Monday, January 12, 2015

Prague Never Lets You Go

Prague never lets you go... this dear little mother has sharp claws.
Franz Kafka
I've mentioned once or twice before that I studied abroad in Prague during college. I even kept a study abroad blog (my first foray into blogging!) while there. My undergrad was a fairly small school (~3,500 students) in a very small town (~5,000 population) so by the time junior year rolled around I was more than ready for a break from the bubble. I knew next to little about Prague (or central Europe for that matter) prior to my semester abroad, but I was excited to take the jump onto a path less traveled as opposed to studying in the typical England, Spain, or Italy locales. And I am so glad I did.

I fell in love with Prague. I am, of course, hugely biased, but to date there is not a city in the world I have traveled to that matches, or even rivals, the architectural beauty of Prague. Every street and town square literally looks like a movie backdrop, and I felt as if I was walking right onto the pages of a leather bound, gold spined fairytale book. The weather was an adjustment (it snowed every single day in November and December) as was the culture (Czech is the language most widely spoken and the people are generally more reserved than I was used to), but more than anything the most surprising adjustment was living in a city because of just how fluid my transition was.

Lennon Wall where colorful graffiti serves as self-reflection for residents and visitors alike

I have always had somewhat of a puppy love affair with New York City, as my hometown is a mere 35 miles away, but living in Prague for four months proved to me that I truly do thrive in such a busy and bustling environment. I have never regretted choosing a small undergrad because the community that a small campus fosters is an experience I had always wanted for my college years. While at times I did feel the town my undergrad was in was a bit too small for my liking, my experience in Prague reaffirmed my already existing mental timeline: go to a small undergrad, go to law school in a city, and find a job in a city.

Old Town Square: the beautiful (and touristy) center of the city I walked through daily to get to class

Now, the second objective on that list didn't quite play out in real life, and while my qualms of going back to a small school (~560 students in the law school) in a slightly-larger-but-still-small city (~100,000 population) were effectively extinguished during my 1L year, the culmination of my academic and work experiences have supported what I discovered in Prague: living in a city as a working adult is absolutely for me. While I am a year and a half away from entering the real world, my memories of Prague serve as a fond reminder of just this.

 Regal guards making the hourly procession at the Prague Castle

Living in Prague for a semester genuinely was one of those rare experiences when I felt as if my life was a smile on pause, or a slow motion jump. I would love the opportunity to travel back one day to the city that made me fall in love with cities. But until then, I have the pictures to remind me how forever too quickly turned into a few short months I have nothing but the most rewarding memories of one of those moments when I felt as though life could never get any better and actually recognizing it.

 Adorning a small pedestrian bridge are love locks, where couples fasten a lock around the bridge and toss the key in the water

This is not a museum, a church, a theater or any type of landmark. This is a normal building that just happens to look beautiful, as does all of Prague's architecture. My mind is still blown.

A view of Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge from afar

All photos taken with Casio Exilim EX-Z750 

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