Week Seven: Volunteering and a Little Czech Town
Every week I feel my priorities shift a little.
This week I’ve been connecting more with ERASMUS (European study abroad) students and have really appreciated seeing where our perspectives line up and diverge.
Here’s what I did this week:
–I went to a rock concert played by this band called Plastic People of the Universe, which is this Czech band that played illegal underground shows during the Communist era. The saxophonist looked well into his 70’s and absolutely killed it on stage. My favorite part was watching older audience members sing along and dance. They watched the show with very different eyes.
–Had my first day volunteering with the Prague Shakespeare Company! It was amazing, I helped with preparing the performance space, setting up seating, and adjusting the lighting. I learned a lot about lights and the light board and can’t wait to go back! I also get to see shows for free. More on this coming soon.
–Went to StÅ™íbrná Skalice, a small Czech town of 1000 inhabitants about an hour outside of Prague, to watch a traditional Czech music and dance show. It was a great night. The musicians and dancers were all so very talented (even picked up a CD to take home). It was a learning experience watching my native Czech friend interact with friends whom he’d known for over ten years. But that wasn’t the only learning experience: getting to the town, I had to deal with a very impatient bus driver whose questions regarding payment I couldn’t understand; to arriving in the tiny rural town and searching for the community center where the event was being held; to staying the night, sleeping among non-English speaking strangers backstage in the community center. Overall, I’d say that I continue to learn that Czech people are different from one city to the next.
In the morning, I had some of the best SmaÅ¾ený sýr (fried cheese) with potatoes that I’ve had yet.
Other things I did this week: Went to an Opera. Went to a flea market. Wrote a paper. Had dinner at a friends flat whose roommates attend FAMU (the esteemed film school here in Prague). And on and on and on!
People I’ve met and things I’ve learned:
-I’ve gotten closer to a French friend named Jeremie, with whom I love to stand outside school and discuss film after Surrealism in Cinema.
-I’ve started to spend more time with this Romanian/Danish friend with whom I interact in ways very similar to how I interact with friends at home.
-It’s nice to be slowly building this web of perspectives, friends, and experiences that I get to carry along with me. I would really love to get a message from one of them on Facebook in a few months saying “Hey, I’m in Orlando. Where are you?”
-I’m feeling much more comfortable and very alive here. Now more than ever, it’s REALLY clear why studying abroad is so awesome and important. Here’s one huge reason:
Because I’ve had to live my normal student life on hard mode here in Prague, wrestling to overcome language, logistical, and cultural differences in seeking to live a fulfilling life here, when I go back to the US, I’m going to feel much more empowered to take on challenges.
It’s like I’ve been living in a place with a stronger gravity compared to that of the US: going back home, a hundred pound weight will feel as light as a feather.
Dobrou noc from Prague!