Friday, January 05, 2007

Here we go...

So, I finally got my laptop on the internet, which means I can finally post my Czech blog notes and some pictures of Prague. These blog entries are going to be totally out of order (but they are dated, so that should provide some reference). I just don't have the energy right now to deal with trying to put them in order (and even then, they won't be in absolute order with the rest of the blog). Ugh, whatever. My brain is a little tired right now.

But here they are... the good, the bad, and the ugly:

December 26, 2006 3:33pm (Frankfurt); 8:33 US Central; 9:33 US Eastern

So, here I am in Frankfurt. Umm, in the Frankfurt airport. Sitting. I have a feeling that there is another part of the airport--a bigger part--but I have no idea where it would be. I probably should have printed out a full map of the airport before I left. Not that I have been too bored. I found a nice place to sit down (slump down) and doze for a couple of hours. Then, I got myself a sandwich, sat back down, and dozed a little more (yea, dozing). So much for my grandiose plans to conduct a whirlwind tour of Frankfurt where here, but, quite honestly, I didn’t think I’d be doing that anyway.

I was feeling a little sorry for myself because of my seven hour layover, then I started talking to the woman a seat away from me on the flight from Chicago to Frankfurt. Her final destination was Iran, and her layover was ten hours. Then, the person with the seat between us showed up. His final destination was Palestine, and his layover was 12 hours--and he couldn’t leave the terminal because he didn’t have a visa. Anyway, I think I’m just in he international hub here. It was pretty crazy this morning--I got the impression that all these flights arrived at once. It has calmed down significantly--people seem to be trickling out to different locations. The store workers here don’t even bother with German--they just start out all transactions with English. There are two announcements for every flight--the first is in German, the second is in the language of the destination (unless the destination is a German-speaking region, in which case the announcement is in English. Ditto with Scandinavian destinations and “obscure” destinations).

As can be easily imagined, not much going on right now. Oh, on my flight from Springfield to Chicago, I wound up sitting next to a pilot (in uniform). It made me feel a little safer on the tiny little plane (those things can be quite scary).

I’m right across from some television screens that have flight information on them, so I can watch my flight to Prague move slowly up and to the left on the series of 12 screens.

Gah! Everyone here has fuzzy boots! I *knew* I should have gotten a pair of fuzzy boots before I left. Now I’m gonna have to spend way too much money to get myself a pair! (The again, most of the fuzzy boot wearers could be Americans. I guess I will just have to see how things turn out when I reach my actual destination.)

The flight from Chicago to Frankfurt was overbooked--by about 30 or 40 people. It was a Boeing 747. I don’t think I’d ever been in a multi-level plane before (or, if I have, I have forgotten it).

I wore my fuzzy sweater and carried my black coat. Now my black coat is fuzzy. Even when I am away from my cat, I still look like a cat owner.

4:02 pm

Okay, Mom recommended that I watch _The State Within_ (a BBC Drama) on my laptop. I’m sure it will be very good-the only problem is that an airplane explodes in the first ten minutes of it. I think I’m going to walk to Prague now.

December 29, 2006 8:07pm

Found a place to live today--in fact, I’ve already moved in. That was a bit of an adventure…
I called the owner of the apartment last night, and we arranged to meet at noon today so I could view the room. It took me about two hours to find the place (no, I’m not exaggerating. I actually started looking for the place on my way to the school so I could determine how long it would take me to get there from the apartment. I wound up taking the two hours I was going to use to find the school to find the apartment.). Anyway, when I walked into the apartment, I was greeted by a very friendly cat. The room was nice--big--and the owner (my current roommate now) was very nice and there were two cats (including the very friendly cat I met first who is now sitting on my granola bars). Anyway, the owner, R., said that I could move in whenever I wanted, and we agreed to meet again at 5pm, me with my bags and money for rent.

So, I went to the ATM and withdrew some money. I found the ATM more quickly than I thought I would, so I decided to see if the school was open at all. It wasn’t. I went back to the Youth Hostel (okay, remind me to talk about my very strange experience there), packed my stuff, and worked on a Sudoku puzzle until 4:30. Then, I grabbed my stuff and went down to the desk to check out. The guy behind the desk didn’t charge me for my entire reservation, which was excellent (and more than I was expecting), so I paid up, grabbed my bags, and went outside…

(Now, before I go any further, I should explain that the place where I am now living is only a few blocks away from the youth hostel. Six-ish. Up a hill, then down a hill. I should also mention that, at 4:30pm in Europe, it is pitch black outside. I probably also need to mention that I, in my infinite wisdom, decided that I could walk, with my bags, to the new apartment No Problemo.)

