Alyssa Margaret Kolowrat is an English teacher at the International School of Prague. At the same time, she is a direct descendant of one of the oldest and most prominent Czech noble Houses – the Kolowrat family. She grew up in the United States, but moved to the Czech Republic in 1995 and has been living here since then. What helped her make this decision, what does she like about living here, and how does she feel about her aristocratic origin?
Her father, Henry Krakowsky of Kolowrat, who emigrated to the US with his family shortly after the Communists’ coup in Czechoslovakia in 1948, did not believe he would ever go back, and therefore found the idea of teaching his children the Czech language useless. “It became a secret language for me,” says Alyssa Kolowrat, “because my father talked to his parents in Czech and I was frustrated for not understanding them.” She admits this may have sparked her interest in the Czech culture. Together with her love of learning new things and the sense of adventure, it finally made her move to the Czech Republic six years after the Velvet Revolution.
With time, Alyssa Kolowrat began to understand and like the Czech culture. “I love the Czech connection with nature. The possibility to rent a weekend house in the middle of nowhere, so you can get out to some place where there is nobody.”
On the other hand, the fact that she cannot completely understand the Czech language is a big disadvantage for her. “My work at the International School of Prague is so demanding, I speak English all day long. Unfortunately, I have not found any space for a Czech language course yet.” Despite the partial language barrier, she considers the Czech Republic her home.
Alyssa Margaret Kolowrat believes she benefited from her family’s stay in exile. “I was super lucky that as a child of immigrants I was brought up in the spirit of being judged as a human, not as nobility.” She does not feel as an aristocrat. For her, it is far more important to be a good person. She insists that nowadays nobility should behave the same way everybody else does. Still, she takes the Kolowrat family motto, “Faithfully and constantly”, very seriously.
“I learned that from my father – that is how he always behaved.”
Text vznikl v rámci kurzu Angličtina pro žurnalisty pod vedením Mgr. Aleny Proškové.
Foto: The International School of Prague