Saturday, November 22, 2008

I am done

with everyone urinating on the sidewalk here. It's quite common for people to simply urinate into a bush or onto a building, especially at night. However, I did see something that was kind of uncommon. 

I was on my way to school, when the man in front of me (who I think was homeless, but I'm not entirely sure) suddenly stopped and began urinating in the middle of sidewalk. It was pretty surprising. Usually, people have the courtesy (well, I guess it could be called courtesy) to go out of the way, in an alley, bush, or against a building. But no, he just stopped and then started. Disgusted, I simply hurried past him to school.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Along the river... a tram stop at night

I am struck by the beauty surrounding me every day. This week I decided to get off the tram and take a few photos. So far this is my favorite fountain in Prague - my camera doesn't do it justice.

All these photos are from the same stop - this one below is across the street from the fountain, looking back across the Vlatva towards the castle and my school.

All the little white dots along the pilings are seagulls - this man and his daughter were standing there, feeding them... she was having a blast, but it felt a little like THE BIRDS... I had to keep dodging birds, and at certain points they sort of swarmed everyone!!

Standing in the same spot, this is a restaurant and bar along the river, just up the sidewalk from the tram stop. Haven't been there yet but I love looking at it at night.

Monday evening pics - National Student Day/Velvet Revolution

My walk back to the metro after a nice evening out with Liam and Petra. Dinner at Red Hot Blues and drinks at George & the Dragon... and American Tex-Mex restaurant run by the Kid's best friend's Mom and an English bar. Both were enjoyable... the restaurant tops the bar though!

Monday was actually a very important day in Czech history. It's the day the students stood up to the Nazis, back in the 30's - and they were promtply destroyed, and the day, 19 years ago, the students again took a stand and brought about the fall of communism.

This year there were some memorials celebrations and stuff, as well as a protest. They seem to have a monthly protest in Prague against the impending construction of the US radar. Here someone was kind enough to leave some instructions in case things got out of hand:

It's truly a water closet!!

There is a bathroom for adults in the pre-school. The teacher's bathroom. To enter you have to open the door and turn sideways in order to fit through the doorway and past the sink. Then you are immediately faced with another door. Step into the second doorway in order to shut the outer door.

Keep that second door open, turn around and lock the outer door. Now, with the door leading to the toilet open take off your jacket and find a place for your belongings. Step towards the toilet, but turn around before you enter the closet with the toilet in it (it is smaller than a hall closet - and much narrower too).

There is very limited room as next to the toilet is a radiator. They keep the radiator running and the roll of toilet paper sits on top of the hot radiator... which gives you hot toilet paper.

Now, I suggest you leave that middle door open or you will have to sit down again when you're ready to leave in order to open the door. Take a little step out of the closet and you're back at the sink.

BE CAREFUL HERE!! Do not back up even a half step!! Hidden on the wall is a shower head and faucet handle. A very sensitive faucet handle! If you back in to it ever so gently you will turn on the shower head behind you and soak your back, your jacket hanging on the wall, and all of your belongings. Additionally this shower head is not fixed to the wall but is rather on a flexible hose. If you reach for the nozzle you are quite likely to knock it off the wall and then soak your pants and socks (or shoes if you're still wearing them).

This happens frequently. There is a drain in the middle of the floor - and the floor is quite often wet. (I know this because you don't wear shoes inside the school and so I go to the bathroom in my socks. My socks are usually wet before I get in to the toilet closet.)

Now you've washed your hands, drenched your back, soaked your socks, and doused your jacket - you're ready to begin your search for a non-existent towel before you head back out in to literally freezing cold weather for a 10 minute walk to an unheated bus.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

From Plastic to Porcelain

I think I may have mentioned the restaurant across the courtyard from the computer lab. When I first got here I'd get their salads every now and then and bring them up to the lab. After a while the tourists peaked again and they couldn't always make me a to-go salad so I sought out other options.

Well, today I went back for a salad. I wanted something healthy and didn't have time to go to Subway for my usual veggie sandwich. I went in, ordered, let them know I'd be right back as I needed to go across the courtyard, and then came back five minutes later as instructed.

Previously I've been handed a paper bag with a plastic container with my salad, a fork, a napkin, and maybe some delicious bread if I'm lucky (that's if I'm doubly lucky as the only person who gives me the delicious bread is this charming, age appropriate, friendly, and quite handsome man).

