17 December, 2009

Some Pieces of Advice

It's 11:08pm on Thursday, December 17, 2009. This is last day I will spend in Prague...that is until I venture back at some other point in my life, which will happen at some point, but I'm unsure when.

I have turned in all of my finals, just about packed up all of my clothes and souvenirs and tomorrow morning, Kris and I will board a flight that leaves for the John F. Kennedy airport in New York. I'm having mixed emotions about leaving. I'm unsure if I really want to leave behind Prague, but I'm also very excited to see everyone back home. It's a conundrum.

The purpose of this post is to reflect on this past semester abroad. My apologies in advance as this blog is going to be more on the lengthy side. I'm going to try and be as honest as I can. I can't guarantee that it'll be all full of happy things, but I can say that it is honest.

The semester started with the eight of us all meeting at dinner. I'd say we were all pretty much in the same boat. We didn't really know each other and we didn't know how the semester was going to work.

I personally wasn't a fan of certain people due to impressions that I had gathered over the course of the first few days, but over time those feelings subsided and changed. I think everyone here has their ups and downs, their good qualities and bad and I've learned to accept them, just as we all did.

Flash forward a month and we were all traveling to Budapest. We became a tight knit group really fast. This was a bit troubling as no one knew how long we could keep this up before there were problems between us.

Well, there were problems between us, but they weren't anything major...you know the normal arguments people get into when they've been living with each other for so long. Problems with roommates for not cleaning like they were supposed to and problems with people saying things that hurt feelings. All problems that were part of human nature.

But, this didn't keep us apart. We still went out places together and worked together. And in the end, it turned out to be a great experience. I have wonderful memories and new friends too!

Now, before I go back to the good memories, I'm going to air some of my grievances with this semester.

One of my biggest peeves from this semester would have to be the lack of scheduling. We would be sitting at home, making lunch when you would get a phone call from Pavel Marek saying that you had class in 5 minutes. Ummm...I'm sorry, this wasn't on the schedule. How am I supposed to make it to class on time if I didn't know I had class?!?! There was also this problem with scheduling Pavel Jech's class. I understand that he is the Dean of FAMU and is absolutely amazing, but the fact that we kept changing the days of his class really made it hard to establish a schedule.

Another one of my peeves from this semester was the railroading that happened with our film. While yes, I did in fact make the film, I don't feel that it is totally mine. And this is not only because I collaborated with someone else on the project. I feel like Pavel Marek moved our projects forward with what he thought would make a good story and we didn't get much say in the matter. I also feel like I should have learned more in Pavel Marek's class. All we ever did was pitch our stories, but I never learned how to execute the directing of my story...which could have solved some problems when I later shot my film.

And while I'm on the subject of classes. I couldn't help but always feel so lost in my Camera Works class. I didn't really understand how a camera worked and Gahut assumed that we all did, and it wasn't until I did some research on my own that I sort of understood what he was talking about. I wish he had started at the basics,but you can't change what's already happened.

These were pretty much the only major problems I had with the semester. There were minor instances where I found myself pissed at one person or another, but they aren't anything worth really worrying about. Everything ended up fine. The good definitely outweighed the bad this semester and I wouldn't want it any other way. I took trips and made friends and learned so much more than I ever really dreamed of. It's going to be extremely sad to leave all of this behind. But, I know it has to be done. We are all sad and dreading those parting words...and some of us have even already left.

I feel that this blog has become a narrative of the lives of the FAMU kids. So, to commemorate the amazing semester we all had and to break up all of my storytelling, I asked everyone to share their favorite memory and give a piece of advice to those studying abroad in the future. Without further ado, here's what they had to say.

Steph~Favorite Memory: "The picnic in Vienna. Jacob and Dave had an intense search for food and the parcour(ers) in the park."
Piece of Advice: "Love the people you're with because you have a short time together and you can share this wonderful experience together for the rest of your lives."

Shayna~Favorite Memory: "Sitting on the dock on the island with everyone drinking beer and eating sausage by the river after class."
Piece of Advice: "Take
advantage of every opportunity, even if it might not sound that cool at the time."

Dave~Favorite Memory: "
Jacob sneaking onto the runway on fashion night at Club Mecca and struttin his tweed jacket. Also, chicken races and Drew balancing an apple around the courtyard in Budapest."
Piece of Advice: "When you know you got it, bust it out!"

Liza~Favorite Memory: "@Roxy - Drew has beef with manager, Dre
w and Jacob chill on that couch all night, David going to dance/throw up, water all over Tarek's face, boys yell charge! Dave fucks up his ankle, we stay up til 7 or 8 talking and laughing and see sunrise. Also, Kris' birthday at Friends."
Piece of Advice: "It's incredibly close, just take one more step in the right direction."

Drew~Favorite Memory: "Finding David passed out by the river at 5 in the morning."
Piece of Advice: "Always look forward, because there may be something gaining on you."

Kris~Favorite Memory: "My birthday! Dave figuring out how to say the types of alcohol on the shot glass in Czech so that I could have the 21 shot. Having girl singing sessions on stage. And everyone getting a visit from the "drunk fairy" because we were all extremely toasted and somehow miraculously had no ill effects. Plus, the stumbling home with Becky. Where I am sure I divulged numerous amounts of information that should never have been shared but were probably very entertaining to hear."
Piece of Advice: "Step outside your comfort zone and immerse yourself in a new culture. And try to speak as much Czech [or whatever language your host country speaks] as possible. "

Tarek~Favorite Memory: "Getting stuck in elevator with Pavel Marek. Cesky Krumlov debauchery. Navigation in Budapest. Michael Gahut during lighting exercise. FAMU PARTY! Dubbing Jorge's movie. Shooting "Love Machine". CHAPEAU ROUGE!"

Me~Favorite Memory: "Seeing most people show up in costume for the Halloween party."
Piece of Advice: "Don't be afraid to "jump in with both feet." Leave behind any fear you may have and just enjoy everything that comes your way."

I'm finding it difficult to end this post. Probably because I know that once I do, it will be the last one of substance written here in Prague and I don't think I want to face that reality just yet. I don't think I want to face that reality at all...and I probably won't until I'm on the plane at 9:30am heading into the clouds.

But, I know that this really isn't goodbye. You never actually say "goodbye" to friends, you say "see you later". I don't know how I would have made it through the semester without all of these amazing people. Steph, Shayna, Kris, Liza, Drew, Dave and Tarek, you have all been amazing people to get to know and have made blogging so very easy as you have provided so many wonderful stories. Kim, you've been amazing with taking care of all of us. Thank you all so much.

And I guess, that is that. I'm out of things to say...except "see you later."

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