This week kicked off the beginning of my official Fulbright grant to Czech Republic. For the next ten months, I’ll be living in Hejnice (Northern Bohemia) teaching at a Secondary School focused on agricultural careers.
I live in the dorms, which are absolutely beautiful! The historic building used to be a summer villa for the owner of a nearby castle.The view from my window offers a gorgeous view of the mountains. In the mornings, I usually see deer grazing in the meadow below.
My first day of work, Kristýna (my mentor) introduced me to many of the staff members. Most people don’t speak English, but their second language is German. I speak neither Czech nor German, and I worry it makes me look lazy! Kristýna is almost always around to translate for me.
After introductions, we went to the school farm to help with the hops harvest! Many teachers were there, along with the principal and town mayor. I was interviewed by a journalist from the largest town in the region, Liberec.
If Google Translate is not being kind with you today, here is the portion of the article where I was briefly mentioned:
“English was among the Czechs. A new addition to the teaching staff, a native speaker of Whitney Weaver, also had her hop premiere. “It’s a whole new experience for me, even though I come from an agricultural area in a small town in Nevada, USA. But it’s nice and I like beer too,” she laughed.
After we finished harvesting hops, some of the teachers and I took the product to a local brewery, which the school has partnered with. This brewery has been functioning since the 1400s, and only stopped under the communist regime. During this time it was converted into a store room for fruits and vegetables. As a thank you, all of the harvesters were given two liters of beer!
Everyone at the school calls me Molly, because that was the name of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at the school four years ago. Add that to the fact that Czech language has no “W,” and my name becomes a tricky situation. So, Kristýna usually introduces me in a way I surprisingly have never heard: Whitney like Houston, Weaver like Sigourney.
I have a feeling that is going to stick.