suburban prague

as you may notice, my last post was in november. it is now march the fourth. i would love to say that time has just gotten away from me here in my enjoyment of prague, but that would not be enitrely truthful. time did get away during december and january, when we had friends visiting for the holidays and then were off for several weeks for our dublin wedding and subsequent honeymoon in lisbon and rome. and i suppose i could’ve blogged about all that, but i didn’t.

so here we are in march.

any of you that have been following my personal blog regularly for a few years will recall when i lived in china and blogged about the strange and wonderful things that happened to me on an almost daily basis. at present, i can barely lift my creative spirits enough to blog once in four months. [tweetmeme]

prague is a tough place for me to be. that’s what no one wants to tell you, but that’s the truth. i want to justify that statement with some reasons, but i will keep it short, lest i become too whiny.
a) working at home does not afford me much chance to interact with people, full stop.
b) most expats here are already in well-formed cliques. (not to say we haven’t met some nice people, because we have.)
c) czechs (in general), like most host cultures, can be standoffish. (not to say we haven’t met a few nice czechs, because we have.)
d) i don’t speak the language and have decided not to learn. that is another blog post unto itself.
e) going out to restaurants can be a pain because there is no smoking ban.

even as i write those down, they seem and feel trite to me. shouldn’t i be able to “get over” these feelings of general downness about prague? i suppose it didn’t help that, for all of january, i was reading the unbearable lightness of being by prague-born author milan kundera. it is the story of four people, three of whom are depressed, sad-sack czechs that can’t get over their miserable lives. this was part of the lost entwife’s read-alongs and i was somewhat grateful, otherwise i never, ever would have read that book. but it was fully depressing, made worse by the fact that i was in prague when i read it.

despite all that, i like it here. and by “here”, i mean europe. i mean this apartment. i mean socialised medicine and my husband’s great job. i mean cheap groceries and cheap booze. and i sort of mean prague, but only on certain days.

since i’m finding it difficult to verbalize my inside out feelings for this city, i’ve instead decided to try photographing it. but these won’t be the types of photos that you normally see of prague – of its wonderful cobbled laneways and dark medieval spires. these will be photos of prague’s more regular corners, it’s ugly signs and its brutalist ex-commie tower blocks. of the stuff i see everyday when i walk to the supermarket (which, oftentimes, is the only human contact i have between 9am and 6pm).

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8 thoughts on “suburban prague

  1. congratulations!

    i completely relate to b->e and we are reading the same book :). actually for me it’s a re-read, this time translated to Romanian (i read the English version several years ago).

    let’s go for a drink/coffee at some point. i’m away for the next two weekends but i’m back mid-March. alex at lightplay dot cz

    cheers.

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  2. girlinczechland

    Hey Megan,

    For some reason your assessment of Kundera made me laugh out loud (was it the ‘sad-sack Czechs bit?) I think one of the things that puts me off his books is that you get the impression that he has rather an high opinion of himself. Anyway, The Joke is his best effort in my humble view if you want to give him another whirl.

    GIC

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  3. Prague Ginge

    Haha, this made me smile and laugh. Great post! a) Because I agree with it all and b) I tried reading the Kundera in Feb. Almost finished it but gave up as I had pretty much the reaction you did to the characters. Bloomin’ moping eejits. Love the pics, too πŸ™‚

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  4. @GIC i agree that kundera has a high opinion of himself, and i also found that i hated the way he didn’t take responsibility for creating the characters in ‘unbearable lightness’. he even went so far as to say “these are actual people beyond my control” or somesuch, as if he didn’t invent these horrible people!

    @prague ginge – i am glad i’m not alone in the kundera hate, but what are we doing to ourselves? i demand we all read nothing but lighthearted young adult fiction for the next month! and also, i have a book to give you, if you’re interested!

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  5. Your insight in general about Prague is quite true. I’ve had quite a fair share of moaning & groaning about Czech mentality of some & giving the history try shrugg it off.. Long winters I see so dismal but can’t complain with out regular travels to US.. Keep smiling when the times get tough xxx

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  6. I like your photos Megan because it shows the side of Prague where most people live.

    And, like you, I’m not actively learning the language of the country where I spend most of the year (Thai) for many reasons, which I also won’t get into here. πŸ˜‰ Some may be the same ones.

    Keep those spirits up, spring must be around the corner for you!

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  7. Pingback: a new passport and 10 years of travel memories | gypsytracks

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