Friday, October 12, 2007

A chill in the air...

Well, fall is definitely here. From the many colored leaves sprinkled crisply over the ground to the biting breeze that encourages more leaves to make their way earthward, there is no denying that the seasons are changing. It's nice to be in a place with such defined seasons. Maybe I should rephrase that. I'm not sure I saw a very evident summer. It was quite nippy even when we first arrived. But it has clearly grown colder over the past couple of weeks. I'm starting to wrap my neck in scarves and warm my fingers with gloves.
It's a little scary how cold it is here already. While I doubt temperatures are likely to plummet as low as they did in Alaska, I'm still a bit nervous about how winter in Cheb will look. At least in AK I had the protection of my car. Here, the only way to get to work is to walk. While I appreciate the forced exercise, it's nothing like being a pedestrian in Hong Kong. Already the temperature has dropped lower than I have ever seen it in HK, and it's only October!
Things are going pretty well. This was a rather long week. Thursdays are, by far, my most difficult days. I only have two classes in the evening, but I have to prepare for 4 because I have two morning classes on Friday. The morning classes are primarily conversation classes, so I have to come up with all sorts of activities off the top of my head. It's really a difficult thing to do when you aren't even sure of what topic to teach, or how long each activity will last. Not to mention the fact that students like to make the weekend longer, meaning I often have smaller classes that finish activities more quickly.
Besides all the classes I have to plan for on Thursdays, I also have my Czech lessons on that day. While it is nice to be learning more Czech, it takes up an hour and a half that could have gone toward my lessons, so it can sometimes be stressful and hard to keep a positive attitude. I'm grateful to be learning some of the language, but it's quite difficult and hard to find time to keep up with the homework. Fortunately, I keep realizing how much German I actually know. It's amazing that, after 10 years, I still remember anything. In some ways I feel like it would be easier to just focus on learning German better, but I know it is nicer for people if I try to speak Czech.
All this to say, I'm glad that it is now the weekend. I just finished most of my lesson planning for Monday, and will hopefully be able to just relax over the next couple of days.

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