We have officially survived week 2 in Europe! It still hasn’t hit me that I’m in a foreign country, but rather I feel like I’m in some far away state with pretty buildings and a different language. Days here seem to be full of extraordinary adventures, yet the mundane sticks around for comfort. For those of you who have been trying to contact me with concern about recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, we are safe and sound in small town Olomouc and far from the location of said events.
Aside from classes, we allowed ourselves a 4 day weekend and took a trip to Prague with our teachers, Jan and Martin. Prague is somewhat the Lincoln/Omaha area of Nebraska, whereas Olomouc (our hometown for our time here) is similar to Kearney. Megan and I had already come here before our studying started, so we were semi-familiar with the area. Prague is the main tourist location for the Czech Republic, so it’s filled with plenty to do! Among many other excursions, we toured St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle, Jewish Quarter, and even got to partake in their traditional Easter market.
Easter seems to be one of their main holidays, if not the most popular. The city was filled with little huts full of handmade goods, delicious food, homemade alcohol, and live music. We even got bombarded by a group of little Czech boys and whipped on our ankles! For those of you missed my last post, it’s tradition here for men to use decorated sticks with ribbons and whip women on their ankles for good health and fertility. A group of us attended mass on Easter Sunday at St. Vitus Cathedral. Though the entire thing was in Czech, it was the perfect way to celebrate the holiday.
With that being said, I think the biggest speed bump here has been the language barrier so far. I bought horseradish at the store the other day because I thought it was cheese dip. It’s hard enough to order what I want for dinner let alone go shopping for groceries. We even got a chance to sit through a 2 hour opera - all in Czech! Even though I had no idea what was going on, it was incredibly beautiful. Transportation specifically has been a challenge, as all instructions and details are in a different language. We travel by train often and when your tickets, train stations, and all of the stops are in Czech, it makes for an interesting/confusing experience. We have most of the basics down, but a short trip to Germany with an entirely new language again made us truly realize how much we rely on communication. Amidst all the hiccups, it’s been full of wonder so far- until next time…