What expats say: Czech society lacks kindness
He can make things disappear, he can make other things fly. And he can do about 1000 other magic tricks. Yor-El fell in love with magic at the age of 9, when his father gave him a book about it. Now at the age of 50, a different kind of true love has brought him from the Canary Islands to Brno.
How did you and your girlfriend Stáňa meet?
Yor-El: We met in the Canary Islands while she was working as an animator in a hotel.
Stáňa: I was studying on Erasmus in Gran Canaria for a semester, then found a job there.
Y: We have been together for 1,5 years, and in Brno since March. I also have come here for the lack of job opportunities in Spain. The choice to move was a huge decision because I am divorced and have three children. But I had lived in another city before and know we can Skype. I was thinking to myself: “Yor-El, in a few months you are turning 50. If you don’t do it know, you won’t do it ever.”
S: When the relationship got more serious, I thought “ok, let’s go together, why not?” I am an adventurous girl.
Is the plan to make living as a magician here?
Yes, even though I am also a coach. It has been working out, more or less. I need to work – not only for the money, but also to keep my mind busy. To practice at home is one thing, but to see the reaction of the audience is much better. We have been performing at parties, weddings, birthday parties, corporate events, festivals, and at the Brno Expat Centre season opening.
Stáňa studied regional development and also has a degree in tourism, but now works as your assistant.
Y: I would like for her to become a magician, too. I teach her the tricks, history of magic, psychology. I know about 5000 magic tricks, and can do about 1000 of them.
S: Before I met Yor-El, I didn’t know anything about magic. When I saw his first show, I was utterly amazed. I want to connect my love for languages and travelling with his profession, work with him and learn something new.
Yor-El, have you been to the Czech Republic before?
No, this is my first time. I didn’t even know it’s not called Czechoslovakia anymore. To be honest this country would be my last choice to move to, after living in London, New York or Paris.
How is life in Brno for someone used to the Canary Islands?
I really miss the smell of the ocean. I lived near to the beach, and the smell was like my drug, my medicine. But I like the woods around Brno a lot. I love Bílovice! We go there for walks and to get water from the spring every week. In the middle of a forest, you feel free, you feel wild.
How do you find Czech people?
Y: Stáňa told me that a lot of people here speak English, which is not true. Well, maybe they do know the language, but they don’t use it.
S: They are shy to talk. Spanish people are more open.
Y: This is one thing that I try to change about people here. I am an island person, open-hearted. I try to put this kind of attitude into my magic.
I remember shortly after I arrived, I saw a child in šalina and smiled at her. She was like “mummy, look at this man, he is smiling!” I didn’t understand what was wrong with that, until I realized nobody else was smiling. I try to bring more kindness into the Czech society, that is really hard here. I miss the open personality of Spanish people.
And what do you think of Czech food?
Y: Stáňa is a great cook. She makes excellent deserts. I love her piškot. What I don’t like about the Czech cuisine is that usually it is full of grease. Meals like guláš are too heavy and spicy for me.
S: He is always asking if a meal is spicy and Czechs say not at all, but for Yor-El they usually are terribly spicy.
Would you guys like to stay in Brno?
Y: Our idea is to try and stay here, and if the conditions are good, get a permanent residency. One of my dreams is to take just two suitcases with our props and take a magic tour around Europe by a train.
I am from an island, and when you want to get somewhere, you have to take a plane or a boat. Here it is easy, you can just take a train. I love trains! I can spend hours and hours only watching trains in a train station.
S: My dream also would be to take a train or even an old carriage like Gypsies used, maybe even with horses and a small circus tent, and very slowly travel around Europe, enjoying the countryside and people. But if we have enough work in the Czech Republic, we would like to stay here permanently.
I cannot not ask you – is there any difference between dating Spanish and Czech women?
Y: Spanish girls are more open than Czech girls – even though it might not be true for the younger generation anymore. Stáňa have been with more boys in 26 years than I with girls in 50 years. When we visited my mother at her house, I had to stay in one room and Stáňa in another one – even at my age!
And Czech and Spanish boys?
S: It’s been a long time since I dated a Czech boy. But I think a lot of them are not very sensitive, they don’t know how to behave around girls. They treat you like you are their friend from a pub. Spanish boys were talking to me and were interested in what I had to say. Also, I like that I can practice my languages.