Ah, a Tuesday afternoon at the Starbucks. I’m trying to mix up the internet cafes I’ve been going to. Kava yesterday, Starbucks today, may venture out to Shakespeare at some point or the one at Namesti Miru. Gmail was down for awhile when I got here, which was extremely frustrating. I finally logged in only to find two emails from the parents and the John Reilly. I like being up to date with everyone, but a response from a job would have been delightful.
So now for the job info… I’ve had two interviews, have another one next week, and (I think) one job offer. Vague does not even begin to describe things here. “We’ll let you know tomorrow” means “we’ll let you know sometime in the next month”, which is kind of frustrating. And the interview process is really quite varied. The first interview I had was at the British School, and involved having grammar questions thrown at you, and the second one I had just pretty much involved chatting. It sounds like everyone has had a variety of experiences at these interviews. Some are really formal, and sometimes the person doesn’t even show up. It’s very bizarre. I got a call on Tuesday from the first place I went to, and the guy asked if I could take 3 hour-long classes on Wednesday mornings. I said sure, and he said he’d call the business and set it up, and let me know. That was TUESDAY. It is now the following TUESDAY, and I haven’t heard anything. I emailed the guy yesterday asking what was going on with that… and no response yet. Awesome. I’m pretty sure he meant to call someone else and called me accidentally, so someone else actually got that job. But it’d be nice to know. Timeliness just does not exist here. So I’m not sure what’s going on with that. I’m pretty sure I’ll get a job at the interview I have next week, it’s for a company that has hired all of the TEFL students so far, but they’re really spacing out our interviews. How things work here pretty much involves working for 2-4 different places and working your way up to half or full time at one or two of them. It’s a little frustrating right now, but they told us it can take a week to a month to get a job. And the economy isn’t much better here than it is at home, so a lot of businesses aren’t doing as many English lessons as they would usually do. So that’s the deal with that.
However, being unemployed means that you can take weekday excursions, which I did for the first time on Friday. I went with my friend Katie to Terezin (http://www.pamatnik-terezin.cz/showdoc.do?docid=164), which you may have heard of as Theresienstadt. It’s about an hour’s
bus ride outside of Prague, so we headed up there for the day. Terezin was established in the 1780’s by Joseph II of Austria as a fortress. The town now consists of two parts, the Small Fortress, and the Main Fortress. The Small Fortress was used as a prison for many years, with the most famous prisoner being Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of
Austria, setting off WWI. He was sentenced to 20 years in solitary, but died of tuberculosis after just three. The Small Fortress was taken over by the Gestapo in 1940 and was then used as a mostly political prison, with a range of prisoners. Naturally the dissident Jews (those who misbehaved in the ghetto), were treated the worst, but while it was never officially a “death camp”, it was not pretty. Terezin was one of the places that the Red Cross and other officials
were allowed to visit, however, every moment of their visit was specifically planned. One of the things they were allowed to see was the barbershop, where prisoners could supposedly wash/shave, etc. However, there were no pipes behind the walls, so the sinks and taps
were purely for show. Terezin was essentially a stopping off point for a lot of the prisoners, as they were then sent on to the death camps in the East. Many were also brought to Terezin on the death marches at the end of the war, which led to the massive outbreak of typhus in the
prison, that killed many of the inmates even after liberation.
After we had a tour of the Small Fortress, we went across the river to the Main Fortress. The entire town was evacuated in 1942, and then turned into a Jewish ghetto, again, mainly as a stopping off point for many of the inmates. The Nazis used much of the town in their propaganda campaign, as the children were allowed to attend school, and they had plays and concerts which appeared in the movies the Nazis produced to cover up what was actually going on. There were plans to build gas chambers outside the Terezin ghetto, but that never came to fruition. The Ghetto Museum was VERY interesting and very, very well done. Unfortunately, that was the last thing we got to, and only had about 45 minutes to go through, so I didn’t get to read everything in there (a lot of verbiage…. woo!). The museum is in what was once the boys residence and school. I found it interesting that people came back to the town and live there. I guess if that’s your home, it’s your home, but I don’t know if I could go back to a house that was
essentially used to imprison people in those kind of conditions. But…. that’s the difference I guess. It was really interesting though, particularly because that’s not an area I had heard much about when we studied WWII. I think the next excursion will have to be to one of the castles or medieval towns, or breweries… something a bit more uplifting shall we say.
But first things first. A job would be great. It’s frustrating for everyone, but you know there are jobs to be had, so you just have to keep plugging away.