O víkendu, jsem jela na Výtoň na největší farmářské trhy v Praze. Máme hodně trhů ve Kalifornii, a věděla jsem tento trh bude jako tenhle, s jahodami, malinami, melony. Věděla jsem, že můžu koupit ovoce a zeleninu a chleba a květiny. Je pravda – mohla jsem. Ale Pražské trhy a Kalifornské trhy jsou jiné.
V Praze můžu koupit květiny a chleba. A opravdu dobré dortíčky. A mnouho sýrů. A ryby a čerstvý džus a kávu. Když chceš, můžeš koupit ovoce nebo zeleninu, ale myslým jsou lepší ve supermarketu než na trhu. Možná trh s ovocem bude lepší v létě, ale nevím.
Ale, Pražské trhy jsou jiné než jenom farmářské. Má Masopustní a Vanoční a Velikonoční trhy. Tento týden je prvný týden Velikonoční trh u Anděl, a šla jsem tam. Viděla jsem tradiční Velikonoce vejce a trdelnik (jasně!) a květiny a malé cukrové ptačky.
Over the weekend, I went to Vyton for the biggest farmer’s market in Prague. We also have markets in California, and I thought this market would be the same, with strawberries, raspberries, melons. I thought I could buy fruit and vegetables and bread and flowers. It is true – I could. But the Prague markets and California markets are different.
In Prague you can buy flowers and bread. And truly amazing little cakes. And lots of cheese. And fish and fresh juice and coffee. If you want, you can buy fruit or vegetables, but I think they are better in the supermarket than in the farmer’s market. Maybe the market’s fruit will be better in the summer, but I don’t know.
But, Prague’s markets are different than only farmer’s markets. It has Masopust (Carnival) and Christmas and Easter markets. This week is the first week of the Easter market at Andel, and I went there. I saw traditional Easter eggs and trdelnik (of course!) and flowers and small sugar birds.
*For another post about markets, see this one! Also, more pictures to come, once today’s photos of the Easter markets get onto my computer…
This is a list, with no context for anything. If you want a specific story, write it in a comment and I will happily oblige! (91 stories is just too many to tell!) Also, there are some relevant pictures for fun.
- The super long line for EU passports, no line for us at Gatwick.
- Opening the beer bottles (Gatwick) – drinking in McD’s grass – “Oh my god. That is an ugly ass car.” “His window is down. We’re in an English speaking country.”
- The cold airport floors.
- Lebanese breakfast – fool mudamas – leaving the leftovers in the bathroom.
- Taxi drivers that switched.
- Hula hooping at the bus station.
- Giant fruit market – pomegranate the first.
- Electroworld guy and his directions via bus.
- The kid playing on the bridge with the water underneath lit up by lights.
- Fish market dinner – yoghurt drink.
- The bar that didn’t exist.
- 12 hours of sleep and a kickass breakfast.
- Camels – pet – bite – selfies.
- Fish market waiter while we were waiting for the bus to Oludeniz and drinking coke.
- Zuzu’s jewelry stand.
- Picking the pomegranate of the tree – eating them at the top of the mountain – back photos.
- Meeting the British couple – hiking – coffee the next day.
- Oludeniz dog – humping the other one – teaching it how to swim – the other dog’s nasty shit on the beach.
- French fries and a fish bowl for lunch.
- Waiter was HOT – we pick that one.
- Sunset on the rocky beach.
- Pomegranate on the beach wall after sunset.
- Bathroom incident – “just be polite”
- Dinner with the hostel followed by drinks with the staff – guys talking about Molly in French – Aniko’s ex – lamb pizza, cheese dessert – cheese bread – cool music at the bar.
- Smelling like cigarettes.
- Dawn hike – pomegranate at the tomb – creating “pomegraminal”.
- French toast breakfast.
- Paragliding – Molly scared on the drive – Alyssa’s guide.
- Feeding a fish to the cat on the pier.
- The sea turtle just chilling.
- Changing into sweatpants before the bus ride.
- When do we get off the bus? Bathroom breaks?
- Teaching Alyssa to play Backgammon.
- Found the hot air balloon company all by ourselves.
- Rolls – Molly getting defensive.
- Climbing into the caves – 2 hrs = ½ km – moving the ladder – tunnel joints – dogs that stole Molly’s bag – how did we get up that first rock? – mountain biker that thought we were crazy – stupid horse.
