Monday, October 25, 2010

One Month In

It's been almost a month since we packed up and set off for lands unknown. Unknown, that is, as far as our daughter was concerned. She was born here but that doesn't mean much to her as she doesn't remember anything but England!

One month in, I'd say it's going well. K adapts well to changes and is an experienced traveler. She still asks about her friends in England, for example if they will go to her new preschool. She takes it well, though, when I explain that England is too far a commute.

She loves her bilingual preschool and has a pack of friends, both Czech and foreign. She refers to the teachers as "teta" in Slovak and "that lady" in English. Unfortunately we don't have any neighborhood friends or playgroup type activities yet, but then it took us a very long time to hit our stride when we moved to UK, too. We'll find out where the fun people are eventually!

She still speaks to people in English and seems to feel that if anyone doesn't understand her, well that is THEIR problem and has nothing to do with HER. She is, however, using more and more Slovak and Czech words when talking to Czech speakers. Last week she called me "Maminko!" - correct Czech ending and all. I still wouldn't call it a Czech explosion at this point, but that would be a little premature to expect, anyway.

K's English is still developing in amusing ways. Her imagination is wild and her use of language is more and more able to express it. She breaks out with new phrases I haven't taught her even now in a Czech environment. Most recently "ages and ages" - "I did that ages and ages [ago]." She started talking about "good choices" and "bad choices" this month - I think they must talk about that at preschool. K's approach is usually to do something naughty and then insist, "That not a bad choice." If I suggest that it was maybe not such a good choice after all, she can get kind of defensive, insisting at the top of her lungs, "I GOOD CHOICE, THAT NOT A BAD CHOICE."

We've had to work on adapting to new rules, like teaching K the rules of traveling on public transportation or other aspects of city life. I don't really like it, but I have to shush her more than I did before. Living in an apartment building you can't jump up and down repeatedly on a wooden floor without annoying the neighbors. Can't shout in the hallway, no matter how fun the echo is. Not to mention the different rules once you leave home. K is an agreeable little girl and is picking up on what is expected, but it's still an adjustment.

The adjustments aren't just on her part, either. My poor husband is going through reverse culture shock for essentially the first time (he's traveled very extensively but never lived abroad [i.e. not Czech Republic or Slovakia] before). I'm going through the adjustment, too, but as a foreigner I remember what it took to get used to life here the first time, so I can do it again. The Slovak gets worked up about things, like "The waiters! They're rude! How dare they be rude!" and I pretty much answer, "I know, they've always been rude!" The good thing is I think I'm a little more relaxed this time around, even if I do require the Slovak to give me a refresher course on random things and how they work once in a while. I never claimed to have ALL the kinks worked out. :)

All in all...not a bad start to Life In Prague, Take 2. No major breakthroughs or setbacks to report, just steady forward progress. And we have yet to get tired of fresh Czech bread for dinner.

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