…into snow. Yes, ladies and gents, it was snowing in Prague. And it was sticking. And it was cold and wet. And I did not revise my plan of treking up a hill in the snow in Prague in the pitch blackness that was Europe in December with over 100 pounds of luggage (again, no exaggeration. I weighed it before I left the States). Until about five steps up the hill, when it finally hit me that I was a [censored] idiot and I would probably deserve the heart attack and death by exposure that was going to be my fate. So what did I do? I kept going. I just kept telling myself that once I got to the top of the hill, I could just let my suitcase drag me down the other side.

Here is where the story gets weird. Just as the luggage tumbled (the duffel bag fell off the suitcase), two young men were walking by. One of them came up to me and asked me something in Czech. And I, jet-lagged and exhausted and hungry and about the have a heart attack, forgot the five words of Czech I knew, that I had practiced over and over and over again, and just stared at this young man with my mouth hanging open like a mute (and slightly retarded) fish?

“English?” The young man asked and, when I nodded, continued with a perfect American accent,” Do you need some help?”

Okay, two young men, American accents, with name tags. It is dark outside and they’re wearing coats, but I’m willing the bet my 8000 Czech Crowns of Rent money that theses guys have suits on under those coats. You thinking what I’m thinking? Yup. Even jet-lagged, exhausted, hungry, and about to have a heart attack, I know a pair of Mormans when I see ’em. (Though this ability took me a few years to develop, which is a completely different story. Lets just say it involved being stuck on a boat with a Morman.)

I seriously debated saying no thank you, I’m fine. Okay, there was nothing serious about that internal debate. There was only one answer, after the usual tap-dance of are-you-sure-you-don’t-mind-they’re-really-heavy. Hell yeah, I need help, and if you want to talk about your church I will shut up and politely listen as long as you carry my bags for me. But there was no need for that. We made small talk all the way up the hill and all the way down, and I made it to my new home without having to know the Czech words for Heart Attack and Imminent Death.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I am completely exhausted. My main task tomorrow is going to be to try to find a grocery store near the apartment. My secondary task is going to be to go do something touristy. Maybe I will set my alarm so I can wake up early and see the snow in the morning.

Yeah right.


Just finished my Tai Chi. The room I’m in is big enough for me to do my Tai Chi (except in the final third I have to stop to move a little bit). I also went through my Small San Sau and the part of Large San Sau that I know.

I’m sooo tired. I’m just waiting for my roommate to get back so she can show me how to get on the internet. I want to send my Mom and e-mail. She called while I was having lunch and told me my Grandmother was in the hospital. I don’t think I can stay up too much longer, though.

By the way, did I ever mention that airport security really sucks? This time I managed to make it through not just one but two security checks with a pair of sharp scissors in my carry-on bag. I didn’t even know they were there--not until just after the second security check (in Frankfurn) when I finally decided to look in my backpack to see what kept poking me in the back. Whoops. Moral of the story? Don’t bother checking it--just give it to me.

Okay, I think I’m gonna brush my teeth and get to sleep. I will just have to figure out the Internet thing tomorrow. G’night.

9:47 pm

No. I must stay awake at least until 10:30. Otherwise, I will wake up around midnight, lie in bed awake for about two hours, then not wake up again until 8:30am. I must stay awake a little while longer, and I must set my alarm clock (7-ish?). I know, I’ll play a computer game. Or finish watching the first episode of The State Within.

December 30, 2006 3:56 pm

So. Tired. Can’t. Lift. Tea. To. Mouth. Well… Maybe not. That tired. Just yet.

I’ve forgotten how annoying cats can be when one is trying to sleep. Especially curious little orange-ish cats and big, fat, always hungry male cats. Who have figured out how to open the door to the room where I am staying. (I think the big cat just throws himself against it and it gives way under his weight. But I was too tired last night to test my theory, so the mystery remains unsolved).

So, no wireless here after all. I’m going to try to plug in my laptop to see if I can access the internet that way. R. said I could use her laptop, but it is set up for typing in Czech, which means that the letters and special characters are not always where my fingers think they should be (and not always where the keyboard says they are).

