Czeching In (at last)

Surely to no one’s surprise, I haven’t exactly been an attentive curator of this lil blog here. I’d love to say it’s because I’m busy with work or because my new wild and crazy European lifestyle is leaving me with little time to think, let alone write. That would be a lie; now that I have an apartment, Prague life is less romantic moonlit Charles Bridge strolls, and more potato chips and Netflix binges. You can take the girl out of college, but you can’t take college out of the girl.

In truth, I’ve been putting off updating because I’ve selfishly wanted to create the illusion that I’m soaking up all the life and culture that you’re supposed to when you move to Europe, and I knew that anxiety-ridden blog posts wouldn’t do that. But no more! The instagram filters are coming off, the truth is being spilled, the blog is being updated.

The relief that I thought would greet me when I completed the TEFL course never came. If anything, my stress level only increased, as it meant that for the first time since I arrived here, the next day was not planned for me. I hadn’t yet found a flat, and the process was proving much more arduous than anticipated. Now, of course, that hurdle has been cleared, and after a little over a week, the (huge! beautiful!) apartment is beginning to feel like a home. The job search is ongoing, but I have an interview on Monday that I’m trying to be confident about. In the mean time, my bank account continues to wail in agony as I slowly bleed it dry.

As part of the visa process, immigration requires you to travel to a Czech embassy outside the country to formally apply.* So, yesterday I begrudgingly awoke at 4 a.m., slogged on some yoga pants, and all but slid down the hill, trusty Kim by my side, to catch a night tram (a night tram!) to the hotel parking lot where our visa coordinator assured us a driver with a red van would be waiting to deliver us to Berlin. We reunited, bleary-eyed, with a handful of our TEFL friends/former housemates on the dark, dodgy street corner, and before long appeared a red van, out of which stepped a Peter Stormare lookalike who said simply “Berlin?” We followed him without question, and were all dead asleep within minutes.

While this may seem like the beginning of Taken 4, we made it to the embassy safe and sound, and all five of our visa applications went down without a hitch! Once the functional part of the visit was fulfilled, we were given an hour and a half for lunch, which proved just enough time to hit up the Brandenburg Gate, Dunkin Donuts (!!!!), and the hauntingly cool Holocaust memorial.

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It was far from a perfect trip, not to mention altogether too short, but it felt good to get out of Prague for a few hours. It felt even better to come back to Prague. Moving to a foreign country is a challenge, one that at times I feel utterly unprepared for. But it’s a challenge that allows me the privilege to live and work in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and put me within easy reach of iconic landmarks that many people only dream of visiting. I’m excited to see what the next few months bring.

*Seeing as how I know nothing about other nations' immigration policies, this practice could be completely normal, thereby rendering my disdain unwarranted. If this is be the case, I take it all back.