Blog Count: (5) Meet Czech the Flip |Pinay.com
The last time we checked Czech the Flip was visiting Czech Republic’s North Bohemia with her family. A few months ago, she was camping with family and friends at Vltava. Our featured blogger is Grace, a Filipina in her late 30s. She describes her blog as “musings of a Flipino mom about life in the Czech Republic.”
Our Pinay abroad, obtained a Bachelor of Science in Food Technology degree in the University of the Philippines and worked in Manila prior to moving to the United States in 2005. Then, she married a Czech national. In 2011, she moved to the Czech Republic, which was when she decided to start her blog. Her family, which now includes a four-year-old son and nine-month-old baby, live in a little town, 55 kilometers east of Prague.
“After being here for more than three years, I’ve learned to speak Czech. I’ve made some friends and got a driver’s license that allows me to go anywhere,” says our Pinay. “Of course, being Filipino is an integral part of me. No matter where I am, I will always be Filipino. In fact, I have passed on part of my culture to my children. Both have Filipino second names. My son’s name is Isagani and my daughter is Bituin.” (See related story on Pinay Opens Up on Raising Multicultural Son.)
Below, she talks more about what blogging means to her, the Czech Republic and the beautiful places she has visited.
Initially, blogging was my main tool to fight loneliness and boredom. Prior to coming here, I had a wonderful career in the United States and a job that I loved. Back then, it was a huge change for me to just stay home and care for my then 10-month-old son. Given that the language was a main challenge, there was really no other adult to talk to when my husband was at work. I didn’t want to spend so much money on phone calls. Writing e-mails to every single person was tiring. Blogging provided a venue for me to share my experiences with friends and family who are far away.
What do you want to blog about?
I blog about the many beautiful places in Czech that are not normally found in tourist books. Czech is a beautiful country and there is very little that is known about it. When you mention Czech, people think about Czechoslovakia, a former communist country. I also blog about my experiences of integrating into Czech culture and its similarities and differences to Filipino culture. (In 1993, Czechoslovakia was broken into two countries, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.)
How is life in the Czech Republic?
My life in the Czech Republic is relatively slow-paced compared to the U.S. and the Philippines. When I was in Los Angeles—I was single back then and very ambitious—I was working 48 hours a week trying to build a career for myself. Everything changed when I met my husband. Aside from the fact that I am so far away from the homeland, life is good. The Czech Republic is very generous when it comes to maternity leave. Women can stay home to take care of their children for two to three years with government support. So I would have to say that being able to stay home with my kids is the biggest advantage about living here.
What is the best place you have visited in the Republic?
There are so many beautiful places in the Czech Republic. It is difficult for me to pick one, so I picked two: It is Prague and Cesky Krumlov. These two places have the most beautiful historical monuments, buildings and castles, that are very important in understanding and appreciating Czech history.
Any tips for Pinays wanting to move to the Czech Republic?
I would suggest that Pinays learn or get familiar with the language. Czechs are more than willing to help you if you at least try to speak their language. Avoid being oversensitive or balat sibuyas. Czechs are straightforward. Be prepared for some rude comments against foreigners. Being a post communist country, some people (especially the older generation) are not so accustomed to seeing foreigners. Thus, you may encounter not-so-pleasant remarks from the common folk. Don’t worry, there’s nothing more to that than just a rude comment. There are laws that protect foreigners from discrimination. Finally, obtain contacts from people who may be able to help you in difficult situations, such as, the Philippine Embassy and Association for Integration & Migration. It’s always good to have these with you if and when the need arises.
Blog Count is a series of conversations with Pinays all over the world. We think these Pinays sparkle and shine. If you are a member of Pinay.com, we can feature you too. Can you inspire us? Do you have something to share? Email Tish Leizens, chief editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s start a conversation.
All photos are courtesy of Czech the Flip.
Tish Leizens is a great believer in asking lots of questions. That was how she was trained as a business journalist for newspapers and magazines. That was how she survived trying moments in her personal life and how she navigated a successful career and business in media. In 1997, she asked, “Why not?” And so, she moved from Manila to New York City. It was and continues to be a great adventure. After stints as a reporter for Manila Chronicle and Manila Times; correspondent for The Straits Times and Gulf News; Tish worked as editor for Conde Nast, and later edited and published her own regional magazines, OurHouse and Excursions. OurHouse, sold in bookstores chains in the East Coast, was nationally recognized for its innovative approach to magazine publishing. Tish has lectured at the New York Public Library on how to launch a magazine and other topics related to publishing. She was featured in CNN Money in 2010.