Quiz time: Check out just how Czech you’ve become…

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I’ve just got back from a long weekend in Berlin. While packing my things at the hotel, I stood by the sink trying to decide whether to take those complimentary hand soaps and little sachets of shampoo. I know I probably won’t use them but somehow I can’t help myself. They’re free – sort of – we’ve paid for them – it would be a waste. I even find a little plastic bag to pack away the half-finished soap, even though it’s about the size of my thumb.

That’s it. Little Ms Spoilt and Western has become a thrifty Czech.

Anyway, this incident inspired me to devise a test to assess my Czechness levels. See how high your score is…

HOW CZECH ARE YOU? THE GIRL IN CZECHLAND UNOFFICIAL CZECH CITIZENSHIP TEST

1. Let’s kick off (pardon the pun) with something topical. The World Cup is upon us once again. Which team have you chosen to pledge your allegiance to?

a) England! This means getting wildly drunk while watching the games either in an expat bar or on your sofa, gesticulating angrily at the TV as our boys perform as abysmally as ever then going out to trash a nearby telephone box before being arrested and then deported. Fun times.

b) The Czech Republic! Those Bohemian lions are footballing gods. Hang on a minute, what’s that I hear you say? We failed to qualify… Damn. I suppose you’ll just have to get behind Slovakia instead.

c) You find football a bit dull: hockey’s so much faster isn’t it?

Another shy, retiring English football fan encouraging her boys with her 'holky'...

2. Onto matters financial. How often do you withdraw money from ATMs?

a) Nearly every day: basically whenever you run out of money, which is all the time as you don’t really have a budget of any sort.

b) Once a month only or twice at the absolute most and only from your own bank’s ATM. These withdrawals are free and why should you give the scumbag bankers any excuse to take an extra crown off you?

c) Once or twice a month but you might possibly take money from a different ATM from your own bank if you really need some cash in an emergency and can’t find another one.

3. Your Czechman has proposed to you and you have accepted. (Aww!) You are now planning your very own Big Fat Czech Wedding. As every bride knows, the most important thing is to choose the right dress. Do you:

a) Hire a gown (even though the cost is half what it would be to actually buy the thing)?

b) Buy a cute little vintage number: you think it’s important to have something really quirky and unique. Now you come to think of it, perhaps it would be nice to have some kind of a theme…

c) Buy a huge designer white meringue and pay for it on your credit card: after all, you only get married once, right? (hopefully at least…)

In order to cut back on costs, this young Czech couple pitch in with the clean-up operation...

4.  Breakfast: the most important meal of the day.  Co si dáte?

a) Porridge.  Thank god for Marks and Spencers food section which also sell the proper super strong tea you need to get you going first thing in the morning – which you have with milk of course.  And perhaps a slice of toast if you’re still peckish.

b)  Toast?  Pah!  Everyone knows that gives you cancer.  You’ll be having a rohlik, the ubiquitous cylinder shaped bread roll.  And it’s thrifty too – just a crown from Tesco.  You might take a few to work with you just to have as a snack.  And if you can’t be bothered to cook in the evening, you’ll crack open a yogurt from the fridge and drip another rohlik straight in it.   There’s protein and carbohydrate and you don’t need to wash up a spoon…

c) Kolacs of course!  There can be nothing very wrong with a country which encourages you to eat cake for breakfast.

Who said Czech cuisine was all meat and dumplings?

 

5. And now the controversial matter of personal hygiene. When do you take a shower?

a) In the morning. You need that blast of hot water first thing followed by a strong cup of tea to get yourself going.

b) In the evening. How anyone can bear to go to bed with dirty feet and sweaty armpits is frankly beyond you.

c) You take two showers a day now as you can’t quite decide which nationality you are anymore.

THE SCORES

1. a) 0 b) 2 c) 2
2. a) 0 b) 2 c) 1
3. a) 2 b) 1 c) 0
4. a) 0 b) 2 c) 2
5. a) 0 b) 2 c) 1

7 or more: It’s official! You’re uber-thrifty, would rather watch the hockey than the footie and have developed a penchant for rohliks and evening showers. You’re Czech!

