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[personal profile] ladyfalcon
For the first time in months, I am sitting in the cafe of the mall near the school where I got my TEFL certificate. I had to run up here to pay some bills for our apartment, and thought it would be a nice bit of symmetry if I stopped in here to use the wifi.

They are, no shit, playing a Czech version of 'Gangster's Paradise' over the speakers.

How am I ever going to survive in a place without things like this in it?

Home on Monday. Have not yet begun to pack (although I have done a spot or two of cleaning). I want my dog and my dad and my Krystle. I want hugs and kisses and hair shed all over my dark clothes. And as soon as I get those things, I have no doubt that I will want to be back here.

It seems almost surreal, to be going home. Prague is my normal now, I imagine it's going to be intensely weird to be back in the states. I don't even have enough time to eat all the wonderful things I want to taste one more time, so that I can remember. Last night, I was looking forward with dread to the job search, and remembering how much looking for a job sucked after I graduated. Then I remembered that the only thing that kept me sane during that time was the knowledge that it didn't really matter, I'd be starting my adventure in Prague in just a few months. Then it hit me that that adventure I remember looking forward to so much? Is over. Even if I manage to come back someday, even soon, that will be a different adventure. I've been here for 7 months now, and it might as well be seven minutes for all that I feel like I've missed or forgotten or need to do again.

Other things I'm intensely not looking forward to: the plane flight. I never flew in a plane till I was 18, and I loved it, which was lucky since I was flying a lot that year, going back and forth from Rhode Island. Then I didn't fly again for... two years, I think? I think I flew with my mom to go to Minnesota at some point. And in the intervening time some switch in my head was flicked and I was suddenly full-on, nervous sweats, clutching the armrests afraid of flying. I have no idea why this happened, but it is still the current state of things. So I am thinking I will buy a lot of cough medicine and complementary alcohol (I love Europe and its airlines) and hopefully knock myself out for the entire terrifying ordeal.

Here, in no particular order, are 10 things that I will miss about Prague and the Czech Republic:

1) Czech beer. Being able to drink Czech beer at lunch, even on a work day, without anyone thinking I'm an alcoholic.

2) Living in a city without a dress code. In DC, the most amazing outfit you're likely to see is someone wearing brown shoes with a black dress. In Prague, people get into some seriously odd clothing.

3) Gulaš, smaženy syr, tredlník, perník, knedliky, and Kinder chocolate.

4) The excuse to occasionally switch my Mac keyboard to Czech and use all the fun diacritical marks.

5) Living alone. Having a job where I can afford to live alone, and go out to restaurants, and buy clothes, all on my salary.

6) Clothes that are affordable and fit. European designers do not assume that if you are very tall you must also perforce be very wide, and so I can actually find cheap jeans that don't hang off me like elephant skin.

7) The possibility of paying ~$3,000 for a year of grad school.

8) The beautiful architecture.

9) The chance to travel. The salary that would allow me to travel, and the government-mandated paid vacation that meant I would have the time to do so as well.

10) The adventure.

In the interest of balance, here are also 8 things I am looking forward to back home:

1) My friends. And my dog. I'm not sure which I'm more excited to see.

2) Being able to eavesdrop on the other conversations going on around me on the Metro.

3) Popeye's Fried Chicken, Five Guy's Burgers, Chipotle, sushi. Being able to eat fish at all without fear of getting sick (the nearest ocean is 400 miles away).

4) Free museums.

5) Living in a house with a clothes dryer, instead of having to find time to wash and hang clothes before I want to wear them again. (This is actually worse with my bedsheets. It takes my washing machine 2 hours to clean them, and then at least a whole day on the clothesline to get them dry, and it's hard to schedule all that time for when I'm not going to want to be in my bed).

6) Being able to understand everything shopkeepers say to me. Being able to ask for specific things in stores.

7) The possibility of making a salary with money that actually means something outside of the small country I happen to live in.

8) Wifi actually in my house.

It's pretty obvious, I guess, where my heart still is, since I couldn't come up with a whole 10 things I'm looking forward to at home unless I actually started listing each of my friends as a separate item. I'm still hoping that by some miracle my visa will come through and I'll be able to come back, or that I can go out and re-apply, probably as a student (in which case it would probably have to wait till summer of 2010).

Either way. Home Monday, friends and dog hopefully really quickly after that. I will be okay.

More importantly, I will be back.

Erin

Date: 2009-06-20 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radanax.livejournal.com
I wish you a pleasant homecoming.

Date: 2009-06-23 12:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarcasticwriter.livejournal.com
Did you get the vacation pay?

Date: 2009-06-23 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyfalcon.livejournal.com
Kind of surprisingly, I did, without even having to ask for it. It's pretty great! Maybe my job-people weren't as careless and mean as I thought.

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