Czechs and Slovaks in North Carolina: how are they doing? / Jak se dari Cechum a Slovakum v Severni Karoline?Czech and Slovaks in North Carolina (Raleigh) | Czechmatediary
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Czechs and Slovaks in North Carolina: how are they doing? / Jak se dari Cechum a Slovakum v Severni Karoline?

Do you know what is special about this great group? That it was started by an American guy, Mike. Mike’s dear wife has some Czech heritage in her, which led him to not only start a Czech/Slovak Meetup group in Raleigh but also to enroll in a Czech course at the local university. His “obsession” with the Czech language (as he likes to say) led him to guest post on Czechmate diary more than once and I am so grateful for it because he is a such a great and witty writer. His humor is so dry at times I think that he must be Czech…at least like 1/30th of him, anyway. That’s enough of my babbling, let’s hear it from Mike:

CZ: Vite, co je nejzajimavejsi na teto skupine? Ze byla zalozena Americanem! Mikova manzelka ma v sobe nejakou tu ceskou krev, coz Mika podnitilo, aby nejen ze zalozil cesky a slovensky Meetup,ale take se na mistni universite pilne zapsal do kurzu ceskeho jazyka. Jeho – jak to Mike sam tvrdi – “posedlost” s ceskym jazykem ho take navedla na Czechmate diary, kde nas poctil mnoha velmi zajimavymi (ale take hrozne vtipnymi) clanky o svych zkusenostech s ceskym jazykem a ceskou kulturou. Mikuv humor je nekdy tak suchy, ze ho podezrivam z toho, ze je take z casti Cech/Slovak… mozna alespon z 1/30tiny??

1.    How did your group begin?

I made a conscious decision to learn Czech in Sept. ’06.  I knew no one who spoke Czech and my only connection to the language was that of my wife whose mother was Czech though neither my wife nor her mother knew the language.  My desire to learn Czech quickly grew into an interest (my wife would say ‘obsession’) to know of all things Czech; culture, history, music, cuisine etc.  However, I still knew no one who spoke Czech.  I learned about meetup.com through a Swedish neighbor (whose wife and he have since joined our group because they like the European feel).  Dekuji Anders.  I learned that several people in the Raleigh area were just waiting for someone to organize a Czech group through meetup.

After waiting a month, I decided to organize the group myself even though I was not Czech.  Why not?  I stated that “until I hear this language, I will never speak it”.  So, in June of ’07, we held our first meeting, all four of us; my wife and I, a person of Austrian, Polish, Ukrainian and Lithuanian heritage and one actual Czech speaker who subsequently became my assistant organizer (dekuji Nikolka).  My wife made a cherry noodle casserole (Moravian we think) and that was our modest beginning.  Since then, we have grown by word of mouth in very quick fashion and decided to include a Slovak interest as well.  We now number 68 members on our site with about 40-45 active members.  I believe that this is the highest per capita membership of any Czech group through meetup.  We consistently have 20-30 members attend each of our events which is a very high percentage of total members compared with other such groups.

2.    How often do you guys meet?

We meet about every 4-6 weeks.  We have met at member’s homes, a sports bar, a coffee shop and a German-Polish restaurant (no Czech or Slovak restaurant at that time).  This, after all, is Raleigh, North Carolina and not known previously as a hotbed of Czech culture.  (It is now!).  However, we just met at a new Czech restaurant (Klara’s) which we will likely make our ‘home’

3.    What do you usually do?

Besides my rather pitiful attempts to speak and hear Czech, this group has expanded far beyond just language as a focus.  We have had grilled sausages (parky), listened to Czech music (three members play the guitar – dekuji Franta, Mike and Zdenek), made kolace (dekuji Margie and Rich), danced and learned the polka and had a blind Czech/Slovak beer tasting (I even slipped in an American Budweiser which placed a dismal last place).  We have toasted (na zdravi!) with that most wonderful concoction, Bechorovka.  And, of course, certain members force me to sit with them and speak Czech (dekuji Hana, Adela, Simona and Marcela).

4.    What language do you speak at these meetings? Czech/Slovak or English?

We are a mix of languages and heritage; fluent Czechs and fluent Slovaks (either naturally or learned), mixed heritage who may or may not know Czech/Slovak but who wish to keep ‘alive’ their heritage and a few, like myself, who have no heritage from the region but have the desire to know.  So, you might picture this group in action.  When ‘speakers’ sit together, you hear Czech or Slovak (or the close mix) and when speakers sit with non-speakers, you hear the default English.  Occasionally, you may hear Swedish as well (when the Czechs who lived in Sweden sit with the Swedes).  It can boggle the mind.

