Farewell to Karen (hopefully only temporarily)

Karen © Ricky Yates

A person who has featured in several of my previous blog posts is Karen, an American who came to Prague in November 2008 to train as a TEFL Teacher at the Caledonian Language School. A few weeks later, she found St. Clements and became a regular worshipping member of the congregation.

Unfortunately, along with another American young lady called Anna, Karen was forced to leave the Czech Republic at the end of April 2009 because of the total incompetence of the Caledonian School in helping both young ladies obtain work permits and residence visas. A second visa application, via the Czech consulate in Chicago, was also unsuccessful. Full details of what happened can be found in my earlier post entitled TEFL Teachers – Caledonian School and Broken Promises.

A few weeks after I started this blog, Karen became a regular visitor and she has been leaving thoughtful and appreciative comments ever since. Thank you Karen! She has her own blog too, entitled ‘Empty Nest Expat’, which I visit regularly and where I also try to reciprocate by leaving comments.

Three months ago, Karen returned to Europe in order to try and fulfil her dream of living and working in the Czech Republic. She came here on a Schengen tourist visa that allows her to be in any of the 25 countries that form the Schengen area for up to 90 days but no longer! Whilst here, she has successfully gained preliminary approval for a Životenský list license which allows someone to work in the Czech Republic in a self-employed capacity. This increasingly seems the best way for non-EU nationals to be able to live and work here. Now she has to apply for a residence permit which can only be done from outside of the Schengen area. So on Sunday morning she sets off to travel by bus to Istanbul via staying a few days in Sofia en-route. She will meet up with Anna in Istanbul and from there, apply for her residence permit to enable her to return to the Czech Republic.

All this may seem somewhat long-winded and bureaucratic and it is! But I’ve every hope that it will work for Karen. Through starting to play cricket again, I’ve met an Australian couple called Bruce and Kylie – yes honestly that’s what they’re called!!!! They like Karen, have had a longstanding desire to live and work in the Czech Republic. They both trained as TEFL teachers in Australia and then came here on a 90 day Schengen visa. They found accommodation, got provisional approval for a Životenský list license and the exited Schengen by going to live in London for some weeks. From there, they applied for their residence permit which was duly granted. So now they are back in Prague, teaching English and, in Bruce’s case, playing cricket.

Karen enjoying Czech beer with Katarina making a face behind her! © Ricky Yates

During her time back in Prague, Karen has once again been a regular worshipper at St. Clement’s, reconnecting with her old friends and making new ones. Last Wednesday evening, I joined a group of Karen’s friends from both within and outside of the congregation, who went out to the pizza restaurant La Ventola for a meal together, to bid her farewell – hopefully only temporarily.

Karen dressed as a glamorous European lady © Ricky Yates

Karen is an effervescent enthusiastic American who has fallen in love with all things Czech, particularly enjoying Czech beer. And she says, she is also trying to dress more European. So, encouraged by her flat mate from Belarus, she abandoned her usual jeans and top look and instead stunned us all by dressing as a glamorous European lady for the evening.

We had a great time together and all of her friends hope that last Wednesday evening will only mark a temporary farewell to Karen.

From l. to r. Karen, Katarina, Caroline, Tinu, Robbie, Marcello © Ricky Yates

2 comments to Farewell to Karen (hopefully only temporarily)

  • Ricky, you are so kind! Thank you for a wonderful send-off and truly, the best Church experience I have ever had. My last church was awesome, but there’s something about the intensity of community in an expat church that is hard to equal. I am truly blessed with wonderful friends like you and Sybille and everyone at St. Clement’s!
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Shakespeare’s "Romeo & Juliet" Under the Stars at Letní Scéna =-.

  • Hi Ricky,
    This is a great post and hopefully only a temporary good-bye to Karen. Wish I could have made the party–looks like you all had a great time! Wishing Karen all the best in her adventures, and looking forward to when she’s back!

    Our church is truly an awesome place–a very good home for those of us who are making a new home in Prague.

    Have a great day,
    Sher :0)
    .-= Sher´s last blog ..Happy and Successful Expats =-.