What I learned from Czechs when I lived in Prague for 6 months

Prague never lets you go… this dear little mother has sharp claws –Franz Kafka

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Old Town Square

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Prague Castle and The Charles Bridge

I had an idea when I was in between working a low-paying job as a child care worker to go teach English abroad. I had always assumed that China or Japan would be the only places one could go to be an English teacher. I simply googled “teaching English abroad” and I found an article explaining how to obtain a TEFL certification and which countries you could teach in. I was surprised to learn that one could easily obtain a visa in the Czech Republic, teach English, and live in a country where 1 dollar would be equivalent of 20 Czech korunas. I had always wanted to live and work in Europe. I fantasized about a more civilized culture, sipping European coffee in a quaint cafe afterwards I would wander the cobblestone passageways, visiting museums that housed priceless romantic and classical art, and perhaps picking up an exotic language to impress my fellow Americans. I had always had this idea that Europeans had the system to living a good life figured out, a society that catered to the people. Men that, rather than shooting guns and playing football, were studying other languages, dressing sharply, while holding a steady appreciation for the arts. I would soon find out that some of the stereotypes about Europe are true and some not. Everyone is crazy about their football teams, and to call football by the American word “soccer” was completely frowned upon. The wild parties that go on until dawn are encouraged with a society that doesn’t bat an eye. The city that I chose to take my TEFL course was Prague, the city of a thousand spires. Prague was a city that I knew little to nothing about.

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My street, where I stayed in a villa while taking a TEFL course.

People stare at you on the metro. In America, we are taught to never stare at people. In Prague, every time you step out in public, it’s like a moving target has been placed on you as you feel a dozen sets of eyes burrowing into your back. I’ve learned to understand the reason for this is because the Czech people under communism would turn in their neighbors or friends to the Soviet police and an air of suspicion meant your survival back in those days. It still was probably the most uncomfortable thing for an American. Do I look at them when they look at me? What is the proper procedure? Oh wait they saw me and pretended not to be staring. I know you were looking at me!

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My face when I got stares on the tram.

Always carry an extra plastic bag or backpack, you never know when you need to pop into a Tesco to load up on food and if you want a jug of milk, be prepared to carry that son of a bitch all the way back on public transport to your flat. Czechs are crazy strong because they carry their groceries and other necessities back to their flats. Also most buildings don’t have lifts so not only do they workout their arms but also their quads and legs! A daily workout without a gym membership!

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Everyday I’m struggling.

Learn to cook from scratch unless you want to pay more at the UK brand Marks & Spencer, most Czechs get their groceries from Tesco or the Czech version called “Billa.” This is probably the starkest difference between America and The Czech Republic that I noticed due to an empty stomach, my lack of cooking skills, and the money I blew ordering expensive delivery food. Every time you walk into Tesco, there are fruit and vegetables of low quality and selection. Mysterious meat and sausage in strange packaging and most disappointing at all was the lack of bacon! How do they survive?! Okay, I admit, I sound like a spoiled American brat but this is actually an advantage growing up poor, you learn to be resourceful. I’m sure that most of the Czech people know how to cook simply as a survival skill while most young Americans my age can’t even use a toaster.

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Mad cooking skills.

There you have it. Just a few things I’ve observed while living in the city of a thousand spires. One of the greatest and most beautiful places,

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Praha. My second home.

Funny in 33 languages: The art of translating Maysoon Zayid’s hilarious TED Talk

TED Blog

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What’s funny in one language isn’t necessarily funny in another. Maysoon Zayid’s “I got 99 problems … palsy is just one” presented many challenges for TED translators bringing the hilarious talk into their language. As she tells stories from her life as a Palestinian-American comedian with cerebral palsy, Zayid cracks with wordplay. For translators, it’s one thing to convey meaning, but how do you let non-English speaking audiences in on the joke? “If you have to explain the joke, it’s no longer funny,” says Greek translator Dimitra Papageorgiou. But if you do a good job, says Meric Aydonat, who translated the talk into Turkish, “it looks so natural that your translation becomes funny in itself.”

