I was born a long time ago in a place far, far away -- Karlovy Vary about 100 km outside of Prague, in the Czech Republic (then known as "Czechoslovakia", but that
turned out to be too complicated to spell, so the country separated into the Czech Republic and Slovakia).
We came from a poor communist country, so my parents couldn't afford a middle name for me, nor many vowels in my last name.
In the late 1960's we emigrated to Canada, not only because it seemed like a good idea at the time, but also because the Soviet tanks had rolled into Prague.
We came by way of a "vacation" to Austria, and then landed in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Shortly after that, we came to Ottawa (most people who've been to Winnipeg understand why), and I've been here ever since.
I grew up in the west end, in the Britannia area, and now reside in Kanata.
I went to Regina Public School (on Regina Street in Ottawa, not in Regina/SK), and then D. Roy Kennedy for grades 7 and 8, and then
Nepean High School (strangely, in Ottawa, not Nepean) for grades 9 through most of 13.
Anyone out there who knows me from school and wants to go for a beer, just contact me.
And now a short demonstration of my Czech language skill:
Mluvim cesky, ale ne tak dobre, protoze jsem hlavne mluvil z rodicema doma.
Aspon 25 let jsem myslel ze se to pise "sumka" a byl jsem prekvapen kdyz jsem se vratil do Prahy a debilove to tam psali "sunka".
Umim dobre tykat, ale nad vykanim musim premejslet.
Snad Vas neurazym kdybych nahodou Vam zacal tikat bez dovoleni :-)
Slovensky skoro neumim, protoze jedinej styk co jsem mel z "ludma" byly cesi. Cudne, co?
Psana cestina my taky zabere hodne premysleni, furt zvejkam "hy chy ky ry dy ty ny" :-)
And speaking of Czechs, I grew up with a horribly skewed perception of Czechs.
Most of the Czech people that I grew up with were intellectuals -- they were medical doctors, PhDs, physicists, engineers,
electronics/software types, etc. [because these were the "potouchly intelektualove" that escaped from the communist invasion in '68].
As a kid growing up in that environment, I unconsciously came to the conclusion that because the Czechs I met were all smart, that therefore
all Czechs were extremely intelligent people.
This came to a sudden end when I visited the Czech republic for the first time since leaving in '68 and saw drunken teenagers whizzing on the
tram tracks at Andel station :-) I thought, "Wow! These guys are as ignorant as anyone I've met! -- Weird!"