In the age of Trump, when fear, nationalism, and racism have spread from the United States outward toward Europe and beyond, even raising my children in a fairytale village outside of Prague still doesn’t keep them safe from the Trump-created crises that pop up on their social media and in the news.
The remedy: Take a Czech lesson It’s a few nights before school starts in the Czech Republic. My children are sprawled across their beds, breathing soundly. It’s me that can’t sleep. With temperatures at 30C (again), heading back to school on Monday feels surreal. And, I’m not even the one who’ll be sitting in a classroom. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.
Blending in and absorbing a foreign culture My neighbors joke that I am now Czech. That after living among them for more than ten years, I am one of them. “Už seš naše” (you are ours), they declare with what seems like satisfaction, usually when I catch a joke or make a retort to one of their witticisms. I argue back, citing the ways and reasons that I am still, and will forever be, American. Secretly, of course, I am proud that I can understand their jokes. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.
The trials of learning a new skill My last experience with cross-country skiing was over 10 years ago. Most of the experience has been wiped from my mind, save for a lingering memory of a biting cold afternoon and a mild sense of frustration. The Czechs make cross-country skiing look effortless. I’ve admired them sliding along the frozen lake at Lipno and across the flat, rural landscape on our drives toward the mountains. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.
Teaching English and learning to listen I come from a family of talkers. Making polite chitchat and navigating a conversation is a skill I learned in my early years, mostly by listening to the women in my family as they talked their way through church potluck dinners, monthly bridge group meetings, recreational league basketball games and Friday night high school football. Among Americans, women from the US’s southern states are particularly known for their conversational skills. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.
Quality family time on a Sunday nature walk I proposed the idea for a longish family walk Sunday morning to Radek. As a caveat, he suggested that after our outdoor family time we squeeze in our own workouts. On the weekends we usually alternate, with one of us biking or running while the other watches the kids then we swap. Afterward, we do something together with the children – a family lunch, a trip to an indoor water park or ice-skating at one of the local hockey stadiums. But I was missing a good dose of relaxed outdoor time with my children, the emphasis decidedly on the word relaxed. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.
Shuttling between a two-country existence “Are we going to make it?” Radek’s question hung in the air. Although I’d already packed five suitcases to the acceptable weight of 23 kilos each, the jury was out as to whether I’d fit the rest of our things into our carry-on luggage. It was the night before our return flight to Prague and we were debating whether or not I should pre-purchase an additional bag online. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.
Generating enthusiasm and bolstering confidence How do you get ten wiggly second-graders, released from their loosely supervised after-school care and put back in the classroom, to stop poking their neighbor in the side or fiddling with their locker keys, to sit up straight, listen closely and speak clearly? Short of standing on my head or announcing a fire drill, I haven’t really found the ticket yet. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.
A different spin on a walk in the woods For many Czechs, mushroom hunting is a relaxing autumn pastime, one that is both connected to nature and has practical implications. From young children to grandparents with walking sticks, most of the Czech population actively enjoys mushrooming. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.
Growing through reading I had been bracing myself for the first day of school’s drive into town since last week, when I’d noticed workers blocking off a lane of traffic on our commute route to paint “BUS TAXI BIKE” indications. Getting to school on time had not been an easy feat in the past – and this was bound to make it even more of a challenge. – Keep reading on Emily’s blog.