So says Bob Marley which is a good point when one is talking about any culture. For almost two weeks I have been immersed in a reality in Eastern Europe specifically the Czech Republic. I am presently teaching the wonders of the English language. Initially I had a “reality” shock when I arrived because the language, both written and spoken didn’t sound anything like English nor could I distinguish any English words in the writing. To me, that is probably a good thing because it forces me to listen harder and to keep my mouth closed. So far I haven’t felt any frustration and am learning bit by bit that as a guest in the Czech Republic in the town of Vestin that there is a lot going on here.
Arrival was on an overcast day by train, nearly 4 hours out of Prague. I wish I had more time in Prague but I have a year to work that one out. I heard we are about 90 minutes from Slovakia to the South. There is much to see and time in which to see it. My full schedule starts in another week and I have already hit the ground running with private classes with four people. The schedule will fill out to about 30 hours of week with various individuals and groups. I am sure there will be the usual age differences in the classes, but that is what makes it interesting. But the reality is that I am here to do a job and I will try to do it the best that I can.
Getting back to the “reality” of this part of the world, I feel lost in some ways because of the language barrier but good in other ares because the the patience of the people, especially in the supermarket while I fumble with money or need to buy an extra bag for groceries. I had help this morning with the director of the school who went shopping with me and explained the ins and outs of the Czech way of shopping. One of the first times I was in this same supermarket I picked up a packet of meat and wandered around the store asking people if it was beef. Now I feel more confident…a bit.
Keeping my eyes open and my mouth shut has been helpful. In a way I am absorbing the reality of the Czechs without getting in the way…too much. I feel very comfortable and more inclined to learn as much as I can in the precious time I have in this wonderful country.
…and so it goes…