Friday, December 23, 2005

One last hello from afar


I am now done with my semester. I just had my last final (10 minute czech oral which wasn't bad at all.) I don't really know what to do now. It is a very strange feeling. I started packing yesterday, Katrina moved out already. The good thing is that I did most everything I set out to do in Prague.

Over the last couple of weeks I went to my first opera at narodni divadlo (the national theatre.) Just going to see the theatre is worth it, but the show was wonderful! I saw Puccini's La Poeme (what Rent is based on.) The set and costumes left a little room for improvement, but the singing itself was wonderful.....and there were czech and english subtitles, so I actually sort of knew what was going on! Oh yeah, and I saw it for three dollars.

The next thing on my list to do was go to a hockey game. Hockey is HUGE here. Prague has two teams...Sparta and Slavia and they are 1, 2 in their league at the moment. People are warned not to wear Slavia clothing because fights break out over the hockey teams. Which is actually very different than on the ice because in czech hockey there is no checking. A lot of people say that is makes the hockey game boring, but I don't really love hockey at it made no difference to me. SO.....first of all, the stadium is three years old so it is huge and beautiful and new. We got out tickets and went to sit down, only to realize that we were in the crazy czech section. Basically that means that you can't walk down the isles because there are men sitting on then banging drums...for the ENTIRE game. People fully adorned in SLAVIA hats, scarves and jerseys stand in their seats all game shouting and cheering (sometimes even in english, which makes me wonder if they even know what they are saying.) Even in between play commentating and jingles are all in english. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb though. But it was really fun and Slavia won 5-3!

My concert was also last week. I played three pieces: Pacabelle's canon (originally for string quartet...played at this concert with violin, saxophone, trumpet and harp) It was a lot of fun and turned out pretty well. Then I played the second movement from the Creston Sonata with my accompanist Ed on piano. Then was an aria from a monteverdi opera originally for piano and two violins, played at this concert with a dobro, saxophone and harp. The concert went reallly well and it was at a very famous restaurant called kavarna slavia. It was a really fun venue to play at and our farewell dinner took place there after.

The last thing I had always wanted to go was to go to this flea market called Prazke Trznice. It is right by the bus stop I use to get to school and it is HUGE. I finally went there last weekend. It kind of resembles touristy china town, both with the appearance of the people and the quality of the products. But I got a 2 dollar thing of makeup and had a good time walking around.

Also this weekend I said goodbye, or farewell rather, to my favorite jazz club. I spent many many nights listening to jazz at U Stare Pani and the atmosphere was so nice and calm. If I had to pay the cover, which was rare it was never over 5 dollars. For that quality in NY, it would cost at the very least $30. I am having coffee with my saxophone teacher tomorrow because he has some cd's to give me and I want to say goodbye. He has been to the US before and he is planning to come again, so I know this is not a goodbye forever situation.

Tonight I am going to my internship's Christmas party. I am looking forward to seeing my supervisor one last time. She came to my concert :) It was really nice of her. She made my internship this semester so enjoyable, I am thinking that we also will keep in touch.

This past week both of my roommates parents were here. It was a lot of fun. We took them around everywhere. I love being a tour guide, especially when I think about how little I knew about Prague four months ago. Everyone is going out to celebrate the end of finals tonight, it should be a good time. Most of the people I know are taking the group flight back on Friday morning with me. I don't think the goodbyes will be bad because most people that i am friends with either go to NYU or Tufts. It will be interesting to see where these friendships turn when everyone is back in NY.

I can tell you one thing I am excited for. A CHAI! Here they have caj...pronounced the same, but it just means tea in czech. Stacy is meeting me and my mom at the airport so we can spend some time together before she goes to Paris for the spring and you better believe that I am going to get my soy chai!

I hope everyone enjoyed my saga this semester. I certainly did. I hope to see all of you soon, i will actually be able to TALK on my cell phone because it wont cost money!!! I am so excited to have that back. Can you picture me not talking on a cell phone for 105 days? Yeah, neither can I. It is also going to be pretty strange having TV back in my life, I wonder if I will start to watch it again. And cars, I won't be afraid of them at home. The czech people are the worst drivers I have ever witnessed, and I live part time in New York and in Boston. I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season! and see you soon!

Love, Emma

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


I would say Happy Belated Thanksgiving! in Czech except people don't even know what Thanksgiving is. I asked a woman at my internship if she knew about it and she was like...I know of it, what day is it. (It was Thanksgiving when I asked her.) So I told her the whole story about the pilgrims and the "Indians" so now at least one person in the Czech Republic knows the story of our special holiday.

