Shared Joy is Twice the Joy, Shared Pain is Half the Pain

Family, meet Family, meet Family

My family came from San Francisco to visit me for Thanksgiving because my brother had the whole week off of school. We did all sorts of cool and exciting things, including (but not limited to) a tour of a Bohemian glass factory, a tour of Kutna Hora, some wandering through the streets, some hot chocolate (Robby) and mulled wine (Mom), and some nice meals.

My parents helped me cook the turkey for CIEE’s Homestay Thanksgiving meal, which meant that they got to come home and see where I’m living this year here in Prague. It was funny, because Anna was annoyed that I hadn’t told her that my parents were coming so she could clean up, but seriously, the flat in its messiest state merely resembles our house back in San Mateo. The kids were a bit shy with new people around, and were clearly confused by my dad’s attempts to speak the little amount of Czech he knows with them. Interestingly, they glommed onto me as if I was leaving – which does not bode well for when I actually leave, but that is an issue for a few months from now.

It was really fun, though, and I’m really glad they got to meet each other, even if only for a little bit. And I couldn’t resist the opportunity to introduce them: “Family, meet my family. Family, meet my family.” Both families know the others’ names, so real introductions weren’t actually necessary.

On Wednesday night, we went out to dinner with our family. By “we,” I mean my nuclear family – Mom, Dad, Robby, myself. By “our family,” I mean our Czech relatives. We had no idea how many people were coming, and it ended up being a lot. I think there were 17 of us, but I didn’t actually count. It was a lot of fun, because everyone else spoke English, but they all wanted me to try to speak Czech. (Okay, it was fun, but also very difficult.) At one point, Bozka (our 90+ matriarch) told me to say something in Czech. I didn’t really know what to say, just like I never knew what to say when people said “Say something in Japanese.” So I said something silly about how my Czech class’s favorite thing to say is “Proč ne?” (Why not?). It made everyone laugh – I guess I speak well enough to be understood…

I got to listen to a lot of conversations going on around me in Czech and understood a few bits and pieces here and there, which bodes well for my long-term linguistic capabilities. I also got to meet a lot of my relatives, who are actually really fun to be around. Well, some of them. The ones that are closer to my age – in their 20’s, 30’s, and younger 40’s. The ones closer to my dad’s age aren’t quite as much fun, but it is still nice to have met them, to have gotten their email addresses. I got invited to Christmas dinner at one’s house, Dec. 26’s “traditional turkey dinner” at another, and told to call anytime I’m near Old Town Square and want to stop by for a cup of coffee. (I’m near Old Town Square pretty much every day…)

Look for more posts about my family’s visit to Prague shortly, but for now, everyone should know that I’m really glad they came and all my families were able to meet each other.

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