5.    Do you understand the Czech nature better now?

I’m sure I do but I’m hard-pressed to answer this.  Mostly I find good people who have found a cultural home by virtue of being with others who have a varied but ultimately, a common bond.  From my travels in Czech, I already knew that the stereotypic unsmiling Czech of the guidebooks was not easily found.  All the other ‘typical’ statements were not true either.  The same is true for this group.  I love the dry sense of humor I find here and that trait, I think, is the most outstanding.

Not knowing what I began when I started the group, I’d have to say that this is a group that is all about connections and bringing people together.  Whether it is two members finding that they are from neighboring towns in Czech or two others finding parallel stories of leaving Czech in 1968 or just helping the owner of this new Czech restaurant find a way to import Czech/Slovak wines, it is all networking and finding matches.  It has been an absolute delight for me to help bring this about.

PS: wondering how is the Czech/Slovak group doing in New York? Click here!

If you liked this post buy me a coffee! (Suggested:$3 a latte $8 for a pound) Thanks!

57 comments… add one
  • andrea March 27, 2009, 1:48 pm

    Hello, I’m living in Prague again after a short stay in North Carolina. I came across your website and wanted to say hello.

    Andrea

  • Tanja March 27, 2009, 3:11 pm

    Hello from California! I hope you enjoy your stay in NC!

    Doufam, ze se ti libilo v Severni Karoline!!

  • Radovan May 14, 2009, 11:41 pm

    My name is Radovan
    I was born in Slovakia and grew up in Canada.
    I am attending UNC in Chapel Hill and would like to join the group
    Thank you

  • martina duffes September 15, 2009, 1:52 pm

    hi there!
    am so pleased to see there is such a group in NC.
    I am originally Slovak/Czech (a bit of a hybrid really) living in the UK, but about to relocate to NC, Raleigh where my boyfriend got a job in a local football( or soccer, shall i say) team.
    so i definitely keep in touch,
    thanx, martina

  • Zuzana Elliott January 11, 2010, 2:10 am

    Ahoj! Zijem v NC uz asi siesty rok, a este som nenatrafila na ziadneho Slovaka alebo Cecha tu. Ste milym prekvapenim! Urcite navstivim spominanu restauraciu (Klara) v Raleigh.
    Zijem tu s mojim manzelom (ktory je American). Dufame, ze sa coskoro prestahujeme spat na Slovensko. 🙂

    Zuzana

  • Tanja January 11, 2010, 11:33 am

    Ahoj Zuzko!

    Tak koukam, ze se ti ve Statech asi moc nelibi vid? Asi se ti styska…Neboj, az najdes nejakeho toho Cecha nebo Slovaka, tak ti bude hned lip. Jinak jestli se zaregistrujes na Czechmate Diary via email tak ti poslu list Cechu a Slovaku zijicich v tvem okoli. Taky muzes zkusit Meetup.com. Hodne stesti!

  • michael akers (marek) February 11, 2011, 10:41 am

    Snazim se dat dohromady skupinu v okoli Asheville Nc, tanja posli mi seznam a taky mame facebook czech and slovak in asheville metropolitan area and visitors.

  • Tanja February 12, 2011, 8:38 pm

    Ahoj Michale, to je super! Kontakty ale davam jen tem co se zaregistrovali na Czechmate Diary skrz email – z bezpecnostnich duvodu. Diky za pochopeni!

  • Katerina Payne July 30, 2011, 9:51 am

    Ahoj! taky bych prosila o kontakt na tuto skupinu. Ziji zde jiz nejakou tu dobu a jeste jsem nenarazila na zadne cechy ci slovaky. Bylo by hezke si s nekym popovidat cesky:)

  • michael akers July 30, 2011, 4:27 pm

    here is my contact on facebook
    look up michael akers in brevard nc and you can join my group of czechs and slovaks

  • Tanja July 31, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Ahoj Katko, hotovo 🙂

  • Lada Janku November 6, 2011, 12:03 am

    Zdarecek krajani, jmenuji se Lada a jsem Cech zijici v Nemecku jiz rok a pul kde jsem cestnym clenem ceske komunity v Nemecku. Osud me patrne asi zavane do Raleigh NC, tak ze jestli chlapy kytaristi Franta, Mike a Zdenek potrebujou basaka a maji radi starou dobrou ceskou country tak rad posilim s moji baskytarou tento cesky hudebni zbor v NC :-)).

