The last few days of school were somewhat intimidating, but we got our certificates with a handshake, a brief gracious speech by our wonderful instructor, Jeremy, and his colleague, Gray, plus a couple of classes of champagne.
The day before that was such a delight. We taught an English language class. See previous post.
To celebrate the successful conclusion of our TEFL course, my classmate and I met one of the school instructors, the lovely and vivacious Katka, and her sweet, engineer husband, Martin. There we savored the glories of the famed Czech beer and some dinner, then headed back to the flat via subway.
Each activity was the last – a somewhat melancholy thought. But it was also a happy thought to know that I would be leaving the cold, somewhat moldy, decrepit flat, with windows that rattled throughout the night at freight trains thundered by a few meters from the building.
The take-away for me is that it is easy to destroy prosperity and freedom and very, very hard to restore it. The former Czechslovakia had been the wealthiest, most technologically-advanced country in the middle of Europe until first the Nazis, then the Communists marched in and destroyed it all. Not so much with guns, but with over-control.
This is not to let the Czechs off. There were sympathizers on both sides, but they had been marginalized until the Germans, then the Russians came in to support the local radicals.
Twenty years after they “got their freedom back” in 1989, as the Czechs put it, the city is still shabby and gray. Massive Soviet apartment projects in colors of sh*t gray, sh*t brown and vomit yellow, dominate living conditions on the outskirts of Prague, which itself is beautiful.
The Czechs are working frantically to restore their beautiful country, but the worldwide economic downturn has slowed them down. Here are a few final pix to give everyone a good memory.