Since the classes of our adult Czech language beginners group are held virtually on Skype, the students decided to meet face-to-face and practice Czech. And what a better opportunity to meet in person then creating a Czech restaurant right in Palo Alto!
The students were hosted by Zuzana Hesova, their Czech teacher, and Janet St. Peter and Paul Pitlick. Together they have recreated a Czech restaurant “Restaurace Čihadlo”. And because all the students pitched in, a great variety of traditional Czech dishes was offered. Dishes such a pork loin, dumplings, and cabbage, goulash, and schnitzels with potato salad were on the menu! Czech wines and Slivovitz was also being served.
The production was a great success, everyone enjoyed the evening, took some left-overs home and the spirit of Pitlick’s Czech family house Čihadlo was captured.
About the host and our student, Paul Pitlick, and his Czech heritage
“My father’s grandparents came to the US from Bohemia (that’s how they referred to it) probably in the 1870s, and settled near Cedar Rapids, IA, where there was and still is a large Czech community (It is also the site of the National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library – http://www.ncsml.org).
My dad was born on the farm in South Dakota, where my grandparents moved in the early 20th century. His parents were bi-lingual but he didn’t learn English until he started school. However, my dad chose not to stay on the farm, went to medical school, and eventually ended up in southern California. My mother was of Scottish/American.
While most of my dad’s generation are gone, there is still a cousin in South Dakota (now 91 years old), who years ago had started communicating occasionally with a distant cousin in Czechoslovakia. She doesn’t know Czech, and he didn’t know English, but they found people who could translate their letters. Before my wife and I traveled to the Czech Republic for the first time 5 years ago, this American cousin sent me the contact info for one of the Czech relatives. When we got to Prague, we made contact, and we were invited to Javornice in the Orlické Mountains.
We were warmly received by 5 siblings and their families. Dáša lives in a house which has been in the Serbousek family (my grandmother was a Serbousek) for 150 years. The previous occupants (Marie Sedláčkové-Serbouskové and Vojtěcha Sedláčka) were artists. They died childless more than 40 years ago, leaving behind many of her laces and his paintings. The house is set up as a sort of museum in their memories. More here (if anyone would like to see the artwork, please feel free to contact Paul (ppitlick at stanford.edu) and he will give you more information.
Why did you decide to learn Czech language?
It was actually Jan’s idea that we try to learn Czech. We were ok in Prague, since it seems like everyone speaks English, but Javornice was a different story. We also occasionally Skype with one of Kristina’s sons (he helps us with Czech and we help him with English).
About the history of “Čihadlo”
Čihadlo is Paul’s family house, where his family is still getting together regularly. And so he thought it would a perfect name for their fictional Czech restaurant.
About our Czech language classes for adults
We offer adult Czech classes for beginners and intermediate. The beginners use the new modern textbook by Lida Hola – New Czech Step by Step, which offers modern, real-life dialogs and students practice a lot of listening to Czech in its natural tempo. Currently some of these classes are held “virtually” on Skype or Google Hangout, but if we get more than 5 students, we will open a new class. The intermediate classes are held in person every Sunday in Redwood City. We also offer private classes.
For more information please refer to our enrollment page or if you are thinking about joining our classes, feel free to reach out to our director of education, Barbora B. at: firstname.lastname@example.org.