- Hot air balloon – awesome guide – Asian Polaroid – champagne shower – pomegranate that we almost forgot to eat – Kathy’s ripped jeans – top ramen noodles.
- Delicious lunch, stupid cats – Molly tried to feed one.
- Too-long cab ride to the airport.
- Molly’s tickets.
- Security twice at every airport.
- Cops in Fethiye, Gatwick – guns aimed at our heads.
- 11 postcards for 1 Lira.
- Molly bought all the harem pants the store had.
- The bus to Taksim.
- “Are you the guy to check us in?” (nope.)
- Sexy Australian men.
- All of Molly’s alarms.
- When Kathy thought Molly was the bed post.
- Guy that shit in the hostel and then didn’t wash his hands.
- Men’s room at the mountain top when paragliding.
- Molly’s tea with coffee.
- Mini-Hagia Sofia.
- Figuring out the head scarves (and skirts – Alyssa).
- Bread. Bread. More bread. (Not that we’re complaining!)
- Why are the dogs always following us?
- Photography museum for 1 Lira.
- Shoe maker that wanted Kathy to take his picture.
- Pictures of the kids at the Best Western.
- Lunch after following the guy in the blue shirt.
- Textile, button shops.
- Bulk bazaar.
- Spice bazaar – spicy spice – trying the string cheese – getting those chocolates – love tea.
- Walking the wrong way to get to the bridge.
- The fishermen getting out of our way when we wanted them in the picture (sunset on the bridge).
- Street food – corn, sesame rolls, hot dogs, honey bread with nutella.
- Turkish delight – What’s it made of? Turkey!
- Turkish guys sounding like seagulls saying “boyfriend” when Molly told her story – Kathy’s fake boyfriend.
- Molly almost getting hit in the face by a fish.
- Lesson on how to open a pomegranate.
- Postcards – the pile handed to the guy at the hostel – the stack from Voyager that we left in the airport.
- German fountain?
- Recounting all of this nonsense at the falafel place.
- Getting led around the Turkish bath like a little child when you’re basically naked.
- Not waking up at 2:45am like we were supposed to.
- Passport stamps!
- All the people buying their bus tickets from the airport with 500 crown notes.
- UK passport guy – questions, seeing him in the parking lot.
- Woman with the bus company.
- Electro world guy – 1st time we asked for directions, 2nd time, at lunch the last day in Fethiye.
- Flight attendant at Dalaman.
- Guy that works in hotel / saw at the market across the street on the way to the hostel – three times – he lives in Cappadocia, we’re going there, “you’re still here?”
- Waiter from the fish market – at dinner, walking to the bar. Also, his little brother.
- British couple – hiking, in Fethiye.
- Bec and Aniko.
- “No bathroom” guy at the falafel place – told Alyssa to go back to the Hagia Sofia.
- Airport American (Japanese ethnicity?) with the mustache.
- Creepy guy in the taxi/bus back to Kayseri – smoking, Axe, google translated conversation – Ivana Humpalot.
- Spice bazaar guys – “I have poison for your boyfriend.” “Spice girls” “Spice lady” “Spice ladies” “Are you real?” “The short girls are the best lovers (the guy we bought spices from)
- Australian family from the balloon – “no bullshit best coffee”
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
-Albert Einstein 
If you haven’t seen this quote, either you don’t have internet access or you don’t have friends that spend hours and hours aimlessly wandering the internet and posting semi-relevant links and quotes on your facebook wall. If you have seen this quote, you probably looked at it and thought “Huh. Interesting.”
Or you might have thought, “This is the problem with American education. We need to get rid of standardized tests.” That was my response the first time I saw it. I saw this cute cartoon, and I thought it was quite well drawn. Is that a question mark above the fish’s head? A hook to help it climb?
But then I was watching Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk about schools and the dearth (death?) of creativity they create, and I remembered the quote. But not correctly. I remembered it like this:
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will think it is stupid. 
I forgot the “Everybody is a genius” part. Does that mean I don’t think everyone is a genius? No.
I think everyone has individual talents. Some people are natural-born artists, others are incredibly skilled at sports. Pelé? Soccer genius. Freddy Adu? Brilliant, amazing, talented. Not a genius. Robbie Rogers? Super brave, certainly skilled. Impressive, but not a genius.
