After spending a week in a foreign country with 74 strangers I feel as though I’ve learned everything I possibly could and I’ve grown as much as any human can and I’m ready to go home now.
What I have done is learned some very important lessons, which seems like it should be impossible after only one singular week – seven very short days – but I’m being 100% serious. I’ve already “grown” and “expanded my horizons” and started “becoming a better person” and here’s proof.
- “Ahoj” means “hello” and is pronounced “ahoy” which means I’m walking around Prague pretending I’m a sailor which is great.
- To say “thank you” you say “děkuji,” which is pronounced “dick-we” and I am immature enough that saying this word makes me giggle uncontrollably.
- Most of the buildings here are all old and beautiful, colored in soft pastels that are reminiscent of napoleon ice cream sandwiches.
- Some of the buildings here are like “FEAR GOD. YOU ARE WORTHLESS. LOOK AT HOW POINTY I AM” and that’s pretty cool too.
- Everyone else is just as nervous about making friends and fitting in as you are.
- If you offer to braid people’s hair they will deem you worthy enough to hang with them.
- I didn’t think allergies would exist in Europe but SURPRISE I have been sneezing my face off and now people know my weird sneezing tick (I usually sneeze 4-6 times in a row) but everyone is nice and will give you allergy meds probably because they feel bad for the crazy girl who is disrupting the work place with her excessive sneeze attacks.
- If you make funny faces and stop caring so much what other people think about you, you’ll realize that laughter is important (especially in new and scary situations) and can bring people together faster than just about anything else.
- Friendship will sneak up on you when you least expect it and whack you in the face with a pillowcase full of sunshine, chicken nuggets and kamikaze shots.
- If you ask nicely people will take pictures of you for the sake of your instagram feed and they won’t mind that much.
- Beer (35 koruna for a Pilsner Urquell) is cheaper than water (45 koruna and they refuse to give you anything for free, even the tap stuff) so I’m convinced that everyone in Prague is just perpetually drunk and dehydrated.
- Not only is every single person in this group trying to make friends, find common ground and get to know new people, everyone is trying to figure out themselves too.
- When you are outside your comfort zone, you have no choice but to open yourself up to others. I’ve been surprised to learn that being vulnerable is not as terrifying when you have 74 other people who also have no choice but to throw caution to the wind and put their whole selves out there for strangers to see. None of us are chill with this whole “remote year” situation yet – we’re still figuring each other out, figuring out the city and trying hard as hell not to feel left out, which means we’re all open to each other and to new experiences. We’re learning who these other weirdos are and trying to show them who we are ourselves (which is HARD because who even am “I”?! I’m already learning that I’m not exactly who I thought I was when I left Chicago).
- This journey is starting to feel like real life and not just a crazy fever dream I had after accidentally taking too much NyQuil.
These peeps are my friends and I’m so excited for the next 11.75 months with ’em.