Maybe it was my Dad who I first heard say that it takes 6 weeks to acclimate to a lifestyle change. I’m pretty sure that worked like clockwork for me last week. Now, it’s already been 10 days in Prague with a snap of the fingers. Here’s what went on during that time…
We had a walking tour on our first full day here, where we met in the busiest square and learned about various aspects of Prague’s history over the course of several hours. I had a few flashback moments since I spent a weekend here in 2014.
That night I had Thai food, which started a week-long cuisine tour that included Vietnamese, Czech, Indian and Japanese – with avocado toast mixed in more than once, obviously. If you know me, you know that eating is one of my main motivators, and a primary method I use to get to know any city. Needless to say, I’m in culinary heaven.
Surprise! I’m still not done talking about food. Last Wednesday morning I had a cooking class as part of my “track experience” that I selected for Prague. We met a native Czech foodie at a huge fresh market in the morning, and she gave us a list of ingredients …in Czech. This added to the fun of the search!
Our cooking space was a repurposed theater with a few high-top tables and hot plates set up, which worked surprisingly well. Anna gave us a brief and fascinating presentation on how Czech cuisine was influenced by Communism, and told us about her elderflower lemonade business (!!). She was endearing and fun, and very fluent in English (follow her @foodpioneer – she’s currently on her honeymoon in SF!).
We ultimately made three classic Czech dishes: a cheese spread on rohliky, “the Czech gift to the world of rolls,” a soup made of mostly root vegetables and marjoram, and fruit dumplings covered in butter, sugar and quark cheese, eaten curiously enough as an entrée. All amazingly good, and I was full for the rest of the day! …Just kidding.
Now, about our workspace for the month: it’s located in the former Danish embassy next to a beautiful park. The interior of the building is big and intricate and yes, they sell $1 beer in the fridge. You can also order a $5 fresh and warm lunch by sending a text. Thank you 2017. At first my productivity felt sort of stuck here, but I figured out that standing desks are better for me. Not surprising. I’ve also found I work better if I get up and head straight in.
(Side note: we learned during our orientation that Czechs can come off a bit grumpy or stand-offish before you get to know them. They also value their quiet time. I’ve been shushed three times in public since I got here. 😂)
Last Friday, I got to go to Bikram with my Dutchie friend Loes! It was really cool to experience something that’s the same everywhere, and to have class conducted in Czech. Good thing I already knew what was coming.
Speaking of Dutchies, I have found myself tending towards a smaller international group of people here. I appreciate their diverse perspectives and am fascinated by all their languages. I also am very decidedly not a cliquey person, so it’s lucky that RY makes it easy to mix it up who you spend your time with. There are, after all, 50 of us here in total.
On Sunday, some of us ventured out to the Divoká Šárka nature preserve. We learned there that cold rain is just part of November in Prague. We did have some gorgeous views, good chats, and hot mulled wine halfway. So European.
That night, we toured the Prague Castle, which we learned took 1000 years to finish. One thousand. There were zero crowds, buuuut we had to stand in the freezing cold drizzle. You win some, you lose some. Good thing that hot wine is sold on every corner!
Original cottages that are now shops
Lastly, on Monday night, I went to the opera with seven other remotes to experience Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte,” aka “The Magic Flute.” I had no idea what to expect, so I tried to read the Cliffs Notes version that day, but found even that too complicated. I was VERY pleasantly surprised. It was more like a play, with pieces that were both sung and spoken, with English subtitles. The set had multiple mediums and was oddly hilarious itself – and the costumes were AMAZING.
I found out that this opera was the last one Mozart composed. Additionally, The Estates Theater in Prague was the last theater in which he performed prior to his death, AND is the last standing theater that he set foot in. I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time as my lovely friend Christina was planning the evening!
In conclusion, I knew going into this year that I am WAY happier in a city. This was proven last week. I walk outside and have what I need, sights to take in, and lots of things to do, quite literally everywhere. The public trans system is so simple here – it was just rated the 5th best in the world – so I can also go wherever I want with a month pass. You can take the girl out of the city (…mindset), but you can’t take the city out of the girl.
I’m grateful for the decisive turning point, but also grateful that I’m going home for Christmas in less than a month! 😁
Me and Loes 😊