Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Adventure #107 - The Pumpkin Carving

Halloween is celebrated in France but it's quite a recent tradition, and even it's far from being as big as it is in the US! I guess some people do carve pumpkins, but it's not that common and I had never done it until our friends Vince and Veronika invited me for some pumpkin carving. (I know, it's almost Christmas and I'm talking about Halloween. Yes, I haven't been very good at writing on this blog lately!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Adventure #104, #105, #106 - The Back to Basics Cooking

I like when things are home-made and even more when they are very simple things that you can easily find in the shops and don't often think about making yourself. So I tried a few things.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Adventure #102, #103 - The Feminist Reading

I have always liked "girl stuff" and have been a fan of the riot grrrls movement for a while. Feminism is something I have been wanting to look at more closer for a long time but, as usual, never did. Time for a change! I have decided to read feminist writings and I'm loving it. I don't really have a rule to pick the books I'm reading, I just choose them because I know they were important in the Feminist History or just because they look interesting. Here's what I've read for the moment :

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Adventure #101, #100, #099- The Invasion of Germany

German Space Cow
Both summers that I have lived in Europe, I have tried to take several trips to new places.  This year, I decided that I should visit some relatives in Germany (whom I hadn't seen in 7 years!), a friend in Hamburg, as well as a few towns that have been on the 'must see' list since I arrived abroad, Berlin and Dresden.  I planned the trip and Martin arranged all the tickets on-line.  We decided to leave the day after our friends wedding, August 6.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Adverture #90- GUEST WRITER- Sean- Flying

Flying has always been my biggest fear so taking a flight from Bratislava to London was something of a challenge.  Now, I consider myself to be a pretty rational and sane person, but the moment myself and a plane were even entertained together in a single thought, a whole heap of the wildest flights of fancy would come spewing out of my mind like a gaggle of geese.  Incidentally birds were one of the things I was worried about.  What if the plane took off and a flock of inexplicably dumb winged bastards flew straight into the engine?  Was the pilot prepared for such an eventuality?  Do they train for it in pilot school?  These were the warped questions and thoughts in my head. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Adventure #87, #88, #89 - The Vampire Website

I've always had a strong interest for vampires. Well, always, at least for a very long time. Even as a kid I liked them. And then when I was around 11, I saw the movie Interview With the Vampire which immediately entered my top favourite movies of all time. Now, I almost feel lame sometimes when I tell people I love vampires. With all this twilight-mania, I'm quite sure people imagine that I worship a poster of Edward Cullen in my room.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Adventure #86 - The Gimp

As I had decided to install Linux on my computer, I faced a problem : Photoshop. Not that I use photoshop a lot and what I do is quite basic anyway, but I still need it. And you know, once you're used to a program, it can be hard to change and start using another one.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Adventure #85 - The Lack of Black Dresses

As wearing only black dresses for two weeks had been an extremely easy challenge for me, Angela suggested that I try not wearing any black dresses for two weeks. This, indeed, would be a real challenge. Not wearing black at all would also have been a greater challenge but it would require me to buy new clothes so this would be something I should do when I am richer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Adventure #82 - The Little Black Dresses

My obsession with little black dresses probably started in London when I went to see an exhibition about the LBD at the Museum of Fashion two years ago. Well, I have always liked black clothes but little by little I've started being especially attracted to dresses.

They are amazing. You can wear them at any occasions and I think they make me look good. At least I feel good when I wear a black dress. And you can play a lot with accessories, and I love accessories.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Adventure #81 - The Scrabble

I don't remember ever playing Scrabble. I think we had quite similar game when I was a kid but we played it once and that was all. I'm actually not even sure we finished the game.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Adventure #80 - The Sand Yacht

My dad lives in Brittany, West of France, very close to the sea. I went there for a week in August and we decided to all try sand yachting one afternoon. Something I had never done before and never thought about doing since anything that can be described as physical and fast don't usually attracts me. But since The New Project is teaching me to change my habits, I was in for the adventure!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Adventure #79 - The Colours of Ostrava Music Festival

Dulsori
Last summer, I spent a day at the Sziget Music Festival in Budapest, Hungary.  It was an amazing day and I wanted to stay to enjoy more music and the people, but time was short and we needed to head to another place on the map.  So I decided that I would go to a festival in Summer 2010, for the whole festival.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Adventure #73 - The 3D Movie

I remember seeing a 3D movie in Disneyland Paris when I was about 8 years old. Something with Michael Jackson in it. I thought it was a bit impressive and very well made.

But well, I was 8. So probably easily impressed.

Since a year or so, the 3D movies seem to have started being more and more common in cinemas and I really wanted to try watching one. So during my holidays, I went to the movies with my brothers and sister to see Shrek 4.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Adventure #72 - The Detox

After three weeks of holidays in France, too much wine, too much cheese and too much food, I was feeling extremely fat and my stomach was begging me to stop eating.

