Moving to Prague 2: Revisiting My (Foreign) Childhood

In the second entry in her relocation journal, American student Chelsea Hicks finds herself falling for her new home

Despite my qualms about being entirely unprepared, I managed to find my way to Prague intact and with an enlivened spirit starving for adventure.

Moving to Prague is similar to what I imagine being reincarnated as a child would be like. Everything is so surreal, so new and so exciting that, most of the time, I find myself in a state of absolute awe.

My eyes are constantly darting every which way, taking in sights unseen and marveling at the great heights of the brilliant castles, cathedrals and unknown structures that tower over me and, at 5' 10", I finally feel small again -- a feat I was almost certain had been lost after puberty.

My ears, bombarded by a slew of unfamiliar phrases, searches for syllables that I just might comprehend while my tongue softly sounds out the foreign words I can't wait to pronounce properly. This confusion is all set to the tune of my favorite '90s hits blaring out of every stereo, every car and every speaker in every store, club, bar, restaurant and on every street.

Getting lost at every turn, tripping over myself (mostly cobblestones) daily and generally eating foods unacquainted with my palette, all take me back to the days of my clumsy childhood when I was surprised by and marveled over everything.

In almost every way I feel like a kid again.

I say almost because my childhood never involved acquiring a taste for (excellent) Czech beer, gargantuan dance clubs or the fear of being pickpocketed -- though my parents did warn me against strangers.

As often comes with the territory of being a child, my first few weeks in Prague have been marked by a myriad of intensified emotions.

Joy has attached itself to my frequent bouts of amusement at finding something shocking and breathtaking around every corner, though frustration has also had its way with me; all those times that I try, and fail, not to come off as an American tourist.

Not to mention the frustration of overpaying for food in any remotely touristy part of the city, an area located quite close to my current abode.

Among all of my impressions, feelings and emotions, I find myself being particularly overtaken by a single one, and, as cheesy, and clichéd, as this certainly will be to say, I find myself falling in love with this place.

I've been flirting with Prague for almost three weeks now and find that the city is making quite an impression on me. Although it's not perfect, just as no cities truly are, part of my love affair with Prague is strengthened by the flaws that give it character.

The graffiti marking the walls and steps to the metro. The people, sometimes cold but often kind deep-down. The language I slaughter with my inexperienced speaking tongue. The missing cobblestone that begs me to pay attention to my step. The hills that lead to views no photo can appropriately capture.

This is the Prague I'm getting to know and love.

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