How Alenka escaped the claws of communism / Jak se Alence podarilo uniknout pazourum komunismuHow Alenka escaped the claws of communism | Czechmatediary
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How Alenka escaped the claws of communism / Jak se Alence podarilo uniknout pazourum komunismu

I happened to meet yet another sweet person through this blog. Her name is Alenka and she and her parents immigrated to the US in 1985 – only 5 years before the Velvet Revolution. Her story is truly amazing. I woudn’t be surprised if they made a movie out of it one day! Here it is:

 

CZ: Tak se mi skrze Czechmate Diary postestilo poznat dalsi velmi prijemnou a zajimavou osobu. Jmenuje se Alenka a s rodici imigrovala do USA v roce 1985 – pouhych 5 let pred Sametovou revoluci. Jeji pribeh se jednou objevi na filmovem platnu- o tom jsem presvedcena. Presvecte se sami:

 

‘In 1985 I was just 5 years old and my father was planning the escape for over a year. They didn’t tell anyone. They obtained a visa to former Yugoslavia to go on a camping trip, My father welded a secret hiding spot for about $300 in the frame underneath the car. We were stopped at the border and my parents were interrogated, I was told to sleep and not to move, and I did pretend to sleep but felt how terrified my parents were.

 

They let us go and we made it to our camping spot. There we set up a tent for a few days and camped. Then one day we just left and crossed over to Italy through the mountains with some books, my dads chess set and a good bottle of wine. The wine was for bartering with any spys we may have encountered. Apparently a family was gunned down a couple of months before we left taking a similar route. My Dad found some fresh dog sh*t on a trail and my parents freaked!

 

We made it to Italy and my mom was a little drunk because they saved the little water they had for me and they started to drink the wine. I remember the moment my parents crossed into Italy. They just knelt down and began to sob. I didn’t know what was happening and that is when they told me that we were probably not going to see my grandparents and other family for a very long time, maybe never.

We stayed in Rome for about 9 months in a hotel for political refugees with other Czechs who also defected, waiting for a plane to the States or Australia. Some Czechs were waiting for almost 2 years. My mom says this was probably the best time in her life. Rome was very beautiful I remember. I also remember the hotel was next to a vineyard and working farm so in the middle of the night, all the Czech families would go out and steal grapes, watermelons, and peppers. Must have been an adventure for my parents.

 

In my opinion my parents pretty much isolated themselves here and it was tough for me growing up. My Dad’s a nuclear physicist and we were dirt poor and moved around alot for a few years before my Dad found a good job on Long Island in NY. My brother and sister were born here and pretty much grew up in the same house their whole lives so they obviously had an easier time.

 

All my family is in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately I don’t have much contact with them. I can understand Czech and read it a little but cannot write it. I used to speak it fluently but we began mixing it at home and my brother was having a tough time at school mixing it so we transitioned to mostly English.  I still mixed it with English until I moved out at 24 and then I just stopped. I did go back when I was 16 and was able to pick it up with no problem so I know it’s still in me. I contact Roseta Stone just about every year to ask them to provide Czech as a language to learn. Anyway, I have been trying to reconnect with my Czech roots through cooking and baking. It has been great and I am so happy when I make something that my husband and 3 year old baby boy like. My son helps me grind those poppy’s so I am glad I am passing some traditions along to him. I think I will also try to plant some currants in my yard this year.

 

When I asked Alenka what she remembered from the Czech Republic while she still  lived there as a little girl, this is what she said:
‘My most vivid memories from Czech are of my grandparents, my cousins and playing with the two little boys that lived in the same building we did. I remember going to my grandparents summer house and eating currents and raspberries from the infinite amount of bushes bearing these fruits. I also have very distinct memories of the food, especially the kolacky and dorticky and anything with dumplings. Oh and Christmas was the best with buying live carp and keeping them in the bathtub. I would sit there for hours watching them swim. Also Ježíšek instead of Santa Claus brought me my presents.
When I went back in ’96 I was very excited to see my family. I was mixing Czech and English at the time and picked up the language almost immediately. But I noticed I could not carry a long conversation and I had no knowledge of any czech slang so as a 16 year old girl it was difficult speaking with other teenagers. We visited the mountains and so many beautiful castles. We stayed in my grandparents house in Prague and it was the most beautiful city I had ever seen. I also went to my first Discoteque in a small village called Smidary which was definitely an experience.’
~Alenka
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60 comments… add one
  • MariKa April 24, 2011, 1:56 pm

    No to vim. I knwo that. I only said I saw the film, I’m not a fan.

    PS: I also watched Little Otik, such a cool film! Everyone here should see that.

