Saturday, March 28, 2009
Living as an American in the Czech Republic
Welcome to Czech Off the Beaten Path! Today this blog is one of the participants in the World Blog Surf Day which is being sponsored by Golden Prague. Thank you, Golden Prague, for organizing this blog hopping around the world!! There are many expats who are participating--it will be fun to read all of the posts! We are supposed to talk about what it means to be an expat living in our new homes. So, here goes...at the end of this post I'll give you a link to the next expat blog!
Living as an American in the Czech Republic has been a very eye-opening experience for me on so many levels. I remember when I first came to visit my then future husband, Jiri. I was so excited, but also nervous to be visiting a former Soviet bloc country--and a place where my own great grandparents had come from! That trip was my third outside of the US...so I was not as new to traveling, but to be visiting an Eastern European country (as we called it then--now we know better and say "Central European" country!) was quite an adventure. My parents had visited just after the Velvet Revolution and they had a wonderful time here. They loved the people and the country. So, from their visit I knew a little of what to expect, but it was still more of a mystery and an adventure for me! After that initial visit, I made several more, including the trip here for our wedding--in Prague.
I learned that the Czech people (such as my husband's family and friends) were just as curious about me as I was about them! We all had some misconceptions to get over. I think everyone expected I would be one of those "ugly" Americans--the kind who give us all a bad name and don't make for very good travelers or expats! I know some of our guy friends were afraid I was going to turn out to be a feminist! Czech men are very intimidated by Western feminists! Czech guys were at one time told all American women were feminists!! And me...I wasn't sure what to expect, except that this was a very male-dominated culture--so wasn't sure what that would mean for me! Well, they were surprised...I'm not so much of a feminist...and this male-dominated culture is just that, and Czech men have a certain amount of gallantry that is really nice! So, things have worked out in that way...no problem.
Living in a foreign country tends to have a big effect on a person. You learn more about the country you are living in, but you also learn a lot about yourself. You see your own prejudices from someone else's perspective, you learn just what you're capable of doing (you can gain self-esteem), and more. I'm not sure how the experience of living as an expat will change me over time. My basic selfhood will not change. But I do believe living outside of my own country will broaden my thinking on many subjects...and might lead me to some surprising conclusions. Who knows...I feel the changes happening, but am not yet able to see just how I've changed...or how I'm changing. I moved here just over 2 years ago...so I'm still fairly new at this expat life!
This has been and continues to be a great adventure--one I'm happy to be having, in spite of being a reluctant expat in the beginning! I want to see and learn more about the Czech Republic and Europe...and other countries, too...I want to learn more about the world we're all living in...and more about you all, too...my fellow expats!
Speaking of that, it's time to close this post and hand it over to Roz at ! Roz is an expat from the UK who has moved to Australia. She shares about her life and experiences in a fun and insightful way! So, here's to you Roz...your turn in our World Blog Surf Day!!
You all have a great day!!!
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