Out and About

Out and About

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Ok, don't hate me, I realize it's been 9 months since I last posted, but time just slipped by!! I will be updating my blog MUCH more regularly now. Really.

So update on my life, I'm back home in Chicago. More on that later.

There are a LOT of realizations I made in my time in the Czech Republic, both about Czech culture and culture in general. First, I will start with all things Czech.

Now, the Czechs are in general very nice people. You will find cranky ones in Prague because they are up to their ears in foreigners, but apart from that, they are a shy buy welcoming people. The young Czechs are especially nice and (sometimes) less timid. They almost always treated me very well, and were curious about me and my life, always with an air of confusion as to why I was living in their country. Fashion, however, in the Czech Republic wouldn't compare to, let's say, Milan or Paris. Now I'm not exactly one to judge, being no fashionista myself, but compared to some of the clothing I saw, I should be on the red carpet.

These, my friends, are Czech pants.

Do you see the man standing on the left of these two women? The checked (haha) pants with giant, noticeable black patches? These are Czech pants. Mostly worn by men, but I have seen them on women a few times. They vary in color, are often orange, and the patches can also be any color of the rainbow. I have not figured out the reason behind these pants. It has been suggested that because the Czechs enjoy hiking in natural settings, like the mountains, these pants give them the support and comfort they need for their trekking adventures, without worrying about ripping a hole in them here and there.

Moving right along, I also made some observations in the public school classroom in which I taught. As I commented on in an earlier post, I only used this classroom twice a week for a couple hours, and it was used the rest of the time by a Czech teacher and a big group of 8 year olds. One day as I was waiting for my students to show up, I noticed this on the teacher's desk:

Can't you just hear The Simpsons music playing in your head right now?

It immediately reminded me of The Simpsons when Bart has to write the same sentence over and over on the board in the opening credits. But wait a minute; teachers actually make their students do this in real life? You know something is wrong with a situation if you can find that same thing happening in The Simpsons.

But what does it mean? I Google Translated it and came up with this: "I do not have to fly around the classroom." Um, unless there was a classroom of birds that I was unaware about, I doubted this translation was correct. I showed this picture later to a Czech friend who laughed and said not to take it literally, that it means a student was too hyper and was running around the classroom too much. Oooooooh, ok. So not literally flying. Right. Totally knew that. This observation made me realize that in the American culture, we often think and speak quite literally compared to other cultures, and this causes me too think too literally sometimes. Duly noted.

Can you figure out what it is trying to say? Maybe the Russian translation is better than the English one!

This, now THIS, made me want to laugh and cry all at the same time. It was located on the door of an extremely seedy, 24 hour casino/bar right down the street from my apartment, that I passed frequently. Worst. Translation. EVER. I must admit that some Czechs have fabulous English, surely even better than mine, but once you leave the city of Prague, English speakers are far and few between. This sign was definitely in Prague, and reminded me that Prague is in many ways still a very Czech city, with many of its older residents clueless in regards to English.

Lastly, and maybe less significantly, how cool is this apple??

I've never been so excited about an apple in my life.

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