Prague 2011. Ready or not, here I come!

Although I would like to imagine that Prague is the one not ready for my arrival since I am a uniquely different traveler who will blow the country away (not figuratively obviously. I am not a terrorist.) with my fashion, glamour, and sophistication while adventuring around the city, I think I would have it wrong. I’d say it is a good assumption to say they are more than ready for a 20-year-old American to step foot in the city.

Okay, so Prague is ready for me, but am I ready for Prague?! Absolutely not. I bought a pocket-sized Czech phrasebook yesterday at Barnes and Noble and opened it up and what was the first phrase I saw? Nejsem šťastná. I am happy. Initially, I couldn’t help but hope this phrase is an omen to my experience- thank goodness it didn’t say something like, “I’m lost. Help me.” BUT then I looked at the phrase in Czech. You’re kidding, right?! I took Spanish for seven years and I think it is safe to say that Romance languages have nothing in common with Slovak languages. I’m screwed. At least I enjoy learning different languages and better yet, a good challenge…Goooooood-bye comfort zone.

In all honesty though, I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. My heritage is entirely Scandinavian, I studied Spanish for most of my high school and college careers, and I have traveled to western Europe, China, and Central America- all of these point to the fact that I am such a rookie when it comes to Prague. But you have to start somewhere, right?

Fortunately, I’m getting exactly what I asked for. Since I was in Eighth Grade, I was going to study abroad in Seville, Spain. I actually thought I would study in Spain up until May of this year. And then I simply decided I no longer wanted to go to Spain. Everyone from my university goes to Spain for study abroad, and frankly I want to go abroad to get away from these people!  I love my fellow Badgers for sure, but to go abroad for me is about independence and adventure and I don’t think I would be able to fully gain that experience if I was traveling with classmates that I already know. That’s when Prague came on to my radar. I may know nothing about the city or country, but that’s the point- I want to learn! Sure, I’m going to be lost, confused, and probably uncomfortable at first, but that is what I need – a good shove out of my comfort zone. I’m asking to be put in this situation and I couldn’t be more excited!

So I made up a little bucket-list for my time in Eastern Europe. I think it’s good to have goals, even if they may be unrealistic at times….

1)     Don’t look like an absolute fool/American tourist

2)     Get lost. Find my way back.

3)     My sister sent me a postcard once that said “Tender feelings in Prague.” I would like some tender feelings in Prague.

4)     Rock my classes. It’s called study abroad for a reason….

5)     Take a class at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts.

6)     Hold an internship, preferably in a radio station.

7)     Make tons of new friends.

8)     Educate someone on the wonderful culture of Wisconsin who has never heard of it before.

9)     Be realistically sufficient in Czech…. Realistically being the key word here.

10) Travel to Budapest.

11)  Keep up a blog.

That’s all you get for now, I can’t tell you everything on my bucket-list! It’s time for the last home football game of the year, so I’m out- GO BADGERS!

Maarja