Today I got bread.

I was also handed a real bowl, actual silverware, and a napkin. Both the bread and the bowl were wrapped in foil. It made me feel so good! How silly, I know, but that bowl and silverware were sort of an inclusion - and acknowledgement that I'm part of their realm... they recognized I belong.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I've got the Czech Blues

I was out the other night and caught a metro home shortly after eleven, giving me enough time to catch a bus home before they close down at midnight.

The typical morning metro experience is very cold and impersonal - people are tightly contained within themselves, no eye contact, no laughing, no smiling - no conversation even. Business suits and rigid bodies - impeccable posture and and air of the solitary... not a truly inviting experience unless you really like to be left alone in the a.m - rather cold. But it's warm... I haven't seen a heater yet, but inside of the train it's warm.

The night metro ride is totally different - first the smell of alcohol is probably the strongest sensory experience of the journey. The laughter, sprawling bodies, an air of giddiness, the noise of 50 conversations in just as many languages... people dressed up to go clubbing, bar hopping, the theater, or the symphony... it's tourists and locals after a long day of work or a walking followed by more than a few beers. Smiles across the aisles, and somteimes strangers even speak - totally un-czech!! The night metro ride can be almost fun.

So, the other night I caught a metro home by myself. The platform had a fair amount of people trying to get home, like me, before the buses stop running. I got into the nearest least crowded car I could find - and the doors shut behind me as I slid into an empty seat - and the noises started... at first laughter and then melodic undertone - until I realized there was a group of men with a guitar or two standing a short section away from me, leading a rather raucous rendition of the Blues - the majority of the car joined in... in czech.

We carried on through a few stops like this, with the newcomers joining in, until the men reached their stop and departed to a huge round of applause... and the car fell back in to the familiar nighttime cacophony of conversation.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I am a sicko

I got sick. I know, it doesn't sound too incredibly drastic or devastating, or any other doomi-ish words starting with D, but I'm not too thrilled about it. Especially since I can't really talk. I can only growl and screech.

Thankfully, they have amazing cold medicine here, which hasn't really kicked in today. But it's amazing. Completely dries out your sinuses, gives you back your voice, all of your symptoms magically disappear for 12 hours. I love it. Hopefully, it will kick in soon. That'd be nice. :)

Visa issues!

There is a problem with the kid's visa... which requires me to take a trip to the Foreign Police. I've been avoiding them. The consulate had told me I didn't need to register with them as my paperwork was issued and in order - now the story has changed.

The Foreign Police is a misnomer - it's like immigration... but worse. The people assigned to work there only speak Czech - there is no foreign language fluency requirement to work for the Foreign Police. They do not anticipate and cater to the foreigners who will be coming through the door... and come through the door they do!

It is suggested to show up between 2 and 4 am. The doors open at 7:00 - if you're not there by 4:30 you may not be seen... and being seen does not necessarily mean being helped.

I'm really dreading this, going there, - and am quite nervous about the visa issues too! The problems arose in September but nobody told me there were issues - now it's been 2 months and they may deny the visa just because I haven't given them any of the information they decided they wanted... Which is actually information they already have, they just don't want it in the format I've provided. It's really frustrating as for the past few months I've called, emailed, and sent in letters and additional information - but noone bothered to tell me there was an issue - I just got, oh, there's a bit of a delay, a backlog, don't worry!

Here's a taste of what I will be experiencing. Please watch this video in it's totality - and listen for the screams...

Friday, November 14, 2008

the boys are here... the girls are here....

I was out tonight with a tablefull of expats - this time I was not the sole American. There were a ton of people and one other woman is from CA - but a long term CR resident. The guys were either British or Indian, maybe an Irish one too - and one Canadian girl as well.

How we all arrived in CR came up as a topic of conversation - here are the responses:

For each and every man:

I came here with a girlfriend, this is where she's from (for one or two, the girlfriend was Slovakian and this is the biggest, nearest city that still feels like home - well it was part of their homeland not too long ago).

For each and every woman:

I came here on my own, alone.(As in, not with a significant other - I have Coral, but that's not the sense that "alone" refers to.)

My thoughts - does that mean the female expats are a little more daring and adventuresome than the men?

