George Michael, Wranglers, Hot Wine...

Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
The Villa

Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavní Mesto Praha,
Monday, April 5, 2010

  and Massive Amounts of PDA...

     All things loved by the Czechs. I’m not a hater- George Michael ditties definitely appear more than once on my ipod, but that doesn’t mean I want to listen to his entire album back to back to back. Without internet at my apartment yet, I find myself sitting at cafes for hours at a time. On numerous occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of reliving the painful memories of George’s love life back in the 80’s. Classic.
    As for the PDA (public display of affection- for those of you who weren’t sure), again, I can appreciate a couple in love. Maybe some hand-holding, perhaps a light love-squeeze, or even a little peck when parting ways- but that’s not what goes on here.  The Czech's list of appropriate PDA’s include heavy groping, intense make-out sessions, and profuse giggle-whisper conversations. I'm not a complete cynic when it comes to romance, there MAY be a time and a place for this lovey-dovey behavior, but c’mon, in the middle of a crowded metro train, during rush hour, just. isn’t. the place.  It can be quite disturbing to hear that constant lip-smacking noise (you know, like a dog trying to eat peanut butter) six inches from your face. I literally just got the chills picturing the noise. In the states, I used to switch off between reading and listening to my ipod on my commute. Not here… those ear buds are going in every time I step onto a bus, tram, or train. And I’d like to say that all of these situations involve teenagers, but no! I mean, who says you’re too old to make-out in line at the grocery store? I’ll tell you who doesn’t say that… The Czechs.
    I can’t use the word inappropriate when talking about another culture. Obviously, it’s appropriate here. So maybe these are just a couple of things I will have to get over and accept. I’m not opposed to some of their ways. Hot wine? Suuuuuure- what‘s not to love about this spiced deliciousness. Wranglers? Ehh, to each his own. They sport ‘em with pride! While I definitely should accept all of these differences, I absolutely will not be following the whole “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” thing. I wouldn’t be American if I did.
    The list go on and on about what Czechs do and don’t like, especially in terms of food. Just like in any country, I suppose. But the more interesting cultural differences are in the people. It’s hard to imagine that this country was under communist rule just over 20 years ago. Now that I've started to interact with Czechs a lot more, it’s apparent that their way of life back then has shaped their demeanor into what it is today. For example, they don’t smile. Period. In the states, when you walk into a store, restaurant, or even a gas station, people smile at each other upon eye contact. It’s just what we do. Here, especially the older generation, no one smiles. They rarely even make eye contact for that matter. Back when the country was under communist rule, everyone kept their head’s down when in public and was very careful about who they spoke to when on the streets. These tendencies may have lightened a tad, but definitely still exist. This same feeling pertains to service in restaurants and pubs. There is no “fake nice” in the service industry. You order what you want, they bring it, and then you pay. That’s about the extent of the interaction you are going to have over here. Please don’t misunderstand me, the Czechs are very friendly people, they just keep to themselves until they get to know you. Already, some of my students have invited me out for a drink to show me around the neighborhood or to tell me about the Czech football team. It just takes a while for them to warm up socially. And believe me when I say, it’s a whole other issue getting them to warm up in the classroom. Because of the rigorous school systems and structure here, its like pulling teeth to get most of them to say more than two words in English! It's definitely one of the challenges we deal with in every class as English Teachers.
   Anyways, I’ve finally had some time to take some shots around the city. As promised, they are attached. Nashladano!

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Comments

Carlin on

Hey Kris,
It sounds like you are getting lonely with all those weird-os around. I think its best if you just come home now:) We are all quite normal here (haha:) Take care,
Carlin

Roland Rotz on

Hey Krista, First chance to read your blog. Fascinating as usual. I'm especially curious about the carryover from the former Communist rule. Not smiling! When you smile at them, what is their experience? Do they discount it automatically? Is it seen as false and even threatening in some way? I'm also curious about service. With the bare bones approach to waiting on tables, do people tip? How do they tip if they like the service or the server? What is the gauge? Here we might say they were friendly, nice and took care of our table. At the risk of rambling too much, just want you to know how much I love what you are doing and sharing.
Love ya,
Roland

Kelly on

Lou LOVES the pictures of the clocks...more than the train pic!

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