December 30, 2006 11:35pm

I’ve just realized that my laptop has skipped a day somewhere. I noticed this when I read the last entry I wrote and had no memory of having written it today. Although it does talk about being tired, I figure I would at least remember being that tired, right? Right?

January 1, 2007 12:54pm

Happy New Year. And, no, I did not just wake up. I’ve been awake since before 8:00 this morning. Last night, for New Year’s Eve, I met up with another English teacher and we went to Wencelas Square to see first-hand the crazyness that is a major European city on New Years Eve. It was crazy: broken bottles everywhere; people stumbling drunk through the streets, singing and dancing; people shooting off fireworks in the middle of the street; said fireworks careening crazily, bouncing off building; noise, noise, noise; and continual fireworks. I hadn’t realized just how much I took New Year’s Eve fireworks for granted until the teacher I was with, who had just arrived in Prague, started jumping and starting every time a firework went off. It made me remember how, when we first returned to the States, I found it so odd that there were no fireworks on New Year’s Eve. I think I even asked my parents about it (who told me that 4th of July was the big firework event in the States--which seemed a little unnatural to me. Fireworks and New Years Eve just belong together.) Well. Now that I’ve seen all that, I can spend the rest of my life sleeping through New Year’s Eve (which is my preferred way to spend it).
Anyway, the other teacher, K., started talking about New Year’s Resolutions. I, as a rule, do not make them. I figure that, if something is important enough for someone to really want to change, then why wait for a special day to do it? Why not just--start? And how many people honestly keep their New Year’s Resolutions? I figure New Year’s Resolutions were made to be broken, so I don’t make them. K. would not accept this as an answer, so I told her that my NYR was to learn how to pronounce the Czech r with an accent over it (I can’t find the character for it. I’m not even completely sure what it is called. When people refer to it, it sounds like “r hotchick,” but I’m sure that’s not the way it is spelled. Anyway, it’s a bitc-devil of a thing to try to pronounce.) K. then informed me that her NYR was to not worry so much about what other people think. I, of course, promptly informed her that that was a stupid resolution, to which she replied, “Do you think so? Really?” (I couldn’t help myself. I did go back and explain the joke, and I promised that I’d call her on it if she started to worry to much about WOPT.)

Yesterday afternoon I walked up Petrin Hill, a large hill in the city. I thought for sure I would be sore today, but I feel fine. It may not hit until tomorrow.

The day before yesterday I went to the Museum with my roomie, R. There was a prehistoric Czech Man exhibit that she wanted to see. The exhibit was all in Czech, but it was very well done. I had never really appreciated before what made a good exhibit until I was faced with an indecipherable language. Even though the information was given in Czech, I was able to piece together quite a bit of it from context. Most of the displays incorporated pictures and video and (what are those called--dioramas?--that attempt to recreate scenes from a certain time). For example, a display of bones was located next to a picture of the gravesite, an artist’s drawing of what the people must have looked like when they were buried, and a map showing the location of the grave. A skeleton of modern man was located next to a skeleton of Neanderthal man, additional skulls of both types, a chart showing the years that each existed, and pictures showing what each looked like (again, artist renditions of the two). I felt that, despite not knowing the language, I was able to get a very good sense of what the exhibit was about.

After going through this exhibit (which was temporary), R. and I went to the permanent Prehistory exhibit. What a world of difference. This exhibit was a long glass case filled with pottery and tools and heaven only know what else because it was all labeled in Czech. No maps, no pictures, no context. I walked through it quickly, looking at pottery, shards of pottery, more pottery, and more pottery. R. marveled at the beauty of it, and it was nice, but I couldn’t help imagine the reactions of the women who used the pottery if they knew people were examining their pots and pans and dishes. As I looked through the glass display case, I imagined the women standing behind the visitors, their faces reflected in the glass. First they would be proud that others were admiring their possessions. If they had made the pottery, they would take pride in the fact that others were appreciating their work. But then they would start to feel a little confused and maybe even a little uncomfortable that so many people spent so much time examining, studying, and commenting on their dishes. They would fail to see any great importance in these items (other than their practical use). Eventually, they would begin to see the humor in it. Out of all they things they their society created and owned, for the kitchen utensils to garner so much attention is ironic and amusing. They might even feel a little superior to us, given our lack of scope on these matters.

