Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Meandering Throughts

So. I figure this is the International Travel Machine and that preparations for travel are just as important (interesting? It depends, but they are part of the journey) as the voyage itself. That having been said, here is what I've been up to recently:

Post-operation Reading: I know from experience that what I chose to read while recovering from an operation (even one as minor as Wisdom Teeth Removal) is crucial to my recovery. The last time I had surgery, I read T.C. Boyle's _World's End_--a choice which left me traumatized (like, I need therapy traumatized). This time, in keeping with my eventual destination (Prague), I briefly considered re-reading either Kafka or Kundra (briefly). Yeah, I know. I haven't read Kafka since I was in the Army (which was a very appropriate place to read Kafka). Anyway, I decided that, although very good choices, neither of these books was going to leave me feeling chipper and ready to hop on a plane to a place I'd never been before (if anything, _The Trial_ might have made me look into getting a refund on my plane ticket). Anyway, I pulled out some Jeeves and Wooster, which is always nice and light. FOr some reason, though, it wasn't hitting the spot. So, I made the ever-so-natural transition to _The Poisonwood Bible_. Yum, post-op post-colonial lit (although I don't consider the PWB entirely post-colonial. I don't know, though. What do you guys think? Lugman? I KNOW you can add something to this!). Yeah, anyway, it's working out well.

School: Almost over. Just a couple more weeks, two projects, and one (very short) paper.

Flight: Ah, this was the big thing today. I booked my flight under the influence of Vicaden (spelling? I don't know--it's what House takes) right after my operation. (Oh, I also signed up for a credit card, got both my hostel card and my ISIC, reserved my room at a hostel in Prague, accepted a job, and rejected another job offer ALL under the influence of the great V. I just didn't drive anywhere.) Anyway... I was on the phone with my Dad this morning and I happened to glance at my plane reservation: Springfield to Chicago, Chicago to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Prague. All in order. Leaving Springfield at about 3:30pm December 25, arriving in Prague about 6:40pm December 26. Hmmm, that's kind of a long time, but there's a time change in there. Oh, wait. Hold up here. Arrive in Frankfurt at 9:45am, depart Frankfurt at... 5:25pm? What?! A seven hour layover in Frankfurt? Was I on drugs when I booked this ticket? Moral of the story: Don't drug and book. I guess I better go check my hostel reservation now--make sure it is actually in Prague and not in South America somewhere.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Start Wearing Purple

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I've officially accepted the job in Prague. I'll sign the contract when I get there.

Now I'm off to get my wisdom teeth out. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 20, 2006

VA Health Care

Had an appointment with the VA today--just a check-up. (VA is Veteran's Administration, BTW). It's actually pretty good care--a hell of a lot better than I had when I was in the Army (but then, when I was in the Army, I had a doctor tell me to PRAY TO JESUS to make myself better. Yes, I'm totally serious).

Anyway, I was standing in the hallway talking to a nurse about going to Prague, and this older Veteran told me to be careful and watch out for roadside bombs. I assured him that Prague is a pretty safe destination.

At first I thought this was kind of funny, but then I realized that this was a really, really positive thing. You see, about six or so years ago (pre-Iraq 2), I went to a VA clinic and had this older (male) Veteran basically tell me off for not being a "Veteran." As a result, I'm still wary when I go into VA hospitals or clinics and find myself faced with a waiting room full of old men. Anyway, not only did this guy NOT say anything nasty to me, he showed that he realized that females are sent to dangerous places and are sometimes killed or wounded (even though Prague is not usually one of those places).

Still, I can't see that gender relationships within the military would have changed much over the past ten years. I'm sure it is still basically as my (female) AIT drill sergeant explained it to us: "Women in the Army are either sluts or dykes." I found that to be true when I was in, and I'm sure it is still true today.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Jobs, jobs, jobs

Well, I had another job interview this morning. I think this one went better than the last one. This was with a language school in Moscow. At the end of the interview, the guy interviewing me said that he couldn't offer me the job outright because he had to confer with his colleagues, but that he was going to highly recommend me to them (like how I split my infinitive there?).

Anyway... We shall see.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Czech Republic

Well, I had a phone interview with a language school in the Czech Republic today. It wasn't too bad--I kind of flubbed my way through my explanation of what types of activities I would use to get students to practice the Present Perfect Tense, but the interviewer asked me a ocuple of questions about how I would use some reading with students and I'm pretty good at coming up with pre-, during-, and post-reading activities. Anyway, at the end of the interview, the person interviewing me said that I had the job if I wanted it. Yea!

_Pros of school_
-->Duh, it is is Prague
-->Several teachers (good for feedback and idea exchange--something I'm missing in my current work!)
-->I'd be teaching adults
-->Guarantees minimum hours of teaching per week
-->School offers free Czech lessons
-->School offers French (and German) lessons at half price (though if I don't make much, can I really afford these lessons?)

_Cons of school_
-->Salary is a pittance (though I'm not going there to make money, I still want to make sure I have enough to live)
-->Does not provide airfare
-->There is a lot of traveling to teach at students' workplaces (school pays transportation costs)
-->School does not provide accomadation (but it does not look like most schools in Prague do)

I've looked at teacher reviews of the school on the internet, and the only complaint I've seen is about the amount of a time a teacher has to spend traveling. The school itself has been around for a long time (Well, since after the Velvet Revolution), so it is not some fly-by-night operation (which I think is actually more a danger with TEFL in Asia).

Hmm. Anyway, if I go to Prague, you are all invited to come and visit me.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Oh boy

I just looked at my schedule and I realized that I'm getting my wisdom teeth out next week. Oh boy.

I must not cancel this appointment, I must not cancel this appointment, I must not chicken out and cancel this appointment...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Job Hunt

Well, it has started. The mad dash to employment. Right now I'm concentrating on schools in the Czech Republic and the Russian Federation.

-location, location, location
-large Expat community

-most schools don't offer accomadation

-most schools offer accomadation
-I would get to learn a little bit of a language where people sound like they're talking through their throats and they're angry (yes, this is a pro. Russian is cool sounding.)

-Moscow is expensive (and most of the schools I've seen advertised are in Moscow)
-corruption and Chechnyan rebels

Hmm, well, we shall see. I'f I don't find anything in either of those two places, I'm going to expand my search a little (and seriously, if I can't find a teaching job in China, I really need to reconsider my career path). Meanwhile, I'm sending out CVs. Lots of CVs.

Funny, but a lot of the schools I'm looking at require their teachers to work with both children and adults. Damn. I'm going to have to start considering working with those little runts.