March 13th marks my three year anniversary of living in Prague. Three. Years. When did that happen? I can envision the moment I left the U.S. so vividly. I remember crying in the airport bathroom as I was overcome with emotion and anxiety. I remember waving goodbye to my tearful mom and dad. I remember crying in uncertainty once more as I looked out the airplane window on the plane that would take me to a new adventure with no clear end. When I had made the decision to move to the Czech Republic, I expected to stay until around the six-month mark. I never planned on living here long-term. I wanted the new, thrilling experience of living in another country while traveling a bit along the way. I wasn’t mentally prepared to indulge the idea that I’d be away from home for an extended period of time. Little did I know I’d make a life for myself here three years down the road.
Although I know that I will eventually make a new home for myself in the U.S., Prague has become a part of me. If I’m being honest, it no longer holds the luster that it did in the beginning. It’s not to say that I don’t still love the city (I do), but much like my previous post where I discussed expat life, living in a foreign country can be difficult. I still struggle daily with the language barrier. Even though I recently took a beginner’s Czech course, it will be years down the road before I’ll be fluent.
Little did I know I’d make a life for myself here three years down the road.
Being an expat can be tough for a number of reasons. You make friends from all over the world. Many of which come into your life for short periods of time. It can be hard to find pure connections. I find myself struggling to find the connections here that I have with my friends back home. It can get lonely feeling like you don’t have many close friends to lean on. Striking a bond here similar to the ones you share with people you’ve known your entire life is rare. I find my Prague friendships few and far between. Although I’ve had many amazing, inspiring people come in and out of my life these past three years, many of them don’t stay for one reason or another. It’s not something I’m bitter about. I am thankful for all the people I’ve met along the way throughout my journey. Some have provided me with a new perspective, while others have taught me valuable life lessons. I still find myself yearning for the strong connections that I have with my friends back in the U.S. Expat life can be a lonely business. Thankfully, I have the support of my boyfriend to fall back on. Kuba is a beacon of light in my life. He’s supportive, kind, and always has my back. I’m so grateful he came into my life and am still baffled at times by his love.
So yes, these past three years have been a trial of up’s-and-down’s. I’ve experienced happiness, heartbreak, and nearly everything in-between. But throughout this experience, I’ve managed to learn more about myself and blossom into the person that I’m meant to be. Although I’m still that stubborn American girl from Northwestern Pennsylvania, I’m learning to see the world from a new perspective. I empathize with those different from myself and understand that the world doesn’t fully revolve around me (much to the dismay of my teenage self). I’ve realized that I’m worthy and deserving of love. I’ve realized that some people are meant to come into your life to teach you a lesson. And I have these past three tumultuous years to thank for that.