i was inspired to take part in the day in the life project because i’m one of those curious individuals that loves to take a peak into the daily routine of someone else. also, i think it would be really nice to look back on sometime and hopefully, interesting or insightful for you!
for this day, i chose friday, july 25, 2014, the last day of summer camps. all events take place in either české budĕjovice or český krumlov in south-west czech republic.
5:40am: the alarm goes off. since it’s summer, it’s light enough to get ready without having to turn on a lamp. shower & get dressed in red teacher’s t-shirt we wear on mondays and fridays.
6:10am: breakfast! i’m having yogurt with blueberries, honey, and muesli. we own exactly two bowls good enough to qualify as cereal bowls. this, combined with how little clothing i own sure makes things easier in the morning! a little make-up, pull hair back with fancy scarf, and we’re good.
6:40am: leave the house for the east-bound bus stop at poliklinika sever (polyclinic north). we make our way to the bus station (autobusove nadrazi) which is located on the roof of the mercury shopping mall. we board the bus and i proffer a “dva krat český krumlov, prosím”. (i tend to do all of the talking for the two of us when the language isn’t english, i don’t know why)
the bus leaves at 7:00am and we ride through little villages like kamenny ujezd and dolní trebonín on the forty minute ride to krumlov. alex made coffee in his travel mug and this, along with stimulating conversation about who will get evicted on big brother keeps us awake enough.
7:40am: arrival at the krumlov bus station which is really just a bunch of platforms in a parking-lot type situation and maybe a covered area to wait or two. i’ve already mentioned the walk there this week– it’s really lovely.
7:55am: arrival at the childrens’ activities center. about a third of the kids are already there, coloring “five little aliens” worksheets. at 8:30am, we get them lined up and ready to walk to a gated park and playground area near the river. they play for about fifteen minutes while we sit on a bench in the morning sun. what a life.
9:05am: alex and i round up the kiddos, get them into their “space teams” and attempt to explain a game to them. marketa (our boss / friend) had to run off to the insurance office briefly so we tried to explain it to them clearly with a lot of hand motions and demonstration. it was a scrabble game in which the kids have to run back and forth to gather letters to spell english words; extra points for space-related words. fortunately marketa returned to help translate.
it was so fun seeing what words they would try to spell based on words we’d taught them that week. below, me and the czech little sister i never had, anežka.
9:50am: walk back to the summer camp. snack time commences in the main room. i am STARVING. marketa has fortunately brought us all some oplatky, but it doesn’t cut it. i must eat my emergency apple. (who else has emergency snacks for hanger purposes?) i joked that i have to punch an imaginary glass box to get my emergency snack.
10:20am: english lessons begin. i take the kinders (ages 5-7) into one room while alex teaches the older ones in a separate room. i drill them (teacher lingo for making students repeat vocabulary words over and over) on words we learned that week and play some review TPR (total physical response) games. to my great amusement, all of them kept saying “alex!” or “alexovi” when faced with having to remember the flashcard for foot and i silently laugh to myself. this makes sense because alex always walks around barefoot and has freakishly large feet and long toes. (sorry alex for writing about your toes on the internet)
10:55am: i take the intermediate kids and do the same sort of stuff: speaking, review, games, and a space vocabulary worksheet. they are all hungry, they tell me in english. “YES”, i say. “i’m very hungry too!” (and um, yeah, this room totally doesn’t have any tables. it’s only ‘cause alex took the good room for his lessons. we do have tables in CZ, i promise)
11:35am: english ends and i help set up for lunch: fill glasses with orange drink, serve the soup (buttery cauliflower) and we call them all to sit down. today, NONE OF THEM are sitting down. they keep getting up and leaving the room to go who knows where and it’s driving the three of us nuts. the ones that are present cannot stop chatting or banging their silverware on the table like cavemen.
marketa and i call the quietest, nicest kids up one by one to serve them first. nothing quiets down a loud kid more than being faced with having to wait longer to eat lunch. which was schnitzel! or rižek, a czech word that i’ve been told i sound like a four year old when trying to pronounce.
i kept noticing a break in my taking photos during meal periods during this day of documentation. my reasoning is that caring about documenting my day goes out the window when there is food present. food über alles… until about halfway through the meal. so, here was my (and alex’s) schnitzel lunch about halfway through the meal. it was delicious. and if it’s not served with a pickle, it’s not a proper czech schnitzel.
