Holka v Česku nebo česká holka? 6 způsobů, kterými jsem se stala Češkou/Girl in Czechland or Czech girl? 6 ways that I‘ve become Czech

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[Non-Czech speakers, don’t be scared! This post is bilingual – scroll down for the English translation]

Možná si pamatujete, že minulý rok jsem poskytla rozhovor časopisu Čilichili. Byla to celkem zábava: na focení jsem si vzala paruku a sluneční brýle. Pamatuju si na poslední otázku, kdy se novinář ptal, jestli jsem se stala Češkou. Dala jsem nějakou praštěnou odpověď, ale v duchu jsem si myslela, „Já jsem Angličanka! Vyhovuje mi bydlet v Čechách, ale nikdy nebudu Češka. Můj cíl to není.“

Potom, před asi dvěma měsíci jsem četla hezký článek od Elizabeth Haas, Američanky, která už tady bydlí sedm let. Rozesmála mi a taky inspirovala. Češka určitě nejsem, ale je možný, že jsem si osvojila nějaké české návyky. Tak tady je můj seznam návyků, kterými jsem se stála Češkou.

Musíte pozdravit!

Jeden velký kulturní rozdíl, se kterým jsem se setkala tady v Čechách, je povinný pozdrav. Potkáte souseda na chodbě, když jedete do práce? Tak musíte říct „Dobrý den.” Na začátku to bylo pro mě divný, ale v současné době jsem připravená pozdravit kohokoliv kdykoliv.

Praktická vs. stylová obuv

Když máte venku v Anglii v listopadu balerínky, nikdo na vás nekouká jako na úplného blázna. Ale v Čechách, mít suché nohy je důležitější, než vypadat zajímavě. Snažím se pořad mít něco na sobě, co je stylové, ale přemyslím víc o počasí, když ráno vybírám boty.

Umění dát spropitné…

Když jsem bydlela v Anglii, dávala jsem vždycky minimálně deset procent jako spropitné (kromě v hospodě, protože tam v Anglii nikdy nedáváme víc než je cena pití). Na začátku jsem dělala stejnou věc tady, ale za nějakou dobu jsem začala zaokrouhlovat nahoru jako Češi. Na oběd je to asi v pořádku dát tak málo, a nechci vypadat jako rozmazlena a bohatá cizinka. Presto ještě občas mám pocit viny, že dám servírce tak málo. To je dilema.

Cítit se jako cizinka v anglickém obchodu

Když jsem slyšela, že Marks and Spencer, anglický obchod na Václaváku, začal prodávat čerstvé jídlo, měla jsem velkou radost. Výběr anglických sýrů! Pravá anglická slanina! „Hummous”! Skvělé! Ale když jsem tam šla poprvé, cítila jsem se víc jako cizinka než skutečná Angličanka. Malinký salát z těstovin za kolik? Sýrová pizza za 150 kč asi není tak drahá v Anglii, ale tady v Praze platíte stejnou cenu v restauraci. A používají hodně plastický obalový materiály. Zkrátka a dobře, kupuju tam každou chvíli nějaké věci, abych vařila anglické snídaně, ale nemám zájem o drahé polotovary.

Užívání si volné přírody

Česká pohoda znamená být ve volně přírodě. Nevyužívala jsem sto procentně tenhle způsob života – například musím zlepšit své houbaření – ale snažím se být víc venku.

A konečně…

Jak už jsem řekla, Češi mají pravdu, že je to celkem lepší mít hlavní jídlo v poledne. Tečka.

Na závěr: Češka nejsem – ale mířím tím směrem…

*                                                                    *                                                                   *

Girl in Czechland or Czech girl? 6 ways that I‘ve become Czech

Perhaps you remember that last year I did an interview with Čilichili magazine. It was fun overall: for the photo shoot I wore a wig and sunglasses. I remember the last question that the journalist asked – if I have become a Czech girl. I gave some silly answer but inside I thought to myself “I’m English! Living in the Czech Republic suits me but I’ll never be Czech. That’s not my aim.”

Then about two months ago I read a nice article by Elizabeth Haas, an American lady who had lived here for seven years. It made me laugh and also inspired me. Of course I’m not a Czech girl but it’s possible that I’ve picked up some Czech habits. So here is my list of ways in which I’ve become Czech…

You must say hello!

One big cultural difference which I met here in Czechland is the compulsory greeting. Bump into your neighbour in the hallway on the way to work? You must say “Dobry den”. At the beginning this was strange for me but these days I’m ready to say hello to whoever, whenever.

