Life in Prague has been quite the experience so far! Hockey, shopping, living, and getting around all has it challenges but is quite exciting and rewarding as i find myself adjusting to the culture. Living and playing here has helped me mature on a different level than I did in college. It has put me outside of my comfort zone. I find myself learning or seeing new things everyday which is exciting!
I have two other Americans on my team. This helps with having people to easily connect with and experience new things together. My coaches and teammates all speak Czech with the exception of one of our goalies and a player that is there part time. They along with a team helper translate to us when needed. Otherwise I have gotten very good at picking up drills by watching what the coach draws on the board or going to the back of the line to see how it’s done. During games the girls that know a bit of English help when he talks in between shifts and I am starting to pick up on some words and phrases that he says often. I must admit picking up on the language is not as easy as I anticipated. It has taken time but the other Americans and I have made note cards to teach our teammates English and in turn learn some Czech. We are starting with hockey vocab considering it is relevant to our situation. I am excited to see how the first session goes!
The hockey aspects of my trip have been going well. We arrived in August and with only one practice under our belt we jumped into our first tournament! The Czech Womens Summer Cup consisted of playing six games in four days which I have not done since I was probably 12, haha! The tournament was about four hours away in the city of Brumov-Byline. It was a beautiful city! The rink was in the town at the bottom of the hills with our hotel at the top overlooking the town. We had an amazing view and it was fun to see another part of the Czech Republic!
We did well in the tournament taking second place. It was fun to play teams from other countries such as Russia, Germany, Neatherlands, and more. Two of my former teammates at UMD were in the tournament playing for two different Russian teams. It was so great to spend some time with them and interesting playing on opposite teams. The hockey in this tournament was a lot more physical than what I was use to. This didn’t take long to adjust to but communicating did. I talk a lot on the ice and bench. It was hard when I knew the girls didn’t understand me. It opened my eyes to how vital communication is on the ice. After a few games I adjusted to some terms and names to make the play easier. Very crazy at first though. Overall the tempo was great and my fellow Americans and I were pumped to have survived our first tournament overseas!!
After the tournament we were able to explore the city of Prague. We ended up stumbling upon the Charles Bridge and many other things after that. We have taken a free tour around the city that helped us learn some of the history to this city and understand what we were taking pictures of. We also have tried out a Czech restaurant where we had amazing pork,dumplings, fried cheese and beer. The beer here is amazing and is nothing like the beer at home. It has so much flavor and is so cheap! We have also checked out Letenske Sady. This a park that overlooks the city and it instantly became a favorite spot of mine. We have not toured the castle yet but plan on doing so soon.
Our schedule is set up nice. We practice three times a week with games on the weekends. We will occasionally scrimmage boys to push the tempo to help get us ready for tournaments. As for daily life we have not completely gotten into a routine because we have not started work yet. We will soon be teaching in a kindergarten classroom. I am enjoying the free time now but am looking forward to start in the classroom. This will be a good experience for me to teach kids outside of a hockey environment.
As for my next adventure I will be headed to Germany to experience Oktoberfest with my roommate on our weekend off! Here we will meet a former teammate of mine that is from Germany and two of her former American teammates that are playing in Germany this year. I am very excited for this trip and will post pictures in my next blog!
Thanks for reading and as they say bye in Czech…Ahoj!