Head First, Fearless

11 Aug

I knew this day would come. The day where I would be forced to stop clinging to friends during shopping trips or supervisors during bar crawls. When I would actually have to decipher the super scary Czech streets/public trans stops on my own.

Today was that day.

A few days ago I applied to 4 jobs. Most were ‘privileged’ preschools around Prague aka: you don’t go to just color, eat pb & j and learn your ABCs. No, at these schools you eat organic snacks, learn dance, cooking, art, sports and have a daily yoga lesson. Yes, you read that correct, they want 4 year olds to downward dog it.

Needless to say, I applied to these jobs immediately. I’d like to think that by harnessing a child’s creativity at such a young age allows them to flourish, plus I bet my salary would be pretty decent too 😉

So I sent my resume, and a totally heartfelt cover letter and pressed ‘Send’ with an instinctive sense of doubt. I was already well prepared for rejection or, more likely, to be completely ignored. Our economy really scars a recent college grad-Thanks, America! 

But then something AMAZING happened. They responded! Or more importantly–they told me to come in for a personal interview 2 days later! I almost died. This of course sent me into a nervous frenzy. Do I have to prepare a lesson? What do I wear? Will they like me? What are they looking for?! and the #1 concern…

HOW THE ACTUAL F DO I GET TO 489 POLOMOLSKA?!

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(Above: the Prague bus map. Doesn’t look toooo hard right?)

Then, I got to work. I prayed there was a nearby metro aka the least terrifying form of public trans. No such luck. Well, what about a tram? Trams are okay, I have taken those before…nope, no trams. But wait, there’s hope. There’s a bus. Aka: a hot, dirty, smelly vehicle full of people who look like they want to hurt me. Oh my God.

Now, my distaste for buses does not come from never using them. It’s coming from practically living in them for 4 years. When you hate driving as much as I do, you learn to deal with public trans reeeeal fast. While I was studying at Roger Williams University, I never brought my car, Owen. So I was forced to take the RIPTA. The RIPTA scars you. Why? Because there’s people who urinate on themselves, people who ask if you want to hear a song they wrote about their dead father, people who dress like zombies for no reason, and people en route to Kennedy Plaza aka: an open-air http://www.peopleofwalmart.com in the middle of Providence.

You wouldn’t even believe my stories from going to do the lottery or to my internship. Terrifying.

So, I thought that because Prague is way bigger than Providence, the bus situation would be even worse. Thankfully, I was wrong.

The buses are SO NICE. They have semi-AC, multiple comfy chairs, and flatscreen tvs that list the upcoming stops. I loved it! Of course, you better sit down and hold on tight unless you want to fall over, but I can live with this!

So I somehow figured out that I had to take the 117 bus to the end of the line. No problem. To get to lottery I had to take the 60 to Providence for 40mins (if there was no traffic) then switch to the 54 to Woonsocket for 25mins. And there was always the occasional late bus, bus full of screaming babies or 300lb women taking up the first 3 seats. And sometimes you get stranded in the rain, snow, or have to walk 3 miles. The RIPTA made me a survivor. 

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(Above: Casual zombie on the bus. Gotta love Rhode Island public trans)

So I walked up to the bus stop and waited for the 177. To my surprise it arrived perfectly on time! Once on board I was able to relax for the next 26mins to my stop. Once there, I (somehow) encountered not only friendly Czech people, but Czech people who SPOKE ENGLISH. The first lady showed me the correct street, the second lady showed me the direction of the school (which I, of course, walked right by. Twice.), and the third lady was my guardian angel. 

After asking her in Czech if she spoke English, she smiled but shook her head ‘no’. But instead of most people, who would have kept walking, she put her People-esque magazine down, put the half-eaten bread in her purse and she helped me. I tried to mime out what I was looking for, but gave up and just showed her the address. She looked confused. We were on the street. So close!

Then I just pointed to the name, Sunny Garden Pre-school.

“Ahh! Sunny Garden!” she said in her thick accent. (After you travel for a while dealing with language barriers you will realize that there is absolutely no better feeling than the eureka! moment when a foreign person understands you)

She then proceeded to grab my hand and lead me to the building I had been circling. After thanking her profusely, she was on her way.

So, dear readers, today’s moral of the story: face your fears. Aside my all my stupid phobias including escalators, fire, bugs crawling on me while I sleep, needles, driving, thunderstorms…getting stranded in an unfamiliar place is #1.

It definitely takes a lot of courage to step on a random bus to go search for an unknown destination with no cell phone/way of communication/Google Maps. But this makes you think. Being thrown into such situations gives you street smarts and, as nerdy as this sounds, It felt pretty liberating. Realizing you are capable of so much more than you ever thought. You also have to rely on the kindness of strangers who help you realize that everything is going to be okay!

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(Above: Inside the Prague Bus #177)

Now I have to go plan a demo lesson for tomorrow. My interview is at 8am!

Wish me luck 🙂

-JG

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4 Responses to “Head First, Fearless”

  1. Michael August 12, 2013 at 7:53 am #

    Actually, Google Maps is nowadays pretty good in giving public transport directions. Also in Prague. Good luck with your demo lesson!

    • jgravesss August 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      Yes, that’s what I used! And it was super helpful when they showed the bus icon nearby! Thank you

  2. Petr Skřiváček August 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    you can always use this website to find the best connection 🙂 http://spojeni.dpp.cz/ConnForm.aspx?cl=E5

    • jgravesss August 13, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

      thank you, Petr! that is so helpful

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