Almost every guy I've met only came cause the girl he was with wanted to return here - not one came of his own motivation - the very few (one, maybe two)who arrived here as single men have been transferred here for work. Many - all - of the women I've met here showed up as a single woman and have done it on their own. Is that because we're more daring, more adventursome, more confident? Because I've not met one expat woman here who isn't a personal success...

I'm just saying...

Women ROCK!!

oh boy.... too much to title it!

My schedule this week -

Monday - work at 9 until class starts - which ends around 5, then get to B. School by 6:45 and teach until about 9 - during my AAU class my incredibly in-depth and esoteric mid-term was due - finish the mid-term during work hours and then stay up late working on presentation for Wednesday - get to sleep around midnight

Tuesday - work at 8, transfer to the other school, work until 4, and then called in to cover an english class for brand new beginners at B School.... a real struggle as I don't speak or understand czech and they don' t yet understand english... work until about 8 and then work on my presentation - up till well after midnight - in between the second preschool and B School meet with Brian about Prague Playhouse and take on the position (non-paying)

Wednesday - school at 11 - but I had to stay up late and then get up at 6:30 to continue working in my presentation - give the presentation and then go to work at school till 6 when I rush over to B School till 9, talk to family- antsy and can't sleep

Thursday - work at 8, switch to second preschool and work till 4, get called in to cover another beginner class at B. School and then go meet friends for dinner/drinks before I go home - the kidl joins us and the two of us get home shortly after 10, some homework,talk to family, get to sleep around 1...

Friday - today, work at 8, stay at the main pre-school and work till 3, stop at the brand new mall at the metro on my way home, get home, clean a bit, fall asleep, meet friends at 8 when I should have been there at 7, get home at 12:30, write, go to sleep and get ready for tomorrow ( I missed meeting up with 2 other friends but I made new friends where I was)

Saturday - work at 8:30 - at school - until 6, meet a new expat guy at 7 (anticipated schedule, details unknown)

Sunday - as it stands right now I should be meeting a friend for coffee maybe (anticipated schedule)

Monday - bank holiday, I plan on running laundry, grocery shopping, and thoroughly cleaning - after I sleep in! (anticipated schedule) Additionally we will be going to both the Velvet Revolution commemoration ceremony and to the anti-radar rally... then sleeping.

Throughout the week the kid has had a miserable cold - the cold isn't really all that bad, but she's pretty miserable!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


To those of you who know me well it may sound odd, but I am in urgent need of a really good apple pie recipe.

One of my students - the one who gives me a ride home after the night class - was kind enough to find, translate, and then illustrate a bramboly recipe for me. Bramboly are some of my favorite czech food. It's sort of a potato pancake type thing. Once I can scan it I"ll send out a copy... if I can copy and send it to someone to scan for me then I"ll do that now as it'll be at least another month before I have access to a scanner.

Anyway - this super cool incredibly nice student has asked me for an apple pie recipe... and yes, I need to illustrate it for him too. I don't want to find something online and provide him with an untested recipe... what if it's lousy? He may never give me a ride home again!

So, as I've never baked an apple pie before - partially because I cannot make a decent pie crust - please help me out! Please send me your favorite apple pie recipes ASAP!!! I have class again Monday night, 7:15 my time.... I'm 9 hours ahead of the West Coast..

Thanks every so much!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

first day

this week is the first time pain has raised it's ugly head. i didn't recognize it at first and thought that a kid had poked me in the back with something sharp, but i was wrong. right now it's raining, and my body hurts. really hurts. not just discomfort, which i distinguish from pain - discomfort has been a companion here for a while. along with pain the funky nerve stuff is affecting an eye, and my sensations are off. this is a big bummer for me. but at least this time, this year, i know what i'm dealing with, and so hopefully will be better equipped to handle it. more rest. regular sleep and healthy meals. downtime - which i don't have enough of right now. relaxing - again there's a bit of a shortage there too. peace.

Obama Hangover... Hope

It's Friday night here, scratch that, it's now early Saturday morning... this week has been full of thrills, giddiness, hope, and exhuastion. I've been up and out twice this week past 6 am and other nights have been so tense or excited I couldn't sleep before midnight. I didn't have students this afternoon so I snuck home and slept for a few hours before heading to a birthday dinner and a movie (James Bond, english language, czech subtitles).

