You’ve met some of them personally, some seem familiar and you might just pass by the others. We mean the tenants of Albertov Rental Apartments. They come from all corners of the world. And they all have interesting life stories that brought them to Prague. Let us introduce one of the first of our residents: Oksana Ahmadzada of Azerbaijan.
Ms Oksana has lived in Albertov with her family for over two years. She came to the Czech Republic with her husband, who has been doing business in IT since 2002. In Prague, they live with their two daughters. The older one, Mariam, is eight and attends the third grade in an English primary school. Besides her native language, she can already speak English and Czech fluently. The younger, 18-month-old Sara, is at home with her mother.
Ms Oksana cannot speak highly enough of life in the Czech Republic and Prague: “I like it here very much. I love Prague, it’s a beautiful city. It’s peaceful here. And unlike Azerbaijan, everything works as it should here. And there isn’t so great corruption.” Despite the constant, yet legitimate, criticism of corruption in Czech politics, it’s nice to hear that we are not so bad. While in Baku, Ms Oksana could barely get around without a car; in Prague, she can use the quality public transport that runs frequently and almost everywhere. Clearly, we don’t seem to know what we should be grateful for.
Ms Oksana often goes for walks with her children to the nearby parks in Folimanka and Vyšehrad or to a playground at Výtoň. But she likes the park in Průhonice the most; they go there at least once or twice a month. The family also take trips away from Prague. They’ve already visited Český Krumlov, Karlštejn, Křivoklát, Litoměřice and other interesting towns and places.
“Sometimes people ask me what I miss, living in the Czech Republic. It’s the sea,” Ms Oksana says, recalling her hometown of Baku. Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan, situated on the coast of the Caspian Sea. The temperatures during summer reach 40 degrees Celsius. Although a part of the coast is used for oil exploitation, there are also beautiful beaches in the south of Baku. Oil is the main pillar of the Azerbaijan economy, which grew in double-digits in 2005. Thanks to oil, Baku has experienced a construction boom in recent years. The inhabitants speak Azerbaijani, a language close to Turkish.
As well as the sea, Ms Oksana misses quality and tasty fruit and vegetables. She tries to avoid unripe fruits in supermarkets by shopping at various marketplaces and farmers’ markets, e.g. in Holešovice or Náměstí republiky Square. Azerbaijani cuisine is rich not only in meat, which is used for a variety of kebabs, but also vegetables. The national dish is plov, which is prepared from rice, various meats, and sometimes dried fruit and herbs. You can try plov, albeit in a slightly different Uzbek variant, in the Samarkand restaurant at Kampa, recommended by Ms Oksana. Herbs are a traditional part of Azerbaijani dishes, which can be a problem in the Czech Republic: “In Azerbaijan, herbs are sold in large quantities, but in Prague usually only in small bunches.”
The Czechs are more reserved and they guard their privacy more than Ms Oksana is used to in her native country; that’s why she has more friends and acquaintances among other foreigners: Bulgarians, Ukrainians or Hungarians. Yet Ms Oksana says they are happy to live in Prague and she adds: “I like the weather, too.”