Practical vs. stylish footwear

In England if you have ballet shoes on outside in November, no-one is going to look at you like you’re completely mad. However, in Czechland, having dry feet is more important than looking interesting. I still try to put something on that’s stylish but I think more about the weather when I choose my shoes in the morning.

The art of tipping…

When I lived in England, I always gave at least ten percent as a tip (except in the pub because in England no-one ever gives more than the price of the drink). At the beginning I did the same thing here, but after a while I started to round up like Czechs. At lunchtime it’s okay to give that little and I don’t want to seem like a spoilt and rich foreigner. Even so, I still sometimes have guilty feelings when I give the waitress such a small amount. It’s a dilemma.

Feeling like a foreigner in an English shop

When I heard that Marks and Spencer, an English shop on Wenceslas Square, started to sell fresh food, I was delighted. A selection of English cheeses! Real bacon! Hummous! Fantastic! However when I went there for the first time, I felt more like a foreigner than a real English lady. A tiny portion of pasta salad for how much? Uncooked pizza for 150 crowns may not be that expensive in England but in Prague you’d pay the same price in a restaurant. And they do use a lot of plastic packaging on everything. To cut a long story short, every now and again I buy there a few things so I can cook up an English breakfast but I’m not interested in expensive ready meals.

Embracing the great outdoors

The perfect Czech experience means being in the great outdoors. I haven’t completely embraced this way of life – for example I must improve my mushroom hunting skills – but I do try to spend more time outside.

And finally…

As I’ve said before, Czechs are right – it’s better to have your main meal at lunchtime. End of story.

 

In conclusion, I’m not Czech – but I’m heading in that direction…

 

24 Comments

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24 Responses to Holka v Česku nebo česká holka? 6 způsobů, kterými jsem se stala Češkou/Girl in Czechland or Czech girl? 6 ways that I‘ve become Czech

  1. Marie Brno

    Wow, this is a new post and I am here first to comment?!
    I really enjoyed it! It feels quite strange and nice to read this “testimony”.
    And if the Czech part is really all yours, I am soooo impressed! In that case you can safely say you are Czech in language, too 🙂

    And now I’m going to read the American-Czech blog post you linked…

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Marie,

      I wrote the post in Czech first (it seemed the best way to practice) then I got Czechman to correct it with me. I obviously used a dictionary and sometimes he helped me rephrase things that didn’t make any sense so I think I can say it’s 80% my own work… The English part reads a bit strangely to me – none of my usual sarcasm and flights of fancy – but I hope people enjoy reading this post anyway 🙂 And I’ll try not to leave it quite so long before taking on the challenge of another bilingual post!

      GIC

      • Martin

        “but I hope people enjoy reading this post anyway”
        Já jsem se při čtení usmíval celou dobu, je to moc roztomilé a dobré! Díky 🙂

        Věta “například musím zlepšit své houbaření” je dokonalá 🙂 Také bych si rád zlepšil svoje “mushroom hunting skills” :))

  2. Mori

    Wow, your Czech is really impressive!

  3. Ta čeština je skvělá, klobouk dolů!

  4. Wooow! Great czech, for a moment there I though you had it corrected by Czechman or someone else native to Czech, but you left a few hints that this is really you typing. Amazing!

    • girlinczechland

      Hey Honza,

      Thanks for the compliments but don’t be fooled – Czechman did correct it for me so if there are still mistakes, they’re all his fault 😉 I did tell him though just to correct the big mistakes although he did help me with some expressions (“například musím zlepšit své houbaření” is from him but hey, it’s all good training). Anyway, hope you’re not too disappointed that it isn’t entirely my own work and glad you enjoyed it!

      GIC

      • Miles

        While “Musím zlepšit své houbaření” is not formally wrong, it would sound more natural to say “Musím se zlepšit v houbaření” instead. That’s how teachers say it in school: “Musíš se zlepšit v matematice,” or perhaps more colloquial “Musíš si zlepšit matematiku.” Those two are almost an idiom now. Saying “Musím zlepšit svou matematiku” would probably prompt your Czech teacher to say “A také se musíš zlepšit v češtině.” ;-))

        What about you try skipping the correcting part next time, and be authentic instead? It’s nothing to be afraid of!

  5. Sarka

    Very nice post! Your Czech is really good 🙂

  6. Milan

    Skvělé. Děkuji za dvojjazyčnou verzi. Tvoje čeština je lepší než moje angličtina 🙂

  7. “Rozesmála mi a taky inspirovala.”

