong busrides, but that's okay, we slept. we needed it.

i so want to stay here. but it just means i'll have to come back.

going south for new year's. should be quite fun, spending it at someone's chalet with a monstrous amount of people who are all friends from high school. i'm somewhat envious. i'm friends with three people from high school, now, but we don't have this giant social network, getting together in big groups all the time, doing yearly (or more) trips together. and michal was telling me that he does the same with his graduating class now that it's been 20 years -- they still all get together for new year's at someone's cabin.

oh, and new years is silvestr here.

breakfast's waiting. matt'll be upset that the rolls aren't warm anymore.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

i was just serenaded by a bunch of kids. for candy. but it's the first time someone's sung me any czech christmas carols. the little girl dressed all in pink who kept waving at me was the cutest.

i wanna join them and get sweets and fruit at doors now, too! trick'n'treating with songs is a much better boxing day ritual than finding the cheapest price. who wants to join me next year?

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

I deserve an award. An award for drinking from a glass tainted with a tiny fly inside, magically drinking most of the juice while keeping the fly far from my mouth. Because it only just fell onto the top of the juice, and it's maracuja juice and i'm not throwing the rest of that out because it's too damn tasty. but i didn't have anything to wipe him on, if i did fish him out.


anyways, it's christmas in canada right now. it's christmas here, too, but we celebrated on the eve, and it was actually really good fun. i'm glad i stayed here. it felt like a glorified, fanci-fied picnic, though: fancy dishes, candles, classical music, mulled wine, dressing up, more wine . . . while we ate fried chicken, potato salad, and pea soup. not to say that it wasn't tasty! i had no idea that chicken and potato salad could be so enormously filling.

jan's mother kept trying to make me eat more, and i realised i was taking itty bitty portions only because i'm used to caufield christmas dinner, where there's SO much food and SO many dishes and you want to save room in your stomach for everything. but that was really all we ate. oh, and homemade apple strudel and cookies.

best part, though, was trying to communicate with jan's mother. he speaks english fine, but she doesn't speak any english (fluent in german, though). so she would speak czech and he would translate between us, but! but! i realised that i had a pretty good grasp of what she was saying before jan translated. i still can't speak it much at all, but apparently i know a lot more than i thought i did. it made me happy. and i could understand most everything matt said in german as well. i don't know if that's something to be proud of on my part or something he should work on, though.

jan and i are planning to go hiking next week, so i'm gonna convince him to speak to me in czech half the time, see how it goes. and i'm excited, because it'll prolly mean catching the train south. yay! trains!

oh, and before dinner, we went to a church service (well, part of it) for the sole purpose of hearing the music. it was a tiny...well...not huge church, out in the outskirts of prague, in a largely-residential area, and yet they had a relatively complete orchestra and choir. i have no idea how large it was, the place was far too crowded for us to get in past the entrance, but their sound was pretty full. it was beautiful music, too. but the decor in the church was the best. the church itself isn't that old, from the 20s or 30s apparently, and the artwork inside all had this sketchy, morose, brutal look to it, little sculptures affixed to the walls, but not of your usual happy stuff. there was jesus on the cross, reaching out and looking so grief-stricken, there were giant hands with marks on the palms, there were a few traditional church-y things. but one wall was full of art depicting people in concentration camps, skeleton-like figures, barbed wire... nothing i've ever seen in a church before. made for an interesting time in there, when i got bored of trying to understand czech.

so that was my first czech christmas. how was yours?

Friday, December 24, 2004

well, after a discussion last night, i'm not as thrilled to see the carp-men anymore. it's just sad.

some day, i would like to see mount everest with my own two eyes. i saw many pictures of it last night, which was pretty amazing in and of itself.

also, what's the point of climbing mountains anyways? i found out that a bunch of the peaks in the himalayas are considered holy, so no one is allowed to climb them. which actually made a certain amount of sense, though i'd never thought about what the point of climbing mountains in the first place was. and just as i was thinking that even the desire to climb a mountain just because it's there and should be conquered might be more of a western-world thing, obnoxious american matt came in, saw the mountains, asked if tereza had climbed them and if she hadn't, why the hell not?

timing is fun.

even so, i'm looking forward to going hiking sometime next week. cuz why the hell not?

