teacher image / fun2video.comNot so long ago I decided to become a teacher. I have a degree in Biology and although I find that subject very interesting I had realized that working in the lab was just way too boring for me. You see, when I came to the US I wanted to study acting. But then I found the people in my class superficial, plus I get really red on the stage (performing anxiety). So acting was out. Fortunately, I have always liked math and sciences as well so I decided to pursue that for the rest of my school days.

After graduating I worked some time for a pharmaceutical company as a research assistant and I found it very isolating. But then I become a mom and life wasn’t isolating anymore since I was never alone :). After some years of staying home with my girls (which I love) it is time for me to slowly start getting ready for the ‘real’ world again. I decided to be a teacher because now that I have kids I realized I really like them (I mean all the kids – not just mine) and the kids like me!

Not sure if you have the same experience, but if you grow up as the youngest child you never get the opportunity to baby anyone, to take care of any younger human being. You grow up not knowing how to behave around the younger kiddos. I was too shy (or too cool?) to play with them so we never developed a relationship…..until I had my own kids and  started attending different playgroups. Low and behold – all of those babies were all of a sudden so cute to me! [click to continue…]

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owl eyes / http://www.billfrymire.comThe new study seems to put a shame on many countries including the Czech Republic. When it comes to the quality of education it ended up on the 19th place, while the neighboring Poland stands proudly on the 10th place.

But before you start throwing ashes on yourself, think logically. The article did not give us any details on how the study was done. For example, did they take in account the size and the number of citizens in each country? Were all of the tests optimized before they compared the scores??

As far as I am concerned, I will keep my ashes for something else…for now.

Quality of educational systems

1. South Korea/Jižní Korea
2. Japan/ Japonsko
3. Singapur
4. Hong Kong
5. Finland/ Finsko
6. Great Briatin/ Velká Británie
7. Kanada
8. Netherlands/ Nizozemsko
9. Ireland/ Irsko
10. Poland/ Polsko
11. Denmark/ Dánsko
12. Germany/ Německo
13. Russia/ Rusko
14. USA
15. Austrálie
16. New Zealand/ Nový Zéland
17. Izrael
18. Belgium/ Belgie
19. Czech Republic/ Česká republika
20. Switzeland / Švýcarsko

CZ: Nova studie o kvalite vzdelani zahanbila nejen USA, ale take nasi Ceskou republiku. Nez na sebe ale zacnete hazet popel, vsimnete si, ze vubec nevime, jak byla ta studie provedena (meli pri ruce nejakeho statistika? Byly testy pred porovnavanim znormalizovany? Brali v povedomi pocet obyvatel v kazde zemi??).

Source: http://www.novinky.cz/zahranicni/evropa/335708-nejlepsi-vzdelani-na-svete-ma-jizni-korea-cesko-skoncilo-hluboko-pod-polskem.html

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beet cake / davidlebovitz.com imageIf you are beet lovers like me you will appreciate this recipe: a CHOCOLATE BEET CAKE! If you hate beets just beep the beet out (haha).

CZ: Kdo by si kdy pomyslel, ze se z cervene repy muze delat dort? Mozna proto ten dedek tahal ze zeme tu velkou repu a nemohl ji vytahnout. Chtel, aby mu babka upekla cervenorepovy dort! [click to continue…]

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deer google imageA very interesting biological study in Germany and the Czech Republic reveals an amazing habits of the deer population in Europe. Although the Iron Curtain has been gone for over a half a century the deer are still respecting the boundaries. How? Why?

Watch the CNN video here:

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/26/how-the-cold-war-affected-deer/

CZ: Toto jste o srnkach v Cechach a Nemecku urcite nevedeli:

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/26/how-the-cold-war-affected-deer/

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foot-x-rayOK, from the heavenly issue of Easter to the earthly issues of flat feet. The Czechs are really BIG on flat feet. Or rather obsessed about how to NOT have flat feet. All of the kids’ shoes there have arch support – without a question. Even most of adult footwear comes with it. That is why the shoes in Czech (and Europe in general) are so expensive.

If you say the words “flat feet” here in America, you will come across blank faces, like if you said that you drink a mushroom tea instead of coffee every morning. Like you are one of those crazy health freaks. Out of politeness they usually ask about what exactly that term means and how does one know whether he/she has flat feet. I explain it to them, hoping they will become followers of the Healthy Footwear god and next time I see them they wear those evil flat shoes again! True, I have a few of those devilish pairs myself but I really just drive in them (otherwise I would suffer later for it).