  • Jakub March 3, 2012, 10:16 am

    Ahoj cesti osadnici v North Caroline, po navsteve vasich stranek prichazim s dotazem. Nevi nekdo o nejake praci, jakekoliv, pripadne stazi v Raleigh a okoli? Planuji presun do NC jelikoz odtud pochazi ma pritelkyne. Bude vdecny za kazdou radu!!! 🙂

  • Joy G. April 10, 2012, 9:39 am

    My family will be hosting a high school student from Czech Republic this August and would like for him to meet other Czech natives while here. Although he will need to learn fluent English, we think it would also be nice for him to be able to speak his native language from time to time. Please let me know of any scheduled events you have in August through January for Adam to possibly attend with my family. I have visited Czech Republic twice and love your country!

  • michael akers April 10, 2012, 4:36 pm

    Where do you live I live near asheville nc

  • Joy G. April 11, 2012, 5:12 am

    We live near Durham/Raleigh but would be willing to bring him to Asheville maybe one weekend to go camping. Adam will arrive in August and may play soccer so it would depend on his schedule.

  • michael akers April 11, 2012, 4:33 pm

    tell him to look our group up we are in asheville area all the way to charlotte with czechs and slovaks on fb have him join the group czechs in asheville metropolitan area

  • Joy G. April 11, 2012, 5:59 pm

    Alright, thanks for your help! Hopefully he can visit with you all during his time here, I’m sure he would enjoy meeting you.

  • Šárka June 5, 2012, 8:39 pm

    Ahojte, volám sa Šárka, pochadzam z Trenčína, ale dlhú dobu som žila v Brne. Pred mesiacom sme sa s manželom, ktorý je američan a s našim 8 mesačným synom preťahovaly do Agusty GA. Teraz sa rozhodujeme, či ostať tu alebo ísť do Charlotte. Augusta sa mi zatial zdá celkom “nudná” 🙂 tak som sa Vás chcela opýtať ako sa žije v Charlotte?
    Ďakujem a majte sa všetci krásne!

  • I. Last July 15, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Hi everyone
    I am from Slovakia but I have been living in the Uk for the past 11 years and quite frankly I have had enough. We are thinking of moving to USA (NC) but before we do so I am doing little research. Can you please give me an advice on :
    *which do you think is the best town / city to live in i.e: safe, easy to find a job? (security/electrical engineer and I have my own business as a childminder)
    *how much is the average salary a year or a month and of course, how much are the living expenses a month
    *what is the weather like throughout the year?
    *and how is it with visa’s and work permits? (My husband is English and I am Slovakian)
    It might sounds a bit daft but we need a change. Thank you for your time and your help will be very much appreciated.

  • vanda crimmins July 30, 2012, 8:45 am

    ahoj, ja jsem se s manzelem (americkym)) a moji rodinou prestehovali z NH do Holly Springs tento vikend. Hrozne moc rada bych se pridala do Vasi skupiny. Muzete mi nekdo poradit jak a kde?

    Moc dekuji predem a uz se moc tesim az vas vsechny poznam,

    dekuji vanda

  • vanda crimmins August 3, 2012, 3:55 pm

    ahoj, muze mi nekdo prosim poradit jak se zapsat do ceskeho a slovenskeho klubu? predem dekuji vanda

  • Tereza November 7, 2012, 11:48 am

    Hi!
    My name is Tereza and I study at Elon University.
    I am from Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, and would love to meet some Czech/Slovak people!
    If you live in the area, I would love to meet you!
    Tereza

  • Tom Havel November 10, 2012, 5:23 pm

    Ahoj Tereza.
    I just moved to Greensboro, NC from St. Louis, MO. I am of Czech descent, and I have taken Czech language lessons for about 5 years. I am hoping to continue that or just learning more of Czech culture. Elon looks to be fairly close to Greensboro, so I would definitely love to meet you. I can carry a conversion in Czech for a little bit 🙂

  • Brigita Kaiser December 17, 2012, 5:04 am

    Ahoj,

    Jmenuji se Brigita Kaiser a jsem Ceska, ktera je v Americe 17 let a ted ziju v Greensboro, NC. Moje znama mi rekla o czechmate diary, ale nevedela zadne podrobnosti. Kdy je dalsi shledani (v lednu nebo unoru) a byla bych vitana? Muze mi nekdo poskytnout informaci? Dekuji.

