Lena and I

imageThis will be the last week for Friday Follies. Starting next week and for the remainder of May, I have guest posts from people in the Czech community for you! I thought it might be fun to get different insights from others like me who are a part of the Czech community through the queen pageants, festivals, music, and more! I hope you will like it!

For this last post, I wanted to show Lena and I together! I figured that you’ve seen her with grandpa, Jordan, her furry friends, and in all her favorite places, so it was about time that I show off our unique relationship. As you may have read in my first Friday follies post, Lena has been part of our family since she was four weeks old and she is a huge part of the family (that may have been a smal pun on her weight, sorry Lena).

Miss Lenka Lou and I do basically everything together, even if I don’t want her help 😉 She likes to help me write my posts or participate in my art projects. If there has been too much time between the last time I pet her or gave her attention, she will tell me. Often when I get home late and am starving, I will make food at sit at the kitchen table to eat. If she cannot sit next to me on the chair, Lena will rub against my legs and yell at me. She is a little needy.

If Lena is not laying on daddy’s feet and annoying him while he sleeps, she is lying on top of me. She will literally lie in any nook or cranny she can find, the more uncomfortable it makes me, the better. Just last night, she crawled up and laid on my chest like a ton of bricks. When I moved her after I couldn’t fall asleep, she transferred herself to my hips. What a thoughtful cat!

Lena has this thing where she sleeps on or around my face too. When she was a baby, she would sleep on the back of my neck, under my hair, to keep warm. She is not a small kitten anymore and playing scarf is not my favorite activity. She also used to spend a lot of time in the sleeves of my shirts, my dad’s cargo pockets, and in my hoodies (like the photo above). I do love the snuggles, but sometimes it’s too much!

Where are some of the interesting places your animals sleep? Drop me a line below or on Facebook! Let me know what you thought of Friday Follies! I hope you’ve gotten to know me and Lena a little more 😉

Future Blog Goals

logo copyLast week I gave you a preview of a few of the exciting things happening with MyCzechList! This week, as we are transitioning, I want to update you on what’s currently going on with the blog, all the crazy changes, and where I see it going in the future.

Back in February, I did a major overhaul of the blog. I renamed it, gave it a new look and logo, and refocused the content. In a nutshell, I wanted to make it more about you, the reader! I’ve been writing more about the Czech community and my experiences as a Czech queen. I’ve asked for your input and tried to let you get to know me through my Friday Follies posts. I’ve also been promoting the blog more on Facebook.

Since then I have moved to self hosting on Blue Host and started to get MyCzechList out there by educating myself on SEO, emails, and plugins. Basically, that means that I am learning about the technical aspects of blogging and how to get my knowledge out to as many people as possible. I am diligently working toward becoming known in the Czech community by promoting people in the community and publishing in the Czech Slavnosti newspaper. And finally, be on the lookout this next month for a new menu and easier navigation.

Two big goals for the future include a monthly newsletter and opt in freebie. I want to reward you for believing in me and this blog! I also want to make sure there are better photos and content. I want to start using Pinterest and other social media to get my content to have a larger reach and more involvement.

If you have something you are curious about, please let me know! I want to write posts that will inform you and you can learn from. My main goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to delve deeper into your cultural identity and participate in the Czech community

Why I Think Czechia was the Wrong Choice

flagI am interrupting normal posting to bring you news. I’m not sure yet if it’s great news or not, but I thought you needed to know why I think Czechia was the wrong choice. I bet by now you have heard this name. As of Monday April 18th, Czechia is the new official shortened name for the Czech Republic. This is similar to Slovakia for the Slovak Republic. They haven’t changed the name, just offered an easier alternative for English speakers, or so they say. From everything I have gathered, Czechia is not a popular choice. Here is a Czech list of some issues:

1. How to shorten Czech Republic? Czech politicians have been debating names for awhile now and couldn’t justify Česko, the shortened version they use in the Czech Republic, because the English language lacks the same sounds and it is reminiscent of Československo or Czechoslovakia.

2. Which shortened version should be used? Some other options that were discussed were Bohemia, Cechy, Czech, and Czechlands. The latter would be my choice. I feel that Czechlands best encompasses the authenticity of the territory that has changed so frequently. I think Czechlands is also more accurate and includes Bohemia or the Czechs, Moravia, and Silesia, the unifying factor of language, and does not leave out the areas that make up the current Czech Republic. I’m afraid Czechia will cause confusion with non European countries and frankly, it sounds lame.

