Day 213 – What is it like to be a Czech in Moldova? Sometimes it’s an advantage and sometimes it’s really exhausting. I often meet people who know about Czechia more than just the fact that we have Prague. They also know other Czech cities, such as Český Krumlov, Mladá Boleslav, Plzeň, Pardubice. I met here several people who really like Czech products – beer, sweets, cars, shoes, and public transportation system (it’s not possible to see trams or underground in Moldova).
On the other hand, I must say that most of my conversations have a very similar scenario. Locals adore for example French or Italian volunteers who are able to communicate in the Romanian language, but as a Czech, you will usually hear just: “You are from Czechia? So, of course you speak Russian.” That’s all. Despite the long explanation, the locals don’t trust me as much and in 99 % of cases they switch to the second topic, which is life in the Soviet Union. Normally, these topics are so exhausting for me even in our country, and I really try to avoid them. However, here it’s more difficult for me. So I usually listen silently to long monologues about the qualities of food, services and products, about the established order and organization, about the availability of work and about the overall comparison of past and present. And how bad everything is. Then the questions about Czechoslovakia follow, the surprise that there is not only Czech but also Slovak language, as well as questions about the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia.
A few times I also came across sentences and questions like: “Czechia? That’s good, I like it, but I hate Germany. Nazis! Fascists!” “Are you speaking German? Who are you? Are you Germans? Are you fascists?” “What do you think about Putin in the Czech Republic?” “Which fairy tales do you think are better? Russian or American? Russian, isn’t it?”
And then imagine that a question about my work here in Moldova comes up 😅. I will then get stuck in the store for almost an hour because of all these topics and the huge number of questions.
And so sometimes I wonder how it would be easier if I just said that I was from a fictional country, I don’t understand much Russian and I’m actually just enjoying my holiday here 😏.
During my stay in Republic of Moldova, I was also asked to give an interview several times. So if you want to know (with a help of Google translator ) which associations of other people I heard when I said that I am from the Czech Republic, what Czech traditions seem unusual for foreigners and what I miss the most abroad, check this out.