Thursday, December 23, 2004


it snowed today. nice, soft, fluffy flakes. not very large ones, but lots of them. i meant to go ice skating to celebrate this, but when we got there the lineup was far too long. so we went christmas shopping instead.

i'm staying here for christmas now. well, technically, i'm going just-outside of prague, to have a not-so-traditional dinner at a friend's family's place. traditional dinner here consists of (fried) carp and potato salad. which i'd actually rather enjoy, if only for the strangeness of it. even though the carp is apparently rather un-lovely. but we're going to be having potatoes, chicken soup, fried chicken . . . lots of chicken. but as long as matt bakes something, i'll be happy. he may be an ass (albeit an endearing one), but he's a great cook.

speaking of carp, though! i don't think i've ever described the carp-sellers before. (well, except to jodi, 5 minutes ago, but she can skip the rest of this, then.) alas, i have no digital camera this time round, so you'll just have to imagine it:

people buy their carp freshly-killed here. which means that at every square and most pedestrian-filled streets, there's at least one setup of a table and a vat or two filled to the top with carp (in water) with no room for them to even move. well, occasionally one flops over the surface of the water, but generally, they're in there, immobile. the carp-man's there with his waterproofs and a toque and a fishing net, waiting for someone to come choose their fish -- sort of like when you choose a lobster at the grocer's. after you've picked it, he'll fish it out, dump it onto the table, quickly kill it and chop of the unecessary bits, wrap it up, and give it to you (well, once you pay him, at least). and all that's left is some fish-skin, and a reddish pool of bloody water on the table and running onto the sidewalk.

it sounds gory, but it's not actually that bad. and actually, i enjoy seeing it, couldn't tell you why. possibly because i have a morbid, gothy fixation on death. but prolly not. prolly just because it's strange (to me).

so i'm a little sad that we won't get to go pick out a carp. i've seen parents with their kids, lifting them up so that the kid can help choose the next fish destined to die next. such a heartwarming experience.

but, instead, we shall have chicken. mmmmmmmmm.

oh, and a quick note that when you include an email addy when you send a text message (i think that's what's happening), i don't see an address, i just see many numbers, so i don't know who's writing to me. not that that's necessarily a problem, makes it fun to guess. but in case you're wondering why i've ignored you, i just don't know who you are. texts are good...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

"So far the employment rate after graduation has been 100%."
    -- New Media programme writeup, University of Art & Design, Helsinki.

s'it just me, or does that have a bit of a funny ring to it? i mean, they don't say how that 100% has been employed... or i suppose it could be chalked up to english not being their first language.

it's 1AM in prague and i'm sitting at a computer researching schools for masters studies. i've meant to be doing this for eons, never got around to it, and now that i'm actually officially finishing my BA for the next year, now that i'm in europe for only a few short weeks, now that i actually meant to meet up with people tonight just in case i do end up leaving tomorrow (unlikely, though -- never heard back from michal), now that looking into schools and looking to stay abroad for awhile (again) is really not an option, now i'm doing it.

in my defense, this is a very nice (fast!) computer, and i can actually sit here and indulge in being online rather than try to be as quick as possible because ondrej's not around, and as soon as you start looking at websites for art/architecture/design schools, the websites tend to be very aesthetically appealing, and i met an architecture student today who inspired me to finally start researching. in my mind, before he opened his mouth, he spoke french. l'inspiration!

and i really want to stay out here. again. who woulda seen that coming?

it took being dumped as a friend to make me realise it, too, ironically. fittingly? possibly. apparently i still haven't mastered befriending people who won't prove to be insane in the long run. maybe i just need to choose only the ones who don't bother hiding the fact that they've got screws loose -- that seems to've worked so far, at least i'm still friends with all of them.*

but yes. i liked being out here before. but once i was given the FYAD message, i realised that i just wanted to be out here anyway -- maybe it's just to get better friends than that. so i went to the art&design school here to get some info, explored the current exhibition, RedGreenBlue (mixing colours, soundscape stuff, yet not jackie's!), spent the day a-wandering and doing soundwalks/recordings, came home to nap, and started researching. oh, and being dumped gave me license to actually go shopping and spend money. so now i have a ring and a svetr. the only reason i didn't end up buying maly krtecek toys is because i was dragged away from the toystore by force.

it was a fun day.

