With about six and a half weeks left before I fly back to the stars and stripes, I'm realizing that I don't really want to leave. Although I've stumbled throughout my entire stay in Prague, it's been the most rewarding and exciting time of my life. I am going to miss the independence of living on my own and the ease of living in a city. I'll miss being able to walk to work or the grocery store or just through the narrow cobblestone streets, staring up at the wedding cake that is Prague architecture. I'll definitely miss the never-ending list of things to do at anytime of the day or night, and I'll miss the adventure of meeting new people and making new friends every single day.
Now don't get me wrong, I am so excited to see my family and friends again, to experience some of the things I've been missing from home (Plaza, Qdoba, not outrageously overpriced clothes shopping), to return for my last year of undergrad and competitive volleyball, but I have a feeling that I will be longing to return to Prague after only a few steps on US soil.
My poor little mind is going to be so confused: where is home? Can home be more than one place? I suppose. Can it be more than one country, though? I don't know if I would (could) ever feel that Prague or the Czech Republic is my home the way a native might, but now I feel like I'm halfway there, and I'm leaving the party early by heading home. There's that word again; home.
Prague really does feel like home for me now. Maybe not "home home," back in Maryland or even at school in Virginia, but every time I return from a trip, I walk up the metro steps, take a deep breath, and smile. I'm back. Home. I feel certain I could call Prague "home home," given time. I can certainly see myself living here - maybe not forever, but definitely again. Prague deserves more attention than I've given it. I have, after all, already visited eight other countries over the past three months (not including Czech), will definitely be adding two more to that list, and possibly others. So really, I feel like I'm still just starting to get to know the Czech Republic, and I long to keep uncovering the secrets of its capital city of Prague.
Every time I explore a little further or take one more step out of the box I've put myself in, I am amazed at the complexity of this city. Just 15 minutes from the center you'll find rolling hills completely covered in tangles of the greenest shrubbery, spotted with homes overlooking the Vltava, or a huge park with never-ending lanes cocooned in an ongoing ceiling of giant trees. It's heartbreaking to know that most tourists won't experience the city past Old Town, and even worse, that I've really just begun to explore outside the city center myself.
As I have to start saying na shledanou to this city that has become my home, I find myself growing more and more resistant to say that goodbye. Maybe I can settle on a "goodbye for now," but not until after I peel back a few more layers and fall further in love with Prague.
- This song makes me want to put the volume on maximum and just move. I love it.
- Zach Sobiech's outlook on life. If you have time, watch his video: My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech.. Truly amazing.