Všechno je úžasné

Ahoj All,

So I made it to Czech, finally. In order to get here I had to endure a four hour delay and an then an eight hour flight. We didn't take off until midnight which means I actually slept quite a bit on the plane! I'm not complaining at all; I have heard some other exchange student travel stories and mine is, by far, not the worst. However, being stuck all alone in an airport for what felt like forever made me feel a little down. The flight was okay. I met a nice lady and a grumpy old man. He didn't want to sit with us (I'm not sure if it was because I'm American or if it was because the lady had a baby). None the less he asked to be moved and I don't understand why! We had the most leg room in the whole coach area! Words cannot describe how jealous I was when I walked by first class and I saw how peacefully asleep they were in there reclining chairs! I ate airplane food for the first time. The bread was gross but otherwise I guess it wasn't too bad. So anyways, the flight was the flight - not the best but not terrible.
Now to the good stuff. When I landed in Prague it felt like my lungs and belly were tingling. I'm sure a lot of you know how it feels when you are in a plane that is landing? I felt that long after we landed. I couldn't believe I was here! I also couldn't believe how natural it felt, this was my new home. What was really strange was walking into the airport and hearing only Czech. In the US I was excited to here a couple of people speak Czech, in Czech everyone spoke it (surprise) and it scared me a little. I had various thoughts but of all I had two main ones. Number one, I have to learn that jumble of words?! And number two, is this the right planet?... I got my luggage and as I did I felt so cool because I overheard a group of Americans in there twenties and in college talking about how glad they were to be together in this airport and that they didn't have to travel alone. All I could think was that I'm seventeen and I'm going to another country for a year! I suddenly felt sophisticated and mature in away that made me raise my head a little higher and put my shoulders back a little further. I went through the "nothing to declare" side of customs walked out and tried to find the part where they search my bags, what everyone told me about but all I could see were people leaving and then suddenly I hear, "Chelsea! Chelsea!" Or shall I say, "Chel-zee! Chel-zee!" I love how they say my name. I turned and jumped up and down and gave my host sister a big hug. I walked right past them in my quest for the correct customs! My host father shook my hand and the man in charge of exchange also shook my hand. I have noticed people don't hug very much here so perhaps Domis (host sister) was a little surprised. What I usually see is people take hands and kiss each others cheek. I think this is nice. So we were Znojmo bound and it was a two or three hour drive and it was strange. I wasn't sure what to say and anything that came to mind I couldn't really say because I am not well enough acquainted with the language. When we arrived to my new home it was very surreal. I felt like this could never not be an abnormal place but after three days I am used to it. There is so much more I could say but it is early morning, I am hungry and today is my birthday! I think I would just like to point out that being an exchange student or travelling is amazing because suddenly EVERYTHING is amazing. Here are some of the amazing things so far:

1. The toilet and the bathroom are separate. I have heard of this but it isn't nearly as interesting as when you see it.
2. I have had bread with cheese and meat for breakfast since I have been here.
3. They only have one piece of lettuce in their salads! In the US the whole salad is lettuce with a couple pieces of meet or other veggies. Here it is onions, meat and a couple other veggies with mayo and one piece of lettuce under it all.
4. The women get maternity leave for three whole years! Crazy right?! That is so amazing to me.
5. The reason they have free college (from what I was told) is because there is a tax on almost everything.
6. In the US you can rent a big house with the money that you could rent a flat with here.
7. The bricks are smoother.
8. The kids don't wear socks that don't match (my host sister loves my socks).
9. When you drive through the country there is basically nothing and then suddenly a city pops up. It kind of reminds me of the movie "Big Fish" for some reason.
10. There is a separate store here for everything.
11. My clothes are completely out of style.
12. Rather than hug we shake hands and kiss each others cheek, or if you don't know the person well you just shake hands.

So that is all for now. Here are some photos (you can click them to make them larger):
Plane ride

View from my windor

Znojmo Chruch

Znojmo "Big Ben"

Castle in Vranov

Vranov

My host sister and I in Vranov

View of Vranov

The castle again :)

18th birthday cake - A lot less sweet than American cakes and my host sister still though it was very sweet

"Očka" we made for my birthday

"Chlebička"

Learning Czech

Veveří castle in Brno

Veveří

Veveří

Host sister and I

Veveří

Czech blacksmith and little boy :)

Veveří

Veveří

Veveří

Some building in Brno

Where Gregor Mendel did his research on genetics!!!

St. Thomas Abbey - Where Gregor Mendel was during his studies  of peas

View of Brno


Second largest castle in Brno





Playground in Brno!

My host sister on the seesaw in Brno

Taking a photo of something beautiful in Czech, I'm sure

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