Every once in a while, a moment comes, when all of my memories flash before me. They are all clear as day and I cannot believe it has already been a year since I left Prague. I want to introduce you all to the 10 things that I miss the most. They are in a particular order.
10. Public Transportation. I loved stomping down 5 flights of stairs from my flat to get to the ground below and wait perhaps 2 minutes for a tram or I would walk a couple of blocks to get to the green line metro. It was so freeing. So wonderfully easy and casual. I do enjoy my car here in America, but there, I didn’t have to get my oil changed.
In Prague, there are some cultural rules to keep in mind while riding the public transportation. First, do not look at anyone unless you know them. This is a private time for everyone. It is supposed to be quiet and people are supposed to be able to hear their silent thoughts without an interrupting stare. Second, if you are with a friend, don’t make it known that you are either an American or a Spaniard by talking so loudly that the car behind yours can hear you making a raucous. (Truly, every time I saw a loud group, they were either from America or Spain. It was ridiculously consistent).
9. Pastries and espresso. My soul misses them. My waistline doesn’t.
I often met the students that I tutored at a cafe called PAUL (Pah-ool). I would order kávou s mlékem.
8. This guy. So many words in those wrinkles.
7. The history. I first visited Prague during my semester in Israel. For the most part, I was staring at ancient ruins (piles of rocks) in Israel and then I went to Prague and thought, “WOW, it’s so modern!” Then I returned to America and thought, “Uum, 1980’s stuff is vintage?”
In Israel and in Prague, there is history everywhere you step and there is so much pride in the people because of the wealth of history. The first picture is of my friend Lydia who, thank God, came to see me and encourage me while I was sick. She is in front of the famous statue of Jan Huss in Old Town Square. The second picture is of me signing my name in an art piece created from the candles people burned at Václavské náměstí (Wenceslas Square), in remembrance of the former beloved president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, who died during my time in Prague.
6. Moments like this one:
As I explained before, it is uncommon to start a conversation with anyone on public transportation, especially with a Czech person, but I’m not very good at following rules. This man was quite interesting. He talked most of the time about all the languages he knew and all the books he’s studied. He was thoroughly entertaining and full of himself. It was magical. It was so strange that Cindy took a picture, who was sitting from your vantage point as you look at the picture.
5. My oh so fun friends! This is Sheila. She is a missionary with SEND. We mostly laughed together, which is the best medicine. In the picture, we are eating at a Czech restaurant down the street from where I lived and on her plate are potato pancakes with brie cheese on top, a typical Czech meal.
4. My students. In the picture is Pavla, the sweetest woman you could imagine. She is petite and has 3 children (one too many in Czech eyes). This may sound funny, but for our lessons, we read The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and talked about the idioms and other things unique to the English language.
3. Anna. I will tell you more about her soon. She deserves several posts.
2. My church family. The picture below is the very first meeting of the church. It was a special evening. You’ll find me in the middle. Cindy and Mike are beside me on my left. Zdenek and Martina are in the front row on the right. They are so important to me. They invited me into their home and lives. We even had a lot in common because Zdenek studied in California, and for those of you who know me intimately, you know that everyone I get close to always links back to California. It’s the strangest thing.
In the picture below, you will see some of my students and also my brothers and sister. They were my support. Each one chose a different one of my classes to attend and they shared their faith with their fellow students. It made such a difference to know that I had at least one person in my classes who understood and was there to encourage me.
1. My family, the Yurkovich’s. Mike, Cindy, Luke, and Elizabeth. They have two more daughters, Rachel and Hannah who are not in the picture but who I also consider family. They helped me find an apartment, figure out public transportation, they fed me, the gave me coffee, and they took care of me as they would their own. How rich my life is because of them.