Three years ago today I boarded a plane to a city I’d never visited with plans of setting up a new life there. I’d quit my stable part-time job, I’d shut down my businesses as a riding instructor and dog trainer. I’d sold my horses, and ended a seven year relationship.
I’m a country girl. I grew up on the very edge of a small village surrounded by fields and woodlands. I hadn’t spent more than a few hours in any city and I certainly hadn’t stopped over night in one. I also hadn’t visited Prague, or even looked up pictures online. I’d been trying to learn Czech for some six months, and failed, miserably. I still can’t speak more than ten words, I’ve officially given up.
I got off that plane and began my shiny new life, crashing on the sofa of a friend (he would later become my husband). The culture shock wasn’t actually as bad as I’d expected. I adapted pretty quickly to the noise of the city, the trams and public transport took some getting used to, and food shopping was an adventure, but I loved every second.
The moment I got off that plane I knew I was home. I can’t quite put it into words. My heart leapt for joy. It was home. It’s still home.
It’s been an interesting three years. There have been ups and downs. I got a bad case of carbon monoxide poisoning, and with my asthma, that meant I stopped breathing quite a few times. I came really close to passing out and not waking up. My landlord at the time felt that was due reason to illegally evict us.
Sometimes this city is infuriating. There’s clear sexism here, and racism. Sometimes I’ll complain on Twitter when something bugs me, but the positives outweigh the negatives by a long shot. I love this city. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Yes not being able to speak the language is a pain in my ass. Yes the little old ladies with their huge attitudes bug me. Yes I crave some nice English food. But none of that is relevant because every time I look out the window I’m flooded with happiness. Every time I step outside I have to smile, even if only for a moment, because dear gods this city!
It’s beautiful, it’s incredible. The architecture alone is reason to come and visit, it’s stunning. I know I’m being an awful writer, I can’t put it into words. Well I can. I can put it into one word.