Thanksgiving here was pretty much like any other day. There is this deli/restaurant here called Culinaria that is a haven for homesick Americans. They have Cheerios, Skippy Peanut Butter, Reeces Pieces, Betty Crocker Cake mix and even icing. So Culinaria holds a thanksgiving dinner each year. Most of my friends preordered turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and the whole deal. I decided to just make my own dinner and order some pumpkin pie, because that is the best part of thanksgiving dinner. People put about 5 tables together and made centerpieces and lit candles and brought their friends and we had a little thanksgiving feast at Osadni 35. Everyone agreed that it was pretty strange, but it was a nice placeholder until we are all with our families again next year.
I bet you are all a little bit more interested with what happened the week before thanksgiving. That being my fall break and ITALY. It was the most wonderful trip ever. I decided to travel with just one of my friends to make everything nice and easy. Her name is Sarah if you look at my pictures. Our flight was nice and easy into Rome, and then from Rome we took a little flight into Venice. We had five hours in the Rome airport in between so we played five hours of Rummy500. Definitely time well spent.
So we got to Venice, took a bus and walked a pretty long way...with HUGE backpacks on our backs mind you, and a day of traveling on our we are very relieved when we find the little red building with the white door that is our hostel. We get our key and walk the 20 minute walk to our actual hostel building and it is the most wonderful walk ever. The air is so thick our hair frizzed up almost immediately upon entering the city. The canals were so much fun to look at, and take pictures of! Though to ride in a Gondola was 100 Euros, a little out of our price range....and I didn't really need to be in a romantic setting with Sarah, I mean we are good friends and all, but yeah. We got a late dinner and then headed back for a quick sleep at our hostel. We only had one night in Venice so we woke up the next morning pretty early and got on our way. One of the main goals with this trip was to see everything but not to get stressed out about NEEDING to see everything. We get to what we get to and we can never see it all. Venice was so amazing at first glance! OH THE SHOES! There were soooo many shoe shops we must have gone in about 50. And besides the shoes there was Venetian glass and masquerade masks. We saw all the big piazzas and I learned about the basilica and the duomo, and made it my goal to get to the Duomo in every city I visited in order to pick my favorite. After about seven hours of walking around all the shopping got a little bit old, but the canals did not. I bought a pair of glass earrings for 2 Euros and Sarah got a pair of beautiful shoes and we made our way to the train headed for Bologna.
It was SOOOO nice getting to Bologna and seeing my dear Nicole again. It had been since May and that is way too long to go without seeing a friend. I had such a wonderful 3 day stay in this College city. It was different from the other three cities because it was not a place tourists would go. I saw the Duomo and the Basicillica and the University, but mostly the time was spent shopping and eating amazing food, wandering around and catching up on old time gossip. I met all of her friends and her roommates Davide and Vincenzo. This part of her program is really neat! Upon arriving to Italy the students are put up in hotels for a week and that is their time to find an apartment. Nicole found hers from a flier on the street. So she really lives in Italy. I am so happy for her because she had to work SOO hard in order to get into this program rather than the NYU in Florence program. It was also really cool hearing people speak Italian. I picked up more than I thought because of my Spanish, but it was very hard to switch from Czech to Italian.
After Bologna was Florence. Sarah and I were going to stay with friends but my phone ran out of money so we didn't want to separate knowing that we couldn't easily contact each other. We found a nice cheap little 2 bed room that we bargained a decent price on for two nights. Sarah's friend in Florence came and picked us up at our hostel and made us dinner that night. It was so nice since we were pretty exhausted. We spent the next day in museums. We woke up early and spent three and a half hours in the Ufizzi. WOW, Sarah must have stared at the Birth of Venus of 45 minutes. I found a da Vinci painting that I attached myself to. We sat in the museum in different rooms just writing things down. It was a pretty neat moment, all the art in the museum and even the museum itself was so breathtaking. Then we also went to the Academia. WOW, we stared at the David (e) is there an e? for over an hour, different angles of course. My friend Leah, who is in Florence for the semester, then met us and took us around to the Duomo and shopping and back to her really nice apartment. We had some wine and then we parted ways and met up with some NYU in Prague friends for the rest of the night. The next day was our church day and we went to St. Croix and we climbed the 100,000,000,000,000 steps to take us to the top of the Duomo. That was pretty freaking breath-taking. It was so cold at the top but we didn't even care. We were about to start our journey down the steps when three of our favorite NYU in Prague guys walk up. It was SOO funny, out of all the places and all the people we happen to be at the top at the same time. We talked with them for a bit and then came down to catch our train to Rome.
Rome was my favorite city. I didn't think it was going to be coming into the trip, but it won my heart. I loved it so much because it was a real functioning city that would be alive even without tourism and English speaking people. Florence felt a little bit too American for me, Venice was very small and Bologna didn't have all the museums and ruins. Rome had it all, everywhere I turned was an old statue or Ruins from farther back than I can even perceive. We stayed with two of Sarah's Tufts friends in Rome. They were SOO nice to us and kept us for all three nights. We went out right when we got there to a bar Campo de Fiore!! It was soo fun because there is a restaurant with that name in the center of Weston. We woke up and had pizza for breakfast each morning, it was pretty funny. The first day we got there we went to the Vatican (which I had been wanting to see since I read Angels and Demons 2 summers ago) and saw the Sistine Chapel (wow!) and then saw St. Peter's church ( I wonder how much it cost to make that thing.) That night we went to see the Trevi fountain. I think I can safely saw that the Trevi fountain at night is one of the most beautiful things I have ever set my eyes upon. It was FREEZING out, and I really never ever wanted to leave, EVER. The next morning we woke up early to see the Forum and the Coliseum and that night we went to the coolest club I have ever been to...called art cafe. We had special VIP wrist bands, because of this guy that our friends were friends with, that got us into this special area where most people were not allowed. We had our own booths and a private dance floor. The bottles of alcohol cost $150!!!! I certainly didn't buy any, and people were carrying around platters with pineapple, kiwi, Mellon, grapes. I seriously felt like royalty. It was sooooo cool! Unfortunately the next day was our final day. It was realllly sad to leave because I had sooo much fun in Rome i needed another couple of days. But ultimately we saw everything that we came to see. Our flight home was easy and fast and we came back to Prague for snow.
I love snow. I want to go skiing NOW! The mountains here don't open for awhile but the snow is such a tease! It is so gorgeous here. There was a tree lighting in Old Town Square last night. (Staromiestska) And Christmas fairs are popping up everywhere. In case you were wondering, I found an amazing backpack for really super cheap!! Oh yeah, and I bought a pair of the most gorgeous, me shoes I have ever seen in Bologna. It is getting pretty scary here because I only have three more class periods for each of my classes before finals. Its weird because I just had midterms a couple weeks ago, but I guess that is how they do it in study abroad.
So that is my life right now. There have been a lot of ups and some downs but everything is going wonderfully. I have my concert on Dec 7th, I think it is going to be a kind of practice recital so I am looking forward to it. It is before our farewell dinner also, so more than the normal 10 steinhardt followers should be at this show. Very exciting.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

dobry den!

Hey what's up?
I am waiting for my friend to get out of class at the moment so she can help me do some educated backpack shopping. I am leaving on Friday early morning for Italy, I have all my hostels booked and everything double checked with the friends that I am staying with. I am super excited except for the fact that I have a pretty bad cold right now and I have four midterms a row. I guess you all know how good I will be feeling tomorrow at 3:00pm.
So...what have I been up to lately?
Leah and two of her friends came to visit me last weekend. It was my first time playing tour guide because Nicole ended up missing her flight from Milan to Prague two weekends ago because a bus never came or something like that. I felt really bad but I hope that she ended up having a nice time in Milan for the afternoon. She said she may try one more time to get over here. So I took Leah and her friends to the normal places...the Prague Castle (Prazske Hrad), the Charles Bridge (Cecuv most), Old Town Square (staromestska). We saw a wonderful concert at the Rudolfinum that turned out to be a jazz trio that I saw on Thursday night at U stare pani (my favorite jazz club here) only at the Rudolfinum they played with a filhormonie behind them as well as a guest saxophone player who bordered on cheesy and also the most amazing violin player I have ever heard in my life (second to Aunt Amy of course). He looked to be in his 20s and he must have been a child prodigy...he had BRIGHT red looong hair and he was wearing black converse sneakers on the stage that everyone else was wearing tuxes and dress clothing. It was a LOT of fun. I think they enjoyed themselves, it was really nice to see a face from home. It was also really funny because they were from Florence and BOTH my roommates had friends visiting from Florence. In our room for the weekend we had three NYU in Prague girls and three NYU in Florence people. And as it turned out, none of the NYU in Florence people knew each other. It is a MUCH bigger program than in Prague.
The weekend before that a lot of people were visiting but like usual I wasn't feeling completely healthy. I tried to stay low key and do my work so that I would have an easy week and be ready for Leah to come. I think I saw a couple of jazz shows and hung around getting work done.
For all of you who want to come to Prague (haha)...the date to come is December 7th. That is the date of my concert. I am playing a monteverdi opera excerpt with my friends....the instrumentation is Alto saxophone, Harp and Dobro (for those of you who don't know what a Dobro is you should definitely look it up!) I am also playing Pacabelle's canon, with sax, trumpet, harp and violin. It sounds pretty awesome and funky. Not the most common group of instruments to put together. I think I am also going to be playing the Creston Sonata with my friend accompanying me on Piano because they told us that we were welcome to play any solo pieces that we wanted. I have my work cut out for me because I am going to be away all this week, but I am up for the challenge.
I think I failed to mention this but a couple of weeks I went to a horn festival, also at the Rudolfinum. It was one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen in my life. It started out with a french horn octatet playing some standards and then intermission. After intermission this man came out with his french horn and also an alpine horn. He started out playing his french horn. He played what sounded like a bassline then we realized that he was recording himself with a foot pedal. So the next second he was playing back what he had just recorded and jamming with it! He did that for about five horn lines and it sounded sooo cool. Then he put his horn away and took out the alpine horn, and I was in the first row for this...I could almost touch the bell of the horn. He was playing and beat boxing into the horn. It was like nothing I have ever heard. He could also circle breathe so he took a couple moments to show off and hold the note for like 5 minutes. It was very entertaining. Then he got the other horn players out and they played a couple of his compositions.
So I am all cleared to register for next semester. It is a little strange to think about now, but my registration date is in the middle of my journey. I think I will be in Florence, but Leah has wireless internet in her room so as long as I plan ahead I don't think I will end up running into any issues.
Jessica's class let out so it is time to find me a cheap backpack that I can carry and fit my life into for 10 days. I hope everything is going well with everyone at home. I miss you all!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

