Christmas and New Year’s in the CZ

For the second time in three years I was unable to make it home for the holidays. It’s just too far and too expensive, especially since I would have only been able to be there for about 9 days, and that’s before you count the two days of travel (one day there and one day back) and the day or two it takes to recover from the 9 hour difference. So that’s at least four days wasted, which would have given me a grand total of 5 days, which is just not worth going through the hassle of traveling halfway across the world, especially during the Christmas season.
So what did I do? the two of you who still read this thing may be asking, and even if you are not I am going to tell you anyway. That’s just the kind of guy that I am.

For Christmas I had originally planned to stay at home and do nothing. You know, relax and try not to think about all the stress my students had been causing me for the past month and a half–the stress was getting so bad that I wanted to punch the world. I was in a seriously bad mood, and no amount of drinking or hanging out with friends or masturbating helped things. I think it was a combination of factors.
One being that some students have been really difficult this semester–the difficult ones are always there, but it seems like they have come out in force this time around.

Another factor being that it was my birthday and as much as I try not to let it bother me, it still does some times. It’s not that I mind getting old–that’s a part of life–it’s all the hullabaloo that surrounds birthdays that bothers me. I don’t need a party, or even for people to know that I had a birthday. All I need is a beer and a good meal. Company is optional and not always appreciated. (I know, I know, I’m coming off as a cantankerous and ungrateful ass, but I can’t help how I feel about it.) But of course I did have a party (with another friend whose birthday is on the 24th of December) and it was fun, but I can’t say that I really enjoyed it as I am somewhat anti-social in general, and those feelings really started to manifest themselves at the end of November and most of the way through December, and anti-social behavior and parties don’t really mix too well.

The third factor was probably a little bit of resentment that I could not go home for the holiday. I was okay with it, really, but I was not happy about it and I’m sure some of that unhappiness was seeping into other areas of my life like work and friendships. I’ve been alone on Christmas and Thanksgiving before (never in a foreign country) and I survived. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s not terrible, but it is not something that I especially enjoy or look forward to. So the original plan was to be alone, cook a nice meal for myself, relax and watch movies or read or something.

Well, that didn’t happen…

Instead a friend of mine invited me to Christmas dinner at her grandparents’ house. This was an invitation I heartily accepted, and I am glad I did. I was still in a bad mood on Christmas day (that’s the 24th here in the CZ), but I forced myself to put on a smile, shower and go have a good time with my friend and her family–and a good time was had by all. Katerina’s (that’s her name) grandparents don’t speak English, but her grandfather can understand some, and her mother does speak English, though she was shy to speak because she did not feel that her English was very good. Still, she made an effort and that was nice (and more than I can say for myself concerning Czech).

There was lots of food–
pea soup
fried fish (other than carp)
fried carp
potato salad
sausages
schnitzel
and lots of other foodstuffs.
The traditional Czech Christmas meal is fried carp and potato salad. Since I had already spent a Christmas in the Czech Republic and tried the Christmas Carp I did not partake in any of it this time around, but I did eat everything else. And lots of it. I truly lived up to America’s reputation as a country of fat bastards who can’t stop stuffing their faces. I think it was appreciated though, as the meal took all day to prepare, and who wants to go through all that effort if people are only going to nibble and pick like squirrels.

For New Year’s my plans were once again to stay home and relax–I enjoy New Year’s, but I guess I just wasn’t really in the holiday spirit this year–but once again Katerina thwarted my plans and invited me to a party with some other people I knew, and I knew that they could speak English. So I went, and again I was not in the best of moods before leaving my flat to go to the party, but once I got there I was almost immediately glad that I had come. There were games and booze and fireworks and drunken conversation. Fun times were had by all.

So for those of you (maybe three of you now, but I still think it’s only two) who might have been wondering what the unrulytravller did for his holidays, there you go.

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5 comments on “Christmas and New Year’s in the CZ

  1. Adrienne says:

    My ex is of Czech heritage (his parents left there in ’67, go figure), so you just described 9 years of Christmas Eve dinners for me 🙂 I think the schnitzel
    is the only thing I miss about that relationship. lol.

    Glad you were bamboozled into having fun over the holidays 🙂

  2. Martina says:

    nice… good to hear you had such a good time here in our country 🙂

  3. Pops says:

    Great story!
    “Come in she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm…

    Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn… took my crown of thorns.”

    Reminds me of Dylan’s song – Shelter from the storm. The album, Blood on the tracks.

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