Beer Garden Blues

16 Apr

It’s been a month since my last confession, and meohmy what a month! Forget all I’ve said about lying in bed reading blogs, watching Gilmore Girls and spending hours alone in the library with my laptop… I thought master thesis writing was intense, but compared to what has happened since I finished, it was positively leisurely. Back in January, I had only one thing to focus on and everything else was pushed to the side, or more accurately, ahead. Now it’s April, and I’m still trying to get through it all.

In search of fame and fortune, I have left Prague. I brought the child but left the man behind, for now. A year ago I was nauseated by the thought of leaving, but as the months passed I got used to the idea and started to anticipate the return, for reasons it’s becoming increasingly hard to remember.

Because no matter how happy I am to be reunited with my friends and family, regardless of how great it feels to be able to chat, enquire, explain and complain to bus drivers, shop keepers, customer service guys and a selection of official people (which is what I spend most my days doing), despite the fact the the food tastes like home and the water tastes fresh, and although I am giddy with anticipation for starting my career, I’m beginning to wonder if I didn’t time it badly, horribly badly, even.

One of these days, in Prague, a miracle will take place. A yearly miracle, but a miracle none the less. If it hasn’t happened already, Praguesters will wake up one morning and discover that it is Spring. It literally happens over night, and where yesterday you donned your hat and mitts, today you may discard your wooly coat for a t-shirt and sunglasses and head to the park.

This is not the miracle of which I speak, however. It is a much more fascinating phenomenon. For with Spring comes the opening of the Beer Garden. A massive beer and sausage serving place in the middle of the park Riegrovy Sady in Vinohrady. And it’s like the people who run it know exactly when Spring Day will occur. Bear in mind that SD changes every year, usually occurring somewhere between the end of March and end of April. You might be fighting your way through the park in sleet and slush one day and suddenly see them working away in there behind the fence to prepare tables and benches, umbrellas and beer kegs for the big day. A warm feeling spreads through you, Spring Day is close.

And Beer Garden is not just a place for buying cheap Gambrinus and greasy klobasa, it is in all respects a wondrous place, a paradise, if you will. Here native Praguensians and expats of all nations mingle happily. Children and animals (mainly dogs) roam together between the tables and you pray that the brown things they stuff in their mouths are last year’s conkers, but you’re enjoying yourself too much to get up and check. It’s like what it must have been in the oldern days. You don’t have to make any appointments to meet people, everybody just gravitates to this place as soon as they finish work or school. If you sit there for a whole day, it is quite possible that you will meeteveryone you know.

It is the most laid-back, good-craic, everybody-minding-their-own-business-together atmosphere that I’ve ever come across, and it’s not only because I’m missing it this year that this is all so hard to bear right now. It’s in no small degree because I have returned to Norway specifically, and in order to work, earn and spend money here. Where the sun don’t shine and the beer doth not flow, and if it does and your kids are around, child services are on the spot immediately.

This is what the paralysing fear from exactly a year ago (coincidence? hardly) was all about. Not not being able to drink beer with Matilda around obviously, but the fear that moving back would somehow force me to grow up, fit in, behave and act according to certain rules I don’t agree with on a scale I’m not comfortable with.

As the days fly by, the snow continues to fall and I remain fame-and-fortuneless, I can’t help but wondering if I should have just stayed put and let fame and fortune come find me in Riegrovy Sady.

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One Response to “Beer Garden Blues”

  1. Viidar April 17, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    Praha og beergarden var helt genialt i fjor! Skjønner godt at du savner´e! 🙂

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