I know I've mentioned repeatedly I'm the only american amongst my various social circles - this week has been interesting. Starting prior to election day I've been asked and challenged about my vote - not necessarily a confrontational challenge, that's only been from other Americans, but more, explain your reasoning, basis, and belief system and what you expect... not really easy when you're dealing with the language barrier but I think I managed ok.

Then the election - and at school, both pre-schools, and the adult school, at dinner with friends, coffee with friends, and over beer with friends I have been asked time and time again - how did you vote, what do you think, do you expect real change and how - as well as, who is this guy, anyway?

It's been interesting. While people may not know who he is they perceive him as being the most powerful man in the world right now, and hope he views his obligations on the global scale. I do too.

Hope. That's the biggest thing right now. I've been reminded of one my favorite Heath Ledger movies - A Knight's Tale - and a quote about love and hope - "Hope guides me. It is what gets me through the day and especially the night." Right now I have a lot of hope. More than anything else, I think, I have hope.

Hope. It may seem that with hope there's not much else to have, but I have faith too - hope and faith are great companions. Today, right now, this week, I have never been prouder to be an American. I have hope and faith that my country is on the path worthy of the accolades directed our way.

Side note - when the heck is blogger/google going to fix it so Obama is not longer marked as a misspelling???

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


it is 6:10 am, and I am so tired I am seeing spots. We have spent the last 10 hours moving from bar to pub to bookstore trying to stay abreast of the election results. The lack of sleep, caffeine overload, greasy food, and smoke so thick the place had to be regularly aired out all helped create a certain level of nausea . Or maybe that was the anxiety. Whatever it was, it was shared amongst the three of us - me, thd kie, and her schoolmate Cate.

The girls played cards, talked, thumb-wrestled, ate, drank, and were bored. We did an awful lot of walking in the dead of night through a town that is literally freezing cold.

It was worth it.

We ended up at The Globe - were we probably should have started off. They only had one screen, but it was big, and the crowd as all Obama... The lead up was tense, the anxiety, giddiness, drunken messes, and exhausted contributed to a strained party atmosphere. The girls found seats on the stairs for a while, and I stood. Eventually some long term squatters gave up and the girls stole a few chairs in the back. I followed, still standing.

The cheers, the shouts, screams, whistles, sheer elation lifted the room - not just the spirits, but the room itself, and filled me with a peace, a relief, and gratitude I wasn't expecting. The CNN headline Barack Obama Elected President was expected yet truly surreal.

There were tears, ongoing shouts, clapping, dancing, champagne, and people collapsed where they were. I have never experienced anything like it.

And lest you think this was all American, let me assure you that while the majority of the people in attendance were US citizens concerned about our future there is an equally strong contingent of world citizens who are just as concerned about their future and who acknowledge our President impacts the direction of the world... they campaigned and pushed and waited with bated breath as well.

This wasn't a win for just you or me or the Democrats, this was a win the world was waiting for.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

School Retreat

So, I went on a retreat with my school last week on Friday to Monday evening. I was really looking forward to it, but was kind of stressed, because I was going to be with a group of serious Christians 24/7 ( Okay, maybe not 7) and I didn't want to offend anyone accidently by saying something in all that time or anything like that. Also, I was kind of stressed about Saturday, because I've heard them talking about Sabbath earlier, and I didn't know if they recognized that and did that or not. Fortunately, they didn't. The only thing that was really Christian is when we sang and heard a talk by a student twice a day. Which wasn't really as big of a deal as it sounds. Mellow. 

The place that it was at (Cerna Hora) is owned by a couple of students at my school, and is about 5 hours by bus away from Prague. It's kind of secluded in the woods, and is absolutely gorgeous. I was kind of expecting a place that was falling apart, and was lame, but this was perfect.

It was awesome. I had tons of fun, didn't offend anything, and it was perfectly normal. I mean, I was playing poker and B.S. and it was all fun. I thought that they wouldn't like poker or anything because of gambling. 

We played tons of games, and went in the woods, and had a campfire, which we cooked hotdogs and marshmellows over. I had five girls in my room with me, who were all people I was friendly with, and there weren't any arguments or anything. AND there was excellent food that was all homemade. :) 

It was absolutely gorgeous there too. I brought my camera with me, and was able to take a lot of pictures, but they were mostly of the trees. :) Unfortunately, my battery died pretty early, on Saturday.

