Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The 30-Day List

So I've survived my first month in the Czech Republic. I thought it would be interesting to put together a list of the things that I, so far, really miss. Things. Of course I miss my family, friends and the dogs.

  1. Nonfat (skim) milk. You can get 1,5%. However, it just doesn’t taste right to me.
  2. Iced tea. They have plenty of teas you can buy in bottles. But I want a big glass of freshly brewed iced tea with a lemon wedge.
  3. Not knowing how to answer the telephone.
  4. The news. What is going on in the world?
  5. American measurements. Is 20°C nice weather or not? I don’t know what the temperature is in Celsius because I only know Fahrenheit. How many grams are in a kilo? Is that more or less than a lb? If your child weighs 13kg, do you have a big child or not? I can understand a liter and a ½-liter. But why do sodas here come in 0.2-liter bottles? How many ounces is that? How far is a kilometer? Is 65 km/hour fast or not? Is 120 km far away? I know that there are formulae to convert U.S. and metric but who wants to do the math on the spot?
  6. Tap water, ice cubes & free refills.
  7. Not having to carry my passport around. I’m screwed if anything happens to it. I normally carry just photocopies of my visa and the passport data page. But what if that doesn’t cut it when I must have ID?
  8. Understanding menu descriptions. What exactly is American dressing? American lemonade? American potatoes? What you get will surprise you. I think that spicy here just means “seasoned”. I want some spicy/hot food.
  9. Being able to get a haircut without getting scalped.
  10. Being able to just strike up a conversation with someone. When English fails, I have to hope they can speak German because no one in the city speaks French or Spanish. If they are around my age, then maybe they can speak Russian but probably can’t or just won’t.
The big 3 things that I've missed my first month here are all moot now because of my new flat. So just for honorable mention...
  • Taking a shower. Sure a bath can be relaxing…now & then. Before coming here, I may have taken 1 or 2 baths in the last year. But every day?!?! Taking a bath with that hand nozzle and no curtain got on my nerves. Fortunately, my flat has a shower and I don't have to deal with this any more.
  • A washing machine and dryer. There are only 2 laundromats in this town. Both are connected to pubs where you can have a drink and a smoke while you wait on your clothes. The problem is that when I get my clean clothes home they have the faintest hint of cigarette smoke. Again, I don’t have to deal with this any more. My flat has a combo washer/dryer which is rare here. Most places only have a washer and you hang your clothes up to dry.
  • Reliable Internet service. I don’t know what we did before the net. Any ideas? The service at the temporary studio was just too intermittent. I wonder if this is how things felt like under communism. Sometimes you would have product and sometimes you didn’t. No rhyme or reason to it and nothing you can do about it. Luckily I don’t have that problem any more.
No one should take this as complaining. I really do like it here but there are just a few things that I have to adjust to. I'm sure that a 6 month list will be different.

1 comment:

  1. Chris, they have skim milk. It begins with an "O" and it has a white cap if you're buying it in bottles. It also says .5 in the fine print.