THRILLING STUFF. maybe i should write a travellogue for publication. this here's rivetting material, i tell ya!

because yes, i'm still in prague. i knew i'd end up getting stuck here. but traband plays tomorrow night, and i keep running into people i thought i'd never see again and spending time with them, and somehow i just haven't made it to the train station to look into tickets to poland yet. i'm still going to go, though. just won't be spending as much time there as i originally planned. but that's alright -- it's better for me to find a place and stick to it for a bit instead of hopping around the place, like i would have, trying to see as much as i can but never spending enough time there to really get into it. sometimes it's better to work within limits. and strangely, even though this is my other home, i'm already exploring places here more than i ever did before.

and hey, it's cheaper to stay here, where bed and laundry and half my food is free!

i couldn't even tell you why i like it here, really. there's just something comfortable about it. maybe it's just the feeling of having another home, though, maybe it's not actually prague at all. it's just so strange, though, that nothing has changed here, really. and it's even stranger to think that i was away for a year.

before i left, though, shawn pointed out that the way i was saying goodbye to people made it seem like i was going to go die now. and it's true. i felt like i had to tell people certain Important Things, that i had to see everyone before i left, that i couldn't leave things unsorted and undone. it might be because i've gotten used to never knowing when i'm actually leaving somewhere/one/thing for good. it could be because the last time i was in europe it was only supposed to be for nine months, and when i came back, everything had changed (while staying same-old). maybe it's because i was supposed to have been back here months ago, too, but never came until now. or, like i said then, maybe it's the whole New Chapter Of Life thing.

i ran into mindy today -- had just been wondering if she was still around. she was surprised that i wasn't going to stay this time. "oh, come on, you know you want to!" and she's right. but! but! but this time i have to go home, and not for something crappy like knee surgery. i've got classes that i'm mighty excited about, and people that i miss**, so i'm definitely coming home this time. at least, for a little while longer! but it's nice to have plans. i need to have them more often.

* alright, fine, i've only been dumped as a friend three times before this, and one person went completely insane on all her friends, another one was never really a friend to begin with so maybe he shouldn't be on the list. still. it's a funny thing to deal with. though it's easy to get over when you've got people on your side, and they're being treated the same way. hurrah!
** not that i didn't miss people last time. but last time, i'd been away for a year and a half. i'd grown used to them not being around. this time, it's only a few weeks -- not enough time to stop missing their presence!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

oh yes. and because i'm in the land of free received texts once more, here we go again:

send me messages here for no other reason than to amuse me. uberbrent was always so good at that. phone number in prague is 607 994 749.

london gatwick was dreadfully boring. it had its moments in the first hour or so. but ten hours later i couldn't wait to leave.

and the whole flight over was really odd. it didn't feel real. it didn't feel like i was going far away. it felt so commonplace, not a big deal at all. obviously i've been travelling too much.

right before i left, though, david asked me what my purpose was in coming out here. and i couldn't give him a reason any better than "to travel". and it started to bother me a little as i was flying over the atlantic. because i don't actually know what the point of being here is. other than to just be here. but maybe that's all that i need, i suppose.

well, today my purpose is to find me a pair of pants. and to see sisa. and poonam. and katka, and walk around the christmas markets with svarak.

these are Very Important Things To Do. it's true.

prague is very praguey. it feels very homey. it's really nice to be here. even if it's raining instead of snowing. it's not pouring, though.

yesterday was spent wandering the city, christmas shopping with posh acquaintances in fancy stores, meeting up with another acquaintance-now-friend (i set her up with an au-pair job with good friends of mine last year even though we'd only met each other once by chance on the tram. fortunately both her and i are not psychos.), finding out who's where and who's still friends with who and what the scoop is on the past year's soap operas out here. oh, and best of all, the one thing that was worrying me terribly about coming here, the one person i was somewhat anxious to see, they're proving to be uselessly selfish and impossible to get together with. this is a good thing for me, really. sad and unfortunate, but good.

it's so nice to be back. and hopefully my body's adjusted to the secondhand smoke out here, so i won't feel too ill to go out tonight. but while we were eating, sid kept looking out the window and repeating how much he loved this town. and even though we've got different reasons for liking it, there is something nice and cozy about it, once you've lived here awhile.

also, jet lag is being a bitch this time. usually i'm good at getting over it, but there's something about 3:30 AM that my body seems to love to wake up for. stupid body.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

first one computer died. well, part of it. a rather integral part of it. so that one's useless. then, in the process of getting the laptop going again, that died too. or, rather, it just decided to get stuck in the process of going. it pretends to be alive, but it's not right now. which makes it all the more frustrating.