It was really nice, because we got to play soccer a lot (which I've been missing) and we had about 2 or 3 hours of free time after lunch ( not including other times, that was just the longest break) and we would go and play soccer for the entire time, and it only seemed like 20 minutes. 

On Sunday, it was the funniest soccer game I've ever played. We had just had birthday cake, because it was someone's birthday, and so we were all pretty hyper, and funny things just kept on happening. People were literally rolling on the ground, cracking up. And two kids, Josh and Alex, started a vendetta against each other, so whenever one of them got the ball, the other would full on charge and tackle them. They'd stand next to each other, far away from everyone else, and ask the goalie to give the other one the ball so they'd have an excuse to tackle each other. It was all good natured though. I don't think that anyone there is ever mean to each other, which is really refreshing. 

We had showers in the dorm area, but the hot water ran out pretty quickly, which was a bummer. I usually woke up pretty early so I could still get some, but the last day I forgot. That wasn't fun. 

When we went on a walk in the woods, we played my new favorite game, Bomb. It's where one person is it, and they will randomly call out BOMB with a megaphone. They close their eyes and count to ten while everyone else runs and hides. The it-person opens their eyes after ten seconds, and pivots on one foot to find anyone they can. They have to say something like "I see Coral behind THAT tree" and point, and if it's the wrong person, then they don't have to come out. When they can't find anyone else, they call out SAFE and set off this alarm on the megaphone and then everyone else can come back out. We all ended up diving into ditches and laying on hillsides, and covering ourselves with leaves, and then struggling to get back out after its safe. Tuns of fun, I'm not kidding.

Another game we played was called Assassins, which we played at night. There was a building in the area that they didn't use anymore, though it wasn't in disrepair or anything, so we played the game in there. In this game, there's only one room in the building with the lights on, so it's pitch black everywhere else. 2+ are Assassins, and hide, while everyone else waits in the light room. The Assassins get a rolled up paper to tag people. After about 5 minutes everyone leaves the light room and walks around the building, trying to find the Assassins. The point of the game is to tag the Assassins before they can tag you. If all of the Assassins are caught, the game is over, and everyone but them wins. When an Assassin tags you, you have to go to the light room without telling anyone where they are. Then, you wait for the game to end. The Assassins are trying to get everyone out. THAT game was really funny, because a couple of people who were Assassins just ran out into the hallway near the light room (where you can see stuff because of the window in the door) and tagged as many people as they could before someone got them. One guy, Josh, got like 15 people before he got caught. It might be kind of hard to understand the game in writing, but hey, I tried.

So, to put it simply, it was excellent. I kind of wish that we were going to have another one, but unfortunately, we aren't. I was thinking about not going on the Ski trip later, but I think I will now, though I haven't snowboarded and skiied all too much, and most of the people at my school grew up in the snow. Oh well. The students are some of the least judgmental people I know.

England, Ireland, Wales... The Pub

Somehow I manage to find the UK in the CR. Last night I went out with a large group of people - a few people I've met within the past few weeks and a number of newbies. I was seated and surrounded by 2 Welsh men, 2 Irish women, and 4 English guys - we were later joined by another English couple from Liverpool. At one point there was a Canadian too.

We were in the largest Irish pub in Prague (while it was great fun I doubt I'll return as it's a seriously overpriced tourist trap - beers were between 60 and 100 kc where in my neighborhood place a full sized beer is between 22 and 30 kc - right now it's about 19 kc to the dollar).

I have never been to areas these people were from and so have never experienced their pub culture - therefore I will tell you that the night was like something out of the movies.

It was November 1st, and while Halloween isn't really a big deal over here there were a number of people coming through in costume - which lent a rather festive air to the evening. And the music was blaring - you truly had to be sitting next to the person to have any hope of trying to make out what they were saying... even sitting next to my conversational partner I was at a disadvantage as I am NOT at all familiar with the variety of accents at the table - or the political tensions.

