Since Jun 19, 2009

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I´m an American currently living in the Czech Republic, about 17 miles northwest of Prague. I like it here.....oddly enough, there´s more freedom here. Many Czechs have a tendency to be rather libertarian in the approach to life. For instance, I can smoke in a bar without getting fined: if I felt so inclined, I could smoke a joint (which I don´t) and not go to jail for it. If I wish to walk down the street drinking a bottle of beer, no one hassles me. I described it once to my late father, and he said it was like how America used to be in the 1950´s. Of course, it´s not perfect.......Czechs are a rather reserved lot, a little crazy when they´re young, though I do detect a certain more-or-less conservatism inherent in the society. Most young women do wish to stay at home when they have children, for instance. As for me, I enjoy my work as an English teacher. It´s fun, never boring, and I have great students ranging in age from 18 to 40. The majority of my students are business people, but I have some students who just entering University as well. When possible, I´ll keep you freepers updated with news from Central Europe, and for those of you desiring escape from Comrade (oops.....President) Obama´s Brave New USA, I recommend it here. C´mon in.....the waters fine. But I must warn you.....the Czech language is a nightmare. Been here eight years, and my level is that of a five-year old child. But, people understand me, and most Czechs acknowledge the difficulty of their language. Ok: been awhile since I’ve updated this at all......I was in the Czech Republic for 9 years, and then made a move to Germany, Berlin to be specific. Lived in Kreuzberg district, which is chock full of Turks! But, as I’ve discovered, the Turks are genuinely nice, friendly, and hospitable people. My upstairs neighbor was a Sheik, of all things, a Sufi (whirling dervishes). Nice folks. Then I moved back to Eastern Moravia....not far from the Polish border. This area is a former industrial area: the steel heart of the Czech Republic. Why it's nice here? I can (and do) own a firearm. Three of them in fact. I also have a concealed weapons permit. You read that right....Czech Republic has some of the most liberal firearms laws in Europe. As long as you're a citizen (or permanent resident, like me) you can own a gun. For the carry permit, you must demonstrate firearms proficiency on a police range, pass a medical exam and criminal background check, and be able to field-strip and reassemble your handgun. So, I have a Mossberg 12 gauge for the house, a CZ 585 over and under for pheasant and duck hunting (nothing like fresh pheasant!) and my carry is a CZ 75 9mm. Other nice things? I can buy things COD. Yep. Cash On Delivery. That's getting pretty uncommon in the states. Also, to pay my bills, I have a one-stop-center....the Post Office. You can send and receive mail, Western Unions, and of course, pay your bills. And buy lottery tickets if so inclined. I've never seen a cop here in full-on riot gear just patrolling the street. They're just in normal uniform. Of course, there is a SWAT team, but it's pretty rarely used. Everyone has dogs. I have one too, thanks to my girlfriend. A Yorkshire terrier. Not a bright dog, to be honest, but friendly enough. The downside of everyone having a dog? No one picks up the crap. That's annoying, especially in the summer, when you have to navigate a dog poop minefield. I don't have a car, but I really don't need one here. Plus, gas is expensive. About §7.50 a gallon at the rate of exchange as of November 2011. But, there's a lot of cars here, so obviously people can afford it. Me, I either hoof it or take a tram to get around. It's cheap enough. So, if any readers are looking to get out of the USA in the event Obama is re-elected in 2012, I'd recommend it here. It's mellow enough, low crime, etc. Good schools if you have kids (though the schools are in Czech, there are few International Schools here and there in the bigger cities). Yes indeed, it's the expat's life for me! Left American in early 2001, and haven't looked back.