In just five short days, I will return back to the United States after spending four months as a student in Prague. There are many reasons I chose to come here. Aside from having a Czech mother who spent her childhood years in Prague, I must admit that I also came for the cheap prices and bustling nightlife.
I am heading back to the United States as a different person than I was when I first stepped off the plane. Prague has changed me, and while I do not know exactly how yet, I am sure that it has. I will return back to America with little pieces of the city buried inside me.
I will miss the quietness of my daily tram rides, which serve both as a means of transportation and a tour of the city. I will perhaps return with a softer voice and more patience than I previously had, knowing now that not everything must go so quickly. Surely, I will turn my nose up at the crowded and dirty New York subway.
When I come home, I will find myself saying my Rs with a bit more of a roll. I will instinctively finish everything on my plate, and I wonʼt hustle my waiter or waitress for the check; but simply enjoy the company around me. A desire to learn more about my surroundings will linger, and I hope to no longer spend my days watching useless television but instead, exploring. Thirty dollar meals will scare me more than Wenceslas Square on a Saturday night, both which I now know to avoid at all costs.
However, there are some changes that are not quite so good. I worry about the state of my lungs upon my return, as they have been exposed to more second-hand smoke than ever before, and I am sure they must be turning grey. I cant say that Iʼll miss sitting next to wheezing smokers, blowing out clouds of tobacco on my meal. I also fear my newfound beer belly, which is compiled of liters of Pilsner mixed with potatoes and pork.
There is something different about Prague, and everyone who has visited will agree. It is a hidden gem in Europe, and when a sunny day hits, the city lights up.
I will miss simple things, like my runs along the river and hearing Czech around me. I will yearn for empty, cobblestone streets, as flat paved ones donʼt present as much of an exciting challenge when attempting to walk gracefully. New and shiny skyscrapers wonʼt compare to the beauty of old, historic buildings that each have stories to tell.
I thank you Prague for giving me the best four months of my young life. You have been humbling and at times confusing, but you have taught me so much. Though I came here to avoid serious studying, I leave with more knowledge than school could ever bring me.