Both of my kids have very flat feet, even their American pediatrician pointed that out. Yet, to advice me on what to do about it, that was another ordeal. Basically, he did not have much to say. I had to take the initiative and do a research on the internet, what products are even out there. At first, I googled the term “orthopedic shoes” and got a list of shoe-like braces for people that break their feet or have some kind of malformation. [click to continue…]

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Mazanec / growntocook.com imageAmong other things the Czechs and Slovaks celebrate Easter by making a sweet bread called Mazanec.  The dough is practically the same as the one for Vanocka (which is baked for Christmas) but the shape is different and the meaning is different.

When you are just about to put your Mazanec in the oven, you make a cross on the top (cutting it with scissors) to commemorate the death and the resurrection of Jesus.

The best recipe I found is at the EasternEuropeanfood.com website. No metrics, just cups :). If you noticed the author uses 5 and 1/2 cups of flour (!!) which makes for a BIG loaf so I ended up making my loaf just half the size. Also, since mine also tends to get quite flat in the oven I cheated and used the deep glass baking pan. It turned out great! Except in my household it seems like I am the only one who will be eating it for the rest of the week. They just don’t have  any appreciation for the Czech art of baking :(. [click to continue…]

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gift google imageFor years I have been having problems with a Czech translation of these English nuisance words:

~cupcake
~brownies
~cookies
~timeout
~playgroup

I have gotten so run down by trying to figure out the Czech words for them that I just gave up and use the English words (evil, I know!).

So now I am officially announcing a CONTEST! Who comes up with the best Czech translations for them wins a surprise gift!

CZ: Kdo najde ten nejvystiznejsi preklad pro vyse uvedena anglicka slova, obdrzi darkove prekvapenicko!!!! Zatim jsem osobne vynalezla preklad pro ‘brownies’ – ‘hnedaky’. Ale jak vidite, nejak ten preklad nema smrnc.

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2525281_fd5fb0c3The Czech Republic has 92,000 real estate properties which have no owner. If no one claims them soon, they will become the property of the state.

About 150,000 Czech names are associated with these properties but their fates are unknown. The 31,000 of them were born before the year 1910 which means they have/had no birth numbers (rodne cislo) and therefore  they are harder to find. Also, it is believed that many of these vanished individuals died in the concentration camps during World War II. [click to continue…]

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name day calendarMy American hubby loves to joke about the Czechs. Like the other day it was my name day and he says: “You guys are so greedy that a birthday is not enough for you.”  I replied the Polish people have name days too. And he says: “But they deserve it because they got flattened in World War II”.

Yep, he is a funny guy :). Deep inside he really loves our culture and wishes “Keith” would be on our calendar of Czech names.

But the story got me thinking about name days. Where did they come from and why some countries have them and some don’t? Actually, there are 21 (!!) countries that celebrate them. The origin of name days comes from the Christian calendar of Saints and believers who were named after a particular saint and would celebrate that saint’s day with a feast.

Today, in the countries that celebrate them, each calendar day has a name(s) assigned to it. The list of names has been modified only by a few countries, such as Sweden and Finland, but not in other countries. [click to continue…]

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kohlrabiMost Americans are not at all familiar with kohlrabi. No, it’s not the second most common Jewish name or some new kid’s card game. It is a vegetable which the Czechs and Slovaks are very fond of. In fact, we are so fond of it, that I am growing it in my garden! Granted, half of them got pulled down by those damn gofers but the other half ended up in our bellies (including our guinea pig).

I strongly suggest if you have a little space in your garden that you plant some of those seedlings so you can experience the refreshing taste of it. You can eat it raw (just peel the skin), put it in your salads for extra crunchiness, or you can cook with it. Here is a kohlrabi soup recipe that caught my attention when I was browsing the Czech cooking sites:

Ingredients:

  • 2 big potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 kohlrabi, peeled and shredded
  • 2 big carrots, peeled and shredded
  • about 3 Tbs of sour cream (depending on your taste)
  • about 1 Tsp of caraway seeds
  • salt, pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Boil about 5 cups of water
  2. Add potatoes and seasoning in it and cook it for about 5 minutes
  3. Add the rest of the vegetables and the sour cream
  4. Cook until the potatoes are done
  5. Garnish with parsley and chives

[click to continue…]

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