hello from prague - 10/27/2005

Hey everyone!
I just got out of my lesson, which was amazing. Next week it is going to be pushed back because Frantisek will be in Sweden with his family. Lastnight I went to his show at aghARTA. It is a funky little jazz club that looks a little like the inside of a HUGE wine cellar, anyway, it has great sound and it was a lot of fun until I had to leave after the second set to go home and finish up a midterm paper.
Last weekend my friend Sarah had a bunch of her friends come to visit from Rome. The group was from UPenn and Tufts. We did all sorts of touristy things like go to Prague Castle and shopping and our favorite restaurants like Radost (happiness) which is run by americans and had only vegetarian food. I was very cultured last weekend. On thursday I went and saw Swan Lake for $1.35. It was my first non Nutcracker ballet and I was proud of myself for enjoying it. i couldnt really delineate a plot line...there was a good guy and a bad guy and they were fighting over a girl who changes costumes a lot, and there was a queen in a gorgeous dress, but the music was wonderful, then costumes were pretty and there were a lot of men in tights. It was playing at Narodni Divadlo (the national theatre) and it was worth it to go even to see the theatre from the inside, wowis it breathtaking, but i wasnt allowed to take any pictures. I also went to see Popelka (cinderella) which is a prokofiev ballet. It was in quite a different style dancing wise, but the music was fantastic and we had some pretty good seats....and there was a plotline that I could follow. I would put it more under comic ballet (if i can invent that as a genre.) OH YEAH...and I went to the zoo. I saw pelicans at the zoo, I thought that was a little funny, and I saw elephants and gorillas and lions and lots of flamingos! It was a nice way to spend a sunday afternoon and it only cost $1.25.
So......In an hour and I am going to go and pick up NICOLE FROM THE AIRPORT! I have the entire weekend planned out and I cannot wait for her to come. As it turns out all the girls that I live with are having people come and visit this weekend, so it is going to be a huge party in room 13. I am only being minorly stressed out because I am in the middle of midterm time...that is until wednesday the 9th of november when I have four midterms in a row. That isn't going to be much fun.
Last weekend was absolutely amazing. I went to cesky krumlov which is a little town about three hours (75 miles....there are no highways so we took little side roads the entire trip) northeast in the czech republic. I had the most fantastic time. It was a group of 13 NYU students and we left at the crack of dawn on friday morning. Our hostel had the most comfy beds ever (though one girl came home with bed bugs...ick) We did a castly tour, i have lots of pictures, we went through the castle gardens, which were breath-taking and had a huge maze of shrubs, and we all went out to dinner together because everyone in the group was so cool. There were tons of bars around and after dinner (the food was okay, the real plus was that is cost about $3 for an entire meal and a beer) we went to a couple. One of the ones we went to was called Horor Bar and inside it had skelatons and graves and knives and torture tools, I got a great picture from inside you cannot miss it :)
So the next day we really wanted to go horseback riding because that is a popular tourist activity and we got all ready to go sign up and it was all booked for the day. We decided to rent bikes instead, let me tell you this was the best decision ever. Me and two other girls went on a bike ride through the mountains of cesky krumlov, probably a 20 km bike ride, but it was literally through the montains. I have never had to bike something that steep on a rocky trail in my life...even living off of Long Hill Rd. We road by HUGE fields and gorgeous views (because we were up soo high) and we stopped by a river to have lunch halfway through. On the way back all the village people we passed were laughing hardcore at us because the hills were so steep and we were struggling. Whatever, we made it and we felt really good afterwords. We got home just in time to have smoothies at a beautiful little cafe RIGHT on the edge of a little canal and run to the bus for our trip home.
Upon getting back (around 8:30pm on saturday night) me and Sarah rushed over to U Stare Pani to see Frantisek's quartet playing. It was a great show and we made it there in the middle of the second set.
Lately I have been completely sleep deprived because my poor roomate is pretty hardcore sick. Therefore she falls asleep immediately and sounds like she is dying in her snores. I really thought that I was going to have to take her to the emergency room one night because she sounded like she was going to choke to death. I hope that she gets better soon. Chicken pox broke out at NYU. One of my professors is pregnant right now so she is not allowed in the building. Therefore we have been watching lots of weird communitst movies in czech. Class is starting up again next week. It is also time to start registering for next semester! Strange!!!!! My registration date is actually in the middle of my fall break so I have to find an internet cafe somewhere.
My italy plans are pretty much finalized because I am going in two weeks, that is pretty scary but I am sooooo excited!! I have some good travel partners so I know that I will be able to get a lot done. And also, the girls who visited us two weekends ago already have our entire Rome stay planned out with sites to see. I am so excited!!
I think that is all for now, but I always forget things. Time to go to the airport!!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Fri 10/14/2005 11:04 AM

