“ I will cross the bridge when I get there.” – Me, 2009
I am now finding myself swimming in cold water. In this new place I now call home, I find it hard to ever do anything because of my inability to speak Czech. This past week has been rough. Combined with all the hormonal changes I was experiencing and the pressure to adapt into my new environment, I found myself experiencing bouts of enormous sadness. Without my husband, I can pretty much not go anywhere because I don’t speak the language. If I get lost, I will not be able to get home. Out here, almost nobody speaks English. Even the American movies shown on TV are dubbed in Czech. If I wanted to define myself in this country, I have to start with learning the language. Český is the key.
I had been forwarned. When Jiri and I got married, he had been bugging me about learning Czech. I started but never finished. It seems like there has always been an excuse whenever I sit down to do so. I was always stuck at Chapter 4. I thought learning Czech was easy because I already speak other languages. I always prided myself of being a fast learner. However, Czech language is very foreign to me. I had to re-orient myself with everything I already know. But it is a very beautiful language. It has 36 alphabets, 26 of which are the standard Roman alphabets. There is almost a word for everything. Though some words are almost spelled the same, they can mean different things if you are not careful. For instance, I told my husband: “Hey hon, the sign says Horky. It must be hot out there.” (Knowing that “Horký” means “hot.”) He then explained to me that “Horký ” means “hot” but “Horky” means “Hills.” I guess a whole lot of challenges are awaiting me as I try to learn Czech.