CUSTODY-BATTLE-TUGDivorce is always a sticky thing. But it cannot get any more difficult if there are children involved. My parents divorced when I was 7 years old (there was alcoholism involved) and from then on my brother and I stayed with my mom during the week and saw our dad every other weekend, sometimes during the week. It was hard, yet in our situation quite necessary.

Even till this day it is very common, even if both parents are stable, to give the main custody to the mother…father happens to be out of luck.

I recently came across an article which brought all of those childhood memories back.The Czech custody laws have been recently changing with the court system being more sympathetic to the father. There are cases where he was even given a joint custody!

‘The Czech Republic has one of the highest divorce rates in Europe with one in three marriages –and every second marriage in Prague – hitting the rocks.’  If this new trend of joint custody is going to stay, it will affect the majority of the future generation. [click to continue…]

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rubberband jumpingThis will bring you back, my Czech buddies! Not sure how is this game is called in English (if there is even a name for it) but we used to play it all the time when we were kids. Why? because there was not much else to do after school when you lived in the city during the communist times! All the TV programs started no earlier than 4pm, there was no technology and really no woods to get lost in. So we just played this game on the sidewalk for hours. [click to continue…]

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Yay! Our Czech School San Diego got an attention from a very prominent Czech newspaper Lidove noviny. We spoke to Magdalena, the interviewing lady, for about 3 hours but her writing space was unfortunately limited therefore many things were left undocumented. But that is alright, at least the Czech world now knows about us :). Thanks Magdalena!

The title by the way says ‘Czech women in the US establish schools’.

CZ: Jee, tak mame clanek o nasi ceske skolicce v San Diegu v Lidovych novinach! Je to uspech, i kdyz hodne veci, o kterych jsme si s pani novinarkou Magdalenou povidaly, se tam proste neveslo.
Our Czech School San Diego 2our Czech School San Diego

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beskydy google image / Photo: Jan HusakScreen shot 2014-05-25 at 8.31.35 AMSummer is just about here and that makes me think of vacation, of course. This time we will be exploring the beautiful area of the Czech Republic called Beskydy.Perhaps you have heard the famous Czech folk song called “Beskyde, Beskyde” and now it’s your chance to find out more about it.

My grandma came from Vsetin (a town in Beskydy) and had  many wonderful memories of picking handfuls of blueberries and strawberries in the Beskydy forests….kind of like Hansel and Gretel but she never got lost. With its mountain ridges, deep valleys, gurgling rivers, and wide forests, Beskydy is the largest protected landscape area in the Czech Republic. Its exceptional nature value lies in the original mountainous primeval forest with multiple rare plants and animal species, like the blue snail, for example. [click to continue…]

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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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