No seriously it's taking a very long time but it is amazing how I gradually find myself understanding more than the ZERO I previously understood and am slowly starting to be able to have conversations with people. Sure, I am not solving the world’s problems or discussing the pros and cons of the communist system but I am starting to be able to converse about small matters. On top of this my cases and tenses are all wrong and I am referring to men as women and women as men but these are small inconsequential nuances (well at least until I do it to a 150kg strongman) and people can understand what I am saying despite these cock ups.
Sure sometimes I get it wrong and the entire discussion dies or what I say has a totally different meaning to what I expected but 'shit happens'. E.g.: Turat and Turak sound the same but one means 'to urinate' and the other means 'man cxxx' (the most offensive word you can say in the Czech language, obviously the masculine version). I will not tell you which is which as it has caused me some difficulty in the past.
The most important tool to conversing in a different language is called ALCOHOL. I had never had a conversation with Michaela's dad but that all changed last weekend at the mother-in-laws b'day with the help of 1L of Czech rum. He and I were in the kitchen by ourselves and when he started talking to me. I listened and then started laughing at all the right places (he told me this was the first time in 40 year he had drunk rum because of a bad experience yada yada yada). Michaela came rushing in to see if I needed help but I told her what I understood and she asked her dad and I was 100% right (praise alcohol). She then left us alone and we continued our 'man chat' LOL.
Me and the father in law and the brother in law
Drunk father in law and drunk grand father in law
At the end of the night, after my pregnant wife and DRUNKEN father in law had passed out and the other 10 guests had left I was alone with the mother in law. We stayed up till almost 3am in the morning chatting about small stuff but the next day Michaela reported that my language abilities appeared to have developed significantly. I answered certainly not without the assistance of alcohol. The good news is that the 1/2 litre of rum seemed to hit the father in law significantly more then me. He was in a bad way, but perhaps I have more practice :D
The evidence the next morning
Anyway I am now having lessons and I think they are working (slowly) in helping me understand stuff.
Having said all of the above it is nice to sometimes not know what is going on. For instance when the mother in law is nagging Michaela or my father in law sometimes ignorance is bliss