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Three Observations about Life in Prague as an Expat Woman

June 1, 2013

1.  Want to look like a tourist?  Just make sure you complete your potentially fashionable outfit with a pair of athletic running shoes.  Just in case you need to run away from a pickpocket or something.

2.  Want to inform the lady at a museum ticket counter that you are not Czech and probably speak English?  Simply wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt to the museum.  I am guilty of this.  Hey, I was on my way home from working out and took advantage of a whim to see the Dvořák Museum I hadn’t seen yet- time left in Prague is limited!  This girl is from New Joisey and she’s not afraid to wear sweats in public.  At least my outfit matched my running shoes!

3. Men do not typically give up their seat for you on public transportation just because you are a woman.  That’s too old-fashioned.  But offer to be the person to help you carry your stroller up some stairs? Every time.  Sometimes they’ll even rush to be the first one to help you and then realize with dismay that someone offered to help you already.  Maybe it’s because they can do it without offending the woman.  Maybe most men secretly want to be gentlemen all the time but don’t bother to offer their seat because the woman might be offended.  A cute 10-ish year old boy offered to help me with the stroller once.  I was a little nervous (will he drop it?) but decided to reward his gentlemanly attitude and said yes. He confidently helped me lift the stroller down the stairs of the tram, said “není zač” (it is nothing, or, no problem) and walked away with his little sister, head high. How precious. We need more little gentlemen in this world.

Yet really, although Czechs are known for being impersonal in public, they always help in certain specific situations.  If you are a senior, you will be offered a seat on the tram.  If you are pregnant, same thing, just make sure your bump is obvious.  If you have a stroller you will receive help getting on and off transportation if it’s not handicapped accessible.  In these situations people are happy to help and may even smile at you in the process.  I have enjoyed having more interaction with strangers simply because I push a stroller with a cute little baby everywhere I go. 🙂

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