Header

farmersmarketIt’s that time of year again, when fresh farmer produce is making its way to Prague and other cities across the Czech Republic.  Since 2009, when the Farmers Market craze saw its beginnings (after many years of hibernation), the demand for fresh home-grown produce sky rocketed.  We are finally seeing hypermarket profits dwindle and specialized stores such as bakeries and butcher shops making a come-back. People are simply demanding quality and price is not the only driver when making purchasing decisions anymore.   

The following are the main Farmers’ Markets in and around Prague on a daily basis.  Some have already started, while others have yet to make a debut in 2013.  Check out each individual links to get a better understanding about the vendors and focus of each market:

Mondays 

Tuesdays  

Wednesdays

Thursdays

  • Trziste Holesovice, P7 (ongoing) Mon-Sat, 8.00-16.00
  • Prosek,  P9 (starting 26.2) Tue & Thu, 8.00-15.00
  • Tylak, P2-  (starting 19.3) Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, 9.00-16.00

Fridays

Saturdays

I personally attend the Prague 6 Farmers’ Market (Kulatak) which has a large sortiment of just about everything.  My personal treat is getting the [excellent] morning coffee, before my shopping begins and I end my shopping run with fresh flowers ;)

farmersmarket2

 

Happy shopping!

Check out our archived article from 2011 that also covers this topic.

This post was written by Guiri Guest writer: Meghan Modafferi.  Meghan is from North Carolina, USA. She is currently living in Prague and working as an English teacher. In her free time, she’s a freelance writer who’s particularly interested in politics, performances, and personalities. 

—————————-

A Stage Review, and an Expat’s Impression of Czech Humor

One of my favorite things about the Czechs is their sense of humor. I’m usually against overgeneralizations, but I’m struck by how much the Czechs truly seem to have a cultural sense of humor that permeates to the individual level. It’s difficult to explain in theory; it’s much better seen onstage.

Recently I went to see The Builders at Švandovo Divadlo, a Czech theater that projects English subtitles onto the wall above the stage. The play follows an attractive young couple as their house is renovated. Their live-in builders are slow, incompetent, and ultimately swindlers. Both halves of the couple, as well as several of the builders, repeatedly fall out of the house upon exit, or into it upon entrance. Throughout the play, the missing porch steps are promised and never delivered, providing a constant reminder of work left undone.

The head builder reprises, “It’s too complicated for laymen to understand…” as his pre-chorus for demanding more money and evading explanation or responsibility. The wife placates her angry husband, dreaming with increasing desperation about the beauty their house will eventually embody.

As in a Shakespearean comedy, every problem quickly intensifies from inconvenience to exasperation. The shingles hit the proverbial fan when the husband accidentally pushes a female builder down the indoor staircase, where she promptly dies. Terrified (as this is only his first murder, and practice has not yet made perfect), the husband shakily approaches his wife, who helps him hide the body in their cellar.

Gradually, the theory and practice of murder become more natural to the young couple as they off every last builder. The weapons become increasingly extreme and comical. They started off innocently enough, with no gore or flamboyance from a fall down the stairs. The climax, though, is all the drama of a microwave on a head, plugged into a wall, with the electrical chord strummed like an electric guitar.

Sitting in the audience I was, to my knowledge, the only English native present. Through the wonders of live theater subtitles, I was able to read every line in English, and laugh along with the audience of black-humored Czechs. Granted occasionally, my reading speed or the speed of the projections caused me to laugh ten seconds early or late, but for the most part, I felt like one of the group. The play was a joy, but to be able to participate in the culture was invaluable.

I’m an English teacher for adult professionals. On more than one occasion, from more than one student, I’ve heard horror stories about their home renovations. Sitting in the audience of the theater, I imagined each of my students watching this play and personally relating to the ineptitude of the builders. And that’s what I mean when I say I got the opportunity to “participate in the culture.” It would seem that this play has quite a strong grounding in reality, murders notwithstanding. And this is my perception of the Czech sense of humor. Take a humdrum and pervasive annoyance, expose the absurdity, add the intensity of the darkest thoughts that you’d never say out loud, and stir well.

