Cuteness Appreciation Week
This week I thought it was appropriate to use a classic phrase from a dear friend of mine (shoutout to Jon) as the title of my post. Why is it cuteness appreciation week? Because for some reason I have received several unexpectant gifts from coworkers and random people. First my fellow PE teacher brought me a variety of homemade cookies. My other coworker brought me some of my favorite cookies from his town. Yet another brought me three hand decorated eggs and a homemade christmas ornament. Then yesterday, as I was shopping, a shop owner gifted me a small token with an elephant on it. I’m not sure what it means, or what it is for (there was a considerable language gap between my Czech and hers) but the gesture was nice all the same. I truly feel blessed to be here. I can’t believe its been 4 months already and in less than a week my sister will be here Yipppeeee!
Last week I started attending the debate club. At first when they asked me to come I had no idea what I could possible contribute to a debate club that debates in Czech. However, every year they have a competition in English and that’s where I come in. I must say that so far it has been a really fun experience. I have only gone to two club meeting so far but I really enjoyed it. Not to mention the kids are so dedicated and talented. I mean not only are they debating in a language other than their own, they are killing it! I’m really excited to attend their debate competition on Friday. It’s an all weekend event so I’m sure I will have lots of quality time with the students on the team. Originally, I thought most of my community involvements would be sports related but as it turns out I get to do so much more. Speaking of sports, I am still attending the exercise ball class and for the first time yesterday I tried Flow’in, which apparently is the “future of fitness.” I don’t know about all that but I had a lot of fun anyways.
One of the presentations that I do on a regular basis is a powerpoint on American holidays. We have a lot of holidays, which is perfect for someone like me who likes to dress up. The Czechs don’t have nearly as many festive days but they do have a few that are pretty unique. One of those special days happened last week on the 5th of December and it is called St. Mikulas Day. For many Czechs this marks the start of the holiday season. On this day, you will see people dressed up as Angels, Devils, and St. Mikulas (St. Nicholas). These three characters visit the Czech children and St. Nicholas will ask them if they have been good this year. If they answer yes, then they receive a small treat after they have recited a short poem or song. If they were naughty, well then they get a bag of potatoes (typical Czech style). If they are really, really naughty, they get dragged to hell by the devil. In a small town like Nymburk, teenagers are the ones who dress up as these characters in exchange for small tokens of appreciation from the parents.
Another Czech tradition that I participated in this last week was dancing lessons. I mentioned in my previous post that I would be attending a ball this Saturday. This ball was like one big sweet sixteen party. It was an event for parents and students alike. The students showcased their dance moves while their parents (and brothers, sisters, classmates, friends, and me) looked on. The ball started with a march to traditional Czech folk music then the students danced to each type of music – Waltz, Blues, Foxtrot, Tango, Cha- Cha, some more Waltz, and the “Afro Americky Jive.”
Then students danced with their parents and finally everyone who was “appropriately dressed” was invited to the dance floor. Not exactly sure what their standards for appropriate was because there was a large range of attire from ball gowns to freak ’em dresses. I danced with a few of my students and although it was fun it was a weird to feel like I was a bad dancer! My students had to teach ME how to do the Afro Americky Jive. How crazy is that? All in all it was a really good experience and I am looking forward to the Maturita balls next semester.