I’m homesick for Prague. Strange really, when I’ve only lived there for a grand total of 10 weeks, but I’m itching to get back.
Perhaps it’s not Prague so much that I miss of course, but Czechman. I was a bit disappointed by his lack of excitment when I told him last night that I’d booked my flight home for Thursday. That’s the thing about having a relationship with someone from another country: it’s difficult to know what to put down to cultural differences and what is just them. I do miss his directness though. It’s something we’re not very good at here sometimes in England – telling it like it is. Without getting too philosophical, it’s important in life to have someone close to you who can be relied on to tell you the truth.
I spoke to my Dad last night as it was Fathers’ Day here in England. Just to explain to my Czech readers, Fathers’ Day is a concept dreamt up by greetings cards companies to maximise their profits rather than a day of any real importance. Clever eh? Anyway, I was dreading this particular phonecall because I knew we would end up discussing the recent European elections. Again, for those of you outside the UK, the BNP, an extreme right wing party, who had a candidate elected in the area where my parents live. My Dad voted for them.
‘Of course, we didn’t want the BNP to get in, it’s just a protest vote.’ I didn’t bother to question the illogic of this. ‘Anyway, we just can’t keep letting people into our country.’
‘Well I can’t really agree with that. If we hadn’t let any foreigners in then I wouldn’t have met Czechman.’
‘Yes love,’ Dad says with a weary sigh as though he’s talking to a particularly backward child, ‘but he’s wasn’t working in a chicken factory was he?’
Should I be annoyed by this remark because it implies that all Eastern Europeans come to the UK to do low-status, low-paid work, even though Czechman himself is living proof that this is not the case? Or because it implies that evil Eastern Europeans are stealing jobs from the millions of Britains who are queuing up to work in factories, clean people’s houses or wipe old people’s backsides for a living?
Don’t go believing that everyone here in Britain has embraced Project Multiculturalism: sadly my Dad is living proof that there are still plenty of good old-fashioned racists about.
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P.S This photo is of a shoe shop in Leeds. I was almost tempted to pop in and ask them what they thought the link between Prague and shoes was…