3. Will it be confused? Some people are not happy with the new name because it sounds too much like Chechnya, the semi autonomous country located next to Russia. This is a problem because of the terrorist threat last year with the perpetrators being from Chechnya and the mix up with the Czech Republic.

4. Does anyone know its location? Now, part of our problem here in the states is that most people know absolutely nothing about European geography, let alone history, and even fewer know of our close relationship with the Czech Republic since 1918. We have not always been very good friends to the Czechs, especially during WWII, but our countries hold the bonds of democracy and they want to help us out with their name. Will shortening the name really change its popularity or the likelihood that we will know its location? Probably not.

5. Why the re-branding? The Czech Republic has had a rough history. A re-branding would allow for a change of opinion and distance from its past. Many people still call it Czechoslovakia, but that country hasn’t existed since 1993. Before that, the Czech lands were a part of the Austria-Hungarian empire; subject to humiliation and degradation during WWII in the eyes of a man who thought it should still belong to the German people. He used the land and people to further his goals. Following a brief moment of freedom, the Czech lands were again occupied. This time by the Soviet Union who stole its wealth and exploited its people. Though I understand the desire to remove the bad associations, it’s still a part of who they are, and what made the Czech Republic into the country they are today.

6. How will the change effect the economy? Rumors is Czechia will be more favorable to China who largely imports Czech cars and beer. There has been bad blood between the two countries because of Czech distaste with China’s treatment of its people and continued socialism. In order to mend this relationship, as well as that of Russia, President Zeman has worked toward solidifying itself with the worlds largest countries.

7. What about all the companies who have Czech or the Czech Republic in their name? This could end up being a huge problem with tourism and commerce. Not everyone will be able to benefit and many will be at a loss because of this name push. No one can be sure how the change will effect the country as a whole.

8. What about the Olympics? The Czech Republic has already been printed on everything for the Olympics, making it even harder for Czechia to become more widely used.

9. What do the people think? Since the Czech population did not have a say in this decision, many are rebelling against the change. From my knowledge the Czech people don’t use Czechia. Why would they need to?

10. Will Czechia really catch on? I’m not so sure. There have been quite a few countries that have tried to re-brand themselves and it didn’t stick.

Czechia is officially in the United Nations geographical names database, but I will not be calling it that anytime soon. I feel that there are just too many issues to ignore. I only listed ten possible problems and I’m sure more will come up. Even though I am a fan of Czechlands, it’s still long for a shortened version. I like the idea of using what the Czechs use with Česko but spelled Czesko since cz is already recognizable from Czech Republic. Most people will at least have heard the name, even if they don’t know where it’s located.

I think if the country really does want to re-brand to move away from past negative associations, it will need to come up with a name that doesn’t include Czech. I don’t necessarily think that is right though. I think there would be more success if the name would be voted for and the population were happy to promote it. Either way, I think Czechia was the wrong choice. I guess we will find out.

 

Tell me what you think of Czechia below or on facebook!

Lena and the Sun

image

When it is sunny out there are two modes Lena could be in: slain by the sun and napping or crazy ninja cat. There will be just a sliver of light coming in through the blinds and the Lena will be down for the count. Unless, of course, she is hiding behind things, jumping out and attacking you when you walk by, or trying to sneak up and surprise you. At that point she will promptly scurry off to plot her next ninja job.

Obviously, since she is a cat, the sun is a vital aspect of her day. Most of the time you will find her on the floor in front of the window or on the bed soaking up the vitamin D. I have found that she will try to fit into places too small for her in order to reach the sun or to knock things our of her way to achieve that goal.

Lena is often waiting by the porch door when it’s nice asking to go out. She then will investigate the current climate and porch situation. This may include being tortured by the birds who laugh at her from a safe distance or laying over the side of the porch through the slats to see what’s going on below. It’s entertaining when I go downstairs and Lena is on the porch. If I call up to her she will talk to me in her cute little cat voice. I can only imagine what she is telling me, maybe to come back up stairs, or to remind me to get the cat food she likes while I’m out, or she’s just telling me off… I don’t know.

Finally, in that rare moment where she isn’t sleeping when it is sunny, you better be ready! I never know what sort of shenanigans she has gotten into when the sun is out… Unfortunately, I did not get proper documentation of these moments here, probably because I was fleeing for my life. Beware of the ninja kitten!

Does this happen with your fur baby? Let me know below or on facebook!

