My last week at home was definitely jam-packed with spending time with family and friends, a lot of going into NYC, packing, running errands, and making phone calls to friends who were farther away. I often find that the build up to actually leave to go somewhere almost makes the going part a little relieving in that the stress of preparation is over. This is not to say I didn’t jump out of bed in semi-panic the three mornings leading up to my flight or tear up about 6 times on the day I left, but I’m going to say that was normal. I realized that I actually left for Prague the Saturday before classes are planned to start at WM, which is when I usually would have been leaving to go down to school anyway. And actually the parallel continues with my orientation in Brno starting tomorrow, the same day classes at WM start. So even though I graduated, my life is still running on a quasi-WM schedule—just in the Czech Republic.
A wise friend told me this week that if you were to equate the length of my Fulbright scholarship as a fraction of my entire life to a minutes as a fraction of a day it would be the length of about 15 minutes. This might not be exactly correct math, but it made me feel better. If you think about it, doing even the most challenging thing for 15 minutes does not seem that hard. On the flip side, 15 minutes can fly by pretty quickly. So here goes 15 minutes in the day of my life.
I arrived in Prague 2 days ago and let me say it has been super weird, but good, to be back. I’ve gone to a bunch of my favorite cafes, most of the major sites to check that they were all still there (they are), and met with some old and new friends. The weather has been pretty chilly and gloomy, but the sun came out for about 20 minutes today so that is a good sign. My Czech is definitely still very rough and I probably haven’t been trying hard enough to disguise that I’m an American. I’ll work on that. Otherwise, it hasn’t really hit me yet that this is happening and this is the start of my hopefully long adult life.
Today I leave for Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, for my Fulbright orientation. Brno is in Moravia, the region also where Znojmo is, about an hour away. From meeting with some Czech friends the past few days I’ve learned that Moravia is known for its wine and slightly friendlier people, Brno and Prague have a casual rivalry, and Znojmo is supposedly beautiful and known for its pickles. I haven’t been to either place yet, so now begins the part where I actually step outside of my comfort zone.