Hi everyone!
It is a friday afternoon right now, this weekend I am staying in Prague but next weekend I am going to Kutna Hora (a small town in the far away czech republic for the weekend.) I will most definitely have a lot to say about that later. Everything is wonderful here. Last night I went to two concerts. The first one was a saxophone and piano concert. It was kinda a mix between classical, contemporary and cheesy jazz. I had so much fun. First of all, it was sold out months in advance, but because the company I am interning with threw the show I got to go for FREE, and they even reserved PERFECT center row seats. I felt so special. We got there and there were no seats left so I went and found Jiri (czech for george) and asked him if i could sit anywhere that was open and he was like "nooo....we reserved seats for you." It was really funny because I helped make the program that afternoon and I got really excited because some pieces I really liked were on it. They laughed at me, but it was fun seeing my English on the program the same day I worked on it. Then the second concert was Frantisek's quartet. It was at a place i have been before...U Maleho Glena (the little glen) and it just happened to be a 2 minute walk away from the church that the first concert was in, go figure. So i scooted out of the first concert and rushed on over to the little glen with my friend just in time to catch the second song of the first set. It was great, I really know all of their tunes by now so I feel special. I went with my friend who is an OOOBER jazz player. It was fun to listen to her talk about the different players and the messages they were sending out.
Today I woke up early and practiced all day and I have to head home soon because me, katrina and a couple other people are going to see the ballet Swan Lake. I think other than the nutcracker when I was 5 years old, this will be my first ballet. And I better like it because I am going to see a ballet of Cinderella on sunday. Did I mention that the tickets for tonight were 30Kc...roughly translated that is $1.50. Yeah, I love it here. I have definitely been following through on my goal to see something musical once a week, it is completely wonderful.
Hmm....what else? Oh yeah, I have a random list of stange/wonderful things here that I have been writing down when I think of them so I wanted to add that.
1. the KFCs!!! There are KFCs on EVERY corner. Really....every corner. And they are packed allll times of the day, even at 9am. All I know is that they don't even have biscuits so I don't see what is so special about them.
2. ALL men here wear teva sandals. I am really not a big fan on them in the first place, but now that it is cold.....they still wear them! They just add a nice pair of wool socks. I'm not quite sure what is wrong with shoes that cover your whole foot for the winter. But teevas are the thing here.
3. Between the hours of 10pm-6am is a time known as QUIET TIME. You can get arrested for being noisy anywhere in Prague it is between those times. Police have had to come to our dorm a couple of times this past month. It is strange and hard to get used to. It is a fact that Americans are loud. No matter where I am standing...indoors, outdoors, on the metro.....I can always hear an american before I can see one. Because of this I try so hard to speak softly, but I just cant do it compared to the czech people.
4. There are 7 cases in the czech language. One of them is called vocative and what it means is that when you call me to get my attention from across the room by name changes to Emmo, Katrina to Katrino. Isn't that strange? Names ending in a consonant stay the same, and the rule for Male names is different as well.
5. When I order something in czech, because I definitely can, they always answer me in English, it is very frustrating! cream is spelled zmrzlina, I bet you can't pronounce it...but i can :)
6. The most wonderful late night food in the world = smazeny syr = fried cheese. I know right off the bat I should be repulsed by it, but the best way to describe it would be to say that it is a giant mozzarella stick on a fresh baguette. They have tarter sauce, ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise as a topping as well. And this sandwich costs again, 30Kc.
That my list for now. I uploaded all my pics from amsterdam, vienna and more from prague with my friends and everything so if you are curious feel free to take a look. I still don't have Internet in my room, every time that someone asks we just get told "Oh week." But it hasn't really been a problem.
Oh yeah!! Nicole is coming to visit me on Halloween weekend, and Leah is coming with some friends the weekend after, and then the weekend after that I am going to ITALY. I bought my plane tickets and I have it all planned out. I am going to be spending
1 night in Venice, then i am heading over to Bologna for 3 nights I think, then Chinquaterra (I think that is how you spell it) for 1 night, then florence 2 nights and then Rome for the remainder of the trip. Everything is coming so quickly!!! I can't believe how long I have been here for. And ask me anything in czech, I know know verbs and I can conjugate them as well.
We have been having wonderful weather here. No rain for as long as I can remember, but I just finished captioning all of my pictures and I am very behind schedule so I must go. I hope that everyone is doing well at home and abroad.

Tue 10/4/2005 6:57 AM

Hi everyone,

This weekend was the NYU sponsored trip to Vienna. I have been there before but it was a completely different experience! I really wish I had my pictures from my last Vienna trip (4 summers ago) because I may be getting it mixed up with Budapest. We left early friday morning on the bus and we were all very dead from going out the night before. We rode the bus a couple hours and then stopped in a town called telc (Telch) in the boonies of the czech republic. It was very peaceful and solitary and not a place for tourists so I enjoyed that immensely. We first went to a small grave yard that has been around for hundreds of years and had some famous people buried in it and then we went to the Telc castle. It was very plain and simple, but it had a TON of rooms (we weren't allowed to take pictures) with lots of male-mail (I don't know how to spell it) and knights and swords and I had to sheild my eyes to keep them from watering in the hunting room. It was disgusting. There were some nice gardens, but over-all I think the bus driver needed a break halfway through the ride so they tried to find something cool for us to do.

We got to Vienna in the afternoon and our Hostel was AMAZING as far as hostels go. WAAAYY better than Durty Nelly's. We had our own private shower for three people. Me and Katrina roomed together with a girl named will see in the pictures. We had about 20 mins in our room and then we set off for a walking tour of Vienna led by one of the NYU professors Vaclav something. I took lots of pictures of this, we saw palaces and enormous cathedrals and lots and lots of tourists. The word I would use to describe Vienna is glitz. We walked down street after street of Prada, Gucci, D&G, Dior, Armani, Louis Vitton, and on and on and on for miles. For dinner Katrina was set on finding some weinersnitzel so we went to this austrian restaurant and the memories came flooding back. DEEP FRIED VEGETABLES. During the AMA trip I must have had that meal with tartar sauce for dinner 10 nights in a row. It was good to have for one night and it made me laugh. The next day we went to 4 museums. The succession, the Leopold, the modern museum of art and the Sigmund Freud museum. It was wonderful because NYU paid for them all. The Succession was my favorite. It an exhibit on the walls of a room, literally painted on to the walls. If you follow the painting around the room it shows you the path to Nirvana. There were three main panels -> true happiness, pure bliss and eternal love. The visuals were fantastic. The other museums were nice too, I saw a Picasso and some Kandinsky at the museum of modern art. We did a couple other walked tours and had plenty of time to wander around on our own. I was very thankful for that because me and Katrina literally wandered for hours and I think I really got to know the city from that. We found the most perfect gelato place and like I said, tried the native food. It was a good time and we were all EXHAUSTED when we got back on sunday night. But not to exhausted to go out.. :)

This weekend I am definitely planning on staying home. I want to play some more soccer and get on top of my homework. My cold most definitely came back so I am trying to be good and drink lots of water.