Since I've always wanted to try a detox, I thought that it was the right time. I think though that a detox can be dangerous if you don't really know what you are doing. So I only did it for one day. Not a deep clean then but still something to feel a bit lighter.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Adventure #71 - The Bus

When I was in school, we went on several trips to Spain, Italy or England. Of course, we were always traveling by bus. (Try to have 50 teenagers in a train. Insane). If the bus time was always very long, the teachers tried to organize it so that we would have to spend a day in a nice city on the way. And well, the bus was actually a lot of fun since you were with all your friends, exchanging CDs (yes, no MP3 then, we were all traveling with a big pack of CDs) and video games (for our Gameboys. Rock'n'roll).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Adventure #66 and #67- The Czech Weekend

Cantarelles
At the beginning of July, Martin asked me if I wanted to go to his father's cottage with him.  I agreed right away, because I enjoy weekend trips out of Prague.  I felt a little apprehensive though, did his dad speak English?  Would my Czech be enough?  Then Martin told me that his friends Petr and Zuska were coming along also.  I felt better, because I know them both and they speak English well.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Adventure #060, #061, #062, #063, #064- The Camping

At the beginning of July, there was a long weekend in the CZ.  We had Monday and Tuesday off thanks to Jan Hus and the anniversary of the written Czech language.  Martin and I talked about several different options and finally decided on a camping trip into the Sumava Mountains, a place I had been wanting to go for awhile. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adventure #59 - The Job Quiting

Quiting your job can be a bit scary. Even more when your degree and your experience will not open many doors.

I have a degree in English Litterature, Language and Civilization. Yes, very nice. But not really job material. It is good if you want to study more. Which I don't really want to.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Adventure #058, #057, #056, #055- The Movie List

Our fridge has a list of movies on it.  Every time we have a party, it grows.  It never shrinks 'cause I am always watching something else, completely forgetting about the list.  The condition is, that to remove it from the list, we must have both seen it.  Here is our attempt to narrow the numbers...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Adventure #51, #52 - The Baking

Some more cooking ... or better said baking. I am a baking maniac. It's my way to relax and to please people.

Cakes are good and fun to make. I usually stays in my comfort zone and bake the same old easy things. But since we are doing new things, I decided to change and try more difficult recipes or ones that I often eat with my family but never made myself.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Adventure #047 - The Vegan Burgers

I've always loved burger. Aren't they amazing? But here is my problem: I became vegetarian, and you don't often find vegeterian burgers in restaurant.

Whatever, I could just make them.

When I had been Vegan for a week, I had tried a potatoe pancake recipe. I decided to improve this recipe and so replace the meat of the burgers by vegetables pancakes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Adventure #046 - The Entropa Exhibition

Like almost everybody here, I really like the Czech artist David Cerny. His creations are both funny, controversial, modern and different. You can see some of them all around Prague, like the giant babies crawling on the Zizkov TV Tower. For the Czech European Presidency in 2009, he was asked to make a sculpture that would be exposed in Brussels. All the European countries get to be at the head of the Council of the EU, changing every six months, and they all present some piece of art for the occasion. Usually nothing extraordinary and of course preferably non-controversial.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Adventure #042, #043- The Cupboard Cocktail

After one particularly crazy party, we discovered that we had a very random mixture of alcohols left.  So our roommate Heather presented us with this challenge: make a cocktail with only the ingredients available in the house.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Adventure #038- The Gorilla Run

Tuesday, May 18:
Jon shows me the picture he took of a poster on the side of a tram advertising a fund-raising run for the gorillas in Africa. The cost was 500kc ($25), which is pretty steep for a race. I tell him that I don't have the money for it, but it sounds like fun.

Thursday, May 20:
Jon sends me a text saying that he really wants to run and will help me out, but he needs a fellow gorilla. After a bit of debate, I decided to do it. Why not? The money goes to help gorillas in Africa and I would get a free gorilla mask, and maybe other cool freebies from sponsors.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Adventure #037 - The Blog

I never had a blog before we started The New Project. I thought about starting one several time, but in the end never found I had any interesting things to tell.   Thanks to our project, I can now talk about "my blog" and be like everyone else.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Adventure #036- The Visa

After many trips to Bratislava, I am finally legal!!! My visa is good for 6 months, at which point I will have to get a renewal, which is much easier than the first time.

In order to stay in the Czech Republic, I needed to have a job. So I got a work contract from my employer and went to the office to file the application with my TEFL certificate and Bachelors degree. Turns out that the paperwork had changed since the month before. So I went back to my employer and got the right paperwork. After a second waiting period of almost an hour, the work office gave me a piece of paper saying that I had applied.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adventure #035 - The Linux Experiment

I have been facing a major problem for the last few weeks: my laptop was running on Windows 7 RC, i.e. the beta version that you were able to install for free a year ago, and of course, now that Windows 7 is out in the shops, you need to pay for it and my Windows was going to expire really soon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Help! We need somebody, not just anybody!

As a friend pointed out to me in a recent email, we are 5 months into the project, and we have only completed 35 items (there are more, we just haven't written/posted everything yet). She suggested that we 'outsource' some of our adventures to her.

