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Podebrady in Czech! - Tom's Journal
Tom's Journal
Podebrady in Czech!
It's nearing the end of the first week over here and I finally have some time to sit down and write up what's been happening.  This is really the first time I've had that I wasn't working or going out somewhere, or about to crash.

For those who don't know yet.. I'm over in the Czech Rebpublic interviewing for a job.  If things go well (and so far, they are..) then I will likely end up moving here for 6-9 months or longer.  I'll post more on that front when things happen.

After a rocky start, I'm beginning to relax a bit over here.  I'm not that comfortable around strangers anyway, and then adding not speaking the language it's even worse.  :)  Although, now that I think about it.. it's almost easier not knowing the language.  Just be quiet and everyone will mostly ignore you?  But, that's no fun.

The first 2 nights, I slept in an apartment over the office.  It was weird (not a good adjitive.. oh well.) and great at the same time.  Everything here in Podebrady is old - apparently there's only one new building in the city everything else is just re-constructed.  The electricity and water are mostly "add ons" to houses and such.  The view wasn't all that much to look at but it was great (again, I've failed at choosing the best adjitive.  Sigh.)  Looking out, it was like watching old war movies or something.  Hard to describe, just very.. wow.

We've had dinner several times at a resturant called Septime (I think that's how it's spelled, but it's pronounced sep-teem.)  I believe it's owned by an actor over here?  VERY good food.  (Although, I've only had a couple of pizzas.. ham, cheese, olives and mushrooms and a four cheese pizza (with no tomato sauce..))

We've also eaten at several other resturants.  All have had good food.  Yesterday, we ate at a small place just up the street.  I had a light lunch (Josh suggested it.. and thankfully ordered it.  :)  What's odd is that I would NEVER have considered eating it at home.  It was a salad with tomatos, corn, green peppers (yes.. I did eat some of them..) cucumbers chicken and a light dill ranch type dressing.  It was good, and I was suprised that I liked it.

Josh and Zora took us to a steak house the other night.  Wow, we had (Wish I could remember the czech..) "beer and steaks".  It wasn't on the menu like that, just in inside joke kind of thing.  The beer wasn't bad - first one in years.. not the last.  :)  The steak however was a top 5 steak.  It was a bacon wrapped filet, potatos and green beans.  Wow. 

On the drive there and during dinner it was raining, it was a good storm too..  after the storm the view was amazing.  The resturant, Cafe Romantica, is up on a hill and overlooks the valley.  The sun broke thru the clouds lighting up the valley under the clouds.. just amazing.  We got up between the appetizers and the main course to go out and look.  While we were out there, we inspected a bunker.  (Gun slots.. everything.) 

And the drive back was an adventure too.  Ping me some time.

One thing that I heard about Cz land before coming over here is that the beer is cheaper than water.  That is true.  So.. I've started having a beer every now and then with dinner.  Found a couple that I like..

The first morning I was here Pavlina (She's amazing!  She's able to keep up with things and so organized.  If not for her, then this wouldn't have gone so well.  :) took me to Albert's.  (A local grocery chain.)  I got some stuff spent 210 crowns and ate breakfast and lunch for a copule of days.  (That's about $14 or so.)

I think I've lost 10 pounds or more by now.  We walk EVERYWHERE.  I would bet that I spend an hour or more a day walking somewhere.  (Who'd have thought??)  Our flat is about a 11 minute walk up the Kolanad and over to the office.  There's a corner grocery store a couple of blocks up the street from our flat.  (Just got back from there getting breakfast and some toilet paper.)  Will be interesting to see how much I lose by the time I go home on the 14th (I'll likely be returning shortly after that..  to go to work.)

Like I said, Pavlina has been amazing.  Neither Terry or I speack Czech, so she's been interperter and contract reviewer and phone comany caller.. just everything.  (We need to get something for her..)  She setup 4-5 apartments for us to look at.  First one was too hot.. second was perfect (we had already setup the appointments for the rest or I wouldn't have bothered.  :)  Third one had a weird woman that would have been our landlord.  She specifically said that she would come in once a month and make sure we were cleaning good enough.  And that she'd be happy to come in and clean once a month for an extra 1000 crowns.  (The apartment we were looking at was only 10000 crowns a month.)

The one we ended up renting (second one we saw) is 5500 crowns a month plus another 1500-2000 crowns in utilities.  That's about $438 a month split between Terry and I.  And.. it's a small percentage of our monthly salary too..

We're going to Ikea here in a little while to order some furnature.  (We'll have it delivered here next week.)  BTW - It's pronounced ick-e-a, and unlike the american version, it's cheap furnature over here.  :)

Oh.. the joke from the other day - Terry opened up a bank account here.  I called it his Czeck account..

I expected the language thing to be a huge barrier, but it's not been that.  Terry and I have gone into stores and bought towls, pillows, food all that..  with no problems.  We've had to work at it for a while, but nobody (including the guys at the pub last night) got iritated or upset or any of that.  Most people even go out of their way to figure out what you're saying or want.  I'm getting more comfortable with going out on my own to shop or whatever too. 

I am starting to learn a little Czech, the few required things.. Yes, No, Hello, Good Day, Thanks, Check Please..  One of the benifits of the company I'm going to work for is they offer Czeck language classes after work for free.  (The company has people from all over.. America, Czeck, Ukrane, Philipean Islands, England..)  So, hopefully.. I'll end up learning at least one new language out of this as well.  :)

This trip to Europe has been very different from my last vacation over here.  That time, I didn't really work to fit in.  (Learning the language, pay attention to money, or things like that.)  This time over here it's very different.  I'm in one place (SMALL town..) working with the people.. kinda hard to avoid it.  :)

And, the people here have been amazing.  Everyone has been friendly, open and gone out of their way to help me fit in.  Last night, Terry and I were invited over to the apartment of some of the guys from the office.  Mark fixed some amazing steaks (several of them.. he just took a cooking class.) We watched The Bank Job, I fell asleep a couple of times during the movie (I had a beer and 1/2 glass of wine with dinner..)

So far, it's been a great time.  I'm looking forward to going to work and living here for a while.  We are getting an extra futon for the common area of the apartment.. everyone is invited.. as long as the couch is open.  :)

Enough for now, more later.

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