I found out yesterday that Nicole and Leah are coming to visit (separately) later on in the next couple of months. That makes me realllly happy because I want to show this city off to people! Tonight is the date that I also plan on booking my Italy ticket for fall break. There are so many trips that people want to go on. The main ones I am interested in are Barcelona, a trip skiing to a glacier on the swiss alps and Budapest. I have to map out everything I want to do and then choose the best ones. So much is going on all the time it is wonderful. A TON of my friends just got back from Oktoberfest. I heard tons of crazy stories but it all sounded amazing.

I would just like everyone to know that I skipped around in my nixon jersey and my sox hat all day yesterday. It was wonderful though not many people here have much confidence in the is still and NY program, even in Prague. We have been in touch with sports bars around here to see which ones will be televising the games. There are some pretty hard core baseball fans so I don't think I will have an issue getting information.

One frustrating thing about the NYU center. I can't practice anywhere in it! They originally told us that we could use any unused room to practice in during the day. What they really meant was that we could use an open room if it isn't near any other rooms, which basically means that you need an entire open floor, which never happens! I had a class this morning and now I have an hour and a half to kill before I meet up with some people. It sounds like a perfect time to do some practicing to me. I tried to practice in three different rooms and got politely asked each time by a professor to kindly find somewhere else to practice. When I have a 40 minute commute from my apartment to the NYU center it makes no sense whatsoever to go home. I hate wasting time and it is really frustrating because the practice room situation sucks here. I guess practicing will just have to wait until later. And check in the next couple of days and my Amsterdam and Vienna pictures will be up!

Nazdar, Emma

Thu 9/29/2005 6:01 AM

AHOJ everyone!

I am still moving here. I've lived here for about a month and it has not worn off at allllll!!! I just got out of my saxophone lesson and I am still star-struck. I am doing things in my lessons this semester that I have never even heard of, and I am not nervous at all trying all this improv. It is so exciting because at home I was in a little shell of shyness. If I stayed in that shell I would get NOTHING out of my lessons here, so it is wonderful. Frantisek had a show lastnight and also has one tonight. I went to the one lastnight and it was as phenominal as the last. I think I should start up a NYU frantisek quartet fan club because all sorts of people are coming with me each week. The show tonight opens at 7pm and it is the release party for their DVD. I have a ton of stuff to do today so I might show up for the start of the playing (9pm) and buy the DVD, because how cool is that to have a DVD of your teacher and his band.

I have went to another concert at the Rudolfimum. This show was by a foreign orchestra and they played a really fun program (gershwin, enigma variations, the rite of spring) but it was nowhere near or even in the same vicinity as the Czech Filhormonie. My goal to go to one music show a week has been more than met thus far. And all the shows are either REALLLY cheap or free (frantisek always gets me in free).

I also went to a rock concert last week. It was soooo neat because Katrina is booking the US tour for them. She is starting them out in NY at the knitting factory then maybe the bowery ballroom and then touring the country. What this meant for me was that after the show I got to go backstage and MEET all the band members. (And they generally spoke pretty decent English.) The band was soooo fun on stage. Though it was a little weird listening to music and not knowing at all what they were saying, they wore funky costumes and sunglasses and wigs. They even changed in between songs. So that was really cool, we had to get special permission and when we went back they were surprisingly down to earth and very friendly. One more thing about this band...I forget their name....They are all in their 40's. They have been around and together since 1984 so the fans at the concert had a HUGE range of ages from around 15 to 50 let (years).

I found out what I am doing at my internship the other day. I am going to be in working with the competition half of the festival. This year the competition is in Harpsichord and violin I believe. I am going to be in charge of the correspondense with all of the english entries. This week they flooded me with information about the festival because they want to make sure that I know everything so I know the right information to take and give out. I met the director of the Festival (he bought me lunch last week) and it was a lot of fun. Everyone helps me with my czech and they in-turn enjoy working on their English. Last week I sat in on one of their meetings.....ALL IN CZECH. It was really fun when I could pick up on a word or a sentence. Czech class is really going fast now, so I am understanding more and more every day.

There was a national holiday yesterday (Wednesday). It was Vaclav's (wenselas in english) day. I asked a ton of czech people what we were celebrating and none of them could really give me a straight answer. It is the celebration of his life, and it is a very common name in the CZ so it is a day to relax. I spend the day sleeping and practicing and hanging out because I live in the most wonderful dorm in the world. I feel like I am finally getting a freshman year because everyone is so much fun and we do stuff together all the time. Rather than me sitting in my room with a psycopath ranting about LA and Mark Jacobs.

I tried to go shopping the other day but I failed miserably. I set out for a couple of specific things and though I found lots of wonderful clothing, I did not let myself buy anything other than what was on my list, so I came home empty handed. I will try again some other time. Though I definitely do NOT have the money for it, I want to be comfortablet this winter. It got cold very fast in the past two weeks.

