úterý, října 29, 2013

Joys and woes of repatriation ...

I've read and talked about the topic a lot and probably best description I found is in Naomi Hattaway's blog I am a triangle and other thoughts on repatriation. Especially I liked the bit about kids who develop in the cross-culture environment and will always be Stars - with multiple points of reference.

However the Circle Country and Square Country model gets a bit more complicated when you need to learn new language to be able to live in the Square Country. For people from English speaking countries it is not the necessity as in the global business environment English is mostly used to communicate. But the rest of us should learn at least English if we want to live elsewhere, though the language of the locals is helpful too ... especially when rising the kids.

And that is when it gets tricky, interesting, complicated, challenging ...

It is well known fact that kids learn languages in the most natural way and can achieve the native speaker's competence even in second-language. Some of the basics is described on Wikipedia. The older you get the harder it is to achieve this fossilization ... and for sure your kids - if you have some - will be fluent in no time (half a year experts said to get used to the language) though living abroad is not only about the language. It is also about the social life and the longer you live outside, the harder - or more challenging - it is to repatriate.

Being born in the Czechoslovakia in the fifties my parents had quite hard times to look after the family,
growing up through a bit of liberalization in the sixties there was a hint of optimism in the air - I was only 13 when we were occupied in 1968 - the solders were led to believe they are liberating us from counter-revolution,
my personality formed during normalization when we were fed by the propaganda that everything in the West is bad without the real possibility to convince ourselves by travelling,
so I was quite happy that the West-East wall fall and we were able to travel and also to work abroad ... and eventually learn the languages not just as a subject at school but as the means for communication which I was able to use in everyday life.

Coming back to the Czech republic feels like going further. I know and love my country and definitely Praha is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. However we are still on the way to democracy and miss those 40 years after the 2nd World War countries in the West used to reshape their democracies, which may not be perfect, but are functional and stable.

I know after those 20 years abroad that no place is ideal and all expatiates miss something, though not everyone is willing to admit.

I do admit that I missed:
  • my Czech relatives, friends, Praha and the countryside in Germany, but it was easy enough to get into the car every now and then and it was challenging to learn German 
  • my Czech relatives, friends, Praha, the countryside and changing seasons (had impression only Spring and Autumn is there) in England ... we used to bring also bread, but it is not necessary any more as English bakers bake darker sorts too.
Back in the Czech republic I'll have the Czech relatives closer, will be missing my foreign friends and most importantly my kids, that grew up while we were abroad hence started their lives there.

... that's the life
... and we go further through the black marshes along the white cliffs ...

[the saying is from the set in Voskovec+Werich piece Ballad from shred, first played in 1935

"At that time (~ middle ages) when one king sent a courier to another king to convey to him he is a sod it took time. Today you have it e ... e ... e ... e ... e ... they know it before it is said. ... Of course the truth is that today they are not so touchy. ... You understand the clown at that time had a social mission. When a king ruled the country surrounded by camarilla, separated from the nation, he wanted to know the truth. But who was there to tell this truth? There was no radio, no newspaper, who was there? So they sent a clown. Clown told the truth, the king kicked him - they always pay for the truth by the kick, that's an internationally recognized currency - the king knew what he needed to know, clown got what he deserved and ...
... they went further through the black marshes along the white cliffs."]

pondělí, října 28, 2013

Forces driving me to write this blog ...

What's the matter?

Not much, I'm coming home - meaning to the home country - after 20 years living here or there depending on the jobs my husband or I got.

Having gone through the chemotherapy in a non-home-country increased my homesickness - quite common among the expatiates, particularly ladies, I've learned - to the unbearable state and for few years my main thought was I WANT TO GO HOME. That feeling was loosing the importance as my recovery progressed, but there was nowhere to return.

I put the increased homesickness down to the fact that just after the chemo my physical and mental state corresponded to one of a 80 years old in spite of being middle aged and thrilled from the job I had and generally satisfied with the life I had. However the treatment and the recovery  - not in the home country - took few years and while I needed to slow down to be able to re-start again all my connections - family and friends - needed to go on in their lives ... and I felt lonely.

Since then I seem to be drawn to the expatriation, repatriation, language education, bi-and more-lingual ... matters ... reconciling with the need to reshape my own life for the retirement slightly more than my piers that only deal with the retirement process and do not need to repatriate at the same time.

... and some philosophical essays will follow :)

středa, října 16, 2013

... a léta běží, vážení ...

... a v Čechách máme před předčasnými volbami do parlamentu ...

... a já se rozhodla podporovat stranu TOP09, která je nejbližší mému vnímání světa.

Zde nabízím několik odkazů na jejich webové stránky, kde si můžete přečíst:

Zápasíte-li s časem, věnujte pozornost článku  5krát PROČ pro volby, nenapsala bych to lépe.

Žila jsem 20 let v cizině a měla možnost vnímat zvenčí změny, ke kterým v Čechách docházelo. Šlo nejen o natírání fasád, ale i o změny na úřadech, v dopravě, v podnikatelské sféře ... povětšinou pozitivní, pokud srovnávám se stavem před rokem 1992, kdy jsme z Čech za prací odcházeli.

Věřím, že s TOP09 udržíme vývoj v České republice na cestě k funkční demokracii.