Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Food...upcoming travels...and missing good friends.

September 23, 2013

Day one of teaching Intermediate level students (aka a brand new class) is down!  The day went really, really well.  My new class is a group of just 7 students, as opposed to my class last week which was 11 students and I am loving this new group!!  They are funny and incredibly interactive.  The topic I was assigned to teach was a reading lesson.  I chose to share/teach a reading about the Tarahumara tribe who live in the Copper Canyons of Mexico.  I basically clipped an excerpt from the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (which I read last year).  This tribe runs hundreds of miles over the course of just a couple days.  They are known as “the running people.”  The book is all about this fascinating tribe, how they live and what they are like.  It’s an incredibly interesting story.  However I had to go through and simplify the language in my reading big time for my intermediate level class, because the excerpt as is would have been way too advanced in terms of the language.

Anyway in terms of the overall theme of my lesson, I did “talents.”  I opened my lesson with photos on the board showcasing various human talents (flexibility, super long hair, etc).  As an introduction/lead in, I had the students get into groups and discuss talents they believe they have, and a talent they wish they had.  Then we all discussed it as a class together.

After this activity, I passed out my reading.  They were all very into the topic, asking me questions about the Tarahumara, if they are a real tribe or “if this is fantasy” and more.  They read the passage, answered the reading comprehension questions I asked them about it on a worksheet and then we discussed it together as a class.

As my final activity, I split the small class in half.  One side of the room was given the power (aka talent) to be able to fly.  The other side was given the power to be able to read minds.  They were given a few minutes to discuss with their side why their power was better than the other side (in order to form an argument).  Then I encouraged them to debate with one another this point.  This was SO cute to watch!!  It took them a few minutes, along with some prompts and encouragement from me, but then they actually began to debate with one another.  They got into it, attempting with their limited English to reason as to why their superpower/talent/ability was better than the other team.  That was a lot of fun to watch!

And in conclusion, my observer said I did a great first lesson!  Woo hoo!!!

In other news, today I have been thinking a lot about food lately.  Specifically Czech foods I would like to sample while living in Prague.  I want to be a bit more adventurous in terms of trying some of the local cuisine.  I do think I will be skipping traditional dishes, such as the roasted pork knee (yikes!) but there are some other dishes that intrigue me in terms of giving them a taste.  Here is my list thus far:

1.      Short roast pork with bread dumplings and stewed cabbage.  As all of you know, I am not super into meats or foods like dumplings, but this dish does sound rather delicious and homey to me.  I will give it a go at some point in the near future!

2.      Pivo (aka beer)!  I have already been sampling the local beer, as Prague is said to have the best in the world!  I am enjoying it even though I have never been a big beer drinker, but the beer here is tasty for sure.

3.      Ovocne Knedliky is a fresh fruit dumpling.  I think this looks delicious!  They are often filled with strawberries, apricot, plums or plum jam, and then topped with deliciousness in the form of chocolate, cinnamon or powdered sugar.

4.      Palacinky are thin Czech pancakes similar to that of a crepe, but are made using a different type of batter and are baked using a different cooking method.  Looks delectable, huh?
5.      And finally, more sweets.  I love all the different pastry options here, of course!  So I want to branch out from my current favorites of gingerbread stars and chocolate croissants to try some of the other local specialties!!

Aside from delicious foods, I was also giving some thought today to my upcoming travel plans.  Within the next few months, as of now, here is the list of my travel hopefuls!

1.      Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest!!!  Luckily this is not a hopeful, this is actually happening.  Next weekend, Sept 27-29 to be exact!  I am SUPER excited for this.

2.      Christmas festivals in Germany.  From what I have read, Germany is the country with THE best Christmas festivals literally in the entire world.  And since I have a wonderful friend who lives there, could the opportunity for me to check this out really be any better?  I think not!  Therefore, I am planning to venture up there sometime during the Christmas season to partake in what is sure to be one of my favorite travel experiences thus far in my life.  The most magical Christmas festivals in all of Europe!

3.      Christmas in Prague.  Prague is another city where I have heard they have amazing Christmas festivities.  And since I am likely going to be living here during that time, I will most certainly be checking out the Christmas festivals here in Old Town Square.  I cannot wait!!

And finally, to sum up my primarily photo-based blog entry for the day, I have been thinking a LOT about my close friends lately, missing them all very much.  I miss being able to call each of you easily, at a moment notice just to say hello and make plans.  I miss seeing each of you in person all the time.  I miss all of your weekly (weekly at least for most of you) presence in my life when I was living in Boston. 

I LOVE living in Europe thus far, but the one thing I miss big time is the people I grew close to back in Boston, all of you!

Linz, I don't have any recent photos of us together!  We need to change that sometime soon ;-)

The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” – Anna Quindlen

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