5 posts Girl in Czechland should have written (but didn’t quite get around to)

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Has Girl in Czechland bared more than her soul this time?

I’ve finally done it.

Bared all at a česky nudist beach (despite the inclement weather)?  Dipped a rohlík into a yogurt and called that my dinner?

No, I’m afraid it’s far worse than that.

I’ve joined Twitter.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have already spotted my first few tweets which now adorn the top right of the blog.  Feel free to retweet, follow or ignore my musings as you see fit.

In an attempt to compensate for my recent lengthy silence, here are some posts I nearly wrote this year – but didn’t – in a condensed form. You could call them my first tentative steps in the realm of micro-blogging (but of course they all exceed 140 characters).

1. The Hairy Hell’s Angel Who Left Me Speechless (and with a Sore Behind)

Don't mess with my Daddy. Especially if it's Easter.

We are at the village for the weekend.  Not an unusual occurence.  I am walking down the stairs in the Village People’s panelak on my way out to do the usual Grandma visiting.

A bearded Hell’s Angel with a basket and a beer belly is coming up the stairs. I’ve never met him before in my life.  We pass – but not before he has whacked me on the behind with the big wooden stick he’s brandishing, saying by way of explanation, ‘Zasloužíš si to!’ – you deserve it.

It’s Easter. We’re in Czechland.  Hitting ladies with wooden sticks will not get you arrested: in fact, it’s a key Czech male rite of passage.

2. Vaclav Havel Has Only Got One Lung

I’m feeling a little down in the dumps. Worn out.  Blue.  I ring Czechman at work for some cheering up.

‘But I’m so tired,’ I moan. ‘For no reason,’ I wail.

‘It’s the weather,’ replies Czechman. ‘It’s so strange – one minute it’s hot, the next there’s a storm. Even Vaclav Havel is tired I heard.’

‘Isn’t that because he’s only got one lung?’

3. Pani Hitlerová, Yoga Teacher 

In another (misguided?) attempt at integration, I begin attending yoga classes. In Czech.  I’ve done a fair amount of yoga in my time so figure that if I don’t understand what’s going on, I can just copy everyone else.  The flaw in my plan is that I’ve forgotten how much time you spend in a yoga class with your head between your legs and your backside in the air. This makes it rather difficult to see what’s going on around you.

I’m doing my very best downward dog in just this  the position when the teacher  – let’s call her Pani Hitlerová –  heads over and starts shouting instructions at me. ‘Dlaně od sebe!’

I try moving my feet a bit further down the mat.  Nope, that’s not what she meant.

‘Dlaně od sebe!‘ she yells again.

‘Rozumíte mi?’ I hear her asking somewhere above my head.

I hate admitting that I don’t understand but perhaps the time has come. ‘Ne,’ I reply.

Actions do indeed speak louder than words. Pani Hitlerlová responds by kicking my hands apart.

And I thought yoga was a non-contact sport.  Not in Czechland it seems.

I’ll never forget the word ‘dlaně‘ though.  It means ‘palms’.

4. Another Czech word I wish I’d known (but now will never forget)

It’s Saturday morning.  The sun is shining outside but I’m wandering around Tesco looking for the one item I specifically came in to find. I need to ask for help. The problem is, it’s a toilet brush. Which I’m not sure how to say.

I consider stopping a Tesco employee, saying the word ‘zachod’ (toilet) which I do know and then miming a frantic scrubbing action.

I text Czechman instead to save embarrassment.  And it’s ‘štěka na záchod‘ in case you ever find yourself in the same situation.

5. Cue Applause

A piece of advice for those of you planning a trip to the theatre here in Prague – and no, I’m not going to tell you to leave the jeans and trainers at home, because I hope that would be obvious.

When the curtain falls at the end, remember to clap. A lot. Until your hands turn red.

Try it now.  If your broadband connection is really good, perhaps I’ll hear you.


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14 Responses to 5 posts Girl in Czechland should have written (but didn’t quite get around to)

  1. Richardinprague

    Hi, Girl! It’s really lovely to hear from you again!

    My early shopping experiences in this country included me not recognising that some of the lables are in Slovak …. and to a novice it’s not always the same as what you dearly beloved has written down on the shopping list for you!

    Some words are a constant challenge – like “droždí” (yeast) for example. My wife uses it a lot for her buchty for example, and I usually have to ask for it. I still don’t seem to get it right!

    One thing which continues to amaze me at the supermarket is the way Czech ladies are quite happy to open bottles of things on display (like softener for your washing for example) to give them a sniff before deciding whether or not to buy them. My wife extends this to opening bottles of new cosmetics – even though there is often a sample available to try. I’m afraid I just cringe and disappear behind another counter when this goes on!

    Anyway – glad you enjoyed your holiday in Greece, and good luck with the Twitters …. or is it Tweets?!

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Richard,
      Yes, the shampoo bottle opening thing makes me want to run away and hide too! Completely unacceptable in Brtitish circles!

      • Sharka

        Than how English people get to know how different shower wash gels smell when you are going to buy some? To me it’s important to know how I would smell for the rest of the day… Or it’s just a lottery thing – choose and hope? 🙂

      • girlinczechland

        It’s a lottery. Oh, the exciting lives we lead 😉

    • Mori

      Try to say “kvasnice” instead of “droždí”. It is a bit less formal, but much easier to pronounce:-)

  2. Finally GIC is back! I missed you and your lovely posts. Regarding the applause I believe czech and italians are the only ones still clapping when the aircraft lands 🙂

    • girlinczechland

      Yes – they *do* clap when the plane lands! I do find that suggests a lack of confidence in the modern miracle that is the jet engine (but perhaps I’m wrong ;))

      • georgi

        Wait, I’m confused…what do people do in the UK at the end of a play? Because in Romania we clap till it hurts and then some more 🙂

        By the way I enjoy reading your posts, you are a funny quirky writer

      • girlinczechland

        Hi Georgi,
        We clap in England at the end of a play too but usually not for very long. It takes a lot to make us keep going while the actors come back a second, third and fourth time to take their bows. Not so in Czechland it seems…

      • I think the clapping in planes is a way to express our thanks to the crew. Easier than everyone coming up and saying “thanks”, or shouting it, or something, ne?
        At least that’s my way of understanding it.

        The continual clapping is all up to your enjoyment of the play, though. But we do enjoy our plays, I suppose.

  3. rosie posie

    I’m glad you’re starting to post things again. That anecdote about the yoga teacher and the toilet brush made me chuckle out loud.

    I know you didn’t actually start miming, but the fact that thought even occurred to you makes it so relatable to me.There’s been so many times when I had to mime things or nod/shake my head enthusiastically while saying the words ano ano/ne ne just to convey that I kind of understood what the Czech people want from me..

    I hope you continue sharing with us about your adventures in Czechland. 🙂

  4. Trnka.

    I really missed your posts, so today- you just made my day bright (still raining, though and awfull lot of slugs, too)
    Your toilet brush story made me laugh – twice, actually, as you mispelled the word “štětka” for “štěka” – the phrase “štěka na zachod” would mean “barking at the loo” .
    Sorry fot this maimed piece of english – hope that your broadband connection is really good, and you will understand.

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Zuzana,
      Barking at the loo eh? It shows how barking mad I must be 🙂 Glad I cheered you up!

  5. Your Mrs Hitlerova is a typical Czech sports/PE teacher.

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