Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oh First Weeks

So coming in country a week early basically means I have two first weeks. First weeks are such a bizarre phenomenon. It's amazing how a single day can seem soooo incredibly long. There is just so much to be done, and everything seems all consumed with waiting and figuring things out. I mean, it feels really comfortable to be back. Everything is familiar and all, but still there are so many uncertainties.
I tried to go to the foreign police yesterday. I need to pick up my new visa and declare that I'm once again in country. We got there a little after ten and the place was packed with Vietnamese. Since they were closing at 12 Jarmila figured out pretty quickly that we wouldn't be able to get me in, so I was able to go home for a few hours before it was time to come back and do some testing for new evening students.
Since the registry attempt failed yesterday I'm off there again this afternoon. It's nothing like in Prague where Kelly informed me people are coming in around 1 AM and still not able to get in that day. I can't even imagine. But still, the thought of sitting in a tiny crowded room for hours doesn't exactly appeal. I can't go in early either, because we have to be here for testing if anyone shows up, so I'm basically just sitting around and waiting right now. (sigh)
The weather has turned a happy corner the past couple of days. Monday was dark and dreary, but we had sun yesterday, and it looks like it's back again today. Of course I'm likely to be cooped up in the foreign police office all day long, but at least I know the sun is shining, and that really does make a difference. It's still not exactly warm, but it's better than nothing. Of course our flat is sooooo cold, that it hardly makes a difference if the weather is nice outside. It's an old building with not much insulation. Actually reminds me a lot of Mother's Choice in that respect. Big old cold building. At least we do have central heating that'll turn on in a couple months so we won't have to sit around wearing massive coats and scarves indoors.
I'm a bit nervous about next week. We still haven't been able to find anyone to help us out for teaching in the morning classes. I'm not sure what will happen there. I know Jarmila is really stressed out about it. But what can we do? I know it'll be quite stressful and busy the first whole month, but the first week of class always has it's own brand of stress.
With every new job I've had, I've noticed this pattern at the beginning. The first week, and sometimes the second as well I find myself saying, "this is my first day of work. This is my second day of work. This is my second week of work..." and so on. Then suddenly the weeks begin to snap by. "Wow, it's already the weekend. I can't believe I've been here for six months already." Only to slow down again near the end as anticipation of return trips home and a bit of a holiday creep in. Just an observation.
It's really interesting to be able to experience these first few weeks through the eyes of Laura as well. For her, everything is new and exciting. I took her out to Atika the night before last and she was so enamored with the place and with the food. I don't think I've ever seen anyone get so excited about Czech food. She got Naomi's favorite meal: turkey medallions with mushrooms and krokety. She was a big fan. Sadly, we never really saw the three legged cat.
Every time we walk outside she marvels at the things she sees. It's such a good reminder of what a special place this really is. It's all so familiar to me. It's easy to take it for granted from the beginning. But Laura brings this fresh and exciting take on everything. It really helps me out somehow. Several times she has commented on how crazy it is to be living here. She's turned to me and said, "can you believe we actually live here?" To which I reply, "well yes, because I've already lived here for a year." But her enthusiasm is beautiful to see.
I haven't seen Tammy yet. She's supposed to be back in town now, having been in France teaching at an English camp for the past couple of weeks. She'll only be around a few days before she goes in for laproscopic surgery in Prague. We're really hoping this will take care of the horrible stomach pains she's been having for more than a year now. The really bad bit being that she won't be able to help out during the extra busy first month.
Not much else to report. Cheb is still Cheb. There are a few new stores open, a few repair jobs that have been finished and new places under repair. The steeples of St Mikolaš have been renovated and tower majestically over the square, looking more like something from Prague than Cheb. Other than that, things are pretty much the same. I'm enjoying living so close to the square. My "commute" has been pretty much cut in half, and the climb is more gradual so I don't end up a sweaty mess by the time I get to the office. Very nice! Also it's so much easier to just go out. Everything is just right in front of us. I think it will be a lot better for socialization. Tammy's flat still isn't finished, so she'll actually be staying out in my old flat for the first month or so before moving in to our building. We don't have internet in our flat yet, but that should be working soon.
Well, I've got a test to go do, so I should go.

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