    Brigita

    Hi everyone,
    My name is Brigita Kaiser, I am Czech who has lived in the US for 17 years, and 1 year in Greensboro, NC. My friend told me about the czechmate diary, but she did not know any details. When is your next meeting (in January or February) and would I be welcomed? Can anyone give me more info? Thank you very much.

    Brigita

  • Brigita Kaiser December 17, 2012, 10:13 am

    Co to znamena, ze muj “comment is awaiting moderation?” Tohle je muj prvni blog.

    What does it mean that “comment is awaiting moderation?” This is my first blog posting.

  • Tanja December 17, 2012, 2:50 pm

    It means that I have to review it 🙂

  • Tanja December 17, 2012, 2:57 pm
  • jiri April 5, 2013, 8:59 am

    Zdravim Cechy a Slovaky v NC Asheville. Jirka

  • Marianna April 28, 2013, 7:33 am

    Ahoj
    Volam sa Marianna,pochadzam zo Slovenska, žijem s priatelom v meste Goldsboro NC,popise niekto s okolia??

  • Tanja April 28, 2013, 9:36 pm

    Ahoj Marianno, kdyz se zapises na Czechmate diary via email, tak ti poslu kontakty. Diky!

  • Marianna May 1, 2013, 10:13 am

    Som zaregistrovaná na stránke,mozete mi poslat kontakty na cechov a slovakov zijucich v NC?dakujem

  • Tanja May 1, 2013, 8:15 pm

    Jasne, uz se na tom pracuje 🙂

  • Joy Goreman May 2, 2013, 1:54 am

    Hello,
    Just an update about Adam who came here as a foreign exchange student last August. He returned to Czech Republic at the end of September so we didn’t get a chance to meet with you all but did have a nice lunch at Klara’s once.
    We now have several Czech and Slovakian students who need host families and will arrive in August if anyone is interested in becoming a host family. We have one Slovakian girl who will arrive in August and live in the Garner/Raleigh area. I will make sure she attends one of your meetings if I know the schedule. Thank you!

  • Vanda Crimmins May 4, 2013, 6:45 am

    Hello Joy, my name is Vanda (Vanickova) Crimmins. I wish I could be a host family, but we don’t have enough space. However, your student is more than welcome to meet me and my family. I would love to help. I lived in Czech for 21 years. I have American husband and 2 kids (9, 3 years old). My kids understand Czech a little bit and I would like them to be fluent. I live in Holly Springs, NC.

    Thank you,

    Vanda C.

  • Joy Goreman May 4, 2013, 2:21 pm

    Thank you Vanda, I will definitely let you know once Monika is here so we can hopefully plan a meeting in either August or September. I also wanted to let this group know that there are currently two CIEE students from Slovakia who need NC families soon. Barbora, called Barbie is 16 years old from Bratislava and is a competitive swimmer. She is not a picky eater but loves fresh fruit and would like to try cheerleading here. Martin is a 16 year old male from Bratislava who has two brothers including a twin who is 5 minutes older than him. Martin would really like to try American football, basketball and enjoys cooking. If anyone would consider hosting either of these CIEE students from Slovakia, please call me at 919-830-9194. Thank you all!

  • lori mcclintic December 14, 2013, 8:10 pm

    Hi! My mother’s parents were from Czechoslovakia. My mother speaks Czech and we have gone to wonderful Czech restaurants in NYC (where she grew up) and chicago. I have recently moved to the Sumter, SC. Are there in Czech restaurants in NC or SC? I found one Klaras, but it looks like it has closed. I can cook Czech dishes, but would love to find a restaurant. My mother is involved with the Czech-Slovak group in Indianapolis, IN. How nice that you have a group in Raleigh. Lori

  • Joy Goreman February 6, 2014, 10:37 am

    Good afternoon,

    This is short notice but in case anyone can join a current high school student here as an exchange student for dinner in downtown Raleigh around 5:30pm tonight, please email me at nette129@gmail.com for more details. I’m sure she would enjoy being able to speak with someone in her own language in person if possible.