Chloe and I thought about this. And our conclusion was this: the purpose of the project is to expand our horizons and do things we have always wanted to, never thought about or just have been too scared to try. If others want to join our challenge then they will also have the opportunity to try new things, to push their limits.
So she will be joining us in our adventure. Her name is Maddy and she is an amazing Brit. I met Maddy when I took my TEFL course almost 2 years ago, just 1 month before meeting Chloe. Since then we have all argued about pronunciation (sorry Maddy, but there is no 'ch' in tuna, tulip, tune, or Tuesday), run amok in many a European city, and supported each other throughout the trials and tribulations of daily life.

This is our invitation to you. If you would like to join our project, we would love to have you! We will 'outsource' a certain number of adventures to others (depending on how many people want to join us!). Don't worry, your commitment can be to just one NEW thing or to several. This is still our goal, but we would love to hear from others who have decided to try new things too.

Thanks to everyone who reads and follows us! We love to hear your comments and ideas, so don't forget to post your comment or send us an email with your suggestions.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Adventure #033- The Posters


I spend my days walking around the city of Prague, from one job to another, through all parts of the city.  As I walk, I see posters.  Lots and lots of posters.  Half the time I don't know what they are advertising for, sometimes they are ads for some product, many times they are ads for things to do, like concerts, shows, festivals, exhibits etc.  Every now and then I see some that are interesting.  Like the one advertising recycled animals at the botanical gardens, or that's how I translated it anyway.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Adventure #032- The Green/A- line Metro Crawl


A while ago, I ran into some friends at the Christmas Market in Namesti Miru. who were doing a pub crawl down the Green (A) metro line, which has 13 stops. I laughed and thought 'HA! That's a lot of alcohol! Impressive.'

Fast forward to about a month ago. Jon, a friend and colleague, was talking to his student who had also done a Green line crawl, complete with a signed paper that worked as a certificate for those who finished. Jon is a regular follower of our blog and suggested that we (Chloe and I) add this adventure to the list. I was a bit reluctant because 13 beers is a lot of alcohol for one day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Adventure # 031- The Photo Shoots

I know, I know. Chloe posted hers a long time ago. What can I say? I am a slacker and my brain works in a different way from everyone else's :)

I don't really know anything about Alexander McQueen. Had never seen his stuff, got the name confused with the actor Steve McQueen so I had no real emotion attached to the passing of this designer. But when Chloe asked me to participate so she could have the number of people she needed, I agreed. I had never been part of a photo shoot before.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Adventure #030 - The Vegan Week

As I was procrastinating doing some research on internet a few weeks ago, I ended up on the WWF website to calculate my Carbon Monoxide Footprint, i.e. your impact on the environment. Well, if everybody was living like I do, we would need 2.25 planets. Ouch. After taking the test, you can have access to a few "eco-tips" to help reduce your footprint. The first one was "cut down on meat and dairy products". I am already a vegeterian, but I can't imagine living without dairy products. I am addicted to cheese, cream, yoghurt, butter ... It must be the French genes! But I decided to try a vegan diet for a week and see if it would really be that difficult.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Adventure #029- A Czech Easter

Pomlazka
Easter is a holiday that many cultures celebrate, and many of them have crazy pagan rituals incorporated.  In the Czech Republic, there are many such traditions and very few religious ones.  There are painted eggs, pomlazky, songs, beatings and of course, alcohol and chocolate.

They celebrate Easter on Monday.  On Easter morning, the tradition is that the guys go from house to house, looking for women.  They hit them with the pomlazka and sing them a song (a pomlazka is a braided stick made with willow.)  The women then give the guys painted eggs, a shot or chocolate.  This ritual is to 'make the girls wet' (as my students all told me) or rather, fertile.  The idea is that the 'Spring'/life from the willow will transfer to the women, making them fertile for the year to come.  The women thank the men for their kind thoughts by giving out painted eggs, etc.  But, here's the recent addition, if the guy comes by after 12pm, then the woman can dump cold water on him. In Slovakia, the guys can hit the girls at any time in the day and dump water on them.  Thankfully, this tradition is dying a bit in the big cities. One student told me that he would visit around 20 girls when he was younger!  That's a lot of alcohol and chocolate, bad combination!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Adventure #028 - The Jewellery Making

Accessories are what I like most in fahion. At least, when it comes to my personnal looks. Being short and definitely not slim, buying clothes is not often an easy thing. It can be really frustrating, even more when every day at work I see pictures of fashion shows and beautiful collections on skinny girls, knowing it would never look good on me.

But accessories can never be mean, like clothes are. They never say "you're too fat", they don't require to change in the shop and try three different sizes because you never know which one will fit your boobs and the length of your arms. And I love how easily then can transform any outfit and look so good on my little black dresses.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Adventure #027- Green Beer

 
The Czechs celebrate Holy Thursday, or Zelene Ctvrtek (Green Thursday), with the true Czech spirit.  By drinking beer.  Green Beer to be exact. One brewery, Starobrno, sells green beer that was specifically brewed for this day.  Only certain pubs in the Czech Republic carry it.  This is a relatively new tradition for this country, but as usual, anything to do with beer is very popular.  You must go to the pub early in order to get some.  So on Thursday evening, we checked the website then headed out to the closest place on the list.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adventure #026- The '30s Ball


The Czech Republic has a traditional Ball (Ples) Season from January through mid-April.  They are usually themed; Cuban, decades, flower, traditional; you name it, they have it.  There are shops that rent dresses for the events, with everything from Cinderella dresses to costumes.  




Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Adventure #025 - The Sober Month

When I said I was going to stop drinking alcohol, some people asked me in an amazed way why I was doing this. Well, the reasons were multiple. Because drinking is so cheap and easy in Prague that anything we do usually ends up or starts with a beer. Because I was quite sure my body would appreciate the break. And also just because I like challenges.

So I stopped drinking alcohol for a month, from March 1st to 31st.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Adventure #024- The Squash Adventure

I am a fairly sporty person. One thing I have missed since moving to Prague has been playing softball (I was playing twice a week) and being more active. Here I walk a lot. And climb a lot of stairs. And that's about it.

Which is funny because the Czechs are very active. They are always hiking, biking or doing something. I have gone with hiking with friends and a few other things, but nothing with a feeling of competition.  I enjoy a bit of friendly competition because it always pushes you to try harder and do better. 

One day Michal (my roommate) and Martin (my boyfriend) were talking about going to play squash. They had reserved the court for 2 hours but they were missing a fourth. I volunteered, thinking that it might be interesting (and that they would find someone before I actually had to play!)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Adventure #023 - The Photo Shoot

You may not have noticed this information if you're not really interested by fashion, but in February, Alexander McQueen passed away. He was an amazing British designer, one of my favourites actually. The world of fashion just lost a great person.

Adventure #022 - The Thai Massage

My co-workers told me several times about these places you find everywhere in Prague where you can have a Thai massage. I really wanted to try, even more because my back's a mess, but never did.

So for my birthday, which was end of February, my lovely flatmates gave me a gift voucher for a Thai massage.

I went there one evening when my back was killing me and was really tired. Best time to do this!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Adventure #021- Cross Country Skiing




I love the snow. I love winter because of the snow and winter sports. Or at least because of snowboarding, sledding and snowball fights, etc. Definitely not because of cross country (XC) skiing!





Monday, March 22, 2010

Adventure #020 - The Swearing

As Angela says, I have a really dirty mouth. Yes, I swear a lot. In French, of course, which my friends find really funny.

But swearing is not really lady-like. So my challenge for the past week was to stop swearing. Each time I would swear, I had to pu 10Kc in a jar (about 40 Cents in Euros). This challenge was supposed to go on for a week but more than five swearings in a day would add another day to the challenge.


Adventure #019b - The Opera

One of my good childhood memories is my Mum's perfum when she was going out in the evening. Magie Noire by Lancôme. My parents would sometime go to the Opera or see a Ballet. And I loved Mum's perfum when she was kissing me goodbye. Still feel like a little girl if I smell it today.

She would sometimes tell me stories. Not fairy tales or children stories, but things about books she had read, life of people she liked, like Edith Piaf. The Opera Carmen was one of these. She had a CD by the Opera singer Montserra Caballe on which you could find a few songs from Carmen. We listened to this CD a lot and the music was beautiful. And Mum told me several times that when I grow up, she will take me to the Opera to see Carmen.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Adventure #019a- The Opera

The opera has never been high on my list of things to do in life, at least it didn't use to be. And then I received an email with people singing opera in a marketplace in Spain. They were singing La Traviata and it was so beautiful, I almost started crying, while sitting in a KFC.

If I felt that way at an impromptu viewing in KFC, how would I react to the live version? I talked to Chloe and she said she had always wanted to see Carmen, so we decided we would look into it and see if it was showing in Prague for the season. It was showing, but the tickets started at 1200kc ($80)!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Adventure #009- The Czech Adventure

Progress Report #1
About a month ago, I started meeting with a woman, who wants to practice her English in order to be ready for a job in the Fall, once a week for a language exchange. Right now, the time isn't evenly shared, but we spend about 20-30 minutes in Czech.

The best part about it: she tries to understand me. Most people usually switch to English before I get an entire sentence out. So far, my vocabulary doesn't extend very far, but on our second meeting I was able to describe the 6 dogs and 1 cat in Reno. Even though the topics aren't exciting, I am able to use the grammar that I have been taught in my classes. And, because I try to make sentences above my level, I am challenging myself and learning new words.

I had a funny experience in Czech a few weeks ago. I was riding the tram illegally with a friend (I forgot my pass, he forgot to buy one) and we got caught. The controller asked us to get off the tram and after we did, she decided to only give us 1 fine, which was really nice of her! I think part of the reason we only got 1 fine was that I tried to tell her that I had a month-long pass in my wallet at home. With a lot of pantomime and half sentences, I managed to tell her that I didn't have my pass because I left it in my wallet in my purse at home. And that I had left my purse at home because I was attending a football match. It was a successful exchange because we had a conversation. There were words I didn't know, but could act or mime for her and she did the same for me.

The weekly exchanges and lessons will continue... Who knows, maybe I will be really good at this language in a few decades ;)

The Challenge:
When I went home for the holidays, my friends and family all wanted to know how much Czech I spoke. The answer was almost none! I can order food and read a menu but beyond that I need to be spoken to like I am 3 years old (one or two words at a time only please!) The more people that asked, the more I felt like I should be learning the language of my adopted home.


