ladyfalcon: (Brilliant)
I am sitting in the airport, waiting to go to LA. Right now my major stress is worrying whether the ticket counter for my airline will be manned by the time I need to check in & go through security. Being me, I ran out of the house without printing my boarding passes, so if they're not here within the next hour I will have to face the horror of finding & asking a stranger what to do.

Also I am very very cold in the airport. I didn't want to bulk up my luggage (that I paid $25 for) with a sweater when it's going to be 80 degrees in LA. Of course, I Tweeted this and right away an LA friend was like, You know it gets really cold at night here, right? NO SIR I DID NOT. I just hope it's good & toasty during the day. I like the fall weather we've been having here (pretty crisp fall weather, after 2 straight weeks of pseudo-winter with the greyness and rain), but essentially, if I'm not slightly baking, I'm cold.

Here, have a picture of the moon setting at Dulles like five minutes ago:



















I am not sure what all is going on in LA. I know some HitRECord people are out there already (sending drunk texts to Twitter emphasizing the good time they were having while I was settling down for a long airport wait, the bastards). The show is on Monday evening. I know I would like to get a helix piercing (my sixth) at some point to commemorate my travels. Basically all the rest of the time is up in the air as far as I know. My number is 240 678 6136 if you want to do something!

Right now I just really want something to drink. In a fit of trying to consume all my super-perishables before leaving, I had a huge bacon sandwich right before Krystle showed up to drive me to the airport, and I am parched. And still managed to forget to eat the last serving of homemade clam chowder sitting at the bottom of my fridge. Which is a shame, because god damn that chowder was delicious.

(I've been getting a lot of mileage out of brokeassgourmet.com. I just did their smokey clam chowder, (although I tossed in some bacon anyway because what the hell why not), and when I get back I'm going to crack open some cans of pureed pumpkin and try my hand at pumpkin soup).

Now it is nearly 5 AM, I have been in the airport for 2 hours, and I see the US Airways desk finally has staff working (the poor bastards). Off I go to LA! Everyone think 'plane stay up' thoughts for me!

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Felt up & feeling fine)
Here's the scene: It's 2 o'clock in the afternoon, just last Tuesday. I am procrastinating on some papers that need to get written. The way I procrastinate is by trolling Twitter obsessively.

Suddenly, a tweet pops up from one of my friends on HitRECord - "HitRECord at the Movies tonight at University of Maryland - but that's 4 hours away. :("

And for a second I can feel nothing. The second after that is a flood of "HOLY SHIT THAT IS 15 MINUTES AWAY FROM ME WHY THE HELL DIDN'T ANYBODY TELL ME?!?!?!"

Because, see, I have been in love with HitRECord and the idea of HitRECord since I figured out what it was. And last October I had tickets to go see a HitRECord live show in New York that then got canceled. I mean, I got to go up anyway and met a lot of HitRECorders and made friends etc., but it's just not the same. And just the weekend before, there was a live show in LA that it seemed like every single person I was friends with was able to just up and attend.

I didn't have either the time or the money to hop a plane across the country. I might never have the time and the money again, was my depressed sad-is-me thought. Even getting the tickets to go to New York was the result of a pretty unlikely series of events, and I was pretty sure I was never going to get the chance again. I was happy for my friends but also deeply jealous.

So suddenly this little opportunity drops right into my lap. It is 2. The show is at 8. There is still time. My brain went into overdrive. )

So that is my story of my Luckiest Day Ever (with HitRECord and Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

The best (or very important) part is that I got all the work I had originally been procrastinating on finished the next day, in plenty of time! So basically every single thing went my way that could have.

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Default)
So, guys, I stood two feet away from Joseph Gordon-Levitt on a stage last night. We talked about the first time I saw Juno.

I have to, HAVE TO, stop fooling around and do work now. But I had to get that out there so you are primed for the awesome (pictures, video, story) to come shortly.
ladyfalcon: (Default)


Today, I had to put my darling dog Watson to sleep.

I got Watson as my tenth birthday present. I remember really clearly going into the pet store, and my mother's boyfriend Doug warning me not to get attached to any of the puppies in the store. This was before anyone in my family was aware of puppy mills and their assorted horrors, which in a way makes Doug's statement weird as we went into pet stores all the time and I never cried or fussed about the puppies. After all, we had two dogs at home already and I loved them very much. The best I can figure is that my mother was talking about getting me a dog of my own and Doug disapproved.

But with the admonition firmly in mind to not get attached to any of the dogs, I immediately started looking at them through the lens of which dog I would take home, if I could. And I saw the most adorable brown-and-white puppy, with the most beautiful honey-colored eyes. And I loved him.

I do remember starting to cry on the way out of the store, and my mother asking me why, and saying "Doug told me not to fall in love with any of the dogs but there's a dog in there and I love him!"

No promises were made, but I also remember having a conversation in the car on the way home about what I would name a dog if I had one of my own, and I said I would name him Watson.

A lot of people ask me if I named him after John Watson of Sherlock Holmes fame, but he was not. At some point around the time I turned ten I had learned that the first message ever sent by telephone was between Thomas Edison and his assistant, Thomas Watson. The message was, "Come here, Watson, I want you," or some variation on that theme. I told my parents that if I had a dog, I would name him Watson and then I would call out, "Come here, Watson, I want you," and he would come. Basically I was a weird kid.