    Oh no, please don’t use “mi”, the correct form in this case is “mě”. Actually there are people from certain regions using “mi” there but it just sound weird to me. 😛

  8. Stepan

    Ty jsi v M&S jako cizinec, ja jako v risi divu. Nejvic me rozesmiva kdyz tam vedle sebe maji ‘unsmoked bacon – smoked bacon – lardons’ za vyssi cenu. Neumim si predstavit, ze by to nekdo doopravdy koupil 🙂

  9. Its interesting as in your writing you seem able to better write in Czech, like your thinking in Czech. In my lessons I have wrote out about stuff like my holidays and Ive written it in Czech but its just like English translated into Czech word for word like Google translate.

    7 years for me here in total and I still tip too much but thats a trait from back home were one of the worst things you can be is tight, “a mingebag” as we say. I guess the most Czech thing or I should say Moravian thing is that I can now handle and actually enjoy Slivovice these last couple of years. I dont know the name of it but there is a little serving tray for Slivovice that older people have here, they have a bicycle bell on it and ring it when the Slivovice is going around. That ring used to give me a shiver.

    Anglicka slanina is a funny one as I keep telling everyone that in England we mostly eat Dansky slanina.

  10. David

    Hi I’ve met so many English and French teachers at Marks and Spencer, but is it really that good, I wonder. The pizza prices are crazy, for sure. I had some coleslaw from there yesterday and didn’t feel so good after 🙁 but they do have excellent ice-cream and cheeses s:)

  11. K. Pokorny

    Hello girl. I enjoyed reading your article. As usual, your blog is excellent. Now, I must bow before your linguistic skills. I toke inspiration from Leo Rosten´s Mr Kaplan and say, that your Czech is F*A*N*T*A*S*T*I*C! I wish my English would be one day half good as your Czech.

  12. Writing posts like this is a great way to hone your Czech. I tried it a few times and will again, but, though my Czech is pretty good now and I write and talk Czech all the time, I find when I sit down to write a post, I often choose weighty topics and attempt to reconstruct my style of writing in English, and it’s still beyond my powers. Besides I have Czech lessons once a week and like to do something other than checking over my writings. I must get back into the habit, though. I enjoyed it. I just overplayed my hand the last time and discouraged myself.

    The post reads very true 🙂 I was here for two years ten years back, and I’m here again since January, but what with speaking Czech and keeping in contact with the language and so on, I have picked up a few traits myself. My Britishness was already fairly diluted, I think, but there;s been that drip feed now for ten years, and it’s left its mark.

    But yes, it’s a nice post and you definitely ought to true it again soon 🙂

  13. TGM

    Uzasne pokroky v cestine! S pomoci nebo bez, opravdu ‘impressive’!!

  14. Kris

    I’m sorry, but you should feel bad for giving the waitress too little. Not tipping enough isn’t Czech, it’s just rude…

    • girlinczechland

      Hi Kris,

      Perhaps you’re right. How much is enough though, that’s the question? When my family were here, we had lunch in a standard pub. As each person’s share of the bill came to 170kc, I suggested we all put in 200kc each to keep things simple. The waiter seemed really shocked – and I spent at least some of the afternoon worrying about whether we’d tipped too much! Still, I guess when it comes to tipping the old adage ‘Less is more’ simply doesn’t apply…

      GIC

      • TH

        Just rounding up the amount at lunchtime is perfectly OK, but i never had a bad feeling for giving 10% tip for lunches either (i often do that, and i have czech colleagues who do the same). And for dinners 10% is the normal rate here as well. Of course if you are REALLY satisfied, you can give more than 10% and don’t be afraid to give less if you were not satisfied with the service.

  15. Petr Svoboda

    Just one thing that caught my eye.

    I still try to put something on that’s stylish but I think more about the weather when I choose my shoes in the morning.

    Snažím se pořád mít něco na sobě, co je stylové, ale přemýšlím víc o počasí, když ráno vybírám boty.

    I think (but maybe I’m wrong?) that the English version means “I choose first by weather, then by style”, but the Czech one feels to me like “I consider the weather more than before (not necessarily more than style).”

    You Czech is awesome anyway 😉

    • girlinczechland

      Hey Petr,

      Thanks for pointing out the unintended ambiguity in this and for leaving a positive comment too! Must keep up the good work and do another post in Czech soon…

      GIC

  16. Check Czech 😀 Thank You for funniest post about 2 cultures 🙂

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