Loving Prague

>> Thursday, May 28, 2009

It took me a sec to figure out how to sign in to write this blog! All of the labels are in Czech! Thankfully I was able to remember where to go. 

So, I'm still in beautiful Prague. I'm going to refrain from posting pics just yet because the best ones are on my Nikon. It'll force me to make a new post later. 

I've been trying to reflect on my mood while I am here. I don't know if what I am feeling is based on my impression of Prague or on the current random state of my life at the moment... or both. I definitely think there is a different mood here than any of my other traveling experiences. Honestly, I've had so many American influences/people nearby to not feel entirely exposed, but I can feel a stillness here that I've never felt before. There's an eery quiet throughout the city... I'm assuming maybe leftover from the impression of the communist era. Czech citizens are much more reserved than I would have initially expected. I think I was expecting them to be like many of the other Europeans I have met. 

With the eery quiet comes a beauty that I've never experienced as well. Prague is a very old city that has been bombarded with Western commerce. I use the word bombarded bc it seems that the city literally has squeezed these shops into the fabric. At night, however, the real Prague is very evident. The historic center has a golden glow that displays the buildings in a way that the tourists/entertainment venues are barely noticeable. Perhaps it is because your eyes are forced to the detail of the building facades, rather than to the usual flashing lights used to lure tourists. 

My experience with the Czech people has been mixed. Many of them do not try to hide their dislike for Americans. I guess it's somewhat understandable considering the drastic infiltration of tourists in the last 20 years... though tourism has completely revamped the economy. For this reason some Czechs are very tolerable of the tourists. I have found that they are not initially very trusting, but given some time they are extremely warm, sincere people. Ironically, I think it's almost their reserved personalities that makes them more likable after some time. I know this mostly from speaking with my college friends who have lived in Prague for a while now.. but I can completely understand their views after just a few of my own interactions. 

I was supposed to take a few additional trips during my stay here. Unfortunately, those have mostly fallen through. I'm still working on maybe doing an overnight trip to Frankfurt to visit a friend, but I'm not sure if that will work either. Hard to believe I only have 4 more days here! In a way I'm glad I've been able to devote all of my time to one city. In the past I've quickly swept through each European city with barely a chance to get beneath the surface. This time I feel like I've been able to become comfortable (as much as one can in a short time) with navigating the city by myself. I've also made some really great friends who may potentially be in my life later. I had no idea that a group of 7 kids from Greenville would be here. They are a fun group that definitely doesn't meet the Greenville stereotype in my mind. I'm a little more hopeful of ending up in Greenville in case a job opens up in the area. 

There's also a group of LSU students here that are with Campus Crusade for Christ. They are really sweet kids who I am glad I've gotten to know, but interacting with them has caused me to think more about what I was like when I was in college. In some ways I want to heed them some kind of warning about broadening their horizons and bracing themselves for change, especially regarding their faith. In other ways I want them to hold onto that passion as long as possible because they seem to be happy. It's a lot to think about. 

The nightlife here is amazing. David and Daniel's hostel is always busy, equipped with a bar/coffee shop and lounge area. Last night most of us returned from the beer garden to hang out in the pub after the soccer game ended. It was the first time I've really gotten to know many of the people that are staying here. Being in a hostel is like living in a dorm and not having to go to class. 

We went clubbing last weekend and ended up dancing with some Georgetown boys who were much cooler than I had originally expected. They walked up to us with their popped collars and started talking about how they knew each other from Georgetown and I quickly started searching the room for other potential people to talk to (I've had one too many sour experiences with boys from Georgetown). I was a little surprised when my friends invited them to join us at the next club. While we were walking one of the guys started talking to me about his experience living in Nicaragua, and all of the sudden I started to give him more of a chance.. not sure why that made a difference, haha. Funny that I became somewhat snobby about not wanting to talk to American guys in the matter of just a couple of days. I just figured this was my little bit of time to get a new experience and I didn't want to spoil it by doing what I could do at home. 

