This past week was a big readjustment back to normal after traveling to Prague. Getting back to school on Monday was a shock and it felt as if I had been gone for a month. It is crazy that I am now well into my second month in the Czech Republic. Time seems to move in a strange way here. It feels like I have lived in Znojmo for a long time and yet I still know I have many months ahead of me.
With all of the events going on in the United States, my lessons became very interesting this week. I was coincidentally asked to give a talk about the American healthcare system the same day as the government shutdown. Not only did I learn a lot about the background behind the shutdown when researching for my lesson, it was interesting to see the students’ reaction. As I discussed in my last post, the Czech government is in a similarly unstable position with a dissolved Parliament. Therefore, most Czechs are currently pessimistic about the government here. Telling them about the state of the American government brought some smiles to their faces—even the “greatest” country in the world with the “ideal” government is having problems too. While I have always tried to keep updated on the news, my role as a teacher and representative of the United States makes my relationship with American current events more interesting. With each big news story I must not only think of how it affects friends, family, and life at home, but also how I must explain it to my Czech students and how they will newly perceive the United States. For example, in a lesson on stereotypes I learned that many Czech people think that every American owns a gun. At first I laughed, but after two major national news stories about shootings in the past month it’s getting harder to write off this perception as totally misguided.
This week was also big in that I finally moved into my own apartment! It is in the historic center of Znojmo with about a ten-minute walk to school. Most notably, it is HUGE with two big rooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and 5 beds! I am slowly figuring out what to do with so much space after living in dorm rooms and a small single bedroom last year. So far I have enjoyed having my own kitchen and being able to cook for myself. My first meal was making brussel sprouts after I have not had cooked vegetables since arriving. When going shopping with Jana for my apartment she was shocked at why I would want to buy brussel sprouts as they are very uncommon here and most Czechs find them repulsive. This weekend I cooked her and her family my Christmas recipe and am proud to say they had two servings because they liked them so much!
With much more time to myself, this weekend I spent more time exploring Znojmo and taking advantage of some of the things to do here. On Friday night I went to a café to watch a man play some traditional Czech “country” music along with some American rock classics. Saturday I accompanied Jana and Anna to watch Honza’s swimming competition of young students from around the Moravian region in Znojmo. I also stumbled up on a soccer match between S.C. Znojmo and Sparta Praha at the soccer stadium here. When I studied abroad in Prague I was bummed I did not make it to see a Sparta Praha game. Ironically, I finally got to see them play, but in Znojmo when I of course was rooting for the home team. Finally, on Sunday I returned to Brno with one of the other English teachers to see the Flashdance the Musical. Again, I was very impressed with the dancing, costumes, and staging!
Coming up this week: My first Culture Club Movie Night and another trip to Prague.