Archive for July, 2008

5:47 am

Additional Blog

So, I’ve set myself up a new blog: Commonplace Book. I created this for two (unordered reasons):

  • I’d like to keep the focus of Život v Cizine here on life abroad, and so I needed somewhere else to put my more miscellaneous postings.
  • I was worried that my webgeekstress credentials were being eroded by my time spent teaching English. So, setting up a WordPress blog, which is really so much geekier than (which powers this blog), seemed like a good move. I like WordPress quite a bit: it’s much more powerful and flexible than blogger, and I may end up moving this blog over as well.

The new blog is lightly populated with some of the miscellaneous postings that had appeared here. It remains to be seen if I’ll be more dedicated to keeping that one up to date.

2:01 pm

The Poor Czechs…

Today is the Day of Slavonic Apostles Cyril and Methodius, and it would be a work holiday if it weren’t a Saturday. And tomorrow’s Jan Hus Day would similarly be a holiday from work if it weren’t a Sunday.

The next holiday on the books is September 28’s Day of Czech Statehood, but that falls on a Sunday this year, so again, no day off of work. There won’t be another work holiday until October 28 and the Day of Establishment of the Independent Czechoslovak Republic.

I observed to one of my students that, in the US, when a holiday falls on a weekend, the corresponding Monday or Friday becomes the work holiday. Her response to that was surprisingly philosophical: "Under Communism, that happened here, too. Now we have more holidays, but we lose the ones that fall on weekends, so in the end, we end up with the same number of days off".

Sts. Cyril and Methodius

While Sts. Cyril and Methodius are credited with being the first to evangelize the Czechs, the feast is more about commemorating the creation of the Slavic Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets and the introduction of literacy, and not so much about the preaching of the Gospels in the Slavonic language by the brothers. The Church, however, does celebrate the feast with a pilgrimage to Velehrad, in Moravia (near Olomouc).

Jan Hus

Jan Hus was a forerunner of Martin Luther, and his complaints with the Church had more to do with abuses of Church teaching and power than with doctrinal disputes. He refused an opportunity to recant and was executed in 1415 for heresy. According to Wikipedia, Pope John Paul II expressed “deep regret for the cruel death inflicted” on Hus and went on to suggest an inquiry as to whether Hus might be cleared of heresy.

Much like St. John of Nepomuk, Jan Hus remains admired by Czechs for his integrity and courage. Old Town Square is home to his memorial:
Jan Hus memorial
And a closeup of the memorial:
Jan Hus memorial closeup

1:04 pm

Garden “Event” at the Embassy

Yesterday, the Embassy here in Prague hosted an event, especially aimed at long-term U.S. residents in Prague, featuring "information on absentee voting procedures, consular services offered to American citizens in the Czech Republic (including passport, notary, and immigration services), as well as updates on federal benefits". I’ve already registered to vote, but I figured I might as well check it out, since I hadn’t visited the Embassy before.

I must say that, while the gardens are perfectly lovely, the event was a bit of a snoozer, and I really didn’t learn much of anything. It wasn’t a complete loss, though, as they allowed the guests to visit the Glorieta at the top of the hill, which offers a splendid panoramic view of central Prague.

Prague Castle and the cathedral:

Sv. Mikuláše (in Malá Strana; not to be confused with sv. Mikuláše in Staré Město):

Looking out over Karlův Most (Charles Bridge) and the Vltava to Staré Město:

Looking north-east-ish (I think), up the Vltava:

Looking across to Vyšehrad and the basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul:

And Petřín Hill, with the Observatory Tower, Prague’s answer to the Eiffel Tower:

10:50 am

First anniversary in Prague

I completely forgot yesterday that it had been my first anniversary here in Prague. What should I do by way of a belated celebration? Should I do anything?

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