The truth of the matter is…
– Life here is cheap. I just paid 160 crowns ($8) for an evening in our favorite pub (Pardubická Pivnice u Járy – I have no idea what it means or how to pronounce it) down our street. For a fantastic beer that’s one of our program directors favorites in the whole city (the city being Prague, you know, where the beer is infamously good), a big salad with tuna that totally satisfied my veggie craving, and a glass of svařak, hot sweetened and spiced red wine. Two of my roommates and I went and stayed the entire evening studying, eating, and cuddling with a sweet baby angel puppy sent from above.
– Despite this, life is expensive. I’m spending probably around $7 a day on average. Dinners out, coffee, going out, groceries, school supplies, and random purchases are almost inevitably going to challenge my bank account. And I feel so very passive about it all. I really have little power over it because when you get to live in Prague, you don’t turn down a night on the town with your new friends, and you don’t not try the food and coffee at bio zahrada (organic garden), a café and small organic grocer. You accept that these next few months will be a downward slope for your bank account, thank yourself for working two jobs this summer, and enjoy the ride.
– When life presents you with cheese soaked in oil, you eat it.
– Academia and I will never totally align. I have class Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Three days a week. Half of my class time is spent wandering contemporary art museums, gazing in awe at the Gothic architecture in Old Town Square, strolling through the New Jewish Cemetery to visit famous Czech author’s graves, climbing around the 13th C. Astronomical Tower in the National Library and staring jaw-dropped at the collection of centuries old books and the scenes painted on the ceilings of the concert hall with the organ on which Mozart first performed Don Giovanni, and essentially playing pictionary to learn Czech vocab. This is my life. And yet I still have to drag myself to class and tediously procrastinate my readings. I LOVE the topics, the readings enrapture me, and I am so grateful to call this my semester. The problem, I think, lies in the structure and standardization of the academic realm. Never been fully content with a student identity, and being in Prague doesn’t change things.
– Mundane tasks like buying stamps at the post office make me very, very timid. Other examples include searching for an English-speaking hair salon, buying laundry detergent (how do you tell it’s not fabric softener?!), finding a place that sells almond butter, and the bus/tram system (I’ve got the metro on lock). Slowly but surely I’m working my way through all this.