Or maybe not.

January 4, 2007 11:34 am

Culture shock.

Okay, this is not going to be a happy, I’m so glad I’m in Prague post. Nor is this post really intended to amuse any readers of this blog. Rather, this post is more for me, just in case I decide to travel to another country to teach English. I don’t intend to use this information to talk myself out of ever doing this again, but just to remind myself just how completely awful culture shock is. I also want to have a written record of these feeling so, in the future, if I wind up working with immigrants (or foreign university students) in the US (a very likely possibility), I can come back to this and use it to remind myself what my students are most likely going through (or what they have gone through at one point or another).

Culture shock sucks--can I get an Amen. I know, I know, I’ve only been here a little over a week, how can I be going through culture shock already? Well, I figure I’ve started living the life and started working, so I’m at the point where I am trying to adjust to a whole new way of life. Right now--ha! Where does one even being with culture shock? It is something that seems to be greater than its parts--I feel like if I write everything down, it will all just be small stuff that looks so silly. But there it is.

So maybe I will just start with emotions and reactions and work my down. I’ve reached a PMS level with my emotions. Last night, I went into the Z-Market (a grocery store) to get something to eat and nearly burst into tears when I picked up a package of something and realized that I had no idea what it was or how to prepare it. I spent the next three hours crying off and on (mostly on), and trying to keep from looking at air fare home.

Yesterday wasn’t too bad, really. I had my first lesson in the morning (one-on-one in-company, General Business English--now there’s a laugh, me teaching Business English). But the night before I had gotten less than three hours sleep, and my stomach had just recently decided that there was no way in hell it was going to let me put any more food into it (hell of a time for my stomach to stop working, right?). But the lesson went fine, and I went to the school to prepare my lessons for today. I also met with my mentor, a teacher who had been with the school for five years. We sat and talked about things, and he told me that I didn’t seem to be the type of person who gets too frazzled about things. I assured him that was all an act held together by exhaustion and tea (and a fair amount of setting the shoulders, gritting the teeth, narrowing the eyes, and just moving forward, but I didn’t mention all these). But it did make me feel good to hear a (basically) complete stranger say that.

The stomach was still a little unhappy, so yesterday’s meal was applesauce, a piece of bread, and some tomato soup. And even then the stomach was protesting.

Anyway, despite all intentions to go to bed early and get about 10 hours of sleep, I spent another night tossing and turning. What happened? Well, in addition to the stress of everything else, my roommate told me that her boyfriend is coming back to Prague sooner than expected, so I would have to find another place to live sooner than I had previously thought. She said she would, of course, refund some rent money depending on when I moved out and also that I could stay a few days after her boyfriend got back, but… I think it makes sense for me to be out of there before the boyfriend returns.

Okay, I’m giving the stomach quiche now. It is not happy about it, but it needs to eat something. I’m not going to let it pull some Kafka Hunger Artist Bullsh*t on me now.

So, today I woke up early, got dressed, and headed to my morning class (about a half an hour away from me). When I got there, I was 15 minutes early (yea me!), so I had to wait for the office to open. When it did open, the receptionist informed me that the class wouldn’t start until next Tuesday. Agh. So, back to the apartment went our little intrepid heroine. And guess what she passed on the way back. Right. The Z-Market. And guess what happened? Right. Instant welling of tears in the eyes. Along with a sudden urge to look at flight prices on the internet. But I kept walking back to the apartment, where I changed into my pjs, checked my e-mail, and crawled into bed. I didn’t sleep a lot or well, but I must have slept at least a little because at one point I had a dream that I woke up from a dream. When I woke up in the dream, I looked around the bedroom I was in. At first I thought it was my room, but then, as I woke up (in the dream), I realized that not only was it not my room, but that nothing in the room belonged to me. It was a very disorienting feeling (although not a very subtle dream. I guess my subconscious is a little too tired to come up with anything too clever or profound right now).

I have about three square inches of quiche left, but I don’t think the stomach will let me do it without a major protest that would render all previous efforts to give it food fruitless. So I think I’m gonna have to stop here with the quiche.

So, I guess none of this seems so bad when it is broken up into pieces and written down, but it all sucks. Still, this is not the most miserable experience of my life (Go Army). In fact, I think I’ve managed to set the bar pretty low (High? Low?) for sucky experiences crammed into short time frames, so compared to all that, this is a cakewalk.