This weekend I am going on an NYU trip to Vienna. We were given the choice of Berlin, Krakow or Vienna and though I have been to Vienna before I chose to go there again. I wasn't sure I wanted to depression of Auschwitz with a big group of NYU students, and I have been to a couple of in Germany during my AMA trip so Vienna it is. We have the entire weekend planned out and I am really looking foward to getting away for a weekend. AND almost everything is free because it is NYU sponsored. I don't know if my bank account could stand another weekend with the Euro. We have free housing and a lot of tours and group meals and museums. We are leaving at the crack of dawn on tomorrow (friday - patek) morning (rano).

This brings me to fall break. Nov 10th - 20th we have off and it is soo much fun planning. Me and a couple of friends are going to tour Italy. This makes me soo happy because I have never been there before. We want to hit rome, venice, milan, florence, naples maybe a couple of other cities here and there and then we want to go to Sicily or one of the islands off the coast. I haven't gotten my plane tickets yet, but we are hoping to get that done today. They are pretty cheap right now, we just get to get in gear. The internet in the dorms is too slow so we have to come to the NYU center which isn't always open.
So now I am off with some friends to have lunch at Country Life. If you can believe it, it is an all vegetarian restaurant. YAY!! Cheap food that I can actually eat! It is right by the NYU center as well so everything works out.

This weekend I was very unproductive. We were hoping to get to some castles because we were told that they all close in october, but that will be saved for another time. I enjoyed roaming around my area. OH YEAH!! We started up something new. From the top floor of my dorm you can see the most beautiful soccer field ever. I'm talking pro quality. We went out and tried to play on it and got HARD COME yelled at. It was kinda funny because we had NO idea what was being said. So behind that field is a little dirt area with two goals. That is where we play! It is usually just me and a group of guys, but I don't care. I haven't played soccer in so long that I have been having the best time. Last time we played some little 12 year old czech boys joined in. It was sooo cute! We even got pictures...and on that, I still haven't updated my pics but I have a LOT of them stored up on my laptop, so expect that soon.

I am off. Thanks for all the responses, I do miss home it is just that Prague is the most wonderful place I have ever been. Haha. So I will try and get another one of these out next week. I hope that everyone is doing well!!

Nascladanou, Emma

Tue 9/20/2005 7:17 AM

Hey everyone,

I hope that you all liked my pictures. I will be updating my snapfish album weekly most likely, so keep checking it if you are interested. Suppppposedly I am supposed to be getting Internet in my building this week, but who knows if that is ever going to happen.

A LOT A LOT A LOT has happened since my last email. Lets see how well I can remember it goes....

I am still getting along with my roommates wonderfully, they are neat freaks and our room is pretty much immaculate all the time. We also found the good grocery store near our place. It is really funny to watch us! It is called Albert and you have to pay for bags so we go with our backpacks, shop, and then walk home with all the food on our backs. The supermarkets are soooo cheap here it is wonderful. They have 0.5 L of beer for 6.5 Kc. (23.5Kc = $1) I am not buying any, but still....isn't that crazy??

My classes have been going on for a little over a week. They range from okay to amazing. My music theory III class is taught by a very nice man who doesn't speak a lot of English. It is a little difficult but he is trying hard so we are as well. My aural III class is taught by a man born in Ohio, moved to the CR 12 years ago because he received a grant to research Dvorak's life. He has been here ever since. No one really likes him and he does not seem to be a very good teacher, so I'll probably be learning the material on my own. I am also taking Gender in Transition with a quirky little woman who really knows what she is talking about. This class is going to be fascinating. And of course, I am taking Czech which is AMAZING! My teacher is spunky and HARD, but I am working really hard to learn everything. I can now count into the thousands. (Tisic....pronounced Tee-seets) I can say any member of the family from dedecek - grandfather to girl cousin - sestrenice to Brother In-Law - svagr. I can do all the greetings formally and informally and all the food I have learned is really doing me a lot of good in the supermarket. My first time there I didn't know enough to get around and it was really hard. So yeah, learning the language in the country you are living is amazing because you go to class, learn something and then go out to eat and see it on the menu. (That happened yesterday when we did mine, yours, his, ours...etc. I saw your on the menu and got really excited.) So those are my normal classes, and then there are my AWESOME ONES!

My saxophone lesson is hands down amazing! My teacher is a jazz player named Frantisek Kop(f). I went on Thursday and saw his jazz quartet play in this little teeny jazz club called "the little glen" in English. He was so nice and came and talked to me and katrina in between his sets and got us in for free and even gave me some cds that he said he was going to burn for me during my lesson earlier that day. Everyone says that after I come back from a lesson of conversation with him that my eyes are completely starstruck. It is a lot of fun. I am trying not to be timid and get embarrassed so that I can really improve while I am here. My first lesson went really well, he had me play some bach exercises, talked a little bit about my playing, did some work with modes and then did some soloing on top of background tracks. (which normally I would have flipped out about and been so nervous, but I just went with it and I think it went really well.) He said he would also help me get a soprano while I am here. AND...he has some really good friends that are in a classical saxophone quartet....AND the bari player is a woman! How strange and cool is that. He said he would give me her contact information this week so that I can get a couple lessons from her.

I just ten minutes ago got out of my first ensemble rehearsal and let me tell you. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. We are playing an excerpt out of a Montiverdi opera originally for two voices and piano. We are arranging it for Dobro (go look it up it is soooooo cool) Saxophone and Harp. So me, Sam and Katrina. Our instruments sounded really cool together, I cant wait until we all have our parts polished!! Our leader does not speak more than five words of english, but for this kind of work she just takes out her violin and plays what she wants to hear. I really like our group dynamic so far.

and then there is my internship, which I think is pretty darn cool. I am working with the Prague Spring Festival, which is one of the most prestigious music festivals in Europe. Orchestras and ensembles come from all around the world to play and it is cut-throat. I am rotating through all the departments (PR, Booking, Scheduling, Accounting, ect.) for the first couple weeks and then I can choose whichever I want to be more involved in.

