Sorta Czech-ish

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Don't get me wrong - we're still high-octane Americans, with our penchants for banana bread, stick deodorant and the Discovery Channel. But we're also undergoing a bit of Czech metastasis; now coffee tastes better when it's not out of a to-go cup, and we no longer wear sweats in public. Living in Bohemia is definitely tweaking our perception of "normal". We joked recently that we're turning a tad Czech because we were craving horseradish... And then we realized we've been doing quite a bit of "Czech" activity*. 

1) We're at theaters more than we ever used to be. We go to plays and, as you can see, BW was in "The Physicists" with Prague's wonderfully provocative Blood, Love & Rhetoric theater company. It was shown at Alfred VeDvore Theater, in a former nuclear bunker in Letna. Why is this Czech? Well, theater is a rich tradition here; one can find stages on practically every-other block in this city. Some of the world's greatest scenographers have come from this territory, and even former President Václav Havel was a playwright.

2) We're exclusively buying Czech goods. Our medicine, boxed/canned food and even our energy bill are all in Czech. No springing for American or British imports. On the other hand, I thought I could do some Christmas shopping at a recent street fair for folks back home, but there are no Bohumils or Jindriskas there :)

3) We treat our dog like a kid. According to, about 40% of Czechs own dogs, and the adage is that they take better care of them than themselves. Now, I don't necessarily think that's true, but as you can see below, our vet's office has coffee, tea and water offerings in the waiting room - a more cordial environment than most clinics. And it's not unusual to see dogs out to dinner or drinks with their owners.

4) We drink burčák, a partially-fermented young wine, in the Fall. It pops up at wine bars and street corners all over town. Apparently it's only legally allowed to be sold between August and November, which is probably a good thing because it's fizzy and fruity and way to easy to drink!

5) We read websites in Czech. Ok, "read" is an overstatement, but I've stopped the automatic Czech-to-English translation feature on my computer so I'm forced to struggle through learning more Czech vocabulary. So now I just copy-and-paste copious amounts of text into Google Translate. Below, I was shopping for accessories for the school play I'm directing this November (see #1).

*Please forgive the ridiculously broad stereotypes!


  1. I love that you are becoming a little Czech! :)

  2. Well done you! Take full advantage of all the new and different things that are on offer. It is the way to make a success of expat living.

    If as an expat, you cannot live without everything you always regarded as essential when living in your home country & constantly complain about certain items that have proved unobtainable, then it begs the question as to why you left home in the first place.

  3. Way to go! You're definitely making the transition :)) Living here in pet-friendly Czech is really making me want to get a dog more than ever before. Also... it never occurred to me to even LOOK online for Halloween costume accoutrements-- you've inspired me! Sometimes I forget that ordering things online is even an option for some reason...

  4. you're locals! so cool that BW is in theatre!!

  5. Cheers, Annie! Are you a theatre person?

  6. Do it! (Both the dog and the online ordering!) We love our furball, but she is a big time and effort commitment when we choose to travel. And FYI - the costume website had really reasonable stuff.

  7. Great point, Ricky. It makes for excitement when you do get a treat from home in the mail or when a visitor brings something over - like my aunt bringing Girl Scout Cookies last Spring :) What do you miss from the UK?

  8. Cheers, Amy :) Now if I could just pronounce the number FOUR properly...

  9. Having Tesco supermarkets & various branches of Marks & Spencer here in the Czech Republic means that there are very few things that a Brit might want which are not available. I agree with you - when you do get a treat from home, it is all the more enjoyable. I was able to bring back two pots of my eldest sister's home-made jam when I drove back from the UK in May which I enjoy on my toast at breakfast from time to time. When in the UK, I always make sure I visit a Fish & Chips shop for dinner at least once whilst there. Whilst there are a couple of places in Prague who try to offer 'Fish & Chips', they aren't up to the mark :-) Whilst on this subject, you might enjoy a post I wrote two years ago


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