Turns out the Welsh feel oppressed by the English - and the guys were teaching me how to tell off the English if I ever felt they were a bit bossy - they were teaching me in Welsh. Obviously the Irish have a few issues too - not a big deal during the night though... and Liverpudlians have a terrible reputation - that's the 'cultural' region of England, but to the English it's better known as the most violent region - and the people as unintelligible, which I now have to agree with. I needed the other English to translate for me... and they couldn't always do it! I was only able to make out a fifth of what the girl from Liverpool was trying to tell me... The Irish girls I could understand at the beginning of the night, but their accents increased in direction proportion to the beer consumed.

The night was a little over the top - the costumes, the crowd, the range of accents, the excitement, the cold, the tourist-y party vibe... and as the night went on the music got louder and the real singing started... everyone knew the songs - a great dj mix for any party, any country apparently - the crowds started singing, and then singing turned into dancing and the floor was taken over and chairs moved, so those singers started standing on benches and tables and the costumes got more outrageous and the songs better and better and finally everyone in the bar was singing along! It was a little surreal - strangers with their arms linked and beers sloshing and belting out Grease songs and Oh Delilah and some Sinatra and Elvis and U2 and ABBA and, oh, so much more...

It was a blast.

We stayed till closing and then moved on to another bar - which was too crowded and so crossed over to the Harley Bar (as in Harley Davidson Motorcycle Bar) which was pretty cool, too.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Czech gentlemen

So, in my post, immediately below, I made reference to czech gentlemen - and how that's supposed to be something of an anomaly. Cultural differences definitely play a role here, but listening to my co-worker, a woman in her late 50s, early 60s maybe, speak with despair on the loss of the idea of gentlemanly behavior has sort of brought it up in my head.

Her thoughts - that communism was so isolating, people were living such individualistic lives, distrust and despair were all consuming, that manners took such a side road during that era they've been lost - and now the generations raised without those concepts are raising their own children without those ideas even floating around in the atmosphere and the idea of a czech gentleman is now a part of the czech mythology.

I wouldn't take it quite that far.

I will comment on the fact that people here do not understand waiting in lines or taking turns. On a crowded bus, while seats will be offered to the elderly, it's not uncommon for people to stand in the middle of the aisle blocking oncoming passengers from additional standing room and empty seats - or to set their bags on the empty chairs and block the aisle and take up lots of the available space... room can be so scarce that the bus leaves people standing on the street!

However, there are a few cultural differences that I was initially confused by - the only one I can think of at this exact moment:

Men go first - through a door, in to a room, entering a bar or restaurant - it's the man! I had noticed this, and just chalked it up to rudeness or lack of awareness, but it's actually the opposite. The man enters in order to 'scope out' the room and make sure any unruly customers are aware that the woman following is with him, under his protection, and shouldn't be leared or commented at... old school gentleman stuff!

Wow, that's almost like knight in shining arm type chivalry!

Apples, apples everywhere...

I am something of a teacher over here - english exposure for little kids, conversational english for adults.

One my of my younger adult students, he's 18, in his final year of gymnazium, is one of the few gentlemen I've encountered so far - some of this may have to do with our different cultural perceptions of what constitutes a gentlemen, but some of it, not so much... even the czech women don't really think that a czech gentleman exists. I'm going to tell you otherwise...

Mark (a totally anglicized and butchered american corruption of his name) is my youngest adult student. He always comes early, sits and talks during our breaks, and after the first class noticed I take the tram. He then asked if he could travel with me, and so after class he waits for me to finish locking up, and then stands at the tram stop with me. We board together, he gets off at my stop with me, he waits for my bus, and after I leave he walks around the corner and gets in a car that's waiting for him - he doesn't know I know that last bit, but I've watched it happen from inside the bus.

After a few lessons, and pleasant conversation during our transit, he mentioned he has apple trees. He's started bringing me huge bags of apples and nuts each week - HUGE bags!! If you walked in to Safeway and grabbed a pre-packaged bag of apples that would be maybe a third of the size of the bags he brings me. He carries them in his backpack, and then carries them for me on the tram, on up until I board my bus. This last week he even brought me homemade apple juice - I've never had anything that tastes like it, the tangy tartness and the sweet thick wholeness you get in the best apple juices... Coral and I both love it!

In the meantime I am overloaded with apples, so if you have any fantastic apple recipes, please pass them on. We've only made applesauce and a version of apple crisp so far.