An Open Letter to My Son’s Friends at the Prom After-Party Weekend
May 14, 2018
21 Days of Yoga
May 17, 2016
Where the Light Enters You
February 6, 2019
Tetas and Tatas
May 16, 2016
Congratulations to me; I am a Teta! Ja jsem tetinko. Teta Emilka means Auntie Emily, and I have been granted the honorary title for the first time in Czech. My darling new titular synovec is 3-year old Mattiaš, son of my sweetheart Czech teacher, Lucie. She is due to have another child in one month. As her birth center is about 50 km away from her house, I'm on call to show up in the middle of the night and make bananas the next morning for Mattiško. (If you're confused yet by all the derivations of the same name, don't be. It's just Czech. I could never explain it as I don't begin to understand it myself, just know that at any time of the day I could be called Em-I-ly, [stress on the middle I], Emilka, or Emilko, but I'm still the same person you know and love.) Bananas are the only thing I know he will eat for breakfast that I can say. Know how to say banana in Czech? Banane.
I myself often make oatmeal for breakfast. I heard a hilarious story about a Czech-learning American who was making oatmeal (ovesné). When her Czech-speaking roommate walked in and asked what she was making, she answered Vložky! which in an everything-sounds-like-a-mouthful-of-consonants-anyway sorta way does sound the same as ovesné, but which means a steaming hot pot of MAXI-PADS. I won't be offering any of that to my little Matty!
Matty/ Mattias/ Mattisko came over last night and brought all his dinosaurs. Thank God Tyrannosaurus Rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and even Pterodactyl are all the same in both of our languages.
His parents both speak excellent English, so I told them one of our favorite dinosaur jokes, probably better suited to a three-year old, or the 6, 8, and 9 year-olds who were seated around my breakfast table Sunday morning after a sleep-over, reading Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, and The Fart Book. So you can see how my sense of humor has been influenced. . .
. . .
Why can't you hear a pterodactyl go to the bathroom?
Because the P is silent.
You know what else is silent? Cancer.
I want to be serious here for a minute to get your attention. People die from unchecked cancers, and we all owe it to ourselves and this glorious, lonely, unforgiving, overwhelming and did-I-mention glorious thing we call Life to do all we can to stave off death for as long as possible.
Which means we have to get our boobs checked. There is still no easy way to detect ovarian cancer, but there are ways to check in on this and other silent beasts that have scary potential. And we all know we have to do our bse's and our yearly pap smears and all that. No fun, right? Especially not when it's aggravated by the presence of TMC - that's Too Much Caffeine, for you lay people.
I have fibro-cystic syndrome which is nothing serious in itself, but had gotten a little worrisome lately. Its main symptom is soreness in fatty tissue. Some of us have more of that than others, and most of it is located in the breasts. Remember back there on the homepage of this little website, I opened up to you by saying that I was not supposed to have caffeine, but sometimes I drink it anyway? Well, here's the reasoning behind that: Fibro-cystic syndrome can cause these achy little nodules in the breast that are absolutely harmless, BUT if there are real cysts there, they can be masked by what one might complacently think are ordinary caffeine-induced firm-yet-squishy bodies. Complacency linked to silence is worse than silence on its own. And not speaking the language is no excuse for either.
I've been drinking SO MUCH COFFEE lately, (Hello spring trip to Paris! Hello, new writing projects! Hello, birthday party and regular Wednesday lunch dates at the place that doesn't serve decaf!) that my boobs had gotten so sore, I was convinced they were going to have to be cut off. Mammograms are bad enough anyway, but doctor visits in Czech are a whole different kettle of carp, so I had been putting off my routine exam since January. I finally mustered up enough courage and enough of my broken Czech to go to the clinic and reschedule my appointment in person - because I didn't know how to just call them up.
Today was my appointment. I prayed and meditated all weekend, told Conan to kiss The Girls goodbye just in case, then strode right in to the office at 11 o'clock this morning and bared my chest to the Universe. Well, not to the Universe, just to the scary lady in the darkened room who didn't appear to speak my language. But she was so nice to me. I trusted her professionalism and her gentle manner. I had to. She scanned and pressed and screened and checked and mumbled in a consonant-thick lull and then pronounced "Dun't wurry. Everything ees Oh-KAEY." Yay! Boobs are all clear. Praise the lord and pass the decaf!
In 24 hours I was bestowed the status of Teta and given an all clear on the ta-tas. I'd say those are mighty big, uh, accomplishments. The longer I live here, the more I become ensconced in a community that I once felt shut out of. I have no qualms about lying on a clinic table and trusting the status of my health to a doctor who doesn't speak my language. A blonde-haired, blue-eyed three year old plays at my house and teaches me how to say the names of dinosaurs and fishes and various small mammals. He eats my blueberries and my sweet potato hranolky and I get to be his Auntie. And that's pretty cool.
Friends, kamarádky, please schedule your routine mammograms and/or pap smears and/ or colonoscopies, no matter where you are.