3.12.2008

The friends we've made so far

So I had a great plan about coming to the Czech Republic; I was going to be charming and outgoing and make some friends. These friends would then be invaluable sources of travel information and we would carry on meaningful conversations comparing the Czech Republic and America. I even bought little maple sugar candies as gifts to give my new friends as a symbol of my gratitude for all the help they surely would have been and I would have missed them when I returned to the States although we would exchange emails occasionally.

Well, it was a great plan. But it has not happened. At all. Like, seriously, no friends! It turns out that the Czechs are much more genuine than Americans, as part of this they do not smile unless they really mean it, and they do not casually make friends. So the closest friends Tom and I have are his un-talkative office mate, the ladies at the falafel place that remember our orders, the woman at the post office who hates Americans, and this duck that I talked to for ten minutes or so while in Cesky Krumlov. Tom and I have lately been discussing the difference between travelling somewhere and living there. Living someplace is much harder, you have to negotiate things like grocery stores and the post office, and it really starts to wear you down that everywhere you go people look at you like you've sprouted antennas and even the simplest task requires a great deal more effort than it normally would. On the good days it can be really easy to brush off all the stares or the ever growing list of "stupid things I did today" but on the bad days it just feels a little overwhelming. So I've been very lucky that Tom and I can talk about our common experiences and I also guess it's good that I have friends like Mr. Duck to share my troubles with (he was a very good listener).

Oh, and those candies I got for my future friends? Yeah, I ate them.

3 comments:

loonasee said...

It is interesting how we are so comfortable in our little everyday worlds and then our world expands into foreign countries with difficult languages, and few people who understand. It knocks us down a level or two on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. You have the food, clothing, shelter but not much else of the things that are so important as a being.

Lulu said...

Very true! It makes me appreciate so many things that I would otherwise take for granted however, like being able to order food without getting weird looks.

Anonymous said...

What this says to me is that we anticipate major events and we have a list of things that we are nervous about (potential problems) anda list of things that will be great (your new Czech friends) and we (I!) are almost always wrong. I fuss and fume and plan stategies for anticipated problems and count a lot of chickens that never ever hatch. There are always problems and there are always delights but they tend to be completely unexpected. Lauren's Mom