Also as far as I remember this never actually came to fruition. Watson was a weird dog, in that he was indifferent to food and difficult to train, but also was never really interested in doing anything that you'd want to train out of him. He liked people and other animals, didn't bark much or get into the trash, and so it never seemed to matter that he didn't sit or come on command.

Then a few days before my tenth birthday I took a really nasty fall from my bike. I don't know if my mother had planned to get the dog that day or if she brought him home early so as to make me feel better, but I remember so, so clearly standing in the driveway when she took him out of the car. I also really remember wanting to pet him and being mostly unable to because of the terrible abrasions on the palms of my hands.

Watson was basically the best friend of my childhood. When he was a puppy I used to zip him up in my winter coat with his head peeking out of the collar below my own. When my mom's boyfriend moved out and she kicked my dad out of the house in a bid to get him back, Watson went with my dad and became my constant companion every weekend day that I spent with my father. He helped me make friends with the neighborhood kids (as an only child I was not good at dealing with other children), and he came with us on adventures and generally got into all the trouble we got into.

He was the only thing I really missed when I went to college, and then when I moved to Prague. I could Skype with my parents, but I missed my dog.

As he got older, first Watson went deaf, then he began to have trouble getting up, and then had trouble laying down, commending himself to God and more or less falling down with a thump. I was mostly unable to convince him to aim for soft landings. I became consumed with worry that he would get stuck in a place he couldn't get up from, or that he would break a hip, while I was away at work. I also worried that my mother's dog, who is generally sweet but deeply stupid and with a vicious streak, would attack him when I wasn't there to defend him. In addition his chronically infected right ear had gone from normally bad to abnormally terrible.

He was my tenth birthday present and I am now 25 and I have loved him unconditionally and overwhelmingly for every day of those fifteen years. He was such the best dog, the best of all possible dogs, and I will miss him forever.
ladyfalcon: (Perfection is sometimes difficult to mai)
I haven't written in an age, and this is not a real post x it is an anecdote I thought I'd share xx.

So I was looking up logical fallacies on wiki, because a friend had just responded to my belief that champagne coupes are more classy than flutes because even plebes can use (plastic) champagne flutes but most have never even seen a coupe, and they're impossible to find and anything you CAN'T put on your wedding gift registry at JC Penney is automatically more classy than anything that you CAN, with the assertion that you can't put hotwings or blowjobs on your registry but that doesn't make them classy.

So you can see why I needed to do some research on exactly how what he was saying made no goddamn sense.

I still don't know which logical fallacy was in use there, though, because I learned that there is a subset of Arguments with Irrelevant Conclusions, the Argument from Fear. Or the argumentum ad baculum.

This is only amusing to me because baculum is also the word for the bone found inside the penis of most mammals.

I have to say that if you were trying to win an argument by beating me over the head with a penis-bone, I would probably defer to you simply out of fear, too.

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Super cool)
Letters I have to write:

- Requests for letters of recommendation to three of my college professors. I have been wittering and whining about this for the last week, because even though I chose professors I was quite close to in school, I haven't talked to them in the year+ since I graduated, and I don't really know how to say 'Hello, I was kind of a crap student and I haven't spoken to you since I didn't have to anymore, do something incredibly nice for me, please?' politely. My final deadline is to get them out today so that the recommendations have time to be written before I need to start applying (my earliest grad school application has to be in-hand at the school by October 1). Still feel more like waffling than actually getting the thing done.

- I got two e-mails from the Czech Embassy in Dresden. One explained in English that its attachment was the form stipulating the reason for my visa being denied, but the attachment was in Czech. Then I sent back a question (in English, naturally) regarding how soon I could re-apply, and got back an answer... in Czech. So I sent both of those off to a Czech English teacher I know, who told me: The reason I was denied is because the Embassy believed that I did not intend to leave once the visa expired, OR they believed that I intended to use the visa for a different reason than given in the application (it was a form letter so the reason could be either of those, although how in hell they determined either of those things is completely beyond me). Apparently, the other answer I received was that anybody can re-apply at any time without the result of the previous application being taken into account. Which is nice.

Ivonna also told me, though, that I should write her a letter discussing the things I am doing at home, and she said, "If you use some interesting language, I might use the letter in a lesson with the Energon people," (that's how I met her, she was the second teacher at one company in Dobříš that I taught at). "They would love to read something from you." So now I need to make up a letter with "interesting language" for my friends.

- Various grad school applications and their attendant essays. Luckily, only one of the schools I'm applying to requires something along the lines of a letter of intent, and it's my most reachy reach-school. This is excellent, because while I intend to go to grad school, my understanding of my future beyond that is hazy in the extreme, and I would prefer not to have to write about something I have such a poor understanding of.

Also I need to keep studying for the GREs, and my father and I are going up to New York tomorrow to visit his family, as his father is 100 years old now and had a stroke earlier this year. I need to have made Significant Progress before I see my aunt, who has strong ideas about how to run a successful life (mostly with incredible amounts of planning and focusing on one idea from early on - neither of which I'm good at). I'm hoping I can throw her off my scent if I can throw her a few tidbits about how really dedicated and together I am about this whole grad school thing.

She will probably be able to see it is a sham, and she doesn't even know me all that well.

