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16. Mother-in-Law Visit: No Worries?

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I’ve noted huge difference­s between the Czech and British culture. These are in dining customs, morning rituals, and traditions in the home.

those obvious cultural difference­s, there are things universall­y understood in any culture. For example, when I told my Czech colleagues that my mother was visiting, they all said that it was both exciting and stressful.

My mother is lovely but she is stubborn. She grew up and lived her whole life in Britain, so she has very little flexibilit­y towards accepting the rituals and customs of other cultures – even when she is in their country. She can also be a very demanding woman, and wants things

Naturally, my kids were very excited to see their Nan, but my wife Emma was so nervous that she was nauseous on the day of my mother’s arrival. When we came back from the airport, Emma had laid out a nice spread of tea and cucumber sandwiches. The sandwiches were on Czech brown bread, which we find delicious, but my mother

them. In the restaurant for dinner, I was worried because Czech waiters can be a bit rude. Sure enough, my mother was a bit agitated when the waiter immedia- tely demanded our drink order. She said she wasn’t sure yet, but promised the waiter in English that she would decide quickly. I ordered a beer and a Becherovka, and when she

at that I told her it was a Czech spirit that was supposed to relax the stomach. Emma, who was very nervous, ordered one as well, and my mother decided to do so too.

Though I thought she would hate Becherovka, she sipped it and her mouth

a broad „I could drink this every day,“she said, „it tastes like Christmas.“After she ordered another one and a bottle of the Czech’s famous bubbly water, she relaxed considerab­ly. When the waiter said she couldn’t substitute rice for dumplings, she simply shrugged and said „OK, that’s fine dear.“And I nearly fainted. I was not expecting such behaviour at all!

neat

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