4 – 6 points: Being here has certainly rubbed off on you: you’re quite partial to the odd kolac for breakfast and you now leap up out of your seat on the tram to let pensioners take the weight off their feet without a second thought. You still tip a bit too generously though and have been known to splurge on the odd latte at your favourite cafe…

5 or less: Face it, despite your stay here, you’ve remain English through and through. Which is no bad thing – so long as you refrain from committing any drunken acts of hooliganism.

And just in case you think I’ve given up all my spoilt and western ways, here’s me in Mama Coffee indulging in some secret hot beverage consumption while reading a French novel like the pseudo-intellectual ex-pat poser I really am…

23 Comments

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23 Responses to Quiz time: Check out just how Czech you’ve become…

  1. Gormie

    So, are you really planning a Big Fat Czech Wedding?

    • girlinczechland

      Ha, ha! Even if I were planning it I’m yet to be asked the crucial question… I’ll keep you all posted though of course 😉

      GIC

  2. Zita

    Hi Girl,

    I just found your blog, read it all and had a lot of fun:-) I’m Czech girl living in Copenhagen and I share a lot of your experience – xenofobia, rude people (I realized that they are not rude, I just don’t understand their manners), struggle with obscure language (everybody speaks english to me, my danish self-confidence is pretty low (and english is not much better;-), and last but not least I have never seen so thrifty people as Danes are…:-D Seriously, if I compare my mother and mother-in-law, there is no doubt who the winner is…
    Say hello to Prague (sometimes I miss the city very much) and I’m looking forward to a new post:-)
    Zita
    PS: I’ve got 6 points in your test… Am I still czech enough? Maybe I should start to take shower in evening;-)

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Zita,

      Wow, I’m really interested to hear that a Czech abroad can have similar encounters with the host country’s culture as a Girl in Czechland can. I’m particularly fascinated to hear that the Danes are thriftier than the Czechs – can such a thing be possible?! I’m seriously sick to death with the national obsession with counting every single last crown…
      And if you’re not sure when to take a shower, the best compromise is twice a day I find – then no-one can accuse you of messing up the sheets with your dirty feet but you still go to work feeling refreshed!

      GIC

      • Zita

        I’ll give you an example. When Czech people go for a trip, they usually make sandwiches at home. Danes make sandwiches too AND they also make coffee in thermo kettle (I have no idea how is it called in English, but I hope, that you know what I mean), so they don’t need to spend money for a nice fresh warm cup of coffee in a cafe…
        I think, that this is insane… I love to drink coffee or beer in a lokal pub (or cafe), when I’m visiting some place I have never been before:-)
        And second example: I have one year old daugter. Before she was born I’ve got some ‘second hand’ clothes for her. I couldn’t belive, what I saw… It looked like it was from 80’s and constantly worn by kids… I doubt that any Czech would keep this…:-)
        On the other hand, my boyfriend (danish) is definitely not one of them…
        And trust me, there are Czech people, who take a taxi, or like to enjoy their coffee and cake…I’m one of them and most of my friends are too;-)

      • girlinczechland

        Hi again Dita,
        I’m really glad to hear that there *are* Czechs out there who enjoy indulging in some spoilt and western behaviour! I don’t think life is much fun unless you allow yourself to splash out on the odd treat now and then and I think going for coffee in a new place I’m visiting is a must too. Do you have any favourite cafes/tearooms in Prague I can check out while thinking of you?
        Enjoy the Danish experience,
        GIC

    • girlinczechland

      Only four – and from a swat like you! Must try harder I’d say although I guess that depends on whether you think Czechness is something to aspire to… 😉

      GIC

  3. Liked the quiz – though question about wedding dress doesn’t apply to men! Scored 6 – without the dress 😉

    Cake for breakfast still seems odd to me, but I have never yet managed to stick the cheese onto a rohlik! Maybe that’s the ultimate test?

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Richard,

      I think balancing a slice of cheese on a rohlik and eating it successfully probably is the ultimate test of Czechness! I’ve never really understood anyone would make bread rolls that you can’t really slice open and put anything in so I guess that means I’ve fallen at the final hurdle 🙂

      GIC

  4. Dianne

    I’m afraid I’m still quite english, probably because my husband is english not czech. Yes, thank God for M & S, and visitors from UK, especially the ones who brave it in the car. After 5 years I actually crave for things I never liked much in the first place! Can’t do cake for breakfast though
    I do agree about the thrifty czechs. Our neighbours never pay full price if they can help it. Anything free or a bargain and they let us know about it. When I asked a colleague if the czechs use solicitors when buying a house, I was met with a confused stare and the question “Why should we make those rich ********** even richer?”
    Re wedding dresses – round here they definitely go for the 1980’s big meringue jobbies with the horrific chucky-style doll on the front. What is it about the doll?

