Thursday, June 3, 2010

Meet Megan, Chef Extraordinaire.

I know what you're thinking right now: what on earth could Megan, the one who is notoriously lacking the culinary skills department, have possibly concocted worthy of that title?

Split pea soup.

With bacon.

And rolls.

Okay, so I didn't bake the rolls. I bought them from a local bakery. And I didn't have to cook the bacon... it was already done in the soup mix. And the soup mix really was just that: all I had to do was add a liter of cold water, mix well, bring to a boil, and simmer for five minutes. And voila, split pea soup with bacon and rolls!

Really though, this was more of a challenge than it sounds like. Why? The directions were all in Czech. But never fear- if you find that your Czech language skills aren't quite up to snuff, feel free to try reading the instructions in Slovak... even though Czech and Slovak are so similar, that if you can understand one, you can understand about 95% of the other. Not intimidated by the language barrier? Here's another hurdle for you: there is no measuring equipment in the kitchen. Good luck figuring out how much a liter is. I attempted to measure out 4.23 cups in our electric pot, and ended up just guessing. Keep in mind that this adventure was to be both my lunch and dinner- I had other options, but this was what I wanted. Dinner was particularly interesting, because when I pulled it out of the fridge to reheat it on the stove, it looked more like split pea jello than anything else. The color? Intimidating. It looked like a bowl of boogers. The texture? Not much better. It smelled tasty enough, but the visual was rough. But I decided to be brave, and was rewarded for my courage and valiant efforts in the battlefield of the kitchen. I had found myself with a thoroughly delicious bowl of soup. Mission accomplished.

So right now, you're really proud of me, I know. After all, I'm the girl who has been scarred by baking (Literally. This is not a joke. Those raspberry chocolate lava cakes were worth the pain though.). I have nearly lost fingers in the kitchen. I light things on fire. I destroy birthday cakes. Really, it's quite terrible. So I'm currently basking in the joy of a successful endeavor in the kitchen. But you- knowing that my soup didn't exactly require my slaving over the stove all day- are probably wondering what else I could have possibly done with myself during the remainder of my waking hours.

It was cold and raining again today, so I bundled up, and headed to school around 8:30. Sweatshirt, jacket, scarf, the whole nine yards. Turned out to be a good idea, because today I had my art and architecture class, which meant that I spent a fair bit of time gallivanting around the fair streets of Prague. First, though, I had my midterm. Oh, if only all midterms could be that easy. All we had to do was identify the time period of various paintings, sculptures, and buildings. We didn't have to have the four eras (Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Mannerist) memorized, and our teacher had slides on a screen to show us the pictures to ID. It was simple enough. Aced it! Then, after studying Baroque works for a bit longer, we set out into the rain. We visited three churches today, although we could only get inside St. Nicolas and St. Francis, and took a walk across the Charles Bridge through Lesser Town. It was really fun! We're really starting to get a feel for the city. We vowed to come back next week after we visit Prague Castle- hopefully it will be sunny and we'll be able to explore. We found a park- the oldest preserved park in the Czech Republic- that I really want to wander around. I might come back on my own if need be. After that, I ventured home for my soup. I left again for class a little bit early, because I only had five crowns to my name and needed some cash (FYI, five crowns is about 25 cents). Originally, I had planned to go to a bank we were at the other day, but I couldn't remember what tram stop to get off at. Somehow, I found myself at the train station (for the record, it's quite nice), and that worked out just fine for me, because they have ATMs there. Of course, it was a German bank.... so the ATM machines all spoke German. But fortunately, I managed to change it to English- after navigating through the first three or four screens. I then successfully navigated my way back to school, just in time for Czech class. I really have to commend our professor, Lenka, for her patience with us. Next week, we'll be learning food words on Tuesday, and then our class is going out to dinner Thursday night! I am so excited! Today, we continued working with numbers, and learned days of the week, noun cases, and a few other handy-dandy phrases. Taking this class was such a good decision. I have to say, it's fun to be able to ride the Metro and understand some of the things that I hear people say on the Metro. I don't catch much at all, but hey, I'll take what I can get. I still think it's kind of cool!

Other good news: warm weather is apparently headed our way! It will be so nice to be able to venture out without a jacket! Not sure when I'll update this again. Maybe tomorrow night, if I'm have enough time before I leave for Berlin. If that doesn't happen, then I'll catch up with you guys on Monday instead.
The national library
A rainy day on the Vlatava River
I have approximately one billion photos of statues on the Charles Bridge... but this one is the oldest one there. St. John of Somewhere-that-begins-with-N, who was tortured and drowned n the river.
There was just something about this that I liked.
Andddddd I get to live here for two months?! Still hasn't sunk in!
St. Nicolas was an absolutely stunning church! Fun fact: the "marble" seen in these pictures is fake, and the "stone" statues? Yeah, they're wooden, painted with chalk.
The illusion paintings were incredible- it really was difficult to tell where the architecture ended and where the painting began.
I will return to this park. Yes.
Yum. Also, please enjoy the fact that the pot looks like it's smiling.
So I began my egg project today (until I broke the egg... my bad). I need four photos: one for identification, one for advertising/symbolic meaning, one that conveys esthetic impact (translation: artsy fartsy photo), and one that appears 2 dimensional (which I do have somewhere, but it needs a little more editing, so it isn't on the blog).

Ooh, symbolism. Make of this what you will.
Oh, just chillin' in my window, contemplating the meaning of life.


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