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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Drive Through Prague

Just a quick video post. I will post a link here (though it will not all fit. Click to view on youtube or click the video above in my video bar!)

I filmed out short journey to gather some goods at our local Tesco. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ahoj!



Well, I am finally able to do another post. We catch a little wireless here and there so it has been hard to post an update! Thankfully, we have an internet cable being put in today.

Our flight here was not bad at all. Our dogs didn't make a peep or moan during our 18 hour journey to our new home. We had worried that there would be some complication so we made sure to get all of our pet forms in order for both the airline and the immigration control in the Czech Republic. Much to our surprise, the airline didn't ever ask for any kind of form and the immigration control at the airport in Prague gave little attention to us having pets! We had to mention that we had them before they asked for any kind of papers. A couple second glance at our information was all we needed to bring our two dogs into the country. Surprising to say the least. We arrived around 7AM in Prague.

In Czech fashion we were welcomed to the country with pivo (beer) and Vodka. After two beers and 3 shots of vodka I glanced down at my watch to check the time. To my amazement, it was only 8:45 in the morning! The rest of the day consisted of more beer in various pubs around the neighborhood, a few more shots, and some interesting Czech wine. We had just happened to arrive during an end of the year wine festival not a 1/2 block from our flat. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep that night as I spent a lot of my time visiting the bathroom :(

Well, to conclude this entry I figure I might as well share some pictures as well as a short video I took of the wine festival.

Here is a pic from our flat




That interesting Czech wine I told you about :D


Here are some local beer prices. With the conversion rate you are looking at around $1.40 for a 1/2 liter of beer and around $.80 for .3L. Just a small price different from the beer you would find in a bar in the states :D


Here is a video of the festival. We just bought a mac computer so I am a little new to the video editing software. The film is a little ruff but hopefully they will improve with time :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oh! What is the Czech Republic you ask?

I guess I should include this for all of those who are unaware. :)

The Czech Republic located in the center of Europe. It shares a boarder with Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Poland.



Prague(where we are going to live) is the capital of Czech.

Here is some info from the CIA World Factbook.


Brief History
Following the First World War, the closely related Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar years, the new country's leaders were frequently preoccupied with meeting the demands of other ethnic minorities within the republic, most notably the Sudeten Germans and the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). After World War II, a truncated Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize Communist party rule and create "socialism with a human face." Anti-Soviet demonstrations the following year ushered in a period of harsh repression. With the collapse of Soviet authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution." On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.


Population

10,211,904 (July 2009 est.)

Median Age

total: 40.1 years
male: 38.6 years
female: 41.9 years (2009 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 73% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Life Expectancy

total population: 76.81 years
country comparison to the world: 61
male: 73.54 years
female: 80.28 years (2009 est.)

Ethnic Groups

Czech 90.4%, Moravian 3.7%, Slovak 1.9%, other 4% (2001 census)

Religions

Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59% (2001 census)

Language

Czech 94.9%, Slovak 2%, other 2.3%, unidentified 0.8% (2001 census)

Land Size

total: 78,867 sq km
land: 77,247 sq km
water: 1,620 sq km

Comparatively, we are talking around 40% the size of Oregon, where I am moving from.

Terrain

Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains; Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country

Elevation

lowest point: Elbe River 115 m
highest point: Snezka 1,602 m

Natural Hazards

Flooding

It is also interesting to note:

- The Czech Republic leads the world in beer consumption per capita!

Rank Liters per year
1 Czech Republic 156.9
2 Ireland 131.1
3 Germany 115.8

:D

2 days to go!



Well, here we are. We leave for the Czech Republic in 2 days! I cannot believe it! This summer has seemly gone by quite fast. I decided to take a break from packing to make my first blog post on our big move.

Unfortunately, by getting our tickets with sky miles we were only able to get the flight we needed by going through Delta Airlines. We will see how they compare to Lufthansa, as they are who we have usually used to fly to Europe. All ready the fees for baggage are a little irritating. Instead of the standard two bag policy, the 2nd bag now costs $50 each! An interesting detail to our flight is that our two Chihuahuas will be moving with us to Prague. They are small enough that they will be taken as carry-on for the cost of $100 for both of them in one bag. Thankfully my lovely wife took care of all the papers to bring them onto the airplane and into the country. :)

My Plan
I was originally going to look for a job once we arrived in Prague and apply for a work visa using that job as my reason to stay in the country. U.S. citizens are allowed to stay in the Czech Republic for a period of 90 days without needing a visa. It used to be pretty simple for expats wanting to live in the Czech Republic. You used to be able to work during that 90 day period, jump the boarder for the day and get another 90 days stay. Sounded pretty easy while I was reading around some expats forums! There was only one problem...

The Czech Republic joined the Schengen Agreement in January of 2008. (Details of Schengen Treaty). Essentially, the Schengen Agreement joins most countries of Europe together in an agreement where there are no boarder checks within the member countries, there is standardization of visa forms, and most importantly, you can only stay in the Schengen area for a period of 90 days, then one must leave the area for an additional 90 days before they can return to Europe again. %*#@!

After learning this, we took a closer look into our situation and realized that my wife is still as Czech citizen, as she was born in the Czech Republic to two Czech citizens, and did not become a citizen of the United States prior to 1993 (I Think that is the correct date, but I am kinda wingin it :). After realizing this fact, we realized that not only can my wife attend school there without needing a student visa, but I can apply for Temporary Residency for the purpose of reunification of family!

The benefit to doing this over a visa is that 1. It is good for 5 years as apposed to 1, 2. It give me all the rights as a member of the E.U., including access to social services, education, etc. 3. Allows me to move to another country within the Schengen zone and have the rights of a citizen of that country, and 4. It allows me to obtain a job and leave a job like a normal Czech citizen. With a visa, if you loose your job (laid off, fired, quiet, etc.) you loose your right to be in the country and you must leave the Schengen zone within 30 days. Another benefit is that with a visa, you are only legally allowed to visit other Schengen countries during your first 3 months in country, or during a constant stay in the area for a period of one year. A temp. res. permit allows you to travel to other Schengen countries whenever you like.

Stress!
My only real issue now is trying to get everything in order. Multiple calls and e-mails to the Czech Embassy have gone unanswered. When I have been in contact with something, they were not able to provide me with any answers and simply stated that the foreign police in Czech would be able to help me. An internet search turned up that the foreign police rarely speak English and are usually in a bad mood. Hooray for me! We will just see how thing turn out a guess. My big question is that if I get 3 months to stay in the country without a visa, what happens if the process of obtaining a visa is longer than I can legally stay? Do I need to leave the Schengen zone for a while until my Visa is approved? Is there an extension I can file? No one has the answer! I may have to contact some friends in Ireland or England and see if I can crash on a couch for a few weeks! The unknown worries me...

Besides that, I have to make sure that all the documents are in order, certified by an Apostille (top dog certification from the Secretary of State), make sure all the documents are translated into Czech and certified that the translation is correct, make sure I have ample health coverage, and pretty much get all the other little requirements together as needed.

Mood: Excited, Stressed, Worried, and Excited :D

My next post should be coming to you via an i.p. in the Czech Republic!