  • Vlastimil April 24, 2011, 2:50 pm

    US insurance business is screwed up. I know, I worked for them….
    Mr. Moore is looking to make some bucks…That’s it. He is not my friend. I think all the current US system of I don’t know exactly of what, will collapse, as USSR collapsed , as Roman Empire collapsed (well the Roman Empire did not collapsed, they are still thriving….the Vatican is successor of Roman Empire…) ..and if I will continue …if I will continue to say what I think I will be accused to be an Anti-Semite…..I have a palestinian christian friend…he told me what was and is happening , well it is another story…you see, everything is so interconnected, average people don’t simply know… on the brighter site, I just bought a Double Cross vodka, it tastes so good.It is filtered through diamond pulver and it is not cheap …..It comes from Slovakia and you can buy it only on NY and NJ …. That’s where those rich people live that our president Obama II thinks should share their wealth with freeloaders …
    Cheers!!!

  • MariKa April 24, 2011, 6:05 pm

    Extra Dry Grey Goose martini shaken very hard with three olives!

  • Vlastimil April 24, 2011, 6:55 pm

    I like dirty martini,,,,,,as dirty as possible,and yes with three olives :))
    MariKa, let’s meet up. I will bring the olives, you will bring the Saphire 😉

  • Tanja April 24, 2011, 8:59 pm

    MariKo, Martine a Vlastiku – omlouvam se, nejak jsem zapoostala ve vasi diskuzi. Mrkla jsem se ale na Mariccin link a musim jenom podotknout ze Michaela Moora absolutne nesnesu. Je to liberalni trdlo.

  • Vlastimil April 25, 2011, 3:45 am

    Tanja, Michael Moore is a talented idiot.

  • Martin April 25, 2011, 6:32 am

    Michael Moore = a skilled propagandist. If you don’t mind some bad language though, take a look at his character in the marionette movie Team America (The World Police). 🙂
    Capitalism has been pretty kind to him so far, but that’s his right not to show any appreciation.

  • MariKa April 25, 2011, 5:46 pm

    Yeah. I haven’t seen the last film, the Lova Affair with Capitalism or something I forget what it’s called.
    I review movies for fun as you guys know if you click on my name, but I have not been able to see any in a over a month now. The last two I saw were Osama ( very powerfull film) and Little Otik which totally rocks if you study filmmaking. It’s just a fabulously made indie and the artwork is way cool. Still have not found time to post on my blog. (Maybe because I post here too much Tanya!)
    Look Michael Moore loves controversy, and he found a way to get his name noticed. I don’t think he would get too far making Epics or Merchant Ivory type films. He founf his niche.

    As for the regimes we’ve discussed, it’s all the same for us folks watching the cards being dealt. I love American history, I love what it stands for and I’m proud to be here, but I keep ALL my TRUE feelings private and my thoughts to myself. In a nutshell, I write a lot of bullshit online. In fact, I sometimes can’t even believe the shit I write as I write it 😉 It’s stupid, in a way, because I probably should just stay off chat rooms, but sometimes, you provoke the best arguments out of people. It makes you think differently about issues as well. I often contradict myself online and on purpose. It’s not lying, it’s more like thought provoking and it’s interesting to read what people respond. Clearly, that’s why blogs were invented I guess.

    With that, I offer my apologies to Alenka, if I was harsh. I really don’t think I mean half the stuff I wrote.

    I don’t want people to know what I think, or believe. You shouldn’t either. I don’t understand why people pour their hearts out online. Perhaps, I am wrong to think that. Perhaps, I shouldn’t be engaging in conversations at all….but what fun is that?
    I feel like what I read or didn’t read, what I learned or haven’t learned, all that is my business.
    In college, I didn’t show up for a class one semester at all. I would fail that class if I don’t. I didn’t fail, but why have an all A transcript? Unless you plan on grad school or med school, why? Why tell people what you learned and what you haven’t learned. If I take an IQ test online, I fail the first time on purpose, then I take it for real. I don’t want anyone judging me by what I say online or what I do online, that’s why even with films, videos etc. I keep a balanced interest. You know how banks ask you for your mother’s maiden name, they say it’s for security purposes, I put VilaAmalka or Fikova. Am I generation paranoia, because my parents were immigrants? Eh, maybe or maybe, I just tired of people peaking under the ‘poklicka’ or maybe this entire post is whack and I just had way too much vodka. C’est la vie. I live and let live.
    You can’t control your life, you can only control how you look at it, or how much you let ‘life’ affect you.
    If there you have faith in something grater than you and can truly clearly believe there is something greater than everyone and anyone making your life happen, consider yourself lucky. It’s one helluva breather.

  • Vlastimil April 25, 2011, 6:12 pm

    MariKa, you wrote ” I keep ALL my TRUE feelings private and my thoughts to myself”….
    I am the opposite. Beauty of America is, that you can say whatever you want and you will not be persecuted.
    Not now, not yet….Apropos vodka, one of the best vodkas is Slovak vodka Double Cross. Filtered through diamond powder . Where did all the vodka go??? Don’t understand the bottle is empty..it must have evaporated :))))

  • Romana Osborne May 6, 2011, 6:10 pm

    Oh my gosh, this makes me want t cry…

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