October 2009


A lot of things continue to amaze me about my life now. I’ve graduated from college. I’m a grown-upCIMG0609–when did that happen? Because I don’t feel like one a lot of the time. Yes, I technically have a lease contract, and I’ve learned the ins and outs of dealing with my property manager when I still don’t have curtains four months after moving in, our oven is broken, and our heat still hasn’t been turned on even though it’s been snowing. (Persistence, to the point of obnoxiousness, is the key, it seems.) I have a job, but a job where I can wear whatever I want and I spend large portions of my day reading Jezebel. Is this what real adults do?

And every once in a while, I will be walking down the street and think, “Oh my god, I live in Prague. Since when? And how? Are you sure I’m not just visiting here?” But I’ve actually made a life. I get up in the morning, I make breakfast, I go to work. I’m in a book club and I go to yoga classes. I have friends here–actual friends, not just semi-awkward acquaintances. And I still don’t know how any of it happened.

And while I may like my life here, having moved a few inches out of my not-liking-Prague phase (though perhaps not at full-blown adulation yet), I miss being in school. I look forward to my book club every two weeks just so that I can go and argue with people about agency and symbolism. I have seriously considered suggesting that we CIMG0669include supplementary theory articles with the books, but I’m certain that I would be overruled. I don’t know if I’m ready not to be a student.

The real world is a strange place where you have to work very hard to make friends, to be social, even just to keep yourself busy. I still don’t know how I feel about that. I think that graduating, leaving all of my friends, and moving to another country all in one fell swoop was a big, not entirely thought-out move on my part, even if it’s one I’m glad I made. I’ve always done that, though. Sure, I can go to Ecuador without a guidebook when I’m sixteen. I can travel around Thailand by myself. I might as well go to Egypt if I’m already in Europe. For all of my impulsive decisions (mostly involving going to other countries), I haven’t made one yet that I really regret.

I have no idea where I’m going with this at all, except that I still think that a conversation I had with Ali a really long time ago holds: you know you’re a grown-up when you stop using the word “grown-up.” I’m pretty sure.

The girls who work in the office next to mine usually play the radio during the day, and it’s usually tuned to what I assume is the American “hits” station.  This is a sample of what I have heard so far:

Shaggy–It Wasn’t Me
Journey–Don’t Stop Believing
Lou Bega–Mambo No. 5 (We also used to hear this all the time in London.)
Celine Dion–My Heart Will Go On
Nazareth–Love Hurts
Kelly Clarkson–The Trouble With Love Is
Taylor Swift–Love Story (I hate, hate, HATE this song, and I hated it before Kanye West had anything to do with it.)

And one that I haven’t heard but I love:
The Violent Femmes–American Music

Last week I had my first film class, which was…underwhelming. The professor didn’t ask us a single question. That might have been all right if he had lectured well, but instead he just showed us clips of different films and occasionally said things like, “This is a really good example of film noir.” He also told us that film noir deals with “a little thing he likes to call the unspoken.” I’ve got news for you, Professor, you didn’t coin that phrase. The readings are good, but the class isn’t great, and I just can’t decide if I want to spend a lot of money on something I’m not crazy about, considering my rather small salary. Because of the way the class is structured, and the fact that it ends at 9:30, I don’t really think I’m going to make any friends in it, either. I don’t know what to do. I have another class tomorrow, so I’ll go to that. If it’s just as bad, though…what should I do?

Unrelatedly, when someone finds this blog through a search engine, I can see what the terms they used were. A lot of people come across it by searching for “nemluvim cesky” or something similar. However, a few days ago someone found it by searching for “the cutest most tiniest puppies in the world.” I have a feeling they were disappointed when they found this instead.

Am I still frustrated here?  Perhaps.  But on to bigger and better things.  Well, more macabre things, anyway.

HPIM2257

Something that I regret about my time here so far is not traveling more in the Czech Republic.  There are a lot of beautiful smallHPIM2244 towns that I’d like to see, and I just haven’t gotten it together yet to leave Prague, except for one small side trip.  About an hour outside of Prague is a town called Kutna Hora, and Kutna Hora’s claim to fame is its ossuary.  In a small church behind Kutna Hora’s grand, gothic cathedral, the bones of at least 40,000 people have been used to decorate the walls.

The church came into being during the 14th century; it was built on a graveyard that had at one point been a mass dumping ground for victims of the plague, and when the church was constructed, the bones were taken from the graveyard to decorate the ossuary.  Supposedly the task of exhuming the bones and stacking them in the church was given to a half-blind HPIM2250monk who lived there.  In 1870, a woodcarver was hired to arrange the bones, which he apparently took to quite well.

The church is full of bone “statues.”  There are crests, patterns, and a huge chandelier, all made out of various human bones.  It’s not actually that weird to be in the church–I didn’t think so, anyway.  While it’s a reminder of a frightening time in human history, the skeletons weren’t from people who had been killed by the church or anything like that.  Now hundreds of tourists come every day to a small town that probably wouldn’t see any if the ossuary weren’t located there.

I wish I had gotten to see more of Kutna Hora itself.  Maybe I’ll try to make it a point to go back there some weekend.

My film class starts tomorrow–let’s hope it’s good.