I may be exaggerating my lack of knowledge a bit. I had taken a course last spring, but it was quick and I wasn't that committed to learning so I didn't do well or go far. Part of my reluctance to learn the language well was the fact that I kept planning to leave.

Now that I have decided to stop making plans to leave, I figured I should commit to learning the language. It would be nice to be able to communicate with the people around me; in my dance class, when my students start speaking in Czech, saying more to the owner of the fruit & veg shop downstairs than 'dobry den' (good day), etc.

The goal is as follows: if I leave before July, then I will take the level A1 test (beginner); if I leave sometime after, I will take the A2 (pre-intermediate) in November. (For a better explanation of the levels use this link: http://www.linguanet-europa.org/pdfs/self-assessment-grid-en.pdf)

As this adventure will take awhile, I will be posting several updates as I progress in my skill level, or if anything exciting happens (like a conversation with someone random). I am taking weekly Czech lessons and meeting with my fellow student once a week to review, so progress is slow but steady.

Držte mi palce! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Adventure #016, 017, 018 - The Little Things Matter Adventure

So I haven't written very many things lately because many of the things I've done haven't been very noteworthy. But they have been things I have always wanted to do, like going by a second hand store or into a restaurant. They will be lumped into one post to minimize boredom (yours and mine!)

I love shopping, and finding a deal is the best part. I am not a fan of labels or looking like the crowd either. I like to go to second hand stores and find unique pieces. I don't want to walk down the street and see 3 other people wearing the same top as me. Plus, second hand stores are easier on the wallet. There are several stores that I pass on a regular basis and never go inside. So I decided that it was time. I went in, enjoyed the browsing but didn't find anything I really wanted to own.

I also tried a few new recipes. I made bagels. From scratch. I have tried this before, but I wasn't very happy with the recipe and results. This time, I used a wheat flour instead of a white flour. The recipe I used this time was simpler and they turned out much better. The flavor and texture was better than the first time. The second recipe was a pizza dough made with beer. It was a really easy recipe that was very versatile. I made pita bread and a pastry dough (with dark beer instead of light). One of the best parts of the recipe? The fact that you don't use the whole beer, so you can enjoy the rest while the dough cooks! Send me a message for either recipe.

I have had 1529 songs on my iPod since 2008. A friend downloaded a bunch of music for me before I left and I haven't listened to half of it. I usually stick with the tried and true because I like to listen when I am in specific moods. So I am slowly working my way through all the songs. It takes a while because I need to listen to each group a couple times before I make a decision about them either way. My most recent discoveries? Black Rebel Motorcycle and Stars.

As you can see, I haven't been idle, just been doing things that are easier on the wallet and therefore, not as exciting. So I decided that each category would get one point.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Adventure #015 - The Stockholm Metro

As I was staying in Stockholm, Sweden, for a few days with my family, we went for a tour of the Metro.

The Stockholm Metro is small, with only three lines, and quite recent. The Blue Line for instance was built in the 70s. Why is this metro special? Because all the stations have been decorated by artists. Instead of covering the rock with walls, the city decided to use the money to pay artists to do something nicer and original. About 1 millions Swedish Crowns were spent on each station (about 10.000€). We made this tour with a designer who wrote a school thesis on the Stockholm Metro. It was really interesting to listen to her as she could explain the significations of the things and knew all the details that we could have missed.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Adventure #014- Applying for THAT job

Have you ever seen a job advert for your dream job, but you felt you weren't 100% qualified for it? Well, I have and as much as I 'love' teaching, I can't get over the feeling that there is something more for me out there, somewhere. So when Doug sent me a job advert, I decided that maybe I should just try for it. Why not, right? The worst they can say is 'no' and then where am I? Exactly where I was when I started, but with a better feeling for rejection. Maybe they will tell me WHY I wasn't the perfect candidate. I always operate on the idea that I can't fix what I don't know is broken (or wrong).

The job description includes lots of traveling and the ability to work in both finance (yikes! need a crash course!) and marketing. They want someone who can work hard and independently, as well as someone with a young spirit, who's creative and can see both the big picture and the small details. They are also willing to train the right person because personality is very important for them. There are many parts of this job that I don't think I am ready for. But how will I know if I don't try it? If I don't put myself out there and see what it is that I CAN do? Maybe all that's lacking is some confidence? The first step is a resume that isn't a resume. I am working on a version that is a traditional format, with my own words and no fancy job descriptions. Here is an excerpt from my resume:

At first glance, you think this is a regular, boring resume from some girl who can't read the requirements. Then you start to read and realize that you are looking at something that looks ordinary but is a bit different. I think that's how most people would describe me. I'm a strong person, competitive (mostly with myself), recently driven to try new things and experiment with what life and the world has to offer.


A note about where I've been and what I've learned:

Bilbao, Spain January 2003-July 2003

I studied in Bilbao for a semester, then moved to San Sebastian for June. This was my first experience away from my family and my first adventure on my own. It inspired me to travel more and see more. I hated the rainy winter, loved being by the ocean for summer and fell in love with Spanish. I speak Spanish very well, and will eventually work in a position where I will use more Spanish.

