Strangers in Prague – Martine’s Story [UPDATED with Interview]

It wasn’t in Starbucks this time. I went to a Speak Easy event. Do you remember my other article about this great event that takes place in Prague and where you can talk to many people using any language that you can imagine (https://cz.cityspy.network/prague/articles/review-articles/speak-easy-language-event-prague/)? The event changed locations, and it is not so small anymore. Sometimes you can’t even hear your own voice because people have gotten to know this event, and its become much more crowded than it was before.

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Still, it’s a great idea, right? Where else can you meet people from around the world and talk to them in whatever language you love about any topic that you’d like? This is the right place where to go on Sunday afternoon, and it is the same place where a number of friends and I met each other for the first time.

Meet Martine: a girl who is Parisian, but whose parents are originally from Haiti. She was born in Paris, and she’s learned to speak French, English and a bit of Czech since then.

She decided to come to Prague to work and live here. She didn’t have any idea how it was going to work, but she wanted to give it a try! It was surprising to her, as well, that it worked out. Why was it so surprising? You should imagine Prague, a beautiful city full of history, gorgeous buildings, and lovely people; but most of them, even foreigners, speak Czech, English or German. She could speak only French and English. She couldn’t speak any Czech! See the problem?

It’s nothing to be ashamed of, of course. Come on, who can speak Czech who isn’t a native speaker or who hasn’t been living in the Czech Republic for quite a long time? Any hands up? I didn’t think so! I’m not surprised at all. The Czech language is quite useless if you don’t live in the Czech Republic. I’ve also heard that this language is really hard to learn. I can’t say if it’s true or not because I’m a native speaker. You can mainly find English people, Americans or Germans living in Prague, so I imagine it’s very hard to find a job here if you can only speak French, right?  Well, she found one, and came here to work and live her life. We met each other, and in the first few seconds of talking to her, I knew she was the right person to converse with. She is that kind of French soul you might be looking for when you need the right friend to spend your day with; plus, I could finally brush up my knowledge of French! There are not that many opportunities to use it in Prague. But she took a chance here, and it worked out! When we met each other, we both knew that a friendship was born. We had a lot in common, so we meet up quite often and have discovered that we are both nice people.

We’ve also determined that we should spend more time together. Our friendship has lasted until now, and that’s why I’m on my way to Paris at the moment to visit her. She is such a great soul, my small Parisian friend — my little bit of “France in Prague”. She’s the kind of person you need in your life: that soul who is going to be close to you even when she is far away, the always-chic Parisian friend who loves Prague and Paris too, and the warm soul who is always behind when you need her (and great to practice your French with!). This is a girl one can never get enough of: always smiling, supporting me in any way I need, and delivering positive energy anywhere she goes. I didn’t find just a person to speak French with at this Speak Easy event. I found a great friend to share my life and my adventures with! So, “Bon voyage et merci beaucoup Speak Easy et mon amie Martine!” She misses Prague a lot.

Here’s a brief interview that I shared with Martine:

  1. Who are you? Where are you from and where do you live at the moment ?

My name is Martine Lorena. I am French and I live in Choisy le roi, Paris neighborhood but my family is from Haiti.

  1. Why did you come to Prague?

I came to Prague because I wanted to experience an international stay, and to be honest I was a bit bored of Paris at that moment, so I just wanted to leave for a while and try something new and challenging as I have never lived in another country.

  1. How long did you stay?

I stayed almost 6 months from March 2016 until September 2016

  1. Did you like it and was it hard to stay abroad?

Experiencing life abroad wasn’t hard at all, I loved it and I recommend it. You can just gain so much from living abroad.

  1. What was your job and was it hard to find a job in Prague?

I worked in a French company named Bluelink. I worked as an HR assistant. It was not hard to find it because the organization that sent me to Prague found that job for me. I just had a quick interview.

  1. Was it hard for you to stay in a different country with a language you don’t understand?

The difference of language was difficult mostly in communication with offices and doing all of those administrative necessities. I remember I found it almost impossible to communicate when I was in the hospital, talking to people at Úřad práce v Praze or sometimes even asking people in the supermarket for some special goods.

  1. Do you like Prague and why?

I love Prague! Prague is my Little Paris ☺. This city is big, beautiful, elegant, full of activities, and is very clean. Public transport is very well organized, living is quite cheap if I compared it with my country and the most important: Prague offers a wonderful quality of life.

  1. What do you like and don’t?

I like everything but sometimes I really didn’t like the “I don’t care” attitude of some people. Impolite people are everywhere but I think that some Czech people can be “particularly frozen” at some point and not that open-minded. But as I said that can be found everywhere.

  1. Did you travel around the Czech Republic and where?

I went to Český Krumlov, Kutná Hora and tried to visit Prague as much as possible. I loved that places, very wonderful.

  1. What do you think about Czech people?

99% of the Czech people are nice but some of them can be really frozen and not that smiley.

  1. What about the Czech language? Was it hard to learn?

I took 3 classes of Czech when I arrived. To be honest I gave up after few weeks because it was too complicated for me and I was not motivated enough. Now I think that it’s a pity because it is a very nice language. I still remember some words as Dobry den, jak se mate, leva,  prava, damsky, pomoc, ice cream is zrimlinina, nazdravi, dekuji moc, divaldo (note from the writer: some of those should be written differently but if you don’t have a Czech keyboard it is not possible to write it down so after three classes I would say it is great!)

  1. What events in Prague would you recommend to foreigners in Prague?

The Globe Bookstore is the right place to go, I went there with my friend Flora, thanks Flora, my flat mate, we found the event on MeetUp. I tried also some events with Couchsurfing in some bars but I don’t remember the name. I have never been in a InterNations event in Prague but I wanted. The Globe, definitively; I met my friend Marketa there and my ex boyfriend too, not on the same day, though.

  1. Any advice for people who are thinking of going to the Czech Republic?

Just go and enjoy it! It was a wonderful experience! No worries, even if it can be difficult sometimes, just enjoy and be open minded.

Markéta Hudečková

Markéta Hudečková

I'm a Czech girl who lived in Prague for a long time while working as a Legal Assistant. One day, I have decided to change it so I'm trying to travel as much as I can while writing the stories on my way. I'm a blogger, copywriter, photographer and I also consider myself as a traveler.
Markéta Hudečková
About Markéta Hudečková 35 Articles
I'm a Czech girl who lived in Prague for a long time while working as a Legal Assistant. One day, I have decided to change it so I'm trying to travel as much as I can while writing the stories on my way. I'm a blogger, copywriter, photographer and I also consider myself as a traveler.