*I should note that in its original form, The Builders is a Danish play. Still, it was translated to the Czech language, performed by immensely talented Czech actors, and enjoyed by a Czech audience- making it a thoroughly Czech experience. As for the Danish sense of humor, I’ll have to take a trip to Hamlet’s hamlet and see for myself.

The Builders is running through February 2013 at Švandovo Divadlo.

9.1.2013 [sold out]

5.2.2013

23.2.2013

 Visit Svandovodivadlo.cz for more information.

All Natural

November 15th, 2012 | Posted by Karolinad in Household | Karolina | Lifestyle | Shopping - (Comments Off)

It feels as though I have hibernated for most of my adult life and until recently been awaked to discover a whole new world.  It was not until after my firstborn came into this world, that I really started to think about being and staying healthy.  These days it’s more difficult getting your hands on healthy food and products, when there are too many choices on the shelves and the packaging / advertising is often misleading rather than informative.  Although the bio / organic movement has been around for a while, the Czech Republic had to go through its initial bouts of consumerism before people began to question the quality of the products that flooded the stores. 

Initially I thought that being healthy would only require exercising and eating healthy (little junk food -  OK, ok..I do occasionally slip-up on the sweets and junk), which is what I have been doing for the past 15 yrs. However, it didn’t really hit me until recently that the quality of the food I eat and the products I use make a big difference.  Focusing on the products, rather than food for the moment -I started researching cosmetic products trying to figure out what makes some products safer than others, when I came across a few handy websites that highlight the fact that many products contain preservatives and other chemicals that disturb our bodies one way or another (from being carcinogenic to disrupting our natural hormone levels).   

As I continued my research, I learned that there are many companies that produce and offer good quality natural cosmetics which omit the use of harmful chemicals – mainly omitting preservatives (parabens), petroleum products (PEGS), allergens, dyes, etc.  These companies offer products ranging from face/body/hair care to toothpaste, lip balms, deodorants, makeup and so on. 

In the Czech Republic you can purchase natural cosmetics via many different channels, one being the drogerie DM – where you will always find a natural cosmetics section that will offer brands like Weleda, Lavera, Alverde to name a few.  At DM you can also purchase natural/safer cleaning products which tend to be cheaper than your regular brands and better for your health.

Another great way is to check out a store called BIOOO.CZ, which is an online as well as a physical store that is located in the Kotva shopping center.  The benefit of going to the store is the fact that their sales staff is well trained and can help when you are not sure what to choose.  Here you can find a wide range of products from an array of brands that are represented here (even food for your pets!).   

Another good local option for body care is a Czech company Manufaktura that has excellent bath products for adults and children – and they make wonderful presents.

I know that avoiding chemicals in today’s world is simply impossible, but it feels good to make educated choices when purchasing products that we consume or apply onto our bodies.  With natural products it takes a few tries to find what works for you, and some time getting used to a different feel, consistency and smell than what you are used to, but I think it’s worth a try ;)

Happy shopping!

Introducing New Prague Guiri: Phillippa

October 31st, 2012 | Posted by Karolinad in Lifestyle - (Comments Off)

I’m from the North-east of England and I’ve been living in the Czech Republic since 2002. Originally I intended to stay for a year, but ten years on I not only seem to have slightly delayed packing up, but also find myself with a Czech husband, two children, a dog and a cat. We live in a small village just outside of Prague with my husband’s family. I speak fluent Czech in a way only a foreigner could, pretend I understand the difference between a wide variety of mushrooms and occasionally drive closer to the car in front than I really should.  I believe this has practically turned me native.

I am currently on maternity leave with my one year old daughter and three year old son, but also work part-time at an international school. I spend quite a lot of time in sand pits across Prague, have an expert knowledge on how to handle tantrums in the city centre and only vaguely remember what it was like to navigate the public transport system without a pushchair. I hope I can offer some useful insights into family life in and around the city.

This post was written by Guiri Guest writer: Meghan Modafferi.  Meghan is from North Carolina, USA. She is currently living in Prague and working as an English teacher. In her free time, she’s a freelance writer who’s particularly interested in politics, performances, and personalities. 

—————————-

So, now that you’ve visited Prague, you’re dreading leaving. Maybe it seems impractical to come back in the future, especially to come back and stay back. It’s possible though, and not so impractical either. If you’re reading this with relative ease, you’re already engaging the extremely valuable asset that can keep you here.