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Farce!)
I have not been posting, because I am home, and home is boring. I have been having a bit of fun seeing friends and hanging out (mostly Krystle and David - everyone else has been busybusy), and I have a few nice things coming up soon (Hershey Park with the college group, possible cross-country roadtrip with my grandfather?) but for the moment things are mostly blah.

Or they would be if I hadn't decided that I really want to try to apply to grad school for the semester starting in January. To which aim, I decided I should re-take the GRE (my first scores weren't terrible but also not nearly as good as my SATs). So I bought a book and told myself I should study. But that shit just was not getting done, so last night after coming home at 1 from watching TV with David and his girlfriend, and playing WoW till 3 (lol, my LIFE), I decided that the best way to motivate myself to study would be to register to take the test, so I have like, you know, a definitive deadline and shit.

So, guess who's taking the GREs on the 10th of August? Guess who volunteered (paid a shit ton, even) to take a long, boring, and incredibly difficult test that almost all grad schools require but that no one can tell you how much they actually affect getting in because opinion on how much they measure anything that matters is widely varied? (I mean, thank god they only test the same material as the SATs, that's hard enough, but what the fuck does testing on stuff I learned back in high school and haven't studied since have to do with how well I'll do in grad school?) And it's just like the SATs only hey, this time you're not allowed to use a calculator? (wtf?!?) Yeah. That would be this kid.

So now I need to slog through this stuff. It is amazing, absolutely amazing, to me, how easily my brain picks up certain pieces of information while completely rejecting others. Basically anything I can read about (facts, quotes, dates, themes) in any subject will pretty much stick and hang around for as long as I need it. Math, though... In high school, my father would sit down with me (or phone me) every single night, and go through my math homework, problem by problem, explaining the concept and the rules to every one. And the next night we would do it again, usually with the same type of problem. And it would be as totally new information to me. Like water off a duck's back, everything I had learned would be gone within the next 24 hours. And I seriously do not understand this. I want very badly to be good at math. I am very drawn to science, I love science, but one reason I could never achieve anything with it academically is that all science is based in math. I would, frankly, give up in a heartbeat any ability I might have with words for even just an equal facility with math, because it is so necessary for understanding things, and also seems like a much straighter path to changing the world for the better. It's nice to be able to communicate, but fuck, I mean, my own social awkardness gets in the way of that often enough. Math Is Power. The poster said it and I believe it and fuck, I just want IN on it so badly.

Also, whether reading words or numbers, all that information? Is coming in THROUGH MY EYES. Why is my brain so picky about accepting certain types of information that come in through the same source? How can it even differentiate between the two? I would love to do some sort of a study to try to find an answer, but I can't, because I'm not a scientist because my brain hates math. Argh.

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Super cool)
Okay, so. I have been home from Prague for almost a week now. For the most part, I'm going a bit crazy with wanting to be back. But then, I haven't managed to see all my home- and school-friends yet. For example, I am seeing Krystle today, and I imagine that will improve my mood towards the entire country a huge amount.

My parents have been amazingly friendly and chill, and I think that part of this is because for once I am feeling friendly and chill towards them. I still sometimes get "tone" when my mother asks me questions (on the subject of going to a dinner party at Best Friend David's girlfriend's house: "I didn't know David had a girlfriend." "Neither did I." "How did he meet her?" "I don't know." "What's her name?" "I don't know." "So... he really has a girlfriend??" "-sigh- Yes, Mom."). But for the most part, we've been able to treat each other as adults, which is pretty much all I've ever wanted.

Other adult-things I've done include setting up my own phone account (pay-as-you-go, so not quite so responsible), and signing up for my own car insurance. Now that I have these things, I need to get a job post-haste. If anybody wants to be on my resume beta committee, let me know, since the thing's been going through multiple rounds of drafts preparatory to applying for jobs.

And let's see, what else... I've made new friends, at the aforementioned dinner-party-of-Best-Friend-David's-Girlfriend. Considering how socially awkward I normally am, I'm not sure I ever realized how easy it is to make new friends in America compared to other places. I mean, obviously the fact that we all speak the same language greases those early meet-and-greet wheels hugely. In any case, it was nice to meet so many new people.

Also Best Friend David's Girlfriend (hereafter Emily), knows kung-fu, and invited me to come to practice with her. Which is amazing, as clearly I should be able to say "I know kung-fu," and also I was worried that I was going to become lazy and slovenly, going from walking everywhere in Prague to being back home where there are few safe places to walk and nowhere really to walk to. Also she and another girl at the party are really into Supernatural, and I think we have tentative plans for Supernatural viewing parties once the new season starts up. So yay for friends and social activity! If I have to be home from Prague for however long, at least I'll feel like I'm putting down roots here, and not just aimlessly hanging around wasting time until I can go back.

Krystle today, and giving Krystle her present. I am actually kind of a-twitter with excitement, since of the very few things I actually had time to miss while in Prague, Krystle was pretty much the most important one. (Well, her and my dog).

Erin

(Also, it occurs to me that, having mentioned my new phone, there are some people on here who might like the new number. If you're interested, send me an e-mail at ehenry718 at gmail and I'll give it to you).
ladyfalcon: (Farce!)
Last few hours in Prague. In 13 hours I will be on a plane home, where I will live with my mom, have no money and no job and no Czech beer. This sucks. I will also have my dog and my friends and my car, and I hope these things ease the transition somewhat.

