22 03 2010

One of the delights of being EFL teacher is the surprise of a last-minute cancellation. At least it is when the cancellation comes between planning the lesson and departing for it. An unexpected hour (or more) window of free time is added to your schedule, nay to your life. And (hopefully) you still receive payment for it. These gaps within the day, unexpected, or planned as one travels between lessons, pauses for a coffee or fried cheese, or manages to nip home for a lunch and some TV mean that, unlike any of my previous jobs, I am not paid for being on-call (on-edge) all the time. This ‘down-time’ (to use IT terminology) is bliss, and means that I can no longer imagine working a 7-8 hour day in an office again. As much as I enjoyed the time and peace it allowed me to concentrate on the task(s) in hand, I much prefer the planning for shorter periods (90 minutes maximum at present) and discovery of unknown Prague – especially as the sun has started to shine and the snow and ice hs finally gone. Just need to stock up on antihistamines. Then I can sit in the sunshine on Olšanská, or wait for a tram on the other side of the river, or wander through Holešovice without a care in the world.



11 03 2010

Snow that is, like, in the shade does not, like, melt as fast as snow that is not.


6 03 2010

Another 4-6 weeks have passed. And I have written nothing. And have not had the urge to. Sorry. Prague is not so very different to London. Smaller. Things are written in Czech. But otherwise, not too different. A partially-homogenised capital like the others around the world. Some national idiosyncracies. But far less of a culture shock than I had imagined. That is all.


31 01 2010

One of my greatest pleasures in Prague is travelling by tram. I am still wholly uncertain about the bus network, and have to check repeatedly that the bus I am about to get on does actually go to the correct stop. I felt the same about trams – but then realised that the stops are so close together that I can easily get off and leap across the tracks should I travel in the wrong direction. In a rather delicious quirk of fate, the first tram I took, and the one I still take most frequently, is the number 18, which travels up from the river and past the castle, affording chocolate-box romantic views of the centre of Prague as it crawls up the hill. Delightful. But my greatest pleasure came on Friday, travelling back to the centre from an industrial estate on the eastern edge of Prague. I usually catch the metro out there, but I knew there was an overlapping tram service to get me back home. So I took it and travelled in through the suburbs, passing the Jewish Cemetery, Kafka’s grave and overhearing a lot of conversations in Russian. It also gave me a new perspective on the journey to and from the local supermarket – it still surprises me how different a familiar street or area can appear when one travels through it in a different direction, or, as in this case, height – this is/was, I suppose one of the reasons I always loved to travel by bus in London (if I had the time) – a 13 from Strand to Hampstead was always a pleasure, especially in the evening after a German philosophy class that finished at 6pm. Or the 65 down to Kew. Or the 82. And the 139 was always a particular favourite. Or the 9 or 10.


25 01 2010

I have been bad. Very bad at updating this blog. I have a document of notes and topics to blog about, yet I never seem to have the time or inclination to actually sit and write. I know this is partially due to the fact that I am still adjusting physically and mentally to my new full-time position. But it is also partially not. I lack the desire to write. Or rather I look back over the notes and question whether there is any point, let alone value in simply repeating the tropes of every other Prague expat blog in existence. At present, the answer is a feeble ‘no’, as if spoken by a dying sparrow. So this will be it, at least for a while.


21 12 2009

Welcome back. It seems like an age since I last posted anything of any substance here. December has been a month of change so far. I finished my course at the end of November, started a new job the first week of December, and now, as you will know if you have seen the news, the cold weather has hit. I have three lessons to teach tomorrow, and a few next week, but that is it for me until 4th January. It is nice to have weekends free, and I am sure my body will eventually get used to leaving at 7am to start teaching before 8. So today I am spending soring out my timetable for the next month, completing my timesheet, telling the time and searching for crackers. We leave for the chata early Wednesday morning, and we will have Czech and British Christmasses there – there is an enormous turkey secreted in the freezer as I type. Even managed to get stuffing, chipolatas and Christmas pudding. So I shall sign off here. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year/Veselé vánoce a šťastný nový rok!


3 12 2009