Tuesday, November 23, 2010

medical disparity

I know the cost of healthcare here is much lower than in the US, but I didn't realize the US was so out of whack with every other nation in the world. It's the equivalent of $3 USD to see a doctor - if they charge a translation fee the grand total is $10 USD. In the US costs me $100 USD.

Check out a much more thorough breakdown HERE.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

last vinohrady sunday

This morning some friends came over and dismantled and then took possession of a few wardrobes and another piece of furniture. Some was ours, some was our former landlord's (last year, not the one that's about to become our former) -he didn't want it back so asked us to get rid of it and we found new happy homes for everything we no longer need.

Then tea at Cafe Louvre. Apparently the Kid had never been there before and she enjoyed her hot chocolate with ice cream, the company and the place in general... and the fact that our presence there was a direct precursor to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.

Enjoyed the movie, can't wait for Part II. Will have to read the book again. We both cried. That shoulda been a given.

I didn't expect it to last 3 hours, but with the intermission it did. It was late when we got home, and since most of our stuff was packed, and the frig rather low, I ordered in Indian, we watched Castle and now she's asleep. She's happy, we're both looking forward to the new flat, we both enjoyed today and now we get to start a short work/school week.

I'm going to miss being so close to so many friends. It was nice to feel like I'd gotten a handle on my neighborhood. And this is quite a convenient location to so many aspects of our life. We're moving from the green line to the red, our new area doesn't have as many trams running through, and I don't know where anything is.... however I just found out that I have 3 friends in that district and am now only a short tram ride from another person who is slowly becoming a better and better friend. In some ways I feel like I didn't fully take advantage of this area - like there is more I could have or should have done while I was here and that by moving I'm leaving behind some missed opportunity - in one sense, I am leaving behind a very specific opportunity, but in the big picture that little pang is a bunch of nonsense. I'm not leaving the darn city, just moving to a new neighborhood - and Prague is small. We'll be here for a while longer (provided we don't get hit with any further visa issues or held up by the TSA... but that's a whole other issue).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Homeless Outreach

So, my mother wanted me to post about this after a rather short conversation and story-telling of my night.

I went to this Homeless Outreach, an event every three weeks that stems from my friends' Youth Group. We go around and pass out food and clothing to homeless men on the streets, and they pass out little cards that explain their Christian faith and how they can find out more. I generally pass on that part, as I'm not Christian, but I think it's important to help the homeless.

We had gone around for about an hour in the rain, trying to find homeless people, and had a rather unpleasant experience with one man, who was somewhat drunk, yelling in the face of one of our group members. We gave him some food, is somewhat hesitantly, and moved on quickly. We later ran into another group doing the same thing (we had split up at the beginning into about six groups to cover more ground) and stayed for a while at a train station that had a lot of homeless people hiding from the cold. One of the men was more friendly than usual, singing "Hallelujah" and later pulling out his harmonica to play a bit when he saw my friend's guitar. The most touching moment was when he, while speaking rapid Czech I couldn't understand, placed his fist over his heart, and then placed it over my friend's. It was a simple gesture, and I don't know what he said, but that simple gentleness in his face was most definitely worth walking in the rain for two hours and dealing with some drunk people. Most definitely.

-The Kid

Thursday, November 18, 2010

a little bit of statistics

I hate being reduced to a number... even more so when the number is attached to an article such as this.

I've been to the hospital for my lungs more than three times in less than 3 years and maintain on 3 types of steroids. I think maybe when all those numbers jump to 4 it will be time to re-evaluate.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

a little truth about moving

If you know me then you probably don't know this as a bit of personal truth as my life in no way reflects this...

I hate moving.

Hate it. And yet I do it a lot... you all might engage in an annual spring-cleaning, for me, us, it's more like the annual relocation. While never usually going far (other than the one over-seas trip and college, everything else has been pretty limited to within a few hours of my hometown) we just keep moving and moving and moving. I'm probably the most nomadic yet least venturesome person I know.

And here I sit on Freedom and Democracy Day, a national holiday, completely boxed in with stuff - all the stuff we've either packed in our numerous suitcases or collected over the past few years... The Kid is off at a slumber party and baking day (raising money for her senior trip... the only thing that can get her in and out of the oven) and I'm amazed at how much we've got and have never used or have used up and kept... Too much. And now I have to move it all into a box, again. We're not going far... across the river and a jot north on the map... but we're going. The day before Thanksgiving (another national holiday, just not in this country... but we're celebrating it nonetheless).

Once we get there it will be glorious. Truly. The place is beautiful - more spacious, more refined, in one of those up and coming renovated artsy areas full of parks and farmers markets and such... nice terrace, plenty of space to BBQ and the kid has the option of a little cat should she decide to make that commitment... I'm looking forward to it - this is going to be our last move in Prague. Our landlord lives in another country and has kept this as income property until she returns to her homeland in the very distant future so we don't need to worry about her selling it out from underneath us without notice, everything is in perfect working order and the building is a co-op with an on-call handyman so I don't expect problems with the structure or appliances or the other tenants, the location is convenient to transport, and things should be smooth. If I should move again in this country it would only be conceivable to me, at this point, that either it would be because the Kid had returned to the US and I no longer need the space - or because we both move AWAY.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

end of the day

Everyone enjoys the end of their work day. The time changed here a few weeks ago and now the end of my work day is dark. Really dark. I'm usually in a rush when I'm leaving but the other night I caught in inkling of something as I was having a quick conversation in the crowds surround the Charles Bridge. Just a whiff of something on the air, I knew there was more to it but didn't have the time to find out what it was... tonight I took that extra moment and was duly rewarded.

When I leave the medieval building I spend my days in I pick my way down a cobblestone street , pass a few restaurants, a number of tourists and artists and artisans, their tools and wares packed on to handy little wheely carts I've never seen outside of this city - we all pass through the edges of the low-level lamp light... very old European setting. Approaching the first corner the brisk air carries tones of music... sometimes a jazz club down the alley but for the past few evenings it's been the accordion player milling about the end of the bridge. I turn the corner towards the trams and am followed by the sounds of the accordion and the occasional bits if song the player bursts in to - when I get to the tram stop I stop and wait. I looked up tonight, not something I always do as it's been raining off and on lately, and the church next to me was beautiful, the moon was out and I realized for the umpteenth time I was standing in the shadow of the castle - little bits of St Vitus peeking through at the corners of the buildings at the base of the hill.

Sometimes, sitting on the tram I look out over the Vltava and catch the reflection of the river-side lights and clubs and the moon in the water... sometimes it's so quiet and peaceful. Sometimes it's just perfect lovely to sit and be quiet and absorb the world.