So that is my life in classes. My schedule definitely has enough time in it so that I can practice as much as I need to every day. It is really nice to not be sprinting everywhere for an entire semester, though I will miss the benefits of having a job. I am going poor.

The main reason I am going poor is my trip last weekend. This band that a group of us love called Medeski, Martin and Wood played in a really funky venue in Amsterdam this weekend, so we caught it. Me, Katrina, Tim, Winnie, Sarah and Jessica woke up at around 5am on Friday morning and flew to Amsterdam. It was so quaint and pretty. Not as gorgeous as Prague by any means, but the buildings were all so small and tilted and funny looking. The first night there we stayed in the Red Light District and it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. Though I have never seen prostitutes in windows before (that was very creepy). But the place we stayed (Durty Nelly's) Despite its name....was fine. The next night we got out though. While I was there I went to the VanGogh and the Rijks Museums and I saw the Anne Frank House. We walked everywhere and had a lot of fun. I'm glad I went, but I am not sure going back is going to be high on my list in the future. I HATE THE EURO...everything was so expensive it is not fair!! That was another reason why it was so nice getting back to Prague. Coming home my plane was delayed so I didn't get back to my room till around 3am. You can imagine how much fun my 9am class was!

Okay...It is Katrina and my goal this semester to go to one music event per week. So far is has not been hard at all. There is soooo much going on every week it is wonderful. I went to the Czech Philharmonic and it literally brought tears to my eyes. And the conductor was 80 year old! It was amazing.

okay random observation. I have seen more elderly people up and about than I have ever seen in my entire life. I take a bus and transfer to a tram to get to the NYU center everyday. It is a really nice rule that you MUST get out of your seat if you see an elderly person standing. If you do not you can expect someone standing next to demand that you get up or a whole lot of dirty looks. It makes me feel so refreshed because nothing like that happens in every-man-for-himself NYC.

I have held off going shopping since I have been here. Do you believe that? I have not been shopping once since I moved to Prague. I am going to break down this weekend though. It started getting realllllly cold and there are some key elements in my winter wardrobe that I forgot.

I have a cell phone so if anyone is interested in reaching me my number is 420-776-207-589. I was hesitant to get one but now that I have it am I reallly glad. It costs the same for me to send text messages to the US, so that is how I have been contacting some people. I did get lost by myself a couple times in the was very nice to be able to call a friend and ask for help. I would like to say that I know my way around pretty well now. I took enough tours that I know some information about the city as well. Czech people are in general pretty nice and they like it when you try to speak their language. I asked all the people at my internship to correct me with my Czech instead of just being happy that I was making an effort to speak it. The Czech language only has three tenses--> past, present and future. That is the ONLY easy part about the language. I can never say enough how glad I am to be taking it while I am here.

I have had a REALLY bad cold for the last week and I think finally I am now starting to get over it. After drinking several bottles of water and about three cups of tea a day I may be able to walk into a room without receiving dirty looks from everyone because my coughing is too loud. Whatever, I got used to it.

I hope that everyone is doing well at home. I had a little bit of time to kill before I meet some friends for a VEGETARIAN lunch (they are very hard to come by...the food out is a lot of pasta and tomato sandwiches and pizza) so sorry for the insufferably long email.


PS...the second half of my email list is on my laptop and I am on the school computer so I think people like Aunt Nancy, Scott and Eric are not on here. Dad...if you could forward it on that would be wonderful!

Mon 9/5/2005 8:03 AM

Hey everyone!!

I'M IN PRAGUE!!! It is soooo gorgeous here! I haven't sent pictures yet because I did not bring my computer to the NYU center today.

Yesterday I wandered around everywhere with some friends and got totally lost, of course.. but now i know my way around pretty well. Every time I walk outside i am completely flabbergasted. I have never seen anything like this city in my entire life.

My room isbeautiful and FULLY stocked with everything that i could need, all I have to add is food. I was put in the sameroom as Katrina, how weird is that, and one other girl who is really nic and very clean. We will all get along very well. I absolutely love it here.

I had my first Czech class today. I can say the alphabet,count to 10 and speak some of the common greetings. Itis really hard but I am so glad that I am taking it, I really think that I am going to get a lot out ofit.

There are about150 students here, and a little more than half of them are NYU. The other students are mostly from Tufts (Amy I met someone named Sarah who knows you), Duke, Stanford and Harvord.

A lot of the roads are cobblestones, but only in the old town. (the part build in the 1300's) My apt is an old Ham factory...go figure....with three student floors and no elevators. Lucky for me there are a lot of nice boys who offered to carry my bags up the stairs. (you will appreciate that if you saw the size of my bags.)

Oh yeah....the beer is about 15 Kc(crowns) which is less than a dollar for 0.5 Liters. It is gross, but not many other people seem to mind it.

Real classes start officially in two weeks I think. Right now we have every minute scheduled withactivities to help us get to know the city. I am having so much fun and I cant wait to share pictures with everyone. I hope everyone else is having a wonderful start to the semester and to september.

Much love, Emma