Sunday, July 13, 2014

Braces to Bugsys

Skipping class for a doctors appointment, I found myself outside of Narodni Dividalo with two instructions: stay off your leg, and find a brace. This sounds really simple, and anywhere at home, it absolutely would be. However, when I turned to Tamara, the lovely ISA guide who had taken me to my appointment, and explained “brace” she looked at me with a puzzled expression I had learned not only meant “language barrier” but “cultural barrier”. Just by her face, I knew that “knee brace” was not a common find in downtown Prague.  Lesson abroad: Some things seriously just do not translate. And with one look, I knew that the “not walking” part of my instruction was not going to be followed, at least not any time soon. I waved goodbye to Tamara and headed to Kavarna Slavia, one of the more famous caf├ęs in Prague, and inappropriately brought out my laptop to spend the morning on expats.cz, easily the most useful website for all things American. Making my way through the list of potential sports stores, I called about fifteen “Dobry den! Mluvit anglicky? Ano! Okay I was just wondering, DO YOU HAVE A KNEE BRACE?” Finally, I reached a British guy in Prague 3 who understood the word knee brace. Heading into unknown lands past the part of Zizkov I knew and loved, I found myself in uncharted waters. However, it was during this experience I realized how much this was becoming second nature. Understanding the public transport, the street signs, and enough Czech to get me by in an emergency, I found my way to the bike store, where my trusty Brit friend had pulled the two last knee braces out from the back. Thank god one of them worked! The fact that I was able to pull off finding this precious American item in under an hour was probably one of the biggest feats of my trip.

 Feeling very successful, and MUCH more comfortable, I headed to class. Lucky for me, we ended up going to my favorite art gallery, Veletrzni Palac, that I had discovered just a few days before. This class, we focused on Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic, a series of 20 GIANT paintings covering Slavic history in the Czech republic. I have seen a ton of art in my life, but nothing this massive before. I am shocked that any other Mucha artwork exists! This guy knew how to be efficient. 

After the exhibit, I headed back home, made myself dinner, and found my way to the coffeeshop I had discovered with Nicole, Amanda, and Delaney. With just my notebook, tram card, and 100 crowns in hand, I found my way into the depths of local Prague 2. Upon entering I encountered my favorite bubbly feeling of realizing I was the only American and tried as slyly as I could to keep that impression. Ordering one of my favorite Czech items, hot ginger tea (legitimately just pieces of ginger stuffed into a strainer to resemble a tea bag, served with lots and lots of honey) and sat down with my thoughts. Channeling my inner Cara Peterson, I found that writing for the sake of writing, getting everything that had been building in my brain out on paper again and again until it sounded how I wanted it to, was such a therapeutic experience. While CCP had always encouraged me to follow suit in her form of creative expression, this was my first all out attempt, and I LOVED it. Now, you will find me at Barista Parlour in the fall doing the exact same.


I came back to find Julie with what I call her “third-child expression” on, “Dana can we please please please go out!?!” Yeah, of course..no need to make a case, I’m down! With plans to discover Zizkov, the wind and rain deterred us from some night climbing, aka trying to walk around and find a place in the surrounding mountainous streets. Instead, we headed in a clear path to Bugsys, somewhere we had both enjoyed before.  Placing ourselves at the bar this time, watching the process of creating the intricate cocktails for which they are famous was a show in itself. Both of our drinks were again, delicious, and I know I will certainly miss having these incredible drinks for so cheap when I am home!


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