I spent my last day in Prague shopping, as this will be my last chance for cheap clothes that fit for a while. I stopped by St. John of Nepomuck's statue on the Charles Bridge, to re-inforce the promise that anyone who touches the bronze plaque at the base will return to Prague. I wish I could get some sort of timeline on that wish fulfillment, but so it goes.

Other things that are driving me insane - out dancing on Friday, I met an amazing guy. There was an actual instant "connection" of the type I have never had with anyone except my close friends. He has been here for two years. We are both leaving on Monday. He lives in Colorado. It is just part of the absolute cussedness of the universe that I met him now and not seven months ago. I randomly ran into him today, too, so it seems that our habitual stomping grounds are pretty much the same. Argh to that, says I.

Home tomorrow. The first thing I plan to do is hug my dog. The second thing I do will probably be sleep for a week. Then I will see Krystle on Wednesday, and begin applying for retail jobs. I am bracing for re-entry into normal life in 3... 2... 1...

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Default)
For the first time in months, I am sitting in the cafe of the mall near the school where I got my TEFL certificate. I had to run up here to pay some bills for our apartment, and thought it would be a nice bit of symmetry if I stopped in here to use the wifi.

They are, no shit, playing a Czech version of 'Gangster's Paradise' over the speakers.

How am I ever going to survive in a place without things like this in it?

Home on Monday. Have not yet begun to pack (although I have done a spot or two of cleaning). I want my dog and my dad and my Krystle. I want hugs and kisses and hair shed all over my dark clothes. And as soon as I get those things, I have no doubt that I will want to be back here.

It seems almost surreal, to be going home. Prague is my normal now, I imagine it's going to be intensely weird to be back in the states. I don't even have enough time to eat all the wonderful things I want to taste one more time, so that I can remember. Last night, I was looking forward with dread to the job search, and remembering how much looking for a job sucked after I graduated. Then I remembered that the only thing that kept me sane during that time was the knowledge that it didn't really matter, I'd be starting my adventure in Prague in just a few months. Then it hit me that that adventure I remember looking forward to so much? Is over. Even if I manage to come back someday, even soon, that will be a different adventure. I've been here for 7 months now, and it might as well be seven minutes for all that I feel like I've missed or forgotten or need to do again.

Other things I'm intensely not looking forward to: the plane flight. I never flew in a plane till I was 18, and I loved it, which was lucky since I was flying a lot that year, going back and forth from Rhode Island. Then I didn't fly again for... two years, I think? I think I flew with my mom to go to Minnesota at some point. And in the intervening time some switch in my head was flicked and I was suddenly full-on, nervous sweats, clutching the armrests afraid of flying. I have no idea why this happened, but it is still the current state of things. So I am thinking I will buy a lot of cough medicine and complementary alcohol (I love Europe and its airlines) and hopefully knock myself out for the entire terrifying ordeal.

Here, in no particular order, are 10 things that I will miss about Prague and the Czech Republic:

1) Czech beer. Being able to drink Czech beer at lunch, even on a work day, without anyone thinking I'm an alcoholic.

2) Living in a city without a dress code. In DC, the most amazing outfit you're likely to see is someone wearing brown shoes with a black dress. In Prague, people get into some seriously odd clothing.

3) Gulaš, smaženy syr, tredlník, perník, knedliky, and Kinder chocolate.

4) The excuse to occasionally switch my Mac keyboard to Czech and use all the fun diacritical marks.

5) Living alone. Having a job where I can afford to live alone, and go out to restaurants, and buy clothes, all on my salary.

6) Clothes that are affordable and fit. European designers do not assume that if you are very tall you must also perforce be very wide, and so I can actually find cheap jeans that don't hang off me like elephant skin.

7) The possibility of paying ~$3,000 for a year of grad school.

8) The beautiful architecture.

9) The chance to travel. The salary that would allow me to travel, and the government-mandated paid vacation that meant I would have the time to do so as well.

10) The adventure.

In the interest of balance, here are also 8 things I am looking forward to back home:

1) My friends. And my dog. I'm not sure which I'm more excited to see.

2) Being able to eavesdrop on the other conversations going on around me on the Metro.

3) Popeye's Fried Chicken, Five Guy's Burgers, Chipotle, sushi. Being able to eat fish at all without fear of getting sick (the nearest ocean is 400 miles away).

4) Free museums.

5) Living in a house with a clothes dryer, instead of having to find time to wash and hang clothes before I want to wear them again. (This is actually worse with my bedsheets. It takes my washing machine 2 hours to clean them, and then at least a whole day on the clothesline to get them dry, and it's hard to schedule all that time for when I'm not going to want to be in my bed).

6) Being able to understand everything shopkeepers say to me. Being able to ask for specific things in stores.

7) The possibility of making a salary with money that actually means something outside of the small country I happen to live in.

8) Wifi actually in my house.

It's pretty obvious, I guess, where my heart still is, since I couldn't come up with a whole 10 things I'm looking forward to at home unless I actually started listing each of my friends as a separate item. I'm still hoping that by some miracle my visa will come through and I'll be able to come back, or that I can go out and re-apply, probably as a student (in which case it would probably have to wait till summer of 2010).

Either way. Home Monday, friends and dog hopefully really quickly after that. I will be okay.

More importantly, I will be back.