This leads me to something that has bothered me about our education system for a while now. Every parent wants to put their kid into “gifted and talented” programs. Look at the New York City issue with kindergarten testing. Now I’m not oblivious to the harsh realities of our school systems. Rich parents get to send their kids to expensive private schools with smaller class sizes. These schools don’t have to adhere as strictly to state standards, giving these schools and their teachers more time to focus on subjects like art and music, or to emphasize topics within standard educational subjects the students will actually enjoy. I’m not oblivious to this because I lived it. I went to a small private school where we literally voted on what we wanted to study in 7th and 8th grade Humanities. 
If we go back to our fish and tree analogy, I am a monkey. Climbing trees comes easily. I got lucky in that my talents fall squarely within what our school system aims to foster. Math, Science, English; they all come easily. I “get it.” Interestingly, when I look back at my small, private school education, my worst grades by far were in Art and Chorus, where I was told I needed to focus more and put my mind to it. I remember getting those comments and being frustrated. These teachers also saw me in Math and Social Studies, they knew I was smart, they knew that I always did my best. Why were they giving me bad grades in classes that I was trying hard in, but good grades in classes I barely had to work at?
Why did they expect me to be a good artist when no-one expects monkeys to swim? 
My school was for gifted and talented students, and looking back I realize that definition was independent of species. There was definitely a fish in my class (we’ll call her Talia; she’s an amazing artist and loved Writing but always struggled in Math and Science), and I’d say there were some other types of animals too.
The education I received was wonderfully tailored. There was time for each student to get the help she needed in every subject, and there was time to prepare us all for whatever came next. We each got to pursue our own passions for the full month of January and every Friday afternoon. We learned table manners on school trips to Ashland, Oregon, and made memories everywhere from LA to Japan. Each student was recognized for the animal he or she was, and was given the appropriate challenges. Yes, fish were forced to climb trees and monkeys had to swim, but the teachers really focused on letting each student grow in the direction they wanted to.
But I was lucky, and not everyone has the opportunities I got in terms of individualized education. In normal schools, monkeys are never really forced to swim – the closest they have to get is dipping their toes in. But all the fish have to climb trees. Many of them aren’t very good at it. But some of them are.
Here’s my question, and its two-fold: What do we do about the fish that do climb trees? How should education be changed so that students entering our schools now and in the future aren’t forced to study “normal” subjects they don’t care about, and what do we do about the left-brained students already halfway through their education, torturing themselves to memorize facts for tests they’ll forget in a week?
There is an argument that can be made, and a valid one in my opinion, that every member of society ought to have a broad base of knowledge. Ideally, everyone who graduates from an American school is able to read and write, and has the basic math skills to compute tip when they go out to eat, or calculate the change they are due. But this broad knowledge needs to go beyond what current standardized tests are testing. Graduates should know a bit of world history, and maybe a smattering of a second language. They ought to know how to solve a problem they are facing, and have something to turn to in times of stress.
American high school graduates should not be mathematically inclined English speaking robots. Incoming American students are a diverse group of people, and they should leave our education system the same way. But they should have grown. Each student has a passion; the purpose of the education system ought to be to help each student find and nurture his passion. Kids are incredibly creative, and that creativity shows itself in every imaginable way, and then some. Some kids draw, some tell stories, some have an aptitude for algebra, and some for the violin. We need to stop pretending that there is a job for every college graduate, stop forcing students to major in things they don’t want to study so they’ll get a job.
I’m majoring in Chemical Physics and Political Science. (If you’re in the maths or sciences. If you’re a humanities or social sciences major, I’m majoring in Political Science and Chemical Physics.) Regardless of who I talk to, their first response is always “What are you going to do with that?” I have no idea. Not a flipping clue. I’m interested in Comparative STEM Education Policy. Or Nuclear Energy Policy. Maybe I’ll become the much-needed person sitting at the table with the politicians and scientists translating one language into the other. Maybe I’ll throw away the $200,000 my parents have so kindly spent on my education and travel the world instead. Regardless of what I want to do now or where I think I’ll end up, I’m studying things I love, taking classes in subjects I’m genuinely interested and passionate about. I have hope that my passion and dedication will be enough to get me a job. Because I’m an idealist, and I think it should.
1. Who knows if this quote is actually Einstein? The internet says so, but the internet also says Abraham Lincoln said the thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their validity. If you don’t understand the irony here, please leave.
4. Most monkeys will cross water bodies when necessary, but prefer not to. Except these guys.