And another, trying to illustrate my bad points:

I am an emotionally stable person, most of the time. But I am also passive in my anger, a bit lazy, and can need motivation sometimes. I say I am lazy not because I don't work hard but because I tend to let life take me along with it, rather than decide the what, where, when. I am also a procrastinator, but work well under pressure. I can also talk a lot (reading this, you probably get the idea.)


What do you think of my description of myself? Would you agree or disagree? anything else to add? Constructive criticism never hurt anyone so bring it on!! Who knows? Maybe I will get the job, maybe I won't. But at least I can say I tried to get it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Adventure #013 - The Valentine's

I had never celebrated Valentine's Day. I am not a romantic girl. Or better said, I am not attracted by cliché romantic situations.

(Of course, not having a boyfriend on Valentine's doesn't help to celebrate it either)

As I was asking people for their addresses on facebook (writing letters is something I really want and like to do), our neighbour Aaron suggested that we wrote each other Valentine's. Our other neighbour David, and then Angela, were also attracted by the idea.

Adventure #012 - The Flat

You may say that our flat is messy. But it is friendly messy. Full of life and souvenirs. Without this flat, living in Prague would be really different, and it is probably one of the things that have made me stay here for a year and a half.

I like everything in this flat. All the details, left from previous parties, memories of friends now far away from us and good times.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Adventure #011- 3 Musketeers

My mom and cousin know that I love 3 Musketeers bars. They ask if there is anything I would like to have from home, and I almost always ask for some. There is something about the light and fluffy nougat that just speaks to my taste buds.

I received an electronic cookbook from a friend in 2008. I downloaded it, briefly looked at it and then forgot about it. Last week, while cleaning up my files, I saw the cookbook. I opened it and one of the first things I saw was a recipe for 3 Musketeers bars. I was ecstatic because I had finished my last one the week before.

The recipe calls for corn syrup (which I didn't have to make, thanks Annalyn!) sugar, chocolate, egg white, salt, and water. The sugar, corn syrup, and water are boiled until they reach the 'soft crack stage'. This part is actually quite fun. You drop some of the mixture into water and see how firm it gets. The egg whites are fluffed and the two are slowly mixed together. This sounds pretty easy in theory but it got quite messy and I can only imagine what I looked like holding the sauce pan in one hand, slowly adding the mixture into a pot and mixing with the other the whole time trying to keep the pot in place with my elbow. *Note: DON'T use plastic anything! The sugar is super hot and will melt it, as it did with my spatula. After the sugar goo has been mixed in, you add the chocolate, which I accidentally added almost double the amount I was supposed to.

This nougat gets put into the fridge for 1-2 hours and then you can coat them in chocolate to be cooled until solid. I used a mixture of milk chocolate and dark chocolate because I love the dark stuff!

While cutting the nougat, I discovered that it was really sticky and that my knife wasn't really doing much, just pulling it around. I decided to try the cheesecake trick of warming the knife up and it worked beautifully. The coating part was pretty easy, after the first couple, I learned to scrape a bit of the excess chocolate off before placing it on the wax paper.

The end result was almost perfect. They didn't quite look the same as the real thing, but they tasted fantastic! They were a little too sweet and the nougat wasn't as fluffy (probably both were a result of the extra chocolate I added). The dark chocolate on the outside was a little bit of heaven!

I served them at our Valentines Day brunch and everyone was amazed, not only that I made them, but also that it was possible to do so. I have been generous with my supply (I can afford to be now that I can make them) and handed them out to students and friends. Everyone is always a little awed that I made it. I don't know if that is a question of my skill or if it is admiration (I'll pretend it's admiration, either way.)

The verdict: Perfection in the shape of a candy bar! I am no longer dependent on my suppliers! And I can personalize the guilty pleasure, using dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate and all sorts of great things. I wonder how some vanilla would be? I'll find out next time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Adventure #010 - The Hummus

Yes, food again. I've warned you!

After eating hummus in the Bratislava bunker tea place, I decided to try to make some. I've looked on internet for a recipe and was quite surprised to find out that hummus is a really easy thing to make. I don't know why, but I was sure that it would be difficult and complicated.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Aventure #008 - The French Coffee

I know what you're thinking. Half of the new things we are trying are about eating / drinking or cooking.

I have to admit it. We like food. And we love cooking.

So get used to food-related topics.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Adventure #007 - The Bunker

A lot of people would picture a tea room as a snobish place for old women.

It is not the case in the Czech Republic though. Quiet music, maybe a fire, cosy atmosphere, candles, ... you would more be likey to see hippies drinking in small cups and sitting on the floor.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Adventure #006- The Bratislava Adventure


This weekend, we went to Bratislava to celebrate our friend Sean's birthday and to turn in my visa paperwork at the Czech Embassy (looooong story!). I have been to Bratislava twice before and there isn't that much to see.

So, thanks to a suggestion from my cousin, I decided to take pictures from a different viewpoint to see if anything new would turn up...

I took pictures from knee level, most while walking. I didn't want to stop and take pictures of the things I had taken pictures of before...I wanted to take pictures of the streets and shops and if I got peoples legs, that was fine too. Most of the pictures are unfocused, although I did discover the 'sports' option on my camera which allows me to take action shots (so there is less blur.)