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Default)
Yesterday I put down a little bit of money on a BEAUTIFUL new apartment that, for the first time, made me feel like I was moving from somewhere nice to somewhere nicer.

Today I got an e-mail from my Dad saying, come home NOW. Deportation is serious business. I will pay for the ticket, just come home now and don't push it. Before the end of June, if possible. He even told me not to worry about my paid vacation (Plan A at this point was to finish out working June, take my 3 paid weeks through July, and then go home).

So. Argh.

On the other hand, I obviously saw this coming. And I am in a way pretty zen about it. I mean. Getting to see my family and friends (and my DOG!) On the other I am very sad to be leaving Czech Republic, especially under these circumstances. I am angry at my work for basically fucking me over with the visa situation. I am very sad that I will not get my vacation, because I was planning on finally travelling and seeing some more Europe.

That being said, this weekend I am taking two extra days off and going to Belgium and the Netherlands with some people from Dobris. So I will have nearly doubled my number of countries visited in one fell swoop, and have yes, gotten to see some more of Europe.

I am now fighting with ticket sales sites to find one that has cheap tickets this soon, on flights that don't require paper tickets, since there's no time to ship those all the way over here. Funfun.
ladyfalcon: (Brilliant)
Just a post to kill time between now and when it's late enough in the day for me to try Skyping my mother...

Today has been... rough. Roughrough. It's only half-over, and I have no idea what I'm going to do with the three hours of children's classes I have starting at 3, and the day has already had the grace to be rough. I am here, clinging to the hope that it means the bad has come early, and so the rest of my day will proceed absolutely smoothly. As evidence to support this theory, I am now ensconced in the internet cafe slurping down a bowl of absolutely delicious mushroom soup. Andrew Bird, of all things, is playing over the speakers. So things are looking up.

The first difficult thing of today actually came last night, when English Roommate told me that, actually, he's given it a lot of thought and has decided he would like to try living on his own. I am wavering between pissed off that he was too chickenshit to tell me about this two weeks ago, before I did a ton of research trying to find us BOTH a place to live, and pissed off that now I'm going to have to find someplace, anyplace that I can afford to live in on my own, because I really don't know anyone else in the city well enough to live with them right now. So, two varieties of pissed off. It's possible that Temporary Roommate, who will be with us this month while he does the TEFL program, will be able to scope out the current batch of TEFL people and find me someone who already knows they want to stay in Prague, and that would be GREAT. But it isn't something I'm going to hang my hat on, so for now I'm panicking slightly about the money situation, and quite frankly plotting to do something nasty to English Roommate in his sleep.

Second rough thing: Gave 200 Kc to a woman who I sometimes see begging outside our train station. God. She has an absolutely horrible gash across her face where either someone hit her or something happened to her, and she hasn't been able to do anything about it. The first time I saw her, I hadn't had any plans to buy anything, so I had absolutely no money on me, not even a single crown. And when the person next to me, and then me, didn't or couldn't give her any money, she started to cry. And part of me wanted to reach out, give a hug or some comfort to this woman who was so clearly in honest-to-god despair. And part of me just couldn't. You don't touch strangers. That's weird.

And then of course there was the third part of me that was like, who the fuck are you? Who are you, standing there staring at a crying hurt old woman with pity in your eyes but no fucking hand to reach out and give a moment of human contact? What, are you afraid she's dirty? Afraid her misery will fucking get on you? What good is all your brain and all your education if you can't use it to offer just a little humanity to a person in pain?

So yeah. That was Monday, and believe me it stuck with me. So when I saw her again today, I was prepared. She was surprised and happy, and that made me happy. I shook her hand and she said thank you and then I went to wait for my tram. I watched her walk over and give the money to two men (her husband and son if I had to guess). They went off with it, and she sat down. Honestly, I don't care what they spent it on, just that whatever it was, I hope the woman got something good from it.

That being said, by the time I left, I felt a little ill to my stomach. I can only do such a little thing.

So that was rough, although I don't regret it in any sense. I wound up helping two tourists find their way, and that's an absolutely worry-free, unloaded sort of aid to give to people, so that cheered me up.

Then the doctor's office. I had blood drawn, which made me happy (I like having tests done on myself, don't ask me why, and I always feel somehow better after having blood taken. My dad says he feels that way, too). The bill was hugely expensive (more than $150), but I had my dad's credit card, so I was able to pay. Then I had to go off across town to have another test done at a different office of the same doctor.

I had thought I was going to be fitted for a holter monitor so that we could see what is happening when my heart periodically freaks out. What I got was an echocardiogram. Which is neat, I enjoyed looking at the picture of my heart (good job, chum, keep up the good work!). I was able to see what the doctor meant when he pointed out how my mitral valve prolapse seems to have spontaneously reversed itself.

And then... that was it. Good job, you don't have mitral valve prolapse, make an appointment at the other office to talk about your blood work results when they come in.

But, I said, what about whatever's causing me to throw PVC's so often?

Oh, said the doctor, that's a separate problem, mitral valve prolapse can never cause PVC's. For the other problem, schedule an appointment and we'll get you a holter monitor at the other office.

Just like that, all my going-to-the-doctor, getting-things-fixed happiness collapsed. Because why, WHY WHY WHY, did I just have another very expensive doctor's appointment in a week, for you to tell me that a problem that wasn't really a problem, and that I didn't come to you about, has fixed itself while no one was looking? Why would you do that?

