June 28, 2017, (one year ago today) our family boarded a plane for the Czech Republic. If you had asked me anything about the country just months before, I would have given you a blank stare. Czech Republic was not on my bucket list and I certainly never expected to live there; yet we found ourselves moving to Prague.
As we looked out the window of the aircraft upon landing, we could hardly make out a single thing. After eleven hours of travel, we landed in a total downpour; you know the kind, rain coming down in sheets. The scene was comical as we attempted to shield ourselves with a few flimsy umbrellas and struggled to get our bags into the shuttle headed for our flat.
The shuttle dropped us off blocks away from our flat at the management office where we picked up our keys and checked in. The girl who checked us in wasn’t a day over 20, she spoke broken English and was helpful in getting us settled. Still spitting rain, we dragged our luggage through the cobblestone sidewalks several blocks to our flat.
Buzzing for the concierge, the door to our building opened and we meet an older gentleman named Zdeněk, a very common Czech name. His thick Czech accent and limited English made conversation hard but he was eager to learn English, we were eager to learn Czech, and so began our frequent communication.
Our flat was about 900 square feet and furnished in a modern design. I was quite impressed with the place, except for the decor choices, especially the print hanging in the living room. It was the most hideous piece of wall art, a graphic print of a mans head and part of what seemed to be a clown costume. It was super creepy looking and the worst part was that the mans eyes always seemed to be following me! I wish I had saved a photo of it to share with you. The flat had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room/dining room. (The BEST part was the location, just steps from Old Town Square and right above a restaurant with a man who played piano several days a week, I really miss the piano playing through the streets and up into our room.)
At this point we had been up for so long we weren’t sure if we were more tired or hungry. If you know our family at all, you can bet that food will win 9 times out of 10, and this was one of those times. We dropped our bags and headed out to a cute little café we stumbled on located in the basement of an old building (which isn’t uncommon since all the building are old). To our surprise, the café offered a menu in English making ordering a breeze! We had a delightful meal and I was thrilled to enjoy my first of many tasty lattes.
The last item to tackle on our first day was grocery shopping. This was a bit tricky since there happened to be nothing in English at the local market. This is the moment when Google translate and I became besties. I didn’t want to end up with buttermilk (podmáslí) instead of milk (mléko) and some random headcheese instead of ground beef. After that initial grocery run I began studying the names of many common foods in Czech to familiarize myself. I would highly recommend this if you happen to visit a foreign city for any length of time.
It was quite an eventful day – eager to settle in and overwhelmed with a new city, language, culture … basically everything; we turned in early, excited for the many adventures ahead.