 Why:

Teaching English in Prague is in high demand. It pays the normal bills and the travel bills, while also feeding a traveler’s soul. I’m an English teacher in Prague, and the more I get into the job, the more I realize what a unique and wonderful position I’m in for learning about people.

No matter how many questions I ask my students, they aren’t annoyed with it. They know the point is to get them speaking, get them speaking better, and keep them speaking (better.) So they keep talking, and I keep asking, and it feels completely natural, until I get home and realize I suddenly know everything about their relationship with their mother.

I’ve thought a lot about this, and how strange it is that they tell me so much, and that I feel comfortable asking for more and more details. I’ve thought about other jobs I could do where I’d have to ask questions. If I were a journalist, my interviewees might (and have in the past) worried about ulterior motives or how their words might be represented on the page. Although it would be part of my job to ask questions, it would be a part that sometimes made people uncomfortable or defensive or guarded. Likewise, if I were therapist, a large part of my job would be to ask questions and keep my patient talking. But I’d need to be drawing psychological conclusions from the content of patients’ answers, and this might give them pause. If I were a teacher of anything other than language, my students’ answers would face scrutiny for accuracy in both grammar and content.

But as it is, in a conversation lesson, my job is to draw conclusions only from the form of my students’ answers. A student tells me, “I think I’m in fault for my divorce,” and my only critical response is “at fault.”

From this vantage point, I’m able to cultivate an incredible amount of intimacy with people from not only a different culture, but a different language. If I were in Prague for any other reason, I would hear “dobry den” at most from the majority of the Czechs I encountered. As it is, I hear their ideas about God, education, love, and politics. I feel extremely lucky and honored to have such a beautiful opportunity, and that’s why I want to pass it on to you.

How:

So I’m recommending it highly from a human standpoint, and from a culture standpoint. But logistics are important too. Just because you speak English doesn’t mean you’ll feel or be 100% ready to dive in. I was an English major at University, but still I was shocked by how many grammar rules I didn’t know. They’re intuitive—you know how to speak them, but not necessarily how to teach them. Learning to explain your language to someone who doesn’t speak it is like learning a new language yourself.

I got my Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certificate at The Language House TEFL in Prague. It’s a month-long intensive course. You’ll be in class more or less from 9am until 9pm. It will be your life for one month, but it can open doors for much longer.

During the day, you’ll take grammar and methodology classes. It’s all taught to you from within the strategy that you’ll be asked to master. In other words, they don’t have you read a textbook page about creative teaching. They engage the method in order to present it. It’s a little meta, and it’s not easy, but it’s a lot of fun.

In the evenings, you’ll be teaching real Czech students who signed up for free English lessons with teachers-in-training. You’ll give a 45-minute lesson, watch two of your classmates give 45-minute lessons, and then be subject to critique by a TEFL observer. It’s a little like a reality show. You get a challenge (to teach x grammar point to a group of Czechs in 45 minutes), you execute that challenge, and then you face the judges. The “judges” are strict, but only because they believe in how much you can learn and how much you can improve in just one month. Wearied, but optimistic for your next assignment, you’ll go home (to your house where you’ll live with your classmates who are all in the same boat) and begin lesson planning for the next round.

You’ll teach students of all different levels, and you’ll be prepared for how that should alter your lesson strategy. For true beginners, you’ll learn how to teach them sentence structure by building from such simple lines as “My name is…” For upper intermediates, you’ll learn to identify holes in their extensive knowledge, and begin filling them in. You’ll be sent across the city to meet privately with a student, so you can experience the difference from class lesson to individual one. And when the month is over, you’ll be qualified and confident, plus you’ll have connections.

The Language House TEFL prepared me for teaching in any situation. They helped me get my Visa. They helped me with my CV. They helped me find a job. And most importantly, they provided me with a community. The TLH Alums in Prague Facebook page has almost 200 members who are ready with support and friendship to make Prague not only a place to work, but a place to really live, a place to call home… at least until your next adventure.

 For more information, go to http://www.thelanguagehouse.net/, or send me an email at meggmod@gmail.com

UA-21678522-1