I managed to hold it together until I got out of the office, but I admit that I cried a little on the street before I started home. I am just so angry. I trusted this doctor. I still do, as far as his doctoring goes. But I am tired of either misunderstanding people or worrying about them taking advantage of me because of the difficulties I have communicating. Lord knows I am not making enough money for this. My parents, thank god, have enough to get me through this, whatever it takes, but god, I am supposed to be doing this on my own. Between the house thing and the health thing, I am absolutely going to be counting every single crown for the next two months at least (also it's summer so a huge number of my classes are finishing until September. If I ever did have the money to deal with this, now is not that time).

And I am getting super fed-up about the visa situation. I have heard not a damn thing about it in the more than two months since I dropped off my papers. Everything rides on whether or not I get it - until I know if I have it, I can't sign a lease on a new place, or even start looking for one in earnest. Until then, I won't have insurance and will have to continue paying out-of-pocket for every doctor's visit or prescription. At this point I could care less if they give it to me or don't, I just want to KNOW NOW, so that I can start planning my next step before I start stumbling over inevitabilities.

I feel like there's no one I can tell about this, because between all my various stresses, I've started to get a reputation with the Czechs I work with as being a compulsive worrier. And the stupid thing about that is I don't feel like in my normal life I worry at all, even about things that it would be best to worry about.

All this being said, I saw some amazing statues on my way to the doctor's through an unfamiliar part of town, and fell in love with Prague all over again. Whatever's going on here, it's not the fault of the city, and I still love it unreservedly.

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Default)
I've been sick and borderline pissed-off for a while, but today was cardiologist day, so I was much happier and felt better, despite still having a cough. It's amazing how getting what you want and/or need can lift your spirits.

Of course, the initial visit was kind of pointless - the doctor is limited in what he can do at his inpatient clinic, but we were able to set up an appointment for blood tests and a Holter monitor later this week, and a prescription for some antibiotics to kick whatever I've got that's had my lymph nodes swollen for months.

My one lingering worry is money, of course. The doctor's visit, brief as it was, cost $100, and the antibiotics a further $15 (better than American prices by far, but then, I'm not making American money). I am kind of hoping against hope that the blood tests and monitor appointment are covered by that bill, given that it was kind of hugely expensive for a 15 minute visit that mostly was used to set up further visits, but I'm not holding my breath. As it is, I'm down to my last $50 until payday on the 10th, and I kind of expect to be pulling out my emergency credit card for the first time since I've been here on this one.

Just in case I was tempted to break the appointment for monetary reasons, my heart started acting up on the tram on the way home. You know. Just to keep me in line. So emergency fund dipping or not, the appointment will be kept.

Super-unexcited about the prospect of teaching children wearing leads and a bulky monitor box, though.

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Default)
Friends, don't use Q-tips. Your ear canal cleans itself naturally, and you're at a far greater risk of jamming bacteria down your ear canal and making yourself sick than you are of doing anything beneficial.

Also, if you are me, the first time you use a Q-tip in five months, you will promptly jam it straight into your own eardrum. Fucking ow.

Luckily, I am visiting the cardiologist/internist tomorrow afternoon. On the agenda: cardiac arrhythmia, lymph nodes that have been swollen for two months, and now, eardrum inspection. Find out where on the spectrum from 'perforated' to 'you just jammed something pointy at me really hard, fucking ow' it is.

Also let me just tell you, briefly, how tired I am of people acting like I don't know what the fuck is going on with my own body. Like I'm overreacting or being hysterical when I want medical attention because my heart isn't beating properly. I had to get in an argument with the secretary at my school because she was having trouble finding a substitute for my Monday afternoon classes (Very Expensive Cardiologist only works at his private practice on Monday afternoons, he's in the hospital the rest of the week), and first she wanted me to see someone else (No.) and then she apparently wanted me to ignore the problem entirely because "You're very young for something to be seriously wrong!"

I didn't mention that I had a legitimately serious heart problem before, that started when I was even younger (sixteen) and that required (non-invasive) surgery when I was twenty, because it was none of her fucking business. But then, whether or not I decide to seek medical attention with the doctor of my choice is also none of her fucking business. I mean, yes, it is statistically unusual for someone my age to have a serious cardiac problem, but there are outliers for any statistics, and I happen to have been one of them. I am sorry that your business is of less concern to me than my cardiac health.

I am also very annoyed because one of my co-workers let me in on the contents of our new contracts, because they had her copy-editing since no one who works at our company speaks or writes very good English. Basically, there's a huge punitive fine if we ever steal one of the students (fine, any company with brains already has this rule), but then also, we are now no longer allowed to have second jobs or individual students who we see outside of any other company or organization.

It's like the very situation for which the phrase 'oh hell no' was invented. Fully half of my income comes from my individual students, and it's that and that alone that leaves me able to make ends meet, even when things like visits to the Very Expensive Cardiologist come up. The official line is that they want us to always be available for substituting if the need arises, but in the five months I've worked there, I've substituted a total of four times. That's NOTHING. It's far more likely that a teacher will have a huge spate of lessons canceled by students, and will be absolutely up a creek when their smaller pay packet comes.