Follow this link to see my pictures: Bratislava

I didn't see much new about Bratislava. Perhaps if I had taken more photos as we walked, it would have been more enlightening. But it still helped make the city more entertaining because each evening I looked forward to looking at the pictures I had taken that day. People looking through my camera this week didn't recognize the city either, although I think people who lived there might.

Next time you go to a city you've been to a hundred times, a thousand times, take your camera and try this! If nothing else, you get to look forward to some pretty interesting angles and colors (the yellow picture- it was a bridge that was illuminated blue underneath!).

Adventure #005 - The Museum of Communism

I had been in Prague for a few days when I noticed the posters adverstising for the Museum of Communism for the first time. A matriochka with an angry face and long teeth. I immediately liked it and decided to go visit this Museum as soon as I could. Learning more about Czechoslovakia and Prague under Communism was something I really wanted to do.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Adventure #004- The Recipe (Recept)


Dýňové a Špenatove Lazáně was the name of the recipe on the desk in front of me. The picture looked great, but the recipe was all in Czech. Could my limited Czech help me enough to cook from a Czech recipe? Why not try it?! After my Czech lesson, I felt brave enough to attempt it. I knew I could manage the list of ingredients (I like to eat so food is a necessary vocabulary section!), the real challenge would be the directions, but it's lasagna so how much could I mess it up?

Chloe had a pumpkin (dyně/dýňové) from her 'Orange Diet' so I bought some spinach (špenat/špenatove), garlic, pasta, and, on a whim, mushrooms (I am not great at following a recipe even in English, I consistently like to make changes.) I had her start the pumpkin so we wouldn't be eating around 11pm, not realizing (or paying attention) that the recipe called for sliced pumpkin (platky) and not pureed pumpkin (Improvisation #1).

I arrived home, turned the computer on to a translation site, and took out my dictionary (Czech has special letters that I can't type and therefore the site can't translate properly). So, after much poring over the dictionary and attempting to find the correct translations on-line, I got the gist of the instructions, at least enough to start. My Czech friend Marcel helped with the rest. I sauteed the garlic and spinach (adding the mushrooms for texture, Improvisation #2) and cooked the pasta. The pumpkin was pureed, and the directions told me to 'salt to taste,' which I did, but decided that just salt in the pumpkin wasn't enough, so I added pepper and basil (Improvisation #3.) As I layered the pumpkin then pasta then spinach then pasta, the flour and milk was cooking into a Bechamel sauce (as Chloe calls it) for the top (I also added basil to this, Improvisation #4). I don't have a very good casserole dish, so I made it in a smaller pan, which left me with enough stuff to make a second one (where I added more veggies- leeks, zucchini). I baked it for 40 minutes and voilá!, I had a Dýňové a Špenatove Lazáně!

I made something from a recipe in Czech! Wooohooo! That gave me a bit more confidence in my ability to actually learn this language. Here's the teacher portion of the blog: I could identify verbs and nouns and find the root 70% of the time! In a language where the words can have different endings based on 7 different cases, I was pretty happy!

The lasagna was pretty tasty, the pumpkin puree on the bottom was a little heavy, but altogether good. I ate it for lunch the following day, cold, and it worked. The mushrooms added a really nice (and needed) texture to the mix. The second version with leeks and zucchini was also good, but not much different. When I make this again, I will add either a tomato pesto or some cream (or both) to the pumpkin. It was just a bit too intense and threw off the balance of flavors. Chloe said, "It was good, but it could have been better."

If you want to try the recipe yourself, send me an email (English version only, I promise!). Doubrou Chut'! (Bon appetite!)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Adventure #003 - The Orange Diet

My friend Sophie suggested that I eat food of the same colour for a couple of days. I first thought about green but then decided to do orange. I thought it would be easy. There are not that many things that are orange but enough for two days, no?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Adventure #002- The Pomelo



Pomelo, also known as Chinese Grapefruit, defined by The American Heritage Dictionary as "a tropical southeast Asian tree (Citrus maxima) closely related to the grapefruit and having very large round fruit with thick rinds and coarse-grained pulp."

Let me explain. This 'pomelo' has been calling my name since I arrived in the Czech Republic. I had never seen one before, and wasn't about to buy such a huge fruit when I didn't know what it was. When they reappeared this winter, I decided that I needed to try one.

The experience was different. I told a friend I was going to eat one, and she said that she loved them, but to be careful of eating the rind because it was very bitter. I decided that I would eat the rind, as though I hadn't spoken to her, and regretted it! It was bitter with a strange texture, almost like eating a marshmallow that had too much air and powder. The fruit itself was a bit dry and eating it reminded me slightly of eating a pomegranate (the individual pieces inside each pocket). I may not have chosen the ripest fruit either because it seemed bland. I was unsure of how it should look or feel or anything, so I just grabbed one. But according to eHow.com, I should have looked for one that was heavier (juicier), with a smooth peel and a faintly sweet smell (mine was wrapped in plastic). Now I know for next time! This fruit also has a long shelf life, so even though it is too big to eat at one time (unless you have a pomelo party) it will keep in your fridge for quite awhile.


