I have found the way people respond to the fact that I am an American exchange student interesting. Many kids my age feel bad for me that I got sent to their country and their city. Others wonder why I want to learn Czech. Personally, I think that it is a beautiful country, that Ostrava is a beautiful city, that Czech is an interesting language, and that I am very happy to be here. But I understand where they are coming from. I would feel the same way towards anyone who ended up where I live.
Update: My luggage did come on Wednesday which was nice. I got my room all sorted out and it kind of helps this place feel more like home.
So far, I have gotten to do several really cool things. On Thursday, I got to go to the center of Ostrava with my host sister and her boyfriend. First, I am very lucky that they are both such kind and helpful people with really good English. Also, they know their way around. We ended up getting to go to the top of the tower on City Hall in Ostrava. You can see the entire city up there. It’s amazing.
I have also gotten to go shopping with my host sister. We went to a Czech shopping center (mall) in Ostrava to go to Zara. It was so much cleaner than the malls that I am used to. It’s difficult trying to figure out how many dollars things cost compared to crowns but at least I have a calculator on my phone. I’ve also gone grocery shopping with her at Globus. It’s similar to Walmart except larger and again, cleaner.
Friday night I got to visit Stodolni Street in Ostrava. Stodolni is a street lined with bars and clubs. It was very popular last night because it is the last Friday before school starts. Now you might be thinking, “Way to go Allie you got drunk during your first week.” But I did not. I am not supposed to drink on my exchange and I am not legally allowed to in the Czech Republic anyway, so that did not happen. All I had was a Sprite.
While clubbing is fun and exciting, it may not be entirely for me. I really enjoy personal space, people who smell nice, and not having to dance (because I am a terrible dancer.) Whether or not I will return to Stodolni Street in the future? I don’t know.
Finally, my host family and I went to a village festival this afternoon. It was really cool to see the way that the entire community got together and had fun. It felt like a distinct contrast between suburban American life (even though I don’t live in the suburbs in America.)
All in all, I have really enjoyed every moment that I have spent in the Czech Republic. I am grateful to my family, host family, and Rotary for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to see what the Czech Republic has in store for me next.