Exciting News

slav1I have some exciting news for you! Coming in May there will be a series of guest posts from people in the Czech community. I am so happy to have them share their experiences with you and it will be fun to see another’s perspective! I will give you two hints: one is the current Nebraska Queen and the other is the current National Queen! You will just have to wait to see who else will be showing up!

Another exciting thing is that you will soon get to see more work outside of the blog. A couple weeks ago, right after I published the post about the struggles I faced as a Czech Queen I received a message from Steve Ouřecký. He wanted to know if he could print some of my posts in the Czech Slavnosti, and of course, I said yes! I even offered to start a new column for him.

If you don’t know, the Czech Slavnosti is a print newspaper for the Czech-American Communities. It started in Wilber, Nebraska as a supplement to the Wilber Republican in 2008and is now under the ownership of Mr. Ouřecký. He does an incredible job of making sure that everyone is up to date on upcoming events and important things happening both here in the states, but also in the Czech Republic.

My article for the Slavnosti will be published in the May/June edition, so be on the lookout for it! I might have to give you a little sneak peek here soon! In the meantime, Czech out some of these recent posts on the Czech community:

What are some topics that you would like to see me write about in the Slavnosti? Or even here on the blog? Let me know below or on the Facebook page!

Lena and Friends

imageGrowing up, I’ve had a lot of pets including goldfish, cat, dogs, hamsters, and a bird. I thought it might be fun this week to introduce you to a few of Lenka’s friends.image

Little Bear is the family dachshund and Tigger is my sister’ cat. While Bear wanted nothing more than to love all over Lena, Tigger was content to ignore her. There was one exception: when there was a box they would fight over who got to lay in it. In this picture, I tried to make a truce between the cats by making a box fort, so they could both have their own area. I’m not so sure it worked.

Lenka and Little Bear Spooning

Lenka and Little Bear Spooning

Lena is very curious about Rocco, my dad’s African Grey.

Lena is very curious about Rocco, my dad’s African Grey.

Do your pets get along? Or not so much? I would love to hear about them below or on Facebook!

Minnesota Jealousy

minnesotaIt tears at me to write this. Though it’s something I have thought about a lot, there is something more final and real about putting the thoughts into words on a page. So here it is: I wish I was living in Minnesota.

Don’t get me wrong, at any given time that sentence has said: I wish I was living in the Czech Republic. The destination changes from Texas to Oklahoma, Illinois to DC, anywhere there is a thriving Czech community.

Nebraska is supposed to house the Czech capital of the US. It sounds like such a glorious title, but it can be just that, a title. Wilber is a place filled with people of Czech decent. But, there is the problem, we are the descendants. Many of the people who live here have not been to the homeland, and of those that have, many have only seen it as a tourist.

Nebraska has many wonderful Czech traditions, but because our families have been here so long, those traditions have become very Americanized. We are a community that is split up, modern, and idealistic. We want the Nebraska Czech traditions to continue, but they have become stagnant and are not very welcoming to the new generations who will become the keepers of the heritage.

That is why I said I wish I was living in Minnesota. Just a few days ago the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic came to the US, to Minnesota. The people who live in and around Montgomery, MN participate in many Czech traditions including Masopust, Sváty Mikulaš, and traditional dances and music. I just watched a video on Facebook of the male dancers doing a traditional number called the Furiant and it reminded me of the hody or festivals I had been to in the Czech Republic

The video made me happy to see the traditions, but also sad and angry that we don’t have that here. I want to participate in the dance groups and attend the special events. These experiences give more options to my generation and those that will follow. Unfortunately, I cannot do it all alone, I need help.

If you agree, let me know! Maybe we can work together to make that our heritage will continue to live on.

Jordan and Lena

imageJordan and I started dating around the time that Lenka came home with me, so he has always been in her life. I love seeing them together. Jordan will pick her up like a baby, walk around the house, and she is completely relaxed and content. Whenever we are home she needs to be lying at his feet or on his lap. Whenever he is not home she is laying in his chair, waiting for him to come back.

Jordan is also the person she plays rough with. Maybe, too rough. My favorite is when they are playing and running around the house and Jordan stops. Lena still wants to play, so she will follow him around and attack his feet. Sometimes she gets so excited that she pulls herself across the carpet.

Here are just a few precious moments:

Lena and grandpa

imageWhen I rescued my kitten I was living with my parents. I brought her home and my dad tried to confine her to my room because he didn’t want another animal in the house (we had 3 dogs, one cat, and a bird at the time). However, the following pictures are proof that they are best friends 😉