I always side with the underdog.
Perhaps that’s part of the reason I instinctively love Czechland.
It’s a small nation which has been trampled on by various sets of invaders since time immemorial. Even the Swedes managed to come down from the frozen North and kick their asses. Sorry. But it’s true.
It’s about more than a livelong habit of siding with David rather than Goliath. Loving Czechland is part of a lifelong project to embrace the quirky and thus live a life less ordinary.
There’s nothing wrong with ordinariness of course.
That’s not exactly what I wanted to say. Let me try again.
Loving Czechland is like supporting your local football team: you don’t do it because they’re the coolest or the most likely to top the Premier League, you do it because to pretend to love Manchester United just because they win all the time (do they still win? I don’t follow such matters) would mean you were silly and vain and fake. Instead you make an arse of yourself but maintain your integrity by putting on that geeky green and yellow Norwich City kit with the picture of the canary on it.
And you thought socks with sandals were a style crime.
When I lived in France, there would often come a point in the conversation where the French person would fold his arms complacently. A smug smile would creep across his face and he would utter the following words:
“But of course! You fell head over heels in love with France – our wine, our cuisine, our language – and you just had to come and live here!”
Falling in loving with France is easy. I should know; I did it. But my love affair with France was something akin to a fling with a Moulin Rouge chorus girl: intense and exhilirating while it lasted but ultimately doomed.
Loving Czechland is different.
I know I once said you shouldn’t move abroad as an attempt to make yourself more appear interesting. But settling in Prague has made my life more exotic and given me more stories to tell when I go back home. How many English ladies know that the bar snack of choice in Czechland isn’t pork scratchings but utopenci: a pickled sausage known as a drowning man? I’m sure that little fact will eventually come in handy in a pub quiz in the future.
Exotic and yet familiar: perhaps that’s the winning combination that ensures my happiness here. I’m proud to have firsthand knowledge of life and love in Czechland.
This post was supposed to be about the joys of stumbling across a Czech cultural reference while reading a random novel or watching a TV show. Oh well.