This was an example of why you SHOULD try that random fruit in the grocery store. You never know what you will find, until you try it!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Adventure #001- The Hockey Game


Last winter, when I first decided to stay in Prague, a friend asked Lisa and I if we wanted to go to a hockey game. I hadn't seen a hockey game before and wanted to go, but couldn't afford the ticket (reported to cost 400kc-$25) so I stayed home.

This last weekend, I was invited to another hockey game. The cost was only 150kc ($8)! So last night I went to the Slavia-Brno hockey game with Tomas, Heather and Jo. It was a close game, with Slavia winning in the 3rd minute of overtime. But it wasn't the result of the game that made the experience enjoyable, it was the entire experience, the energy of the fans, the violence of the sport.

I arrived about 30 minutes late because I came straight from teaching. My student had been flustered at our lesson and it had rubbed off on me. I purchased my ticket and got ready to go through the airport style security into the stadium. After a slight detour to find the cervena caravan (red trailer) where I had to leave my notebooky (laptop), I went through a rigorous security check. I was wanded and questioned about the places where it beeped. I found my friends and proceeded to grill Tomas about the rules of the game. The first period ended without anything interesting happening and the 18 minute break gave me more time to catch up on the details.

The second period brought a few more interesting highlights. Brno scored! The fans went wild and, as I looked around the stadium, I realized that more than half the fans were for Brno. I was a little disappointed in the Slavia turnout, as I have been told that Slavia fans are proud supporters of their teams. But the battle for the loudest side was not an uneven match. The Slavia fans were quite vociferous with drums and horns to add to their mayhem. They were also well organized, rolling out an enormous Slavia flag that covered a majority of the fan section behind the goal, as well as other banners and streamers, belittling the Kometa and boosting Slavia pride.

Soon after Brno scored, Slavia followed suit. The woman behind us let her deep voice boom out over the stadium, shouting encouragement and degradation at the players as they raced back and forth after the puck. I am not sure what she was saying but Tomas kept grinning every time she spoke, whether it was the unusually deep voice or what she said, I don't know.

The game itself seemed a bit like soccer (football for the rest of the world, minus New Zealand), but much faster and more violent. The players would slam each other into the walls and use the closest part of their body to change the direction of the puck. It was amazing. It seemed so dedicated to throw your body into the game with so much passion, knowing that you wouldn't be able to move the next day.

After the game, we and the other 9,800+ people made our way to various modes of transportation. As we went, the fans chanted. It was like a cheer-off. One side went, then the other and sometimes they would try to drown each other out. It reached it's crescendo on the metro platform as Slavia and Kometa fans alike stuffed themselves into the metro and as they chanted, they jumped, and the cars moved with them. We waited until the second train amid more chanting, with the presence of the riot police who stood in vigilant groups watching everything and moving people back from the sides. We crushed ourselves into the car with a group of Brno fans and rolled our eyes as we tried to not to fall when the train started to move. At our station, we had to elbow our way out of the car, shouting prominte (excuse me) as we went. After the excitement of the Yellow line, the few stops to Muzeum seemed tame and the walk home was quiet.

It wasn't the game that made the biggest impression, but rather the fans. They were so passionate about their team, it was infectious. The flustered feeling I'd had as I entered the building was replaced with positive energy and curiosity sometime in the 2nd period. It was at once relaxing and energizing. I would do it again and I highly recommend it!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Start of a NEW Adventure

In October 2007, I decided that I needed to leave my hometown of Reno, NV and explore, be anonymous and learn to live in my own skin. My friends Tiff and I decided that we were going to move to New York City in May 2008. One thing led to another and New York didn't happen, but Prague did, in September 2008.

I got my TEFL certificate and figured it would open the world for me. I could go anywhere and teach English. There was a world to explore and I was just getting my toes wet.

I have made plans to leave Prague many times, so many that Chloe (
my roommate and partner in crime) jokes that I will never leave. But this year, having again decided to stay in Prague for yet another undefined period of time, I realized that I like where I am, that I am happy here, but that I need to do something to shake my world up again.

So, taking inspiration from a couple of movies seen on the flights to and from the US, I have decided to try NEW things for 1 year. Chloe and I will do 365 NEW things over the course of 1 year. This is a combined effort so that the goal becomes more realistic and achievable.

I want to stop saying 'I would like to' or 'I should' because (here's our English lesson of the day) WOULD and SHOULD imply hypothetical situations that will never happen.

The purpose of writing about it is to motivate myself and get inspiration from those around me. It's easy for me to think of NEW things to do, but where is the challenge to face a fear or the novelty of discovering something I have never heard about? This project is supposed to get me to expand my horizons, think outside the box and all those other kitschy cliches that say DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!!

This is my tribute to the cliches. Let's get it on! (Thanks Mills Lane)







The "I Will" Adventure

What is this blog about?

Maybe it is about watching time flying away and still say "I should" too often. Maybe it is about starting to say "I will" instead. Maybe it is about ending routine and boredom. Maybe it is about finding out more about myself. Maybe it is about challenge. Maybe it is simply about curiosity.

The Rules of the Adventure

Starting 1st Feb 2010 through 31st Jan 2011, Angela and Chloé will try 365 new things.