there’s this weird phenomenon that starts to happen after about a year of living abroad: it becomes harder and harder to imagine returning home. the thought is scarier and scarier…. not only because we still are not confident about where we would work, where we would live, and what we would do…. but because that would also mean leaving life over here. which is pretty great. i mean, gosh! i live in europe! every day i feel lucky to enjoy life here. meeting other expats that have stayed here for years is quite interesting too; to hear their take on living in a small czech city vs. prague vs. the place where they’re from. it’s wildly interesting to hear different reasons and opinions about the matter.
before the year mark there a couple period of homesickness for people, places, and things. i would think about the natural beauty of living near the ocean and sigh. to quote a squid vs. shark lyric:
“ you should thank your lucky stars that you see it [the ocean] everyday”.
i am pretty sure the story behind this lyric was when my friend mike’s sister received a postcard from a good friend who was currently living in the czech republic, urging her friend not to take the beauty of home for granted. how funny– maybe it is living in the CR that brings this out of us island folk.
but i digress! the ocean will always be there. and i realized i was really just romanticizing home. (which is a big thing to realize as i am a complete “grass is always greener” sort of person of person)
home is great in many ways, but here is great too. and my patriotism has gone through a cycle as well. last november (during election time) i felt very patriotic and was proud of my country and people for voting various initiatives and supporting certain causes. i still think we are so lucky as americans to be able to live in a huge country that spans two coasts and has so much to offer in the way of varied landscapes and natural beauty– it’s truly incredible!
but as i learn more about living in europe, the U.S.A. is starting to look like a really backward place, in regards to some political and social aspects. i have students to can’t comprehend why americans only get two weeks paid vacation whereas most people here get at least four, if not five or six. how can you even relax properly with only two weeks per year? why the hell is there no paid maternity leave (in most cases) where in czech republic they get between two to four years (you can choose) and you can even switch between the mother and father at will? why is healthcare so unaffordable? people are literally dying in the U.S. because they feel seeing a doctor is too expensive and what they have is probably not that serious– although in many cases, they can develop diseases or sicknesses because they went untreated for too long. this is not right and it’s certainly not a way of life i am looking forward to returning to.
i don’t know what will happen in the future or when or where i will go. but i am having a great time right now and finally enjoying really being settled in a place. what we’ve worked for in the past year is finally paying off. but nothing is certain! let’s see what happens.
the christmas tree went up this week in the town square, and i had my first glühwein of the season last night! alex and i met our buddy jen in the square to enjoy some budějovicky vanočni vinny punč, budějovice’s special christmas wine punch. i love german gluhwein, but there are at least ten different mulled wines, punches, and grogs to choose from here in czechland. this particular variety had chunks of fruit at the bottom, and an orange slice and walnut pieces floating on top– so fun! many people think of germany, austria, switzerland, or the nordic countries as the best places to go to a christmas market… but let me tell ya, czech republic can really hold its own in this category.
very excited for the holidays! which will officially begin next friday with our thanksgiving dinner, leading into the saturday tree lighting event.
- getting to hold a newborn baby! although i am pretty terrible at holding babies at this time in my life. he was so sweet and smelled like a puppy.
- getting paid in TEA. that’s right, people: will work for tea. (as long as it’s marks and spencer tea, that is)
- a karaoke duet to elton john’s “don’t go breaking my heart” with an irish guy…… and the only reason i even knew the song was because i had heard it so many darn times at the waterwheel. silly.
- went on an unplanned baking tear and whipped up this delicious cranberry orange bread. i used a cake pan and lowered the cooking time– it’s more of a cake which is just fine to me.
related posts: living in europe pt. I