Staying balanced by teaching English After 15 years of teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in Prague (with a few gaps for birthing babies), this year I decided to quit. In lieu of teaching, I planned more writing, researching, and proofreading assignments – jobs I could do waiting at sports practices, after I put the children to bed, or in the mornings when they were at school. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.
Embracing the changing seasonMy hands grip the handlebars while my legs spin. I am heading toward a short (but steep) rocky hill on the wooded trail above the village of Úholičky. I need a burst of power to make it over the roots. When I crest the hill, I will weave my way through scrub bushes and scraggly pine trees before I head deeper into the forest. I can see my breath in the crisp air. It is late September, but there are leaves on the ground. Fall is coming. I pass a runner heading in the opposite direction. Although it is customary to say, “Ahoj,” in the Czech Republic when you greet a fellow biker (runner or boater), this
#what happens when you stayI don’t have the answers to living a successful life in the Czech Republic. (If anyone does, please email me.) Still, I’d like to share a few insights I’ve learned living here, married to a Czech, raising multilingual children, and trying to make this land (once the stage for a year-long adventure) the backdrop for a life lived well. For me, being able to speak “pretty-good” Czech was the most important thing that helped me adapt to life in the Czech Republic. For that, I have my husband and children to thank. In the beginning, as a single TEFL teacher, I was curious about the Czech language. I wanted to be able to greet my English
Yielding to the right on Prague’s cobblestone streetsDriving School is the last school I would have imagined being enrolled in at nearly 40 years of age. Until now, I have driven (happily) in Prague using my US driver’s license. I haven’t had any accidents – knock on wood (or teeth as the Czechs do). The one time a police officer asked for my license during a routine check seven years ago, he didn’t say anything about it not being Czech. Still, after years of navigating roads in the Czech Republic, not having a Czech license began to seem like the one hurdle standing between me and a settled life here. What was I waiting for? In the beginning, a Czech
Bringing a third language (and culture) into our family’s linguistic mix Anna turned to wave at her brothers and me. Then, she lifted her suitcase off the security belt and disappeared with the other travelers into Prague’s Terminal 2. It was Anna’s first solo international flight, and my stomach did a flip flop as I watched her stride off. She looked confident and self-assured. A few minutes later, she texted a picture of Gate C11 with a sign saying the departure time to Bilbao. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.
Transitioning back to life in the Czech RepublicWaiting at airport security for our return flight to Prague, my 10-year-old son, Oliver, said, “Mama, can we talk Czech now?” Although it seemed strange to break out our Slavic phonetics when we were standing on American soil, the time had come in Oliver’s mind to jump back into our Czech lives. For the past decade, my family has taken a summer trip to the US. My children always surpass me with their versatility, both linguistically and culturally. After five weeks speaking English, I couldn’t have uttered a coherent sentence in Czech, even if I’d needed to. I told Oliver he could speak whichever language he wanted, if he left me in peace
With the arrival of warm weather (finally!) in the Czech Republic, summer vacation doesn’t seem that far away. For school-aged children enrolled in Czech state schools, this year’s summer break runs from July 1 through September 1.
If your partner happens to be Czech, you may have a better chance of getting kissed on May Day than getting flowers for St. Valentine’s.
To get a local perspective on how to file taxes from the Czech Republic, Prague TV spoke with Peter Piater, a tax accountant at the Prague-based firm Expat Taxes, to clarify frequently asked questions about the requirements of the US income tax system.
Since my first Christmas in Prague a decade ago, I’ve spent some time comparing a Czech Christmas to Christmases I know from the US. Although I miss caroling door-to-door, waking early to find stockings at the fireplace and eating sausage casserole in my pajamas, I have come to cherish some of the Czech symbols and rituals that seemed strange to me years ago.