  5. HA ha ha ha ha ha ha! You make me so homesick for my time in Prague. (My score was right smack in the middle, BTW. Pretty good for someone who isn’t English or Czech!)

  6. Hi GIC,

    I like the idea of the quiz but, like Richard, I can’t answer the one about the wedding dress because I’m male & already married! And whilst like you, I’m a Brit living in the Czech Republic in a cross-cultural relationship, my wife is German. Therefore for the most part, I experience Czech cultural habits in a second-hand manner rather than first-hand as you do with Czechman & his family.

    I do only withdraw cash from a bankomat belonging to my bank to avoid charges. But I don’t eat rohliky or kolacs for breakfast. And I shower in the morning in order to be fully awake but I did also shower yesterday evening as well as I was very hot and sticky from a long walk on a very sunny day. I’ll leave you to decide what all this makes me!

    Finally, your colloquial Czech is clearly better than mine. I thought ‘holky’ purely meant ‘girls’. However, I sense from your use of ‘holky’ in the caption under the first photograph, that it probably is also used to describe a certain part of the female anatomy!

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Ricky,
      Yes it’s true there is a certain gender bias in the quiz – I guess you just have to try to imagine what you might do if you were an unmarried female but vicars are an empathic bunch so I imagine it shouldn’t be too difficult 🙂
      As for my colloquial Czech, the great Czechman uses the word in this, erm, context but that may just be his own coinage!
      GIC

      • Hello again GIC,

        Thank you for your reply and your kind words about my profession 🙂

        Having done my own bit of internet research and put ‘holky’ into Google image search, it confirms that the great Czechman is not the only male in the Czech Republic to use the term in the manner in which you have in your picture caption.

  7. Mike

    Though I’m a male I knew the answer about the wedding dress…I had a BIG FAT CZECH WEDDING (in fact that was the title of the unpublished column I wrote about it for my hometown USA newspaper)…Given that, I scored a perfect 10. The secret to balancing a slice of cheese on a roll is butter…I can do so without butter…but it’s easier with butter.

  8. Katka

    Hi, love the blog. I scored an 8 and I’ve never lived in CR. However, 10 years with a Czechman myself has won me over to their team. 🙂 Jsem Američanka ale mám české srdce. 🙂

    • girlinczechland

      Wow, eight of ten is indeed an impressive score for an American who has never lived here – your soul must indeed be Czech 🙂
      GIC

  9. jul

    Bit confused by the scoring system “4 – 6 points” AND “5 or less” would mean that if you score 4 or 5 you’d fall into both categories!?

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Jul,
      Umm, maybe… It seems you have indeed uncovered a flaw in my scoring system. I guess I’ll have to go back and review it again when I get a chance – but first of all, I’m off to try to buy five housky – I mean housek. Be warned, I might be some time…
      GIC

  10. Russ

    Here’s the quiz I made a couple years or so back. Never did work out the scoring, though…but you can see what you think for each question…what’s the “Czech” answer…what’s the “American” one or “British” one.
    No, I’m not superstitious…I deleted number 13 and don’t feel like renumbering the following ones.

    1)Living ‘abroad’ (out of your birth country)…
    a) Is the best decision I’ve ever made.
    b) Is something I’d like to do for a little while, but I want to return home to settle down.
    c) Doesn’t appeal to me.
    d) Is overrated.
    e) Will look good on my CV and give me some good stories when I’m older.

    2)I go to the „chata“…
    a) Most weekends when the weather is nice.
    b) Every now and then, when a friend invites me.
    c) I’m still waiting for a Czech to invite me.
    d) Never (that’s the Czech word for ‘slum’ isn’t it?)
    e) I don’t know that club…is it like „Blind Eye“ or „The Globe“, or what?

    3)You go for a weekend day-trip…
    a) Like HELL I do! I’m sleeping in and then going out on the town about 22:00 (10pm)
    b) Car…GPS…let’s go.
    c) 20-30% travel time: 70-80% hiking/sightseeing time.
    d) 20% travel time: 20% hiking/sightseeing time: 60% pub time.
    e) 3% travel time: 95% pub time. 2% in the toilet.

