#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
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
How Maurer’s Top 10 Lists are making smarter eaters & why “Taste Waste” is his new passion
A random list of personal adaptations to Czech culture from over a decade of life here.
How stand-up comedy is making people laugh in Czech (and in English)
When living abroad, what could be a better pick-me-up than treating yourself to a favorite junk food item from home? For the most part, junk food is based on personal craving. For some, it’s nostalgia for a tasty treat from childhood like Twinkies, for others it’s curiosity about a new snack food trend like the current hot-selling BeanBoozled Jelly Beans, which bring yucky flavors like “stinky socks, rotten eggs, skunk spray and moldy cheese” into the flavor mix just for fun. For Marek Čermák, the ambitious young founder of The Candy Store shops in Prague, junk food means a Reese’s peanut butter cup or box of Mac & Cheese. “It’s addictive,” he says with a laugh. When Marek returned to
A few things you should know about a busload of preschoolers (and the parents left behind)When you see a busload of preschoolers in the Czech Republic, the students haven’t been kidnapped, nor have the teachers lost their minds. Well, you might argue that any preschool teacher is slightly out of (his or her) mind, or, at the least, blessed with an inordinate amount of patience for tying shoes, wiping noses and cleaning up juice spills. Still, you wonder, who would willingly take some 25 children aged four-to-six for a bus trip, much less on a weeklong overnight? Weeklong out-of-school trips to the mountains or Czech countryside are called “school in nature,” or, in this case, “preschool in nature.” They are
Changing old Czech stereotypesOn a trip to the supermarket, my eight-year-old son decided to bring along his own money to buy something for himself. He selected radishes, a package of sushi and breath mints. At the cashier’s, I paid for my groceries while Oliver lined up his purchases. All of a sudden, his face went white. He said he’d lost 100 CZK. I started to look for the money on the ground around us. Almost in tears, Oliver told me it didn’t matter; he didn’t want to look for the money. He’d pay with what he had left. I figured the missing money was close by, so I asked the cashier if I could walk back through the line. She
Learn to cook like an Italian and meet international friends in a relaxed atmosphere.