Thursday, September 25, 2008


I'm bringing you today a few pictures of my hometown Chrudim. They may be a little blurry and I apologize for that, but I still think it is worth showing them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where is my home?

When I wrote my last post, I didn't imagine, not even in my wildest dreams, that I would not be able to return back. I planned my visit for 3 weeks only or so. Yet, my stay has taken an unfortunate turn. Because a jerk at the U.S. Embassy decided not to renew my student visa only after a five minute conversation and for him doing so I was practically banned to go back, I had to stay in the Czech Republic. Unprepared. I left almost everything in the States. I came here with two suitcases full of Christmas gifts and only with a few personal belongings. Jesse was there at home in Bayonne. Yes, I call it our home. You know, I usually have a hard time to get accustomed to a new place to live, but this time I just got used to the apartment in Bayonne and to the town itself so fast. I also felt I found the calling of my life in studying a culinary arts major at Hudson County Community College. It is true that I had to be pushed to do so by Jesse, other members of our American family, and I should not forget to mention also my friend and former teacher at Bell School Jonathan. He really believed in me like the others, but the thing is he was a bit of a stranger since he was only my teacher at first and not a member of my family. I miss him so much, and it is a pity that we kind of lost touch, although I sent him an email a few days ago. Let's see, maybe everything is not lost forever. How the situation was absurd can be seen in that that I even had dough for my pies ready in a fridge. We were supposed to celebrate Christmas when I would get back.
Even though it 's already been 9 months, I still live in cultural shock the same way I lived in it when I moved to the U.S.A. Living in the States for 4 years left deep marks on my habits, my thinking and on my soul. There is no doubt about it and if anyone says otherwise then he or she is plainly wrong. Now I understand Jesse when he talked about being uprooted from his culture and at the same time not belonging to the Czech one. I feel the same way now. The sad thing is that this experience should have helped us to better understand each other and brought us closer, but it is not so. We are still far apart away on this issue, however our points of view have changed. Jesse is closer to Czech culture than I am now. He always says I complain a lot about life in Czechia and don't appreciate my country. Well, the truth is somewhere in the middle. I like my country in the way a citizen can like his country. Nonetheless it looks to me along with the European Union very Socialist and I definitely don't like that. What I really appreciate is liberalism here which is not in the U.S. under the rule of neo-conservatives in the White House. That is my general impression. Let's take a look at something practical. You can call me a materialist, but when I compare technology, services and meeting basic needs of people, the U.S. comes up as a winner. I know that for many folks here 'the bigger, the better' saying sounds funny, but I have to say it is true.
Everything seems to be small. For example, we used to have a very nice wide and large stove range. The ones here look like they are taken from doll houses. The roads here are narrower, and I don't mention highways that are clogged by traffic, because they are not fitted for traffic nowadays since they were built, the oldest ones, in the 70's. There is no such thing as Netflix, people here don't know a rice cooker and you cannot use your credit card whenever you want or where it makes sense. My point is that when you take these small ordinary things for granted, it is hard not to compare them and also to get used to something else and accept that just because it is smaller, it doesn't mean it is worse. However it is only human nature to make a comparison. I am also aware of the fact that it was not always like that. I remember well our beginnings in the States. They were quite tough, but we overcame them. I always ask myself if my feelings toward the U.S. would have been the same if I had left while we were living in Jersey City, because I don't have as nice memories from it as I do from Bayonne. What if it had been a different season and not around Christmas which I love very much. Would it have been different? I don't have the answer. It may have been.
I know that I will get used to living here. Sooner or later. Nevertheless, it doesn't mean I will stop missing New York, college, Bayonne, the Hudson River, the Atlantic ocean, Hoboken with its beautiful waterfront promenades and our trips to Ohio, just to mention a few. It doesn't mean I will stop considering the U.S.A. as my second home and it certainly doesn't mean I will stop trying to come back. Like it or not.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Remember the time

Monday, September 08, 2008

Coming soon...

My new post is coming soon from Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. This time I would like to dedicate the blog to our family in the United States of America and because of that I intend to write in English. Before I do that, please accept my apology for my bad English, because I haven't been using it on a daily basis since my harsh return to Czechia. I used to be quite confident in proper English, but I'm not anymore.