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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Day 2: The Language Game

Bertíke is fiesty. He likes to play Wii fighter combat. The on-screen details of missions and pilot info is completely lost on him, as is the constant “chatter” of the game audio, because all is in English and Bertíke speaks only Czech, though for 6 years old he blisters through that language. Nevertheless, the little urchin explained to me how to play the game even though I don’t know Czech. I think the level of ignorance between the two of us balanced things out.

I didn’t get into central Prague today. Instead, Robert and Iveta took me to IKEA and bought a bunch of stuff I needed for the apartment: cutlery, drapes, drinking glasses, a lamp. IKEA seems like a way of life for some of the Czechs. I’m told that Czechs like to shop on the weekends (could this be a bi-product of having more money than the communist regimes allowed? And that actually having so many goods from which to choose makes shopping a real joy?). I asked Robert if he could ever take for granted the fact that he now has freedom of choice … and soooo many choices at that. He told me that anything is better than living under communism.

Iveta also bought me a loaf of bread, she and Robert’s favorite in all the city, and they want to see if I’ll like it too, so we can split a full loaf each week. I’m going in for this deal. The bread is a big wheel of dense rye like no other one can find outside of eastern Europe. You put a little butter on a wedge, have it with milk or wine and a side of meat or cheese, and you’ve had a meal that will stick to your intestines ’till morning.

So then I moved up into my top-floor apartment today. It is large, and I’ll have pictures to show soon (I want to sort of finish the decor before showing its normal 1940’s “style”). All in all, the apartment is a good deal, and I think I’ll like the area better than noisesome and distracting Prague 1 area. I am thinking of joining an expat group, because the language barrier is so much greater than I can even have imagined. I can hardly think how little I’ll be able to grasp Czech. I couldn’t even get French, for fuck’s sake.


  chris wrote @ August 24th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Great to have you back on in the old world, Mark. Czech….. Proseem & a dopey grin will get you half the way there & the czechs are so much friendlier and willing to help than the frenchies.

“The Czech’s say proseem for everything. It translates as “please”, but it means so much more: How can I help you? Here you go. Excuse me. May I have that. I think you can go an entire day, say nothing but proseem and get around Prague with no problem at all.”

  Mark wrote @ August 25th, 2008 at 8:24 am

That’s as easy as you get, Chris. Add a few “jeku” and “nos shledeno”s and you’re one of the masses. Very democommucratic.

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