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Czech Courses Students: #LockdownStories with Ulrika & Pontus

April 7, 2021

Meet our students Ulrika & Pontus, Swedish digital nomads who are about to welcome their second baby very soon. Why is Prague one of the best cities in the world to live on bitcoin, to give birth or to find a work-life balance? How did they meet their community of friends and how did Paralelní Polis help them to settle down here?

"We have been digital nomads for five years and when our daughter was one year old we felt like we needed to settle down a bit. We have been to Prague a couple of times during our years as nomads and had a good Swedish-Czech community here, so we decided to move to Prague in 2020.

We had also previously decided to welcome our first child in Prague, and now we are about to have our second baby here, too. The Czech medical system is much more accessible if you compare it to the Swedish one which is heavily centralised and therefore queues are formed. Here, it is quite easy to see a doctor straight away, you don't have to wait for a couple of weeks or months.

Health insurance is so much cheaper here, and you get so much more for the money. You can also choose the hospital you want to give birth in, you can have your private midwife or doula with you to the hospital.

Another thing is the privatised labs here, that you just can go to and do your own tests if you want. We like this a lot. In Sweden, this happens behind the medical doors, so taking a simple blood test is at least a 2-week struggle at best.

The procedure in Sweden is first sitting in phone queues, then to argue with a nurse why you want to have a doctor's appointment so that the doctor can prescribe this simple blood test to you. If the doctor thinks it is a good idea, then he will prescribe it to you, but if the doctor says no, then you can't do anything.

We are freelancers, we have been working digitally so we can really be independent, both working in medical research as consultants on a project basis. We can choose which projects we want to take part in. We have met as PhD. students and when we finished our studies, we sold everything and started to travel.

At first, we bought the cheapest flight to south-east Asia and went there with a very small backpack.Prices and living costs are much lower here than in Sweden, so we don't need to work too much. We are every day hanging out in the neighbourhood of Kobylisy, either in a playground or in a forest with our daughter.

It is much easier to find a work-life balance here than in Sweden. Over there, both parents need to work full time and leave their kids long days in kindergarten and schools, if you want to live in a decent neighbourhood and be able to do stuff like travel and be active in your community.

Homeschooling is forbidden in Sweden and that was one of the reasons we came to the Czech republic. We met our homeschooling community through friends, Paralelní Polis and libertarian groups.

We estimate that we are going to stay for a couple of years, and after that, it depends on how the world looks like and how many restrictions there will be in the Czech Republic, for homeschooling, for bitcoin.

Now it is good, but if the situation changes, we can quite freely go and choose another country. You never know how states are going to regulate it. But we feel like at home here. 

If you want to live on bitcoin, Prague is one of the best cities in the world. Alza accepts bitcoin and you can buy basically anything there. You can also find ATMs where you can change bitcoin around the whole of Prague; there are none of them in Sweden. You can also pay for gas or pay in some cafés. We really enjoy the yearly conference about cryptoanarchy in Paralelní Polis. Prague is really crypto-friendly. 

The economic system in the entire world is very very unstable. There could be a huge economic crisis that could lead to other crises, even violent crises. But the Czech Republic might actually be more isolated than other countries, you don't have the Euro, which is good. 

Sweden is one of the most equal societies in the world but the woke feminism that came from the USA is destructive for all parts of society. Especially in the academic spheres. So much focus on gender and the victim culture is really destroying the academic environment.

Since we work from home, our life hasn't changed that much during the lockdown. We have much fewer social interactions with people, which is hard, especially when we want to learn Czech in real life. That is the main problem we see for us during lockdown. We have much smaller exposure to the Czech language than we would have otherwise. The language is the main struggle, but we feel that people are still friendly, especially around here in Kobylisy.

We are kind of isolated during the lockdown, but at least you can go out to the forest. And we really love that!"

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