I guess one of the things about culture shock is that everything that is new or strange to me is familiar to almost everyone around me. For the tourists, it is all temporary and is thus a novelty. For the people who have been here awhile, yeah, it was strange when they first got here but now it is normal. For me, so many things that I used to take for granted have now changed. There are the household things: everything from not having a microwave to having a bathtub but no shower. In the grocery stores it is everything from not knowing where the bags are to carry my things from the store home to not knowing how to buy meat to not knowing what at least half the stuff in the store is to not being able to find most of what I normally eat back in the States. In the city it is everything from not knowing how to get anywhere to not knowing what types of stores to go to to buy certain things (a pillow, for example). It is not knowing the visa process and not knowing how to get a doctor’s appointment (part of the visa process) and… so many other small things that can frustrate so much.

But I guess part of the culture shock experience are the victories. Again, these are very simple things, but they mean so much: the first time I went into a grocery store and bought something. The first time I navigated the metro/tram system without having to look at a map once (I haven’t started with the bus system yet--way to confusing at this point). The first time I figured out how to use the oven (This was pretty major, actually. It is gas and the range needs to be lit, so I was afraid the oven might need to be lit. I really didn’t want to pull a Sylvia Plath, so I kept sniffing the air without breathing too deeply. Finally, I figured out the right combination of knobs to turn, and I wound up with a mostly-done quiche (oh sh*t, I reminded the stomach. Whoops).

Anyway, I have a class with 11 students this afternoon. I’m a little nervous about it, but I have some icebreakers planned. I don’t really know how long they will take, but I think I can stretch them out a little longer if necessary.

By the way, if you have read this and have never experienced culture shock, don’t you dare post something about how you understand, blah, blah blah. I’m still in a volatile state and it will probably just piss me off OR make me cry OR have absolutely no effect. Instead, post encouraging messages about how brave I am and how you know I can handle it. You can mention that sane people don’t do this type of thing as long as you temper it with one of the previously mentioned statements. (Sorry if that sounded a little harsh, but I don’t have the energy to be too diplomatic right now). If you have experiences culture shock, please please please post stories about your experiences. Stories that involve crying would be most highly appreciated (especially if they are funny or have a funny ending or twist or something).


At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not so worried about you now. You haven't lost your sense of humor! Keep drinking the tea, squaring your shoulders, and squinting your eyes!!


At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Brenda said...

Your experience of not knowing what was in the package reminded me of something a professor told me. She was teaching some recent immigrants from China and they told her that they went to the grocery store to get some supper. They bought a package of what they thought was juicy, inviting fried chicken only to get it home and discover that they had a pound of Crisco!
Someday you will look back on all of this and laugh. No will.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Grocery stores in foreign languages are just about one of the scariest places on this planet. Everyone around is moving quickly because they know exactly what they want, and I am just holding up everyone while I meander through the store, picking up packages and boxes, turning them over, tryin to decipher what I see. Or trying to weigh my fruit and veggies (which I have not been eating nearly enough of--I think this might be part of the problem with my mood) and find the right button to puch to print out the label (at least the system is familiar from France, if not the language on the labels). I always feel so dazed in the grocery store (even in the States). And the grocery store clerks! Ha! I think the only group unfriendlier than the Czech grocery store clerks are the French Boulangerie women (but when I really think about it, it is almost to close to really call).

But yeah, the sense of humor it still around, if a little odd and intermitant. (But then it had always been odd).

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

By the way, Branda, thanks for the Crisco story. That is great. Today I bought something that I thought was bread with chocolate only to discover that it was... something else (I haven't identified it yet. I think it is some meat thing. I put it in the fridge just in case.)

I almost bought some Nutella, but that would have required going into the dreaded Z-Market. Not quite ready to face that yet, not even for some Nutella (which contains all the vitamens and minerals one could ever need, right?)

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Captain Disgruntled said...

