Since I arrived in Prague I’ve seen these odd, thin planks leaning against the walls of buildings. At first I thought they were random leftovers from construction projects. One of my flatmates not-so-jokingly suggested that they were holding up the buildings. But today, I figured out just what people are using them for.
My kitchen window looks out onto a large courtyard in the middle of several apartment buildings. In the corner of the courtyard is this kind of raised window thing, as you can see on this beautifully crafted diagram:
I’m looking out the window while I wait for the water to boil, and I see this big guy taking two long planks of wood and resting them (very, very carefully) on the secret glass window thingy. He then proceeded to crawl up the planks, using them as a make-shift ladder.
How ingenious! Also, do they not have regular ladders in this country?
Inquiring minds would like to know.
After staring at this guy for a little while, he looked up, saw me staring, and stared right back. And then, because I don’t back down from a challenge, we had ourselves a nice little staring contest. Which was awkward, and yet something I felt that a moment of cross cultural communication was occurring.
Yesterday, I got my Zivnostensky- you know, the piece of paper that’s going to make it a lot easier for me to work in the Czech Republic? That thing?
It’s a fairly underwhelming document. For the most part, it looks like something I could have made on my laptop, instead something that required I trek across Prague to meet a variety of translators and beaurocrats, sometimes in such official locations as McDonalds. But I have it, which is a pretty big accomplishment (and which I wouldn’t have been able to do without Sarah, the lovely lady I hired to assist me with this process). My course coordinator has also sent out my resume to language schools in the area, and I’ve just learned that I can stay in my current apartment for the next month, which gives me some breathing room.
So, things continue to go… (and here I stopped myself from saying as planned, because that would be the moment when shit went bad).
At school, we’ve hit the third-week slump, and most people look like zombies after their morning classes are over (and I fully include myself in this category). But we are all doing pretty damn well, especially considering that we only have about 3 weeks of teaching experience under our belts. Yesterday I taught a pronunciation lesson on the /w/ and /v/ phonemes, which Czech students have a very difficult time distinguishing between. And you know, it was really freaking hard. I finished that 45 minute class ready to go home and go to bed. That being said, I think it went well. So- school continues to be hard, but I continue to really like it.
Tonight is take a break/ pub night. I think we all know how that is going to go. (Can you see me grinning? No? Good, because it is a creepy, “I plan to get very drunk!” grin. Sorry mom and dad).
I’m going to go get dressed now, so I can go to class and learn stuff. But first, have this scrap of poem I wrote this morning and will probably hate in a few hours:
Box Poem That Needs A Better Title
it is dark, and in the center of the dark
is a white spotlight
and a box as if on the floor
of a stage
a hand enters the light
it is lifting the box and holding it up for display
but what is the box
is it pandora’s dowry
a collection of nails and screws from my father’s garage
does it drip with old motor oil
are rust flakes clinging to the hand
is it covered in mud and clinging roots
inside a tin robot, ripped playing cards, a length of string
and a box of matches
is it tin or wood is it light or heavy
and if it’s heavy will the thing inside blind me
is it the ark of the covenant
or an old wedding ring
or a penny, or a dead worm
the hand retreats with the box
pulls back into the dark
there is only the spotlight
and the light is gone