10.05.2016 - 12.05.2016
So today is the day I have all my exam finished, and my last full day that I’ll be spending on campus in my adopted home.
Tomorrow I have to clear my dorm room and check out, collect my AirBnB keys, and then collect my lovely mother from the airport, for my last two nights in Prague.
I’ve been asked many times how I feel about leaving Prague, but every time I struggle to know how to exactly describe how I feel. On the one hand, of course I feel sad to be leaving this beautiful city, where I’ve met so many new people, had so many new experiences, and lived a different lifestyle.
But at the same time, I always knew that it wouldn’t last forever. I have to go back to working and (properly) studying. And unlike a lot of people, I have had two semesters, not just one, so I got to experience everything that I wanted and more, and not at a rushed pace.
I am glad that I am somewhat distracted, the day after I arrive home, I’m turning 21, so I’ll get to see my family and close friends basically immediately, which is something to look forward to. Then, during my month at home, there are loads of 21st parties to go to, things to organise before my holiday, and I’m spending a weekend showing some guys I met in Budapest around Ireland. This definitely helps the transition from one place to another, like at Christmas I was so happy to be arriving home at that time.
It is strange not knowing when the next time I’ll be in Prague is, but its definitely not na shledanou forever, just for now.
I know I’ll definitely come back to a place that I have such great memories in, and have spent a significant amount of time in. But, at the same time there also so many other destinations that I want to see before that!
My top list is
Croatia (I’ve already been to Pag)
Italy (maybe Rome, or somewhere coastal:
Reflecting on my time in Prague, the things I’ll miss are:
- Cheap everything! I know Dublin prices are going to kill me
- Amazing public transport - everything is on time, right to the minute. There has never once been a bus that hasn’t come. And to top it all off, its €9 a month
- The Weather: when it rains here, its not even real rain. Maybe I’m just too used to our Atlantic weather, but I don't think Czech rain is real rain. Also knowing that when there’s a “heatwave” at home, it’s still much warmer here
- The travel: being literally in the centre of Europe is such an amazing opportunity. It makes so many places easy accessible to you, in terms of time and price. Plus, you can just say “hey I think I’ll go to Berlin tomorrow, €30 return, perfect.” I’ll miss that freedom
- Not working!: Thankfully, I was able to work when I was home for Christmas, and Irelands lovely €9.15 an hour minimum wage goes so far in the Czech Republic (where the minimum wage is €2!).
The things I won’t miss are:
- Sometimes it just feels so far: its undeniable that there is such a different culture, and even though its only 2 and a half hours by plane, sometimes you can’t help but miss familiarity, or the warmth of Irish people, the lack of a language barrier, and all of this is 10x worse if you are sick. Thankfully, I was just sick once and besides that I only felt homesick one or two times.
- The language barrier: knowing that I was here for one year, I definitely put in an effort to learn some Czech, I think its pretty ignorant to expect the whole world to speak English. I (struggled with!) a Czech class last semester, where I picked up the basics. Even so, it is a pretty difficult language to learn, but I once I’m in a taxi and I’ve had a few drinks, the taxi driver hears my best Czech.
- The food: I miss proper bread, milk that isn’t UHC (which lasts forever, which freaks me out), a nice pint of cider, being able to get everything in wholemeal (which makes you feel less guilty as a bread lover), and thick crust pizza!
Overall, I am sad to be leaving, but I am so excited to turn 21 and for all my plans and travels for this summer. If there’s one thing I found on Erasmus, it’s how happy it makes you to constantly do things that you enjoy. Not to count down to something that is 5 months away, wishing your days away.
I have enjoyed this experience so much, and I’m so glad that I made the decision all those months ago to live abroad. But for now I’m ready to close this chapter, and to see what's next.