Anyway, Henry and Stevie (yes, that was their real names) ended up being very fun dancing buddies and we stayed out until about 4:30. Funny how not having a last call tricks you into thinking it's earlier than it is. We also hung out with Australia John, another guy we saw in the street and recognized from the hostel and invited along. I don't remember the last time that I danced for about 5 hours straight, and I was about to collapse by the time we left. We said bye to the boys and they exchanged numbers with one of the girls that works at the hostel. I figured we'd never see them again since they told us they were leaving Prague the next night, but it was a good memory. 

The sun rises here around 4:30, so it's really fun walking out of a club hearing birds chirping. I think we're all planning on going dancing again on Saturday night and hopefully we'll be able to go to the bridge at sunrise. Supposed to be a must see. 

The next couple of days should be a really fun time. I think I'm going to be sad to leave Prague. It'll be nice to catch up on rest and get rid of this cold (had a runny nose and congestion ever since I've been here).. but I'll miss the people and the city. I think it's inspired me to move somewhere that I can find a fun social network again. You can find good friends anywhere if you are open to trying new things.. I think that's the whole point of learning to travel. 

So, that's a lot.. but the pictures will be an added bonus for the next post. 

Ciau for now!


official countdown

>> Saturday, May 2, 2009

Yes, I am in my office at 9:23 in the morning on a Saturday....but.... this should be the last Saturday I ever have to work on 'school' work. By this time next Saturday, I will be on my way to the mountains with some very cool people for a 2 day canoe trip.

Here is the break down of my week:

Monday 12:00- Defense. Probably the most stressful 2 hours of interrogation I will endure for a long time if ever.. but hopefully they'll go easy on me.

Tuesday- Cinco de Mayo. Depending on how much I have left over to do for our GIS project and my paper for European cities (which I should be doing right now) I should be able to celebrate adequately.

Wednesday 5:30- European Studies presentation. I will most likely be going downtown after this presentation depending on how the night prior went.

Thursday and Friday- Tying up loose ends with the GIS project and catching up at work

Saturday and Sunday: McCoy falls, camping, canoeing, singing... I dunno.... but it's going to be incredible

Monday 7:00 pm- GIS presentation and commencement of all grad school duties!! (Depending on how many revisions my committee gives me for my paper)

The rest of the week I'll be catching up at work and getting ready for graduation on the 15th. I have some potential interviews lined up in Greenville.. but they understand that I'm not going to be able to get down there easily before I leave for Germany and Prague on the 20th! So I may be making a quick one day trip down there if my work lets me off.

I can't believe this semester is already over... I can't believe I'm almost done with grad school. It really flies by faster than you would ever think. I'm not as freaked out anymore about graduating and not having a plan. It's sort of sunk in that I'm not going to have a terrible lot of control on the job search, so I'm just going to enjoy my time at home while I can and just see what happens (doesn't hurt that my parents have a lake and beach house). Greenville's also moving up on my places to live as well...especially since I've seen all of the really cool affordable apartments and townhomes that are for rent downtown. Might not be a bad deal to be living in a growing downtown and still be close to my family and friends (and Clemson football) for a couple of years.

So who knows... all in all it's a good day. We have a storm blowing in here soon and that makes me happy as well. It's the little things :)

What's happening in my life after June 1st... who knows. I just know I'm going to try to plan in a Cville and DC trip, a Florida trip to see Kristin and my cousin's wedding on the 27th. So if I don't have a job by the end of June I'm definitely not going to be crushed.

So... 13 days until graduation / 18 days until Prague... I can do this!!


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Tia Nicole Photography has launched this summer after many practice photo sessions and the encouragement of some dear friends and family ("Life Through Tia's Lens" was a recommendation of my good friend, Kristin, who has been an avid supporter the whole way through!). This blog has documented the process from the beginning and also dates back to some older rantings during grad school and football seasons. Feel free to get to know me and my work. I like to focus primarily on natural shots, true emotions and beautiful landscapes. I also absolutely adore kids and pets so you will find a good bit of my work in these areas. Feel free to contact me anytime! I love blog comments!

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