Also, the time that I am not actually employed working for the company? That is MY time. They are frankly not paying me enough for the type of almost suicidal loyalty signing such a document would require. Colleague said that she actually questioned the new rules while she was editing, and the secretary tried to put her off with a 'yes, but how will we know what you really do while you're not here, anyway?' Which is like, great, except that if you somehow do find out, we are now subject to fines for breach of contract. Give me a fucking break.

Part of me almost hopes that they do try to make an issue of it, because I am completely serious when I say that I will quit before I sign that document, and then they can tell the kids I've been teaching for 5 months why I'm not there any more, and my exam-prep people why they're switching teachers as exam dates draw ever nearer, and I would LOVE to hear them explain it to Mr. Valin, who pays $30 to see me for an hour and a half three times a week EVERY WEEK, and I would particularly like to see them break the news to Energon, the people who invite me to parties and promise to call the foreign police and complain if my visa gets denied, and who are pushing for me to move to Dobris and who I basically love and who basically love me. Because here's the deal - I'm a good teacher. My bosses know it, but I don't think they really appreciate it, or what it means to my students. I kind of would like for them to find out.

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Super cool)
Yesterday the Czech Foreign Police came to my workplace. And this is actually really good news! Previous to this, I had been telling people that I hadn't heard a peep about my visa in the two months since I went to Dresden to drop off my papers, and that I was choosing to interpret this positively. Now, I am choosing to positively interpret the fact that foreign police officers actually walked into my place of work to make sure that I a) actually worked there, and b) actually live at the address I said was mine. Apparently lots of people lie about these details in their applications.

Anyway, surely they wouldn't take the time to come all the way out to Kačerov at the beginning of a work week if they were going to dismiss my application out of hand, right?

To celebrate, I applied to grad school. Online. In Prague. The school isn't very prestigious, but to be honest I don't have the grades for very prestigious, and I like the sound of a Master's in Foreign Policy and Diplomacy.

Those of you who have had experience of my attempts at "diplomacy" may have to stifle your disbelief. That's what school's for, to teach you how to do things you don't know how to already!

Anyway, I'm super done with teaching. It's fun and normally I don't mind it, but every once in a while I wake up and am just like GOD, if I have to teach kids for ONE MORE FUCKING LESSON I will die. So I will be very glad to stop doing that for a while.

Fun thing I learned today: In Czech, the word for 'bear' is 'medvěd'. I thought this was cool, as the word for 'honey' is 'med'. So I was like, oh, they're calling them honey bears, how sweet! But then a student told me that věd means scientists. And you have to admit that that's even better. Honey scientists!

Also a "friend" tricked me into saying 'I like his penis' under pretense of teaching me to say 'I like U2'. But now I know how to say something rude in Czech so I'm happy anyway.

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Default)
Other things I am officially over: The way Cesar Millan spells his name. I did not learn how to properly spell 'Caesar' in 8th grade Latin just to have it all blown to shit when I want to talk about the Dog Whisperer!

Thank you that is all.
ladyfalcon: (Default)
Today was a Day of Shopping. Last week I realized my jeans were basically disintegrating around me, had a bunch of weird tears and worn spots, including high up on the thigh area which quickly makes the pants inappropriate to wear while teaching children. And I just got paid. So I had the means and the motive, so off to the mall I went.

One thing I am completely over: hip-hugger jeans. I think America has more or less gotten the memo on this one, but apparently Europe's notice got lost in the mail. For one thing, my hips do not need to be hugged. For another, they make your legs look shorter. And I have 34 inches of leg, if they wind up looking stumpy while I'm wearing your pants, I am not even going to take the blame for that.

(That being said, after years of wearing highwaters back home I should probably just thank god that 34 inches is a standard inseam length in Europe and take whatever other lumps come).

Anyway I was ambivalent about giving my money to the store where my rapidly-dissolving former jeans came from, since it's been only four months and that's a short time for a pair of jeans, which are after all supposedly worker's pants, to wear out. But after fighting with low-rises and weird rinses and oddly trampy embellishments in other places, I bit the bullet and went in, only to find they were having some sort of massive sale, so I got a new pair of jeans for less than $25. This made me happy with the world.

I also decided to pick up a pair of shoes, since my sneakers are a little ratty for teaching and my other comfortable teaching shoes also have their best days behind them. And this is a weird thing about Czech Republic: You remember how in Married... With Children Al Bundy is a "shoe salesman," and that means he actually has to talk to his customers and find them shoes and actually put the shoes on and take them off for them? And how we've pretty much dispensed with this custom in the States? (I mean, I know in department stores you show the attendant your style and they have to go back and hunt down your size, but I pretty much only shop at those big-box stores where all the stock is on the sales floor and it's up to you to find and kill your prey.

Well, in Czech shoe stores, they kind of still have the Al Bundy person. Even in shops where all the stock is there for you to peruse yourself. Usually I can get them to go away by saying I don't speak Czech, but sometimes I get a persistent person who speaks English. And then they always want to know my shoe size.

Here's a tip for clothing salespeople, especially shoe salespeople, who want to talk to me: don't.

I mean, I like my body. It does what I want when I want it. It suits any number of purposes. It slices, it dices, etc. And whenever I get in a mood where I am less than appreciative of its myriad awesomenesses, it has a charming tendency to throw in a cardiac arrhythmia, to remind me in a very basic way of what, exactly, the alternative to embodiment is.