    4)You want to meet some friends in the center of Prague. You suggest to meet…
    a) at Starbucks
    b) Pod ocasem.
    c) By the guy on the horse.
    d) At Palladium
    e) In that pub…you know the one.

    5)When do you plan to return Home?
    a) I AM home.
    b) Soon, then I’ll have to get a REAL job.
    c) After I get a local to marry me, then take him/her home to have kids.
    d) I’ll go back to visit family occasionally, but I’m staying!
    e) Never.

    6)Fidelity (ie, NOT cheating on boy/girlfriends or husbands/wives)
    a) Is for prudes and puritans.
    b) Means making sure your partner doesn’t find out about your „extra fun“.
    c) Is a must.
    d) Is something to try for, but I’m only human.
    e) Is for ugly and old people. I’m young and sexy, damnit!

    7)Men and women cannot be just friends.
    a) VERY true.
    b) Somewhat true.
    c) I disagree.
    d) That’s absolute bullsh*t!

    8)„Sparta or Slavia?“
    a) Is a question of honor that any Czech should have an immediate answer for.
    b) Oh get over it already…it’s just football/hockey.
    c) You know, there ARE other cities in the country besides Prague.
    d) Don’t matter, because they don’t play baseball or ‘REAL football’/Don’t matter because they’re not in the Premier League.
    e) Those are cigarette brands, right?

    9) What is your favorite Czech film?
    a) Slunce, Seno, Jahody
    b) Kolja
    c) Vesnicko ma Stredisko
    d) Pelisky
    e) XXX (no, not a porno…the action flick with Vin Diesel)
    f) Never seen any of them.

    10)It’s a beautiful, sunny day, and you’ve got (gotten) out of work early…
    a) It’s time to head to the pub/beer garden!
    b) Get the bike/skates and go for a little exercise.
    c) Call your lover to see if they have time for a quick romp before you head home to your spouse or boy/girlfriend.
    d) Head home…maybe you’ll beat the hellish traffic/crowds on the metro!
    e) Go shopping.

    11)(For straight men only) My ideal wife/longterm girlfriend will…
    a) Give me a kid or two, wash and iron all my clothes, know how to cook, and earn some money once the kids are off to school.
    b) Not find out about my other women…or if she does, she won’t complain about it.
    c) Be a match for me in brain and wit, be my partner for life.
    d) Look like a model and cook like my mother.
    e) Trick question…there are too many women to settle down with just one!
    f) Both a and b are correct.

    12)(For straight women only) My ideal husband/longterm boyfriend will…
    a) Give me a couple kids, make some money and then leave me alone to entertain myself.
    b) Make enough money to keep me in the best clothes and several kilograms of cosmetics a week.
    c) Respect me as a person and be my partner in every way.
    d) Occasionally ‘help’ me with housework, but basically be a „man’s man“.
    e) Trick question…there are too many men to settle down with just one!
    f) Who needs men?

    14)Jan Žižka…
    a) Is one of the guys on one of the horses…the statues I mean…not sure which one.
    b) Is a Czech national hero.
    c) Was a zealot and a war-monger.
    d) Has too many of those weird Z-letters in his name.
    e) Was the first President of Czechoslovakia.

    15)Most expats in the Czech Republic…
    a) speak way too loudly!
    b) speak English.
    c) speak Russian/Ukranian.
    d) spend a lot of time complaining about how much they don’t like the C.R.
    e) have something interesting to say.

    16) Mluvíš česky?
    a) No, samozřejmě! To je přece můj jazyk.
    b) Not worth my time to learn more than a few phrases…I won’t be here that long.
    c) If I stayed here long enough, I might be able to speak it well some day.
    d) I took some classes and gave up. It’s impossible!
    e) I’m learning…I’m learning.

    17)The service in most Czech restaurants and shops…
    a) „Service“? I’ve been treated more politely in PRISONS!
    b) Is irritating, but you can find a good place and stay with it.
    c) Just takes getting used to.
    d) It’s not so bad. If you want to see BAD service, you should go to Slovakia!
    e) Is completely normal.

