I really wish I were a better liar and could tell you about all the sophisticated cultural activities I’ve been engaged in since I’ve been here. How I’ve taken advantage of the theater, the symphony; perhaps I ignored Thanksgiving, but I expanded my knowledge of Czech history, art, and architecture. All in addition to making significant progress with my research. But I’m really not such a good liar, and so I have to confess what I’ve really been doing – café-hopping, text messaging, and beer drinking (in this picture with my summer school friend Betine from Norway):
But then, who decides what’s culturally important? And, honestly, I’ve been learning a lot of useful Czech phrases from texting and spending time at bars. How useful this is to my research is another question, though there is a camp of linguists that tout the benefits of doing linguistic research in bars, where you can hear how languages are “really” spoken. Well, there might be something to this.
On my way to cafés and bars, I take time to photograph monuments, such as this tribute to writer/artist Josef Čapek, brother of the more famous author Karel Čapek, who (alert! interesting Czech cultural tidbit) coined the word “robot” in his book R.U.R. ‘Rossum’s Universal Robots’ (1920). In Czech it means ‘forced labor’; it is related to the root for work or labor in other Slavic languages, e.g. rabota ‘work’ in Russian.
Now I have the problem that all of the clothes I brought - except my pajamas - reek of smoke. Cigarette and marijuana smoke, I might add, since people smoke weed pretty openly in (some) bars here. Here’s the a picture of the show at the bar/music club I went to on Thursday, or Thanksgiving (which I unpatriotically ignored ;). Although the show was like little piece of Detroit in Prague (but performed by a French group…)