Prague (Praha) was the third city that Emily and I visited during our Christmas venturing, and it was way more than I initially expected! 🙂 From visiting the Sedleck Ossuary (Bone Church) in Kutna Hora to eating lots of hot trdelnik to watching the 600 year old astronomical clock’s disappointing hourly show to touring the largest castle complex in the world Prague Castle to cheesing in front of the Lennon Wall to viewing the magnificent muralled library in the Strahov Monastery to walking across the Charles Bridge to seeing the famous black light theater performance Aspects of Alice, I was blown away by Prague. Those three days were my favorite days from the two week trip.
But my favorite parts about Prague weren’t the tourist destinations, foods, or shows. My favorite parts about Prague were Bibi and Dada, our airbnb hosts. This artsy couple was not only kind and warm, but they were also honest and curious. Their eclectic apartment offered us a generous guest room, where evidence of Dada’s previous exhibitions could be found in every corner and behind every large piece of furniture. Our mornings and evenings were filled with hot tea, exotic Czech foods, and meaningful words. Bibi, a videographer, asked to interview us for one of her current projects, and Dada, a photographer, volunteered to photograph us for simple fun. So our last night in Prague was spent in a cramped, cold studio discussing the meaning of home and posing awkwardly on an old wooden bench.
My interview went a little something like this: What does home mean to you? Home isn’t a permanent place to me, not a city or building. Home is a concept. Home is were my heart is, so home for me is many different places. Pieces of my heart are scattered all over the world in association with people and memories. What smells remind you of home? Breakfast being cooked, old antiques, cinnamon sprinkled on hot cocoa, fresh cut grass, air near the ocean, Chris’ cologne. What sounds remind you of home? My parents’ saying “love you,” my brother’s explanations of board games, Chris’ laughter, country songs, waves crashing, cows mooing. What feeling reminds you of home? When warmth spreads through my chest, causing me to smile without even realizing it. Are you at home in your life now? To be honest, I didn’t feel comfortable in Spain until about two months of living here and learning the customs. I didn’t get that sense of comfort, that feeling of acceptance, until a little boy, maybe three years old, was blowing kisses to strangers on the metro. He was all smiles as he made smacking noises with his hand and sent those airy kisses in random directions, judgement free and merrily oblivious to everything else. One so happened to drift my way, the boy exclaiming “hola” and squealing. That was the moment I felt the warmth expand in my chest. That was the moment I felt confident that I could temporarily do this. Be separated from all things familiar for nine months. Live here. Teach here. Be happy here. That’s when Bilbao truly captured a piece of my heart.
My photo shoot went a little something like this:
I have never had such thought provoking conversations with strangers before, and to think that they weren’t even our original airbnb hosts in Prague. The others cancelled three days before we arrived in the Czech Republic, and Bibi and Dada agreed to take us in last minute during the holidays. To say I am thankful for meeting Bibi and Dada is an understatement; I hope I made at least half the memorable impression that they made on me.
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