    18)Someone stops you in the center and asks you where they can get a good, authentic Czech souvenier/gift. You…
    a) Direct them to Charles Bridge.
    b) Tell them to buy a „nesting doll“ (Matroshka).
    c) Tell them to avoid anywhere in the center of Prague.
    d) Tell them to buy a bottle of Absinthe.
    e) Tell them to buy a bottle of Becherovka.

    19)What was your reaction to the choices of question number 18 (and don’t go back and change your answer to number 18 after reading this, that’s cheating!)
    a) Why isn’t there a choice about Crystal?
    b) Do prdele! If ANYONE chooses B, they should be shot! Those f*cking Russian things should be BANNED here!
    c) Two of the choices are about alcohol!?! Don’t people know anything else about the Czech Republic, besides alcohol?
    d) Only two of five choices are about alcohol!?!
    e) What about Moravian wine?

    20)Your friend just got married, had a baby, got a new job, bought a new flat, lost his/her job, graduated from school, got his/her driver’s license, or has a birthday/name day: how do you celebrate or mark the occasion?
    a) One word: pub.
    b) Those are completely different situations, so it completely depends.
    c) Greeting cards and a personal congratulations.
    d) For most of them, go for a beer, but not for the new mother or the friend who lost his/her job.

    21)Someone asks you where they can get some vegetarian food in Prague. You…
    a) Direct them to Jama or Radost.
    b) Direct them to Lehka Hlava or Beas Dhaba.
    c) Direct them to the nearest pub and tell them to order smazeny syr (fried cheese).
    d) Look at them like they’re crazy and shake your head in disbelief.
    e) Say, „don’t ask me“.

    22) Often, when walking through Prague, I marvel at
    a) The beauty of the architecture and history all around me.
    b) The beauty of the women.
    c) The increadible amount of dogsh*t on the ground.
    d) How many people are in my way.
    e) The crazy drivers and traffic.

    23) What languages do the clerks and officers in the offices of the Foreign Police speak?
    a) I’ve never been there, but I’m sure they must speak English and maybe Russian or German.
    b) I’ve never been there, but this is the Czech Republic, so probably only Czech.
    c) I’ve been there, and they don’t speak English or any other language I recognize!
    d) I’ve been there, and they only speak Czech.

    24) If someone tells you they live near Pankrac, Palmovka, or Zelivskeho metro station, you…
    a) think “Wow! You live really close to the center of Prague.”
    b) think “Wow! You live really far from the center of Prague.”
    c) ask “how far is that from Charles Bridge?”

    25) The large wooded park in Prague 6, Divoká Šarka is named for
    a) Vaclav Havel’s first wife, Šarka Havelová
    b) The mytho-historical Czech princess who had the power of premonition and foresaw the glory of Prague.
    c) The mytho-historical Czech bueaty who seduced the men’s best warrior during the Girl’s War.
    d) The mytho-hitsorical Czech Queen who first instructed her subjects to use hops to make beer.
    e) A popular Czech supermodel from the 1950s.

    26) You often watch the weather report on Prima TV because…
    a) You want to see the hot weather girls.
    b) You’re waiting to watch Friends.
    c) You want to know what the weather’s going to be like tomorrow.
    d) You’re fascinated in a slightly horrified way to see if the ‘weather woman’ is dressed like a high-priced prostitute or a middle-range one today.
    e) No way, it’s čerta 1 for me…Prima is crap!

    27) If a woman wears make-up…
    a) It should be applied sparingly, enhance her natural features and be almost invisible.
    b) It should be used like paint on a house, covering the original surface thoroughly so that only the largest natural features are visible.
    c) It should be applied like paint on a canvas, completely covering the original surface to create a new work of art on top.
    d) It should be visible from outerspace. (and why does the question say “IF a woman wears make up”?)

    28) I’m not a judgemental person, but I really can’t stand
    a) Germans
    b) Russians
    c) Americans
    d) Italians
    e) Rude Eastern Europeans
    f) Gypsies
    g) a, b, and f goes without saying
    h) Czechs

    29) You read/hear about a case where an amublance was robbed while the medics were in the back, trying to save the life of a young man. Your most likely reaction is:
    a) Well, that’s the Czechs for you.
    b) Those definitely weren’t Czechs. Probably gypsies or Bulgarians.
    c) The medics should have been more careful. Never leave your doors unlocked! .
    d) Come on, that could happen anywhere!

  11. katherina

    oh no… Im so czech 🙁

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