Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Orientation Begins...

Yesterday (Sunday) we all had to get up early to go to a meeting at Charles University. I was not too happy about having to get up, plus I woke up super early because I wanted to eat before I left so I went across the street to a small shop and got bananas! Then we had this welcome meeting in a super cold room. I think a lot of people were jet-lagged because we had only gotten there the day before and a lot of people were falling asleep during the welcomes.

Then we had lunch and got to go on a tour of where the NYU buildings are and just the general area!

The blue building with the flag is one of the buildings that make up the NYU Center in Male namesti:

These are just other buildings around the area that I thought looked very Praguesque:

After this tour, I accomplished some good things.
1. I spent forever in Tesco making necessary purchases with some people doing the same thing. Actually, I think every NYU in Prague student was in Tesco at that same time.

2. I bought a cellphone from Vodafone. It was sort of a hassle because everyone was getting the same phone from the same place, so they sold out before I was able to buy one. Then, while trying to find our way home, we came across another Vodafone shop that was not sold out of the cellphone so I got it and it was better than you are thinking.

3. I had my first Prague metro experience. The metro here is much nicer (cleaner and trendier) than subways in NYC.

4. Once I got back to my room, I vid chatted via Skype with my mom and dad.

Hehe! Hi, Mom and Dad!

5. Finally, before dinner I went grocery shopping at Billa near my building. It was difficult to find things and I caused a major pile-up at the cash register, but I made it out alive.

Okay, that's all for Sunday I think.

Unfortunately, they don't celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the Czech Republic (weird, right? It is such a good holiday), so I had orientation things to do. As you know from my previous post, it was snowing overnight. When I woke up for real the snow had stopped coming down and the day's weather was sort of weird.. The ground was all slushy and melting snow/ice was dripping from buildings as well as non-melting snow/ice. (You will learn more about the non-melting snow/ice in my special surprise later on in the post.)

So, I had to be up even earlier today than yesterday to leave here at 8:45 (eeeek!) to arrive to the NYU Center on time for my first intensive Czech lesson. I can now introduce myself and say where I am from, but did not learn how to say 'thank you' or 'excuse me' or any other polite and useful phrases. I hope I learn that tomorrow, otherwise I will have to start using my translation book in public (but maybe I should do that anyway because Czechs really don't like when I speak in English EVEN THOUGH many of them speak it too).

Here is a view from the ground up into the other NYU building, Richtruv dum. At least, I think it is. This is the opposite of the view I saw when looking out a window from inside, so I'm just assuming that I speak the truth:

Then I walked around a bit with a group of people until it was the second half of the alphabet's turn to attend an information session and a lecture on Czech history. I wish that I hadn't felt so tired during that lecture, because if I was able to pay better attention I would have probably really enjoyed it. I did like what I heard, though.

The best thing I did today was get a metro pass. It is so liberating to be able to ride unlimited trams and metros for the next 90 days! It has my picture on it and everything. They use the honor system here for having tickets and allegedly only check periodically whether people have tickets, so I really hope someday my pass is checked! This is my first metro pass ever since I never had an unlimited card in New York. BIG NEWS!

Another really great part of my day was dinner. We had floor dinners tonight where the RAs took people to local restaurants. My floor went to this really good Hungarian restaurant that was run by two brothers: one brother does all the cooking while the other does all the waiting. It was so delicious! I had chicken paprika with gnocchi for dinner:


And dessert was split among us all because the dinner was so filling. I am not sure what this is called, but it was homemade by the mother of the brothers.

That's enough excitement for one post. Goodbye!

Just kidding! Here is the special surprise I promised. (It's a video!)


  1. that chicken paprika and gnocchi looks really really good

  2. Wow you have been so productive in all that snow! It's snowed about 3 times here and I can barely get myself to do anything but lounge around, let alone go apartment, grocery, cell phone and metro card shopping!! That picture of the snow-covered buildings is fantastic - I'm glad if you have to brave the bad weather you at least get something pretty out of it. And I'm jealous you had chicken paprika! I just stumbled across a recipe for that the other day but abandoned the idea when I saw "Hungarian paprika" on the ingredients list (I can hardly find even curry powder in NH).

    Can't wait to hear more about your adventures!