Friday, February 2, 2018

Update!

Hey!

Although I wasn't present here since October, in fact I was studying Czech harder than I had in my life. I got a fancy shmancy certificate in the mail for achieving A2 level in Czech. That was by far my best Christmas present.

I am pregnant, so I am pausing my Death Sprint of trying to learn Czech on my own. I will pick up again where I left off (or thereabouts) in about a year.

In the mean time, I intend to continue reading these books in Czech all the way through:
Dětem - just finished
Saturnin
Babička
Žert
Zbabělci
Kosmonaut z Čech
Pohádky
Besedy na staré valše

and Kniha Mormonova, in which I am about 100 pages through in Czech.

Other Czech language related adventures include writing this hilarious series which forces me to google things in Czech. That is actually extremely difficult to do. So don't laugh.

I'm also writing a book about Czech Genealogy which requires a similar amount of googling information in Czech.

So you might think, "What the heck. I thought she said she wasn't going to do her Death Sprint. That sounds pretty ambitious to me." I mean, to each his/her own. This is a much smaller plate than I am used to, and it feels a little bit like defeat. But the truth is I am just so tired (and nauseous) all the time now, I have to give something up. Might as well be something I spent the last decade trying to pick up passively anyway.

By the way, passively trying to learn Czech absolutely does not work. Or rather, it didn't work for me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

pokrok 37. týdnu

It is 9:16 on the night before we leave on our second "annual"-ish (haha) trip to the Czech Republic. 

I have been really busy studying for this Czech test I am supposed to take on November 7. 

 I am taking the distance A2 course through ústav jazykové a odborné přípravy Univerzita Karlova (I just call this thing ÚJOP but I am an American and partial to acronyms so...). 

It was not clear (to me) when I signed up for the class that the entire portal would not be available through the whole summer; I stupidly thought it would just be the professors would not be available, and guess what, I was wrong. 

We had previously booked flights for the Czech Republic around my birthday (Nov. 5). Then I decided to go this academia route, and was like, "ooh! I will take the test in person when we are there! I'll have LOTS of time to finish this course!"

Well, later I realized my mistake.

So I studied some on my own over the summer, but mostly I had some really horrible, painful, miserable health problems, which fortunately are pretty much as resolved as I ever could hope them to be. 

Basically, I found myself with 1 1/2 months to complete a 5 month course. And although this was obviously not very well planned on my part, I can honestly say I enjoyed the course. It helped me A LOT. For one, the format was very, very helpful for me personally. Lots of instant feedback, which, though, not from a human, made it totally possible for me to indulge in guilt-free study binging. I mean, no humans to worry about, "oh, what a crazy šprtka. Freak of nature. I don't want to be her friend." hahaha 

To pass the test, I have to get 60% right. I *think* I will at least pass, but even if I don't, this entire experience was very valuable to me. At least I keep telling myself that!

I feel like "a new era" of my Czech learning will start after I return home on November 11. I intend to continue in ÚJOP's B1 class. I don't really know if they have a B2 level. But to be honest, I might need to stay in this A2 world for a while longer. I have some great ideas for continuing to study Czech but I am not really allowed think about them at the moment - have to go finish packing, and then I have to direct my precious, limited Czech time towards cramming for this test. But here is a sneak peak at what is in store.

Last thing:
I intentionally read Bylo nás pět in English and Czech side by side. Last night I was doing a TON of laundry, and I caught up in my Czech listening to the part where I am at in English. But I didn't want to stop, because I mostly understood what was happening! So I continued to listen, and now I am about 30 minutes away from the end of the book. I know there is a lot I am missing, but there is also a LOT that I am getting, and that includes some of the themes, flavor, humor, and more difficult to access things. What I miss are some specific very, very briefly mentioned details that are highly vocabulary dependent.

But wow. WOW. It is a huge feeling of accomplishment. I imagine it will be jubilantly triumphant tomorrow, when I finish reading this, the first book I will have ever read all the way through. That is, listened to.

