-Where were you born?
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
-In which country and city are you living now?
Prague, Czech Republic
-Are you living alone or with your family?
I’m living here with my Czech husband.
-How long have you been living in the Czech Republic?
I moved here about 14 months ago.
-What is your age?
-When did you come up with the idea of living in the Czech Republic?
The idea first came to me just before my husband and I were married, here in Prague. I was not able to move here right after our wedding as I still had one daughter who was living at home, and attending her junior and senior years of high school. My husband’s mother is elderly and is completely dependent on him, so he was not able to move to the United States. Once my daughter was off to college, I packed up and moved over here to be with my husband and help him with his mother.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a working permit?
It wasn’t very hard for me to get a long-term residence visa since I am married to a Czech. We actually had to apply at his home town, at the foreign police office there. The whole thing took maybe 3 weeks, and my visa was ready! I’ve been told that in Prague, the wait is about 3-4 months.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
No, it wasn’t difficult. Again, since I married a Czech, we applied for regular health insurance that is available to everyone living here.
-How do you make in the Czech Republic? Do you have any type of income generated?
I currently work for my family’s telecommunications company, Pangrac & Associates, that is based in the United States. My job allows me to work via the Internet, and lets me travel with my work wherever I have an Internet connection.
-Do you speak Czech and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
I am learning the language, a little at a time. I have learned 2 other languages, in the past, but Czech is a bit harder for me! I plan on attending language courses in the coming Fall. Yes, I believe it’s important to learn the local language if you are living in that place long-term. I am married to a Czech, and some of our friends do speak English, but most do not; neither does my husband’s family. I would really like to talk to them!
-Do you miss home and family sometimes?
Yes, I do miss my family, and my dog, Pal (golden retriever-chow mix)! My family and I are very close, and even though we have lived apart in the US, we kept in touch every week. My parents, kids and Grandma and I all keep in touch via computer now. There are so many programs that allow you to talk for free—that really helps a lot!
-Do you have other plans for the future?
My husband and I plan on living here, in the Czech Republic, for a while. As to future travel, I will definitely be going home to visit family and friends as much as possible, and travel some with my husband on his business trips. This is Life as a middle ager for now!
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
We currently rent a small apartment, but are looking for a bigger one, or even a small house. A 2-bedroom house in our area runs about $140,000 USD, and rent for a 1-bedroom apartment, on average, is about $1,000 USD/month.
-What is the cost of living in the Czech Republic?
The average salary in Prague is about $1,000 USD/month. Prices for food and other things has been rising a little bit in recent months.
-What do you think about the Czech people?
Czech people are such a mix of pessimism, irony, and humor! If you read Svejk, that will give you a good example of how Czechs view themselves. Czechs are friendly once they accept you. I think they mostly treat foreigners very well.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in the Czech Republic?
Prague and the Czech Republic, as a whole, are so full of history and interesting places to see. There are so many places to hike in nature, etc., and so much culture here. As for negatives, I can’t think of any, except that my family is all so far away.
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in the Czech Republic?
Be sure to learn the language, and go about getting your residence visa/work permit in the very right way, or you will have a lot of headaches! If you don’t have a Czech spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend, then be sure to try to have a Czech-speaking friend go with you to go through the visa/work permit process. The people at the foreign police don’t speak much English.
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about the Czech Republic?
I write a blog, Czech Off the Beaten Path, that is about my adventures living here, in the Czech Republic, and tourist sites that I visit that are a bit off the beaten path. I also have a website, Czech Off the Beaten Path, that gives information such as Czech stats, and reviews and pictures of tourist sites I’ve visited, as well as tourism links, and will be going more into the history and news of the country in the future.
Some favorite English websites about the Czech Republic:
Expats.cz: gives great information and advice for people who would like to move here to live, but also for tourists.
Prague Monitor: This site offers Czech news in English