On Thursday, it was International Women's Day. Yeah, one of those days that's official but not a holiday and you just shrug off? I mean, I noticed. I got an email from a charity summarising the progress of various women-empowerment projects in developing areas, good stuff. There was also the obligatory news report(s) about women's roles, like how abuse is still common in certain areas, the EU needs to get rid of the glass ceiling, bla bla bla.
So I was very surprised when, at work, my Italian friend sent pictures of flowers to every woman in the office via Sametime (the online chat software we use), my colleague in the Scandinavian Customer Services team sent an email to all Customer Service personnel with a picture of a rose and giving us best wishes on Women's Day. And then the biggest surprise: Marcin, a Pole working in German Customer Services (so I talk to him regularly), presented a yellow tulip to every woman in the Customer Services office. He explained to me that the Polish custom is to present flowers to those women that visit you that day, or who you visit, to show your appreciation of them being in your life. Tulips happen to just be a favourite flower. It was very nice, he gave me the hug for once :P.
It also made me consider how various nationalities had managed to incorporate a day of consideration into their cultures and adapted it as a celebration of sorts. Meanwhile, the Germans and British continue to not acknowledge its existence. But that just might be because they have 'Mother's Day' for 'Appreciation of Women' Day.
And now I wish to talk about yesterday. Yesterday was strange. In the morning a van strolled along the street I live on, with a friendly announcement over the speakers. A guy sitting at the front with a microphone proclaimed in a jolly voice that they had potatoes for sale! All grown in Czech (Republic)! (Small note, few Czechs refer to their country as the Czech Republic, as that is just its official name. They prefer to say Česko/Chesko.)
Now that was just a pleasant strange. The plan yesterday was to go to Poruba, Ostrava's most famous suburb due to its attractiveness, and meet Diana and Martin so they could show me around. Diana is a Swede who works in the same place as me, but a different department, so we never met until Czech classes started. Martin is her Czech boyfriend, who works someplace else. I've also listed him among the nicest guys I know. So, I was on the tram to Poruba, I got off at the stop they told me to and waited for them in Tesco. (That's right, Tesco operates in the Czech Republic...how dare they!) It was only once I'd found them I realised my wallet was missing.
We looked everywhere I had walked, couldn't find it. I felt like a failure and I was panicking. It either fell out of my pocket or someone stole it. And I was worried about getting all the replacements for its contents: it not only had my Czech and British (I also thought German but that was a false alarm) bank/debit cards, it also had my travel card and driving licence. First thing was first, I had to ring up my bank and cancel the card. Or, Martin did. But in an act of absurd selfishness, I refused to cancel the UK one as I had planned to use it to buy 'Journey' when it's released on the PSN next week. (It's not called that anymore, but I'll always think of it as the PSN.) Luckily, this had a happy ending. Figuring it had fallen out of my pocket on the tram, it was possible it would be in the lost & found at a local transport depot. It was. Earlier today, I could go and pick it up, as well as thank the tram driver who found it personally. Nothing had been removed, just rearranged (no doubt they were trying to figure out who owned said wallet). The only downside is that I'm now without a Czech debit and cash card for 2 weeks. Ah well, worse things have happened.
I meant it when I said it was a strange day though. Little did I realise, losing my wallet began a triforce of bad luck that would affect all 3 of us. After having lunch, we went to a bowling alley hoping to...bowl, obviously. There weren't many lanes, and it was too busy, so Diana and I busied ourselves with games of Billiard, which has similar rules to Pool. At one point Martin went to the toilet and his cubicle door refused to reopen. He was stuck in there 10-15 minutes. So after that we (or they) did some snack shopping at Interspar, during which we were all unfortunate enough to eat crappy chocolate. We then went back to their new flat armed with evening snacks and played Czech Monopoly. It's normal Monopoly with the properties named after areas in Prague. Here's when the bad luck befell Diana: she was constantly in jail and lost pretty quickly as a result.
So there you go. The very strange Saturday we had yesterday.