A whole new world, eh. Aladdin may have had a magic carpet but you can also access whole new worlds by planes these days. I have been in Prague for a little over a week and it’s amazing how different a place only two hours away can be. How things you take for granted like, say, phoning a help line or collecting a package can be infinitely more complex when you don’t speak the lingo. Unsurprisingly for the Czech Republic ordering a beer is easy. Stopping drinking is the bigger problem when beer is cheaper than bottled water…
You become all the more aware of the fact that you are relying on the niceness of others to get you through. Will the lady at the post office understand? Be helpful? Have I got the correct ticket? Have I followed the instructions (from only the sketchy pictures) properly? In order to get internet in my flat (thankfully now up and running thanks to said pictures) an engineer had to come to my flat and check that it would work before they sent me the box with the router etc. Poor guy, he must hate it when gormless expats want quick access to Facebook. Thankfully for him (and me) I was on the tram with a Czech colleague when he rang. Amazingly, she ended up coming with me to talk to him and help set it up. So much to be thankful for!
There is so much that is so easy and well-thought-through here though – the public transport system is amazing and always on time. Getting on the bus can be tricky at rush hour, but there’s always another one on the way. Also, the weekend in Prague is surprisingly quiet. Apparently, Praguers head to the countryside for a few days, leaving me confused in deserted metro stations. You can also easily find a place which does the national cuisine of your choice – yes, even fish and chips – and you’re falling over places to sit outside and drink. Not to mention the abundant free wifi – I’ve had many a Starbucks in my week here.
All in all, I have been amazed by God’s goodness in my short time here so far. I have been blessed by visiting various churches and have shared meals with many interesting people. Coming home to an empty flat takes some getting used to, but I’m feeling positive about the start made here even though I know I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of both joys and frustrations.
At least they have Marks and Spencer’s.