An Interesting Week

we are drowning, we are drowning, we are drowning in the Czech sea...

The week beginning Sunday 22nd February was always going to be interesting. For starters, it contained both our birthdays, Sybille’s on the 24th & mine on the 26th. It was also the week we were booked to commence our Czech language classes.

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Because our birthdays are only two days (but numerous years!) apart, we normally try to have a little celebration on the intervening day, the 25th. However, the liturgical calendar this year decided to play it’s tricks upon us by 25th February being Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Hardly a day for birthday celebrations but instead, an important Holy Day in the Christian Year. So instead of a party, I celebrated an Ash Wednesday Eucharist with the imposition of ashes for those who wished for it. Most encouragingly, it was well supported, both by regular members of the congregation, and by others. These included two members of our host Church, the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, who don’t themselves hold an Ash Wednesday service.

Back in January, we had booked ourselves onto a Czech language beginner’s course running on Mondays & Wednesdays & commencing on Monday 23rd February at the Vítezné námestí branch of the Caledonian Language School, just three tram stops from where we live. Unfortunately, four days before we were due to start the course, we received an email to say that they didn’t have enough takers for our planned course so it wouldn’t run. Instead, we had to transfer to a course being held at their Národní branch in the centre of Prague running on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

So how did we mark both our birthdays? By attending our first two one & a half hour lessons in Czech!!! And I mean in Czech!!! It is the full immersion method with all the instructions being given in Czech. By our second lesson, on my birthday, I was sinking fast and rapidly believing that being in ones late fifties is not the right age to try to start learning a completely new language! Our course book is entitled, ‘Czech Express’. At the moment, as far as I am concerned, that title is exceedingly optimistic! If you want to do real penance this Lent, try three hours of Czech language lessons each week!

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