Valérie Boor subtitled the talk in Dutch. “It’s always difficult to make a translation funny, since the spoken word has factors like timing and intonation that contribute to the joke,” she…

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Forget Marilyn Monroe — This Person Has The Absolute Best Quotes On Life And Love

Thought Catalog

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Paulo Coelho forever.

  • “Life has a way of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.”
  • “It takes a huge effort to free yourself from memory.”
  • “What hurts us is what heals us.”
  • “Only two things can reveal life’s great secrets: suffering and love.”
  • “In magic – and in life – there is only the present moment, the now. You can’t measure time the way you measure the distance between two points. ‘Time’ doesn’t pass. We human beings have enormous difficulty in focusing on the present; we’re always thinking about what we did, about how we could have done it better, about the consequences of our actions, and about why we didn’t act as we should have. Or else we think about the future, about what we’re going to do tomorrow, what precautions we should take, what dangers await…

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21 Ways You Should Take Advantage Of Your 20s

Thought Catalog

1. Don’t feel the need to respond to every text message, phone call, and email the second it reaches you. Once upon a time, it took longer than a minute to reach someone. People used stamps and envelopes; they had answering machines they didn’t check for hours, sometimes days. No one will die if you don’t immediately respond to every message you receive.

2. Ask for what’s owed to you. Half the time, you’re not getting your needs met because you’re not making them known. Your employers, romantic interests, and friends are not going to read your mind and give you what you need unless you speak up.

3. Never turn down an open bar. Seek them out and make them a priority. Indulging in open bars when you’re older isn’t appropriate because a) people will think you have an alcohol problem and b) you’re supposed to have enough money…

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Tony Robbins Quotes, Incantations, and other Resources

Unleash Your Inner Strength ™

My life changed when I attended my first Tony Robbins event back in June of 2005. Tony is a master of helping people harness their innate emotional and physical resources in order to create lives of meaning and fulfillment. 

Listed below are some of Tony’s most popular selected quotes and affirmations. (Tony refers to the affirmations he uses as “incantations.” Incantations are used just like positive affirmations, which you repeat multiple times daily in order to transform your thought patterns and activate the law of attraction.  However, the difference is that incantations are expressed with emotional energy, intensity, and conviction. See further below for more info.) 

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Tony Robbins’ Famous Quotes:

“The Past does not equal the Future.”

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”

“The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the expectations of your peer group. Choose your peers wisely.”

“The quality of your life…

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17 Things You Learn From Growing Up In The South

Thought Catalog

A childhood in the south is an interesting thing. It provides a very clear picture of the kind of America most northerners make fun of, but often don’t understand. Yes, a lot of the stereotypes are true, but many of them aren’t what you think they’d be. And it can be a pretty great place to be a kid.

1. Southern food is truly the best. Whether it’s spicy gumbo, fried chicken and biscuits with honey, sautéed greens, or BBQ meat that falls off the bone — the south has it locked up. You grow up with that food and it is the stuff you will be craving for the rest of your life. The day I arrived back in America after a few years abroad, the first meal I had was fluffy biscuits with sausage gravy, two sunny side up eggs, and a glass of real sweet tea. It…

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Birthday Week, Countdown to Prague 34 days!

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I’m about to leave for the Magical City of Prague in the Czech Republic in approximately 34 days. After graduating from the University of Arkansas in 2012, the lack of job opportunities had prompted me to apply for a TEFL program a few months past. T.E.F.L. stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and with my certification I plan to travel the world and teach English to foreign students. As awesome a goal as it seemed a few months ago, approaching closer to the date of my departure has filled me with both excitement and dread. Although Prague is a hub of expats, this post-soviet country has slew of pick-pockets and petty theft reports that makes my anxiety go through the roof just researching about it. The negatives aside, Prague has a very well preserved medieval castle (one of the largest complexes in the world) and other historical landmarks that make this history lover’s heart swoon. It is also home to a culture that takes a no-nonsense approach to life that is quite interesting and intriguing to an introvert like me. Nearing the end of this week is my 25th birthday and with it, this millennial is having a bit of a quarter life crisis and only wants to prove her worth in the re-migration back to the “mother lands.”Image