It’s been a little under a month since I’ve blogged, so I’m a little overdue for an update on my adventures. I have my friend Maira Rodriguez to thank–she reminded me that taking the time to reflect through blogging is one of the best ways to sort out emotions, so I am indebted to her for this post.
This past month has been a whirl-wind of emotions. In some ways, my lifestyle here matches the lifestyle I juggle at home: going to class, trying and failing at homework, meals, hanging with friends, socializing, calling family, going for a walk or run when I find the time. However, being in a new environment and discovering more about who I am as a person has forced me to reevaluate how I spend my time.
For one thing, being so distant and wholly removed from family has made me realize how grateful I am to have such a constant, loving, and generous support system back home. My parents, aunts, extended family, and neighbors are some of the people I truly miss and ache to be around, and I understand how much of a presence they have been in my life.
I’ve noticed that family is really a corner-stone of Czech life, as well. Whenever you are in a park in Prague, or walking the sidewalks, riding the tram, etc.–you will see mothers with strollers, taking their children out and about into this bustling world. The other day I was sitting in a kavárna, or café, and I happened to be witnessing a birthday party in the other room for a little girl–her mother running around, organizing things and pestering the waiter to bring out the flaming birthday cake. Needless to say, moments like these are precious and only remind me of how the love is embedded in all cultures. And–how lucky I have been to have a family just like the one gathered in the other room.
Because of my family, and the support they’ve given me financially, emotionally, and …in every other way imaginable, I’ve been able to do such incredible things with my time here.
I was able to go to an actual fotbal, or soccer, game with some friends:
I had one of the most emotional and memorable experiences of my life, traveling to Poland and seeing the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, and hearing a survivor, Bernard Offen, speak:
I’ve also gotten to do many cultural activities, seeing a play, ballet, going to a jazz club, or just stumbling upon some beautiful music in the streets:
All in all, I know my experience here has been, and is, wonderful. I’ve made new friends, experienced a unique culture, tasted some very delectable things, and enjoyed getting to live in a different country. I am remembering home and the love back home–but I am also very aware of how lucky I am to be in Prague. It’s certainly a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.
Rachel Gintner is studying abroad at Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic.