Two Homes: USA vs CZ

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Obviously there are loads of cultural differences between the United States and the Czech Republic. Czechs are politely quiet on public transport; Americans aren't. In restaurants, American servers smile and introduce themselves; Czech ones don't. Etc. etc.

This post isn't a meta-analysis of cultural norms and mores; it's just a silly look at parallels between things we've experienced in both of the places we consider 'home' in light of our just having returned from our annual American Midwest visit.


USA: There's something oddly comforting about the glass-and-steel panoramas of big American cities, like Minneapolis, MN, pictured here. There's a constant buzz, a constant aliveness, to them.

CZ: Unlike pods of skyscrapers, the tall buildings in Prague are scattered all over the place. I love how these dames on Old Town Square preen themselves in the street lights at night, spires all a-strut.


USA: What movement? Seriously, you have to deliberately plan exercise into your day or you end up in this Mobius Strip of sleep-sit-drive-sit-repeat. It doesn't help that we're so dependent on our cars. 

CZ: Without even trying, we are fairly active. We walk to catch public transit, to visit a park, to buy groceries, to get to work, etc. Got to work off the heavy Czech food somehow.

Bachelorette (Hen) Parties

USA: A bunch of ladies gussy themselves up and parade their bride-friend around a city, usually through bars. For my sister's bachelorette, we dressed up as candy, ate pizza in a tiki lounge and went dancing. FYI she's supposed to be cotton candy, not a pink unicorn.

CZ: While I've seen a couple of Czech hen parties in Prague, they do not seem nearly as prolific as in the US. I'm guessing this is Western culture seeping in... sorry! We did throw one for dear Czech friend BB, at the swanky Cafe Louvre, where we donned 1920s frocks and played billiards.

Special Needs Accessibility

USA: Here's me rolling my brother through a splash park in Grand Forks, ND. I'm thankful for the fact that many places accommodate for wheelchairs. Also, his group home is great about hauling him to different places, because he's now too heavy for me to lift into a vehicle! (Ironic because he was just over a pound at birth.)

CZ: I have no idea if Prague has anything like the contraption above, but there is a lack special needs accommodation in the city. Yes, Prague is old. But in the new metro station that connects travelers to an airport bus, there is no escalator! Just 32 steep steps! An elevator has been installed, but it brings travelers to a different exit and they must cross a busy road to get to the airport bus. Face-palm.


USA: I can understand them when they talk! 

CZ: I can't understand them when they talk (unless they attend my English-speaking school). Funny how kids are pretty much the same no matter what corner of the world you're in!

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