  • Jana Rendekova February 23, 2014, 10:37 pm

    1. marca 2014 sa stavam obyvatelkou Charlotte NC!!!! Uff, odchadzam po rokoch z New Jersey, ktore som
    si zamilovala. V NJ a NY je vela krajanov a budu mi chybat.
    Najdu sa Slovaci alebo Cesi aj v Charlotte? Ozvite sa mi.

  • Kristina ULicna June 3, 2014, 6:29 am

    Dobry den,
    prosim vas rada by som vedela ,kde sa da kupit bryndza (nieco na sposob bryndze) vo wilmingtone 🙂 Prosim kto vie bola by som rada keby ste hned odpisali

  • Petra July 3, 2014, 8:21 pm

    Jano – jsem z Prahy a vloni jsme se s rodinou prestehovali z NYC do Charlotte. S manzelem mame 3 letou dceru. Kde bydlis v Charlotte? Rada se sejdu!
    Petra

  • Jana Rendekova July 6, 2014, 6:53 pm

    Jeej, super! Ahoj Petra!
    Byvame v Ballantyne, tlf 908-917-3712, pondelok a utorok mam volno. Zavolaj mi,
    budem sa tesit.

  • Jana Rendekova July 6, 2014, 6:55 pm

    Pre Kristinu Ulicnu.

    Kristinka, ked zmiesas Philadelphiu natierkovy syr s kozim syrom, a na halusky das este dobru udenu slaninku, kazdy sa bude oblizovat.

  • Katerina D August 29, 2014, 9:02 am

    Zdravim vsechny,
    zrovna jsme se prestehovali z evropy do NC a budeme bydlet pobliz Ft. Bragg, chtela jsem jen zjistit jestli tu v okoli nejsou nejaci cesi, nejlepsi s detma. Mam 2 letou dceru a mimco na ceste a chtela bych, aby si mela mala s kym povidat cesky. na hristi zaukolovava decka, ale ty ji nerozumi ani slovo a ona pak koukne na mne jako co to je, ze ji nerozumi. I kdyz anglicky rozumi zatim jen mluvi cesky. Takze pokud by tu nekdo byl v okoli, tak je rada poznam. Dik a tesim se na nejakou zpravu. Katka

  • Petra S. September 2, 2014, 3:38 am

    Ahoj vsem, prave jsme se pristehovali z Cech do Raleigh, kde se manzel bude venovat vyzkumu na universite. Jsme tu na 10 mesicu. Ja zustavam doma s detmi (kluci 1 a 3,5 let). Nenasla by se nejaka maminka s detmi na spolecne traveni casu na hristi a v parku? Zatim shanime ubytovani i auto, nemate nejake tipy, kde nejlepe bydlet s malymi detmi a kde koupit ojete auto? Diky!

  • Petra S. September 3, 2014, 5:56 am

    Hi, may I ask you why was my comment from yesterday cancelled? Thank you.

  • Tanja September 6, 2014, 8:23 pm

    Ahoj Petro, nebylo to ‘canceled’, jen jsem to musela ‘approve’. Mam ted malo casu, tak se mi ty komenty nahromadi. Diky za pochopeni!

  • Katerina D September 11, 2014, 10:47 am

    Hi, I would like to see if there are any czechs near Ft Bragg. It would be nice to have some kaficko once in a while. I have a 2yo and new baby coming in 4 weeks so maybe someone with kids or a baby as well so I won’t be too boring for others. If you want you can email me at pmk37341@hotmail.com.

    Dikes a snad se nekdo ozve 🙂
    Katka

  • Arline Seaman November 15, 2014, 12:33 pm

    I too have “mixed blood”, a little Slovak, a little Czech and a bit Russian. I have a very mixed up bunch of ancestors. Now that I am old, I am no longer ashamed of not being English and would like to embrace my heritage by learning more about it and hoping that this group will help me do just that. What a great surprise to learn this group exists in Raleigh!!!! Arline

  • Hedvika January 20, 2015, 10:46 am

    Ahoj! Bydlim v charlotte NC uz 15 let. Casu malo, ale preci bych rada potkala nejake fajn Cechy nebo Slovaky.
    Hlavne nekde v okoli. Jsem v Huntersville. tesim se, ze se nekdo ozve!

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