(above: oops… i was supposed to document this. schnitzel’s midnight hour. zero dark schnitzel)
12:45pm: lunch ends and the kids are ushered into the main room. marketa turns on the camp song “space oddity” by david bowie, which all the kids are supposed to know means sit down and be quiet. today, they’ve started clapping during the clap parts of the song, which delights alex and i greatly. after playing this song all dang week, they’re getting it!
the task for this last day of camp was for them to create a “landing module” with everyday rubbish we have for them like milk cartons, twine, foil, and other random boxes and toilet paper rolls. the point is that we are going to “launch” their modules from a high window and a raw egg which is placed inside, has to be properly cushioned as not to break. in doing so they have landed on neptune. yep, neptune. it was a bit of a journey.
i enjoy some chill quiet time with a tumbler of coffee, sporting a bracelet barča made for me pre-lunch. what is summer camp without friendship bracelets, anyhow? the children
argue work together on how to build their thingy-mo-bob.
some pre-launch landing modules, before they are destroyed into itty bits.
1:45pm: we take them outside (in their space helmets of course so they don’t die) and i pre-teach them the “space oddity” lyrics and chants they must say to alex (major tom). alex launches all of their modules out the window upon proper completion of these english phrases as a team, and they shriek and gasp wondering if their egg survived. today, two out of three teams were successful. most kids on the losing team started crying when they saw their broken egg. so sensitive, i tell ya!
2:30pm: we have a little picnic ready for them in the “international space station” aka, a roped off piece of land outside. we eat watermelon and candy, and alex and i give them camp completion certificates. parents start coming as early as 3:00pm to start picking their kids up. i got a lot of hugs.
as it was the last day of camp for me, i was set on getting marketa a COLD BEER as a thank you gift. so i snuck out to a nearby doner stand to get a 500ml budvar in a can. PERFECT. when i returned ten minutes later, she never even noticed i was gone.
4:20pm: everyone is gone except for my favorite, anežka. marketa starts loudly complained to alex and i about how she really wants a beer. to which i pull out the cold beer wrapped with a red streamer and a note that says “FOR BOSS. TGIF”. she starts dying laughing for the next two minutes, and presents me with a little box of chocolates. awww.
anežka’s mom shows up, i give her a big hug, and we get the heck out of there back to the bus station! but not before i take a summer camp completion victory photo on the way there. 7:30am-5pm plus commuting for three workweeks straight is no easy biz. we happily catch the quick 5:00pm bus home. VACATION!
5:40pm: arrive back in budĕjovice. at this point, i’m feeling mostly energetic if not a bit nauseous from a bus ride on an empty stomach.
6:00pm: i start whipping up some thai coconut soup from scratch. i would call it tom kha but i don’t have any lemon grass and coriander/cilantro (both of which are extremely difficult to find on a regular basis here). aside from the delicious broth, the soup includes tofu, red pepper, shittake mushrooms, and some green onions… basically the only produce i have. along with a side of white rice, this was the perfect meal to have after a week of czech food. again, i neglect to take photos due to the overwhelmingness of delicious noms and a long day. normally i would eat some cold leftovers from that week’s lunches but the need for healthy food is stronger than my laziness.
7:00pm: we watch big brother on our lil’ computer like always. it’s kind of weird to put this online and also admit that all entertainment we watch at home is on a 10" netbook. but with an extra speaker plugged in, it’s not bad. (spoiler: brittany got evicted. yay donny!)
at this point, exhaustion sets in heavily. all ideas for the evening’s plans at the letni kino go straight out the window. i go online for probably about forty minutes or so before being way too tired. i’m sure i was out before 10pm. like alex said: i want to sleep so long tomorrow that you have to put a mirror under my nose to check for signs of life.
i hope you’ve enjoyed this day in the life glimpse of an american expat summer camp teacher! there’s still time to participate if you are interested. ’til next time!