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.