and then i planned to do way too many things today. half of them just aren't happening. which is alright. all that's vitally important is that i'm packed by 3:30AM, which shouldn't be too hard. laundry's done, at least.

because i'm gone after that! i'm off to prague and poland and hamburg and london for three weeks or so. hopefully i don't die. i'm actually a little scared in going. i don't feel prepared at all, i feel like there are far too many loose ends scattered about at the moment. and yet, like i was telling shawn today, it kinda feels like a new chapter in life right now. couldn't tell you why. going to prague the first time didn't feel like a new chapter. there were a few new chapters that started this year, though, i think. those short chapters where a lot of things happen and the writing's all stylized and pretentious and everything's metaphorical because nothing's actually really said, the short chapters that make you read through a book and go "wow, this IS a good book, that's so succinct, so perfect!" even if the book is, in actuality, utter garbage. those chapters, you don't usually realise the significance of them until much later in the book. or, you get further on, and you realise that they were pretentious drivel. so i don't really know what this is right now -- nothing special or Moment Of Monumental Meaning -- and i prolly won't know for awhile.

course, if the plane crashes, won't this post be ironic.

so other than not having a computer at my fingertips and realising that i'm too dependent on technology and instant communication for my own good, there's been things happening. nothing huge. but things. parties. braiding of hair. disney marathons (mary poppins is so very good...). dancing at science world. reaffirming old acquaintances. finding out dirt about the new house being built for The Man I Hate. christmas was last weekend, too. bet you missed it!

and now i'm going to pack. and prolly head up to school again, because i can't print things i need to have to print and drop in the mail tonight and my life is so difficult and i can't wait to get on the plane only because then i can SLEEP.

i'm going to get so sick the second i step foot in prague. oh well. at least i'll get to have cough drops with czech on the wrappings. ooh, if i do go back up to school, must steal more fisherman's friends.....

Friday, December 10, 2004

i just something horrible and disgusting and revolting on the internet. in fact, it's so bad, i'm not even going to link it. instead, to erase the images from my brain, here are kittens.

actually, last night, as i drove home, a trio of black bears bounded across the road. i was shocked. i've never seen bears so close before, or so mobile, and definitely not here by my house. in the rockies from afar, yes, but not here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

5.333 years of university (once you take out the semesters that i took off)
general, ever-changing interests
4 minors over the years
ken anderlini
lynn hissey
german expressionism (yay!)
cool carl
bald-headed dude doing his masters in Stuff
depression that led to studying abroad
czech republic
not knowing the rules of how many credits/semester
last-minute registrations into lit courses
milan kundera, how i detest thee
ladislav klima and nietzche
Marika The Instigator
knee surgery
open-ended plane ticket to europe
barbara (x2), who actually looked a little closer at my courses
linda, the most patient advisor ever
Major in Arts & Culture
Joint Major in English & Women's Studies
(probable) Minor in Communications
Liberal Arts Certificate

hurrah! well, it's not finished yet, it'll be another year or so. time enough to start exploring something new. means i have to do studio courses -- dance and sound art! means i have to learn old english. means i have to do directed studies courses. means i'll have to come back from europe in january. means everyone will be impressed and jealous of me and want to be my friend and pay me millions of monies.

sounds alright to me!

Monday, December 06, 2004

been utterly exhausted all weekend. no clue why.

drinking freshly-brewed ginger tea (as in, not from a pansy-ass teabag, as in, freshly-chopped ginger root steeped in hot water until the water's yellow and spicy, as in, THE REAL DEAL mofo!).

my mouth is starting to tingle from the ginger heat. it's making me sleepier, though, so hurrah.

gotta work triple-hard tomorrow to make up what i didn't get done today. hurrah.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

this is how i feel today.*

well, that, with a splash of blue sky, and a bit of dust floating past the computer screen, and pseudo-skiing down a snow-covered slope, and feeling my back stretched out more than its ever been, and chewing spice-rack gum, and letting hunger make me mean to the people who don't deserve it, and dreaming of finland and czech republic and norway, and being exhausted all day.

also, i'm not sure if i posted this link a year and a half ago. if i did, go play again, it's worth it. if i didn't, enjoy.

* if you have the desire/patience/bandwidth, here is another song for today. probably more suiting. but twice as long. i'm a considerate kinda person, thinking of your connection speed like that...