That being said, like any woman, I have my body image issues, and a lot of them for me center around the fact that I have huge feet. Size 42, or 11, or 9, depending on where in the world I am. I don't mind telling you, my internet friends, about this, but for the random person on the street, or a bored-looking Czech Al Bundy out looking for commission, I feel that this is too much information. It takes a fair bit of mental build-up before I'm ready to go shoe shopping, because nine times out of ten it's going to be an exercise in seeing things I desperately want and can't have. To have to talk to someone else in the midst of that is just too much. I don't care if the salesperson really isn't judging me when they ask what my number is and then tell me that they're sorry, but their store doesn't even stock my size, it feels like a judgment and I'd rather not even think about it.

I had a bit of a weird moment today when the sales staff in one store were so aggressive about "assisting" me that I felt it easier to leave than put up with them, then another honestly certifiable moment in another shop where I actually bought a pair of shoes, I realize now at least 80% influenced by the fact that they were the only pair in the whole store in my size. I was hit by buyer's remorse almost immediately, walked around for two minutes, then went back and returned the shoes. Sometimes, it doesn't matter how long I deliberate over a purchase, I have to actually buy something, and then see how it feels to own it for a little while, before I know whether it's something I should buy or not. As a result, I return a lot of things. I am aware this is crazy, you don't have to tell me. If I were sales staff somewhere I would absolutely hate people like me.

In the end though I did wind up with a spiffy pair of white sneakers, that should look very professional if I can just keep them clean.

Then I went to the park and read my book and stocked up on my week's worth of vitamin D, and basically felt very happy and peaceful. I firmly believe in the power of retail therapy, and I have poor impulse control. The reality, I realize, is that it's very good for my bank account that so few people make things I can actually wear.

Erin
ladyfalcon: (Default)
Also. Yesterday, I had a few hours at home between classes, which usually doesn't happen. I was alone, both the roommates were at work.

On the way past Irish Roommate's room to the bathroom, I noticed his bedroom door was open most of the way. It usually isn't, so I, you know, poked a nose in and took a look around. As you do? I don't know if other people would do this, but I would and did.

And I noticed MY HAT on top of a plastic bag full of other stuff by the foot of his bed.

A note about this hat: My grandmother who I never met knit it for my father who later gave it to me. It is a nearly-exact replica of the hat worn by Waldo in the Where's Waldo? books. It's like the fucking crown jewels of my family.

Reader-input section: How do I get my hat back without letting IR know I was peeking into his room? The hat had been sitting in our dining room since after Christmas, so there's no real reason why I would be looking for it right now.

Also, backstory: Last week, I was looking for our flat's two potholders, and English Roommate was going crazy looking for one of our pots. Both of us questioned Irish Roommate, who denied any knowledge of same. This week, all three items are back in their rightful places. ER and I have conferred and ER says he SAW IR bringing them both out of his room, where clearly he had been hoarding them. I don't want to ask him about the hat, deny that he has it, and then keep it for himself to avoid getting caught in the lie.

Aid me, flist! To arms!
ladyfalcon: (Default)
... and Rottin' in Denmark's post about Americans and their no-detail-too-small friendships is making me miss my American buddies. Despite the fact that there are two very loud Americans sitting next to me in this cafe annoying the fuck out of me.

Based on the above recommendation, I spent the last few minutes reading TFLN. And then I found this:

(301): When we talk. Remind me of these topics, photoshop, my bday, threesomes, and cherekee indians. I swear these are real topics...
(301): New topics to add when we talk, sweden, boxing, and the band journey

Guys, that is my area code. If it wasn't for the fact that 'Cherokee' is both misspelled and un-capitalized, I would 100% believe that one of my friends had written this. Man I miss those guys.
ladyfalcon: (Default)
So. I am used to being alone. I spend most of my time alone, and I enjoy it that way. Most of the people I know are also in some sense loners.

That being said, there is a particular and very nasty type of loneliness that you feel when you're sitting in a cafe in a foreign country and you start experiencing health problems. And you realize that you can't talk to anyone around you, you don't have anyone to call, and you don't know what to do.

Read more to hear about the most horrifying doctor's visit I've ever experienced. ) And now for another rant on a tangent )
 
And then I got home and found out that, because my boss is afraid that Irish Roommate is going to leave and go home, he got a TWO THOUSAND CROWN "traveling bonus" to try to induce him to stay. I was like, OH HI you know what my schedule looks like on Tuesdays alone? I go from our house in Vltavska all the way down to Flora, then all the way over to Kacerov, then all the way out to fucking Hloubetin in the ass-end of nowhere, then ALL THE WAY BACK TO BUDOVICKA. ALL IN ONE DAY. And YOU are the one who gets the $100 extra dollars? How about a nice punch in the face to round out my day? Seriously, I want everybody reading this to pull up a Prague subway map, track my hellish schedule. I spend literally 70% of my life on the goddamned metro, and that's not even counting the 45-minute-one-way trip to Dobris I make three times a week.

ADVISE ME: Should I call my boss out on giving perks to my undeserving roommate, or what? Keep quiet (she gave it to him in confidence, I don't want to get him in trouble, etc.) I don't want to beg for handouts, but on the other hand I pay all my own expenses and he gets rent money from home so he can drink his paycheck every weekend. This is the reader-input portion of the journal: WHAT DO I DO?

Okay. I'm done. Enough ranting for today. God knows I might become hysterical and just, like, die or something.

Erin

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