5 Questions this Expat is tired of hearing

5 Questions this Expat is tired of hearing

I lived in the UK for the majority of my life. Everybody in my life were either family or friends I had known my entire life or had met in School. When I moved to the Czech Republic I had to force myself to get out there, network and make new friends which can be quite tough when the local language isn’t English. But whenever I met new people I get asked the same five questions, and as an expat in Prague you hear these or get asked these ALOT!

Where are you from?
A pretty simple question. My native English accent clearly gives away the fact I am not a local. When I tell them I’m from Reigate Surrey two things happen.

1) A glazed look appears on their face because they have no idea where that is. I either respond with “It’s near London” or “It’s in the south”. If they respond that they have been to England before I expand a little normally with “It’s between Brighton and London, in the middle somewhere” (because the world and it’s wife knows about Brighton!).

2) They politely nod and continue to tell me that its the most expensive place they have ever been to and how can anyone afford to live there.

Why did you move to the Czech Republic?
I moved to the Czech Republic so I could be with my long term boyfriend who had been moved here with his company. A reasonable enough answer I think? Most people accept this but then I start to explain that living in Prague poses many benefits and that we actually prefer it to London. Then a very skeptical look appears on their faces.

I list all the positives of living in Prague, its affordable cost of living, its central location, being able to live in the capital city, being able to walk everywhere, great beer, great weather…my list is pretty long. But still they remain unconvinced. Many of the people I have met dream of living in London and think I’m crazy for giving it up for somewhere like Prague. But even after a lengthy discussion of all the negatives of London they would still move there in an instant.

How are you getting along with the language?
All the Czech’s have a smirk across their face when they ask this because they know exactly how hard it is for a foreigner to learn it. My Czech is incredibly poor. I know the basics and I have taken lessons but their grammar rules are just to complex for my tiny brain to master. I try my hardest but most of the time I get it wrong. But most appreciate that I try.

How long are you here for?
Now I’m not sure why people ask this question. Maybe it is to first establish what sort of relationship you could have and avoid making close connections with someone who won’t be around for very long. While we don’t plan to stay here permanently we also have no plans to leave anytime soon so it pretty much clears up that answer.

Don’t you miss your family?

The answer is yes I do very much! But luckily we live in a world where technology helps us to stay in contact. I regularly Skype my family back home and whats-app them daily! That’s what they were designed for! Maybe the Czech’s don’t leave home as early as I did (18) but I have been living away from my parents for quite a number of years now so I’m used to it. At the end of the day it’s a two hour flight home and flights aren’t expensive so I can go whenever I want. Sooner of later you have to go out into the world on your own, whether your starting a family of your own, go off travelling or move to a new country like I did. It’s a fact of life, no matter how much we would all like to be cared for my mummy we all have to break free at some point.

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11 Comments

  1. May 22, 2014 / 7:43 PM

    This sounds familiar! Here in the Netherlands, when I say I’m from the US, people always ask where. I get that blank look when I say “Connecticut,” and have to explain that it’s near New York. I don’t get that question about speaking Dutch, though, because I’ve been here long enough to speak it fairly fluently. My accent, though, amuses them, to my constant annoyance. The accent is what leads them to ask where I’m from.

    And being from the US, and given the Dutch tendency to feel greatly superior to the Americans, they rarely ask me about going back there! On the other hand, they are forever regaling me with their vacation stories about visiting the US (LA, SF, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, back to LA in two weeks or less.)

    • Samantha
      May 22, 2014 / 7:55 PM

      My Czech pronunciation highly amuses them! I can’t do some of the letters…my lips and tongue don’t work that way and it comes out wrong! As for the stories about their visits to the UK/USA I guess its an ice breaker in a way…:)

  2. May 22, 2014 / 8:06 PM

    Interesting post, Samantha! As a journalist, I tend to ask a lot of questions. It’s never because I’m nosey, but always because I’m interested in others and what makes them tick.

    Keep this in mind when you are meeting new people in your new home as they likely ask those same questions because they feel that’s a polite way of understanding why you’ve made the decisions that you have made. I always feel more insulted when people don’t ask me any questions about who I am or where I came from!

    • Samantha
      May 23, 2014 / 9:22 AM

      Maybe tired was the wrong word to use! I just get a bit bored with my answers….sometimes I think I’d like to make something ore exciting up. Say I work for the FBI or something! But like you say if they didn’t ask I’d be insulted too…its a conversation ice breaker I suppose! Just one that gets tedious at times…

  3. May 23, 2014 / 4:38 AM

    LOL, the point about living outside of your parents watchful gaze since 18 struck a cord with me.

    I did the same (left the nest) at that age, and was flabbergasted when 6 or 7 years later when my parents made the move from Victoria to Tasmania (separated by a strait of water) by the amount of people who asked “Are you going with them?”

    For the record, I really enjoyed the short amount of time I have thus far spent in the land of the Czechs

  4. May 25, 2014 / 7:18 PM

    My favorite is how they would rather live in London even though they’re listing all of the reasons they should never live there! I was born and raised in California and anytime I meet a stranger and this comes up I get similar reactions with lists of why the US is possibly isn’t the most ideal place to live with traffic, everyone lives far apart, etc etc and then they talk about how they would love to live here! I find it to be quite funny!

    • Samantha
      May 26, 2014 / 11:22 AM

      I just think that everywhere has its positives and negatives it really just depends on what your priorities in life are. For example you might not want to live in a pokey little flat in a city when you have children but you might as a young adult because that’s where the nightlife is. Also depends on income I guess, not everyone can afford to live in big cities! I’ve lived in the countryside and two capital cities and I’d give anything for open space, fresh air and no traffic!

  5. May 27, 2014 / 10:38 AM

    I love your response for when people ask where you’re from haha. Sometimes in Latin America i would have to just say Australia, because even Melbourne was a difficult stretch. Living in Prague sounds like the place to be over London! Glad you made the move and are enjoying it 🙂

    • Samantha
      May 27, 2014 / 10:42 AM

      Prague is lovely! I’m so glad we moved out of London. It felt like such a rat race at times! Although Melbourne is meant to be an amazing place to live! Hope to visit it some day!

  6. July 10, 2014 / 4:51 PM

    I know what you mean about Czech – one day here and I realize I’m not going to be able to learn anything sufficient in terms of getting by in Czech. Sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard. My go to is cases like this is to smile a lot and learn “hello” and ‘Thank you”. That will usually get you by anywhere…
    Spanky has the same experience when people look at her strangely when they ask about New York. Again, a city where everyone seems to want to live. They can’t fathom why anyone would have wanted to leave the city for Montreal…
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • July 10, 2014 / 6:07 PM

      Just learn the basics and that will get you by. Just one tip would be don’t be surprised if you don’t get smiles back. Prague/Czech Republic is known for its appalling customer service and moody waitress/waiters/barmen/shop assistants etc… 🙂 I got really upset the first week I moved here as I thought everyone here was mean but its just the way they are. (Not everyone of course)

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