Yeah, my skills lie squarely in this order (best to worst):
listening comprehension
reading
conversation
presentational speaking
writing conversation (so...texting)
presentational writing

Writing is definitely the most difficult. Very, very normal.

I have a huge backlog of posts to, well, post. I will probably find time to do that when we come back mid-November.

Super excited!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Jaký je můj pracovní den?

Jaký je můj pracovní den?

Jsem žena v domácnosti. Mám čtyři děti: Jane, Dan, John, a Cora. Cora je nejmladší, a jsou ji dva roky.

Probouzím ráno přibližně šesti a půl hodin. Vstávám, oblékám se, čistím si zuby, a jít běhat. Můj manžel snídá s dětmi, když běhám. Líbám je, a rozloučím se jich, když nastoupí do autobusu. Potom udělám stejně manželovi, když odchází do práce. Potom snídám. Babička jde u mne, mluvíme, a vzala Coru se sebou. Někdy nakupuju nebu udělám(?) pochůzky, potom jdu do yogy. Vrátím se domu, a píšu.

Co píšu? Hodně věcí. Já a můj kamarád Lukáš v Kralupě píšeme spolu knihu od předmětu českých pozemkových knih a jak používáme jich pro genealogii. Mimochodem, proto musím se učit češtinu. Bez češtiny, jsem úplně omezená, a nejen za přepisech, ale stejně protože hodně knih od české historie existují jenom česky a ne anglicky. Jestli chci opravdu rozumět své předky, musím umět česky, i když je to velmi těžký pro mě.

Tak. Píšu. Zavolám na skypu s českými kamarády. Studuji češtinu.

A když se vrátí mojí děti, změní znovu do maminky v domácnosti. Udělám mnoho nudných prací (třeba...prádlo), a také hraju se s dětmi. Napřiklad teď, už vrátili se doma, a musím jich dát něco na svačinu, potom jedeme do knihovny, jestli můžeme najít každé knihovnické knihy. Pochybuji, že je to možné, ale uvidíme. Ahoj!



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Eschta, Máme plenty!



Děda Joe

 Joe a Anežka


Přistěhoval se můj prapradědeček Josef Jan Vašíček do Texasu, když bylo mu 16 let.

On byl nejmladší syn Vašíčkových.

A nikdy neviděl své rodiče, poté co odešel. Myslím si, že je to velmi smutné.

Protože byl časný přistěhovalec, a také byl podnikatel, proto často najal další Čechy. Trvají nějaké příběhy, jak on využil něj, a jaké byli hloupé a naivní přistěhovalci.

Děda Joe řekl: “Dejte vodu do auta.”
Takže…oni ji nalili na sedadla auta, a ne do chladiče.

Děda Joe řekl: “Zasaďte to na délku motyky od sebe.”
[Already you can see the influence of English in my grandfather’s mind: a Czech would understand this to mean the length of the hoe’s stick, not its head. But in English it is ambiguous, and from the context you can tell it meant the head.]
Takže oni se zasadili celém délku motyky.

Když spolu večeřeli, žena Dědy Joa (babička Anežka Štefková z Trojanovic 281) řekla, “Jezte, máme plenty!”
Ale nic nejedli, jen čekali, a koukali, čekali, a koukali. Zdá se, že čekali, až přijde ten tajemný “plenty.”

Ty příběhy trvají u našem rodinné kultuře. Ale co mě zajímá (a také mě mrzí), je vidět na vlastní oči rozklad českého jazyka. Upřímně, co jsem vždycky slyšela, byla slova “estcha máma plenty.” Skrze toto psaní jsem pochopila, že to není žádné “estcha” ani “ještě”; to muselo být “jezte.”

Čeština nebude mi bránit za porozumění českým předkům, po kterém toužím. Obětovala bych téměř cokoliv, abych to uměla.


Často cítím se, jako kdyby moje osobnost byla jenom hromada trapnosti. Ale opravdu, obětuji všechnu svou pýchu pro ten sen, a to zahrnuje každé osobní selhání, i moji trapnost. Doufám, že jednoho dne se setkám s dalšími lidmi, kteří mají stejný sen: pochopit naše Čechy.