Oh dear, oh dear--poor little D.!
We do think you are mad, but we are filled with admiration of your courage and derring-do.
Your reference to other people's experiences with culture shock made me think of a (mostly crap) 80s movie starring a frighteningly furry Robin Williams, "Moscow on the Hudson", in which Williams's character, a Russian musician, defects from the circus he works with and is taken in by kind people in Manhattan.
The scene I remember most shows him trying to be helpful to his 'foster family': he goes to the grocery store to do the week's shopping. He has been provided with a list, and as he wanders down the aisle, he encounters coffee.
Only a week before, a quest to procure coffee would have meant an underground tip, then a frenzied rush to a tiny shop, then suspenseful queueing before finally, if he was lucky, being admitted within the confines of the store to receive a tiny, nondescript bundle for which he would fork over a huge quantity of money.
Now? He gazes up at the row after row of gleaming cans, paper sacks, jars, all the different brands, whole beans, ground, instant, decaf, flavored---and eventually has a near-seizure before toppling over and passing out.

I freak out trying to take the Tube in London. I'm aghast, me.

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Shari said...

I don't know if it counts . . . but one (and only one) time, I went by myself into an Asian grocery store near Baltimore. All the labels were in . . . not English, guess I'm not sure whether they were Chinese, Japanese, something else, or a combination. I had a specific set of things I was supposed to buy for a recipe, but I didn't even know what all of the ingredients looked like, couldn't find them even if I had, and had no idea how the store "worked." Suffice it to say, just from that experience, I was in tears. I really can't imagine what it must be like to be thrust into the middle of an unfamiliar country, but I know that you can handle it, and I admire your ability to do so. :-)

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...


I totally know which store you are talking about! Catonsville, right? The Korean Grocery? One of my Korean students was talking about it and even she said it was a little scary (especially all the little old Korean ladies who will just run you over). I never made it into that store, but my Dad did.

But yeah, shopping is just like that. And even though Czech uses (basically) the same alphabet, it doesn't really help because it is not Latin based (at least I can sort of figure out French, Spanish, and Italian... and even German. Czech is just crazy).

Anyway, I managed to walk past the Z-Market today without crying. Go me!!

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Shari said...

Hmm . . . I guess you might call it Catonsville. It was on Rt. 40 right at the intersection with Rt. 29, if that helps. Yeah, it was a scary place. Just as I was escaping, I darned near got run over in the parking lot - I think that was the last straw!

Yay for walking past the Z-Market with no tears. :-) Keep up the good work. You'll have to let me know when you figure out the bread and not-chocolate thing.


At 3:58 PM, Blogger Luqman لقمان said...

The groceries in Pakistan were pretty cool; alot of the packages and boxes were in english or in Romanized Urdu, so I could identify things pretty quickly. The culture shock came in when we had to drive, especially during the drive from the airport to my ex's house in Lahore; things like stopping at red lights and staying within the lines on the road are more like suggestions than rules. It was exhilirating once I got used to it, though. My then mother-in-law summed it up for me by bidding me "Welcome to the free world." I was there for the annual kite festival (Basant) in Lahore; sky was covered in kites. Their strings were laced with glass so as to be able to cut those of other kites; they quite frequently ended up cutting power lines, resulting in frequent explosions and losses of power. It could be rather unnerving, but the bond I felt with the people there, through religion and marriage, led me to embrace it. I think you need to find some way of bonding with the people there, so that you start seeing yourself as resident of Prague instead of an outsider.

At 4:25 AM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Shari--yeah, that was Catonsville. I'm not surprised someone nearly hit you on the way to your car.

Lugman--I've had students from other countries talk about how driving in the US is so different from their country (and how it was difficult to adjust to the difference). I don't think I could ever drive in that environment (hell, I can barely drive in the States with all the rules--which was one of the reasons I wanted to go to Europe with its Excellent public transport). I just finished reading the Kite Runner (did you read that? What did you think? I was a little disappointed that it didn't go more into the history/events of Afganistan more--I think that would have made it a stronger story).

I think the main thing is for me to find a support network here--Czech, British, American... Mormon (or Whatever). Once I have that, things should be a bit easier.

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Shari said...

Support networks are so important, no matter where you are. I think that was my biggest problem at UMBC - I never did find a support network that worked for me. I was always the outsider, the entire time I was there. (And, quite frankly, I didn't speak the language - despite the location in beautiful, downtown Catonsville, the predominant languages in the CS department there were Chinese and Indian. At least I could buy groceries. . .)

But yeah . . . you'll find a support network, and it'll all be good. In the meantime, we'll be your long-distance moral support!


At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

(1)Do you remember the strange experience-story from the Youth Hostel,
(2)Is it posted somewhere and I missed it, and/or
(3)Do you have the time, patience, and inclination to post it? :)


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