Wednesday, July 11, 2007

School's out for summer!!

With our Czech Film History exam out of the way, and our video project (finally!!) edited, I am happy to announce that we are so officially done with summer school!! (Except for that research paper that I still have to write. But that's what Labor Day weekend is for.)

We finished our last night of class with a screening of Jiri Trnka's A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT DREAM, an incredible animated rendition of the Shakespeare tale. There was also a lecture on Jiri Menzel's CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS and CUT SHORT, but Leah and I missed it, thanks to 5 grueling hours of subtitling our video.

Our screening of projects is on Thursday, and then we have a farewell dinner at Cafe Slavia that night. After that, we're free to do whatever until we head home.

I had a really interesting run after my last posting. The weather was beautiful out, so I did the 6 miler through Petrin and Ladronka parks. It's got just the right amount of hills to keep me challenged, and the majority of it is gravel (SUCH a blessing on my poor feet and knees). On the way back, I actually ran into the father of the Czech family that I had helped give directions to on Friday! Somehow in our lack of Czech/English, we were able to do some kind of sign language that suggested that I was to send Jana, the younger daugther, a text message. I did when I got home, and we made plans to meet on Sunday morning at Stahov Stadium.

Stahov Stadium is pretty impressive-- the second largest arena in the world (Indy 500 arena is the largest). It seats over 200,000 people, and has two additional stadiums surrounding it. But, each time I run there, the place is a ghost town, and I hadn't been able to figure out how the stadiums are used (I read that the Stones went there back in '96, but I've yet to see a poster for an upcoming concerts or events there). So I was rather taken aback when I arrived at 8:30 on Sunday morning, to a crowd of 8,000 Jehovas Witnesses. Turns out the family invited me to an annual conference (in Czech), and, well, that's what happens when you get lost in translation. Everyone who I met was extremely nice, and actually excited to meet an American. One of the members told me that it was "a very important moment" for her when she took her picture with me. Either I somehow converted unknowingly (sorry, Mom!), or the family had told her I was a filmmaker from Boston studying at FAMU. Regardless, it was the nicest crowd of folks that I have met since I got here, and I had a good time attempting to converse with them. I'm glad I dressed up that day-- everyone there was decked out in their Sunday best. Jana, her sister, and parents were so happy to have me there, and we took a bunch of photos. Jana was so sweet and gave me a box of chocolate wafers (like the kind at Karlovy Vary!) as a going away present. I hope to stay in touch with all of them when I get back to the States.

After getting back from school on Sunday, I headed out with Leah and Chris to go have dinner at U Presidente, basically the Brennan's of Prague. I finally, FINALLY had my first plate of goulash-- SO good, yet oh so bad for me, like everything else here! I knew the place was amazing because of two things: It was nestled on a tiny suburban corner, with a cozy outdoor patio (like Brennan's), AND it had a mini-tapestry of JFK hanging on the wall when you first enter.

Our last organized trip is tomorrow, and I can't say that I'm too thrilled about it. We're going to the Terezin Memorial, which is the site of the Terezin internment camp. The official website can be accessed here: Out of respect to family, friends, and the victims who perished there, I'll be attending, though I'm pretty sure it's going to be a challenging day.

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