The Hardest Goodbye

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This is my last day in Prague. I don’t even know how to start this blog post. I spent the last half hour trying hard not to completely lose it on the tram ride home. I am having to say goodbye to everyone who I have become so close with, knowing that we will probably never see each other again. They have become my family and the thought of leaving the life that I have here makes me so sad.

My experiences here have really been the best of my life. I know that I was meant to have this experience for a reason. Before coming here, I had had the best summer of my life and I was in such a great place. Life had been preparing for me to come here. It has only been three months, but I have changed in ways that I cannot even describe. I have learned so much about who I am and about life, love, and happiness. I have seen breath-taking things, I have learned so much about the world that we live in, I have made friends from all over the world. Life is constantly changing, and I have finally made a routine and life for myself here and now it is time to go home, back to another life.

Since being here, I have come to be a believer of so many things. I used to write-off religion and spirituality, but I came to learn here that everything happens for a reason. Every event that I experienced here added something to my life and made me who I am today. I no longer think that everyone is out to get me, but that we are all here to help each other and to grow as much as we can in our short time on earth.

What can I even say about Prague? I partied harder here than is even imaginable, spending all night out and riding home in the morning with people on their way to work. I met amazing friends who supported me and we made the most amazing memories together. I will never forget the girls that I met here and I hope someday to see them again. Prague is the best city in central Europe. It is so international and I have met people from all over the world. The city is scattered with the most beautiful of landmarks and there is always something to do or see. It is as if I have been living in a fairytale for the past three months.

I even found love here. Not a love like a relationship, but love as in love for myself, what I have, and for those around me. For the men that I met here and will probably never see again, I have no regrets. We all enter each others lives, even for just a short time, and we add to each other. We give each other experiences that change who we are, and that is what I have.

As I type, the tears are falling all over my keyboard. They told us that we would have reverse-culture shock when going home, and I never believed them. I do now. It is going to be really interesting to see how I re-adjust to living in the United States. I hope it is an easy process, but I know that I am going to miss Prague so much.

I did not travel as much as others while here, only a few other countries, but I feel like I really lived in Prague. I was here. I lived in Europe. I became apart of a city, apart of something larger than myself. I have been completely on my own here, away from family and friends, but was able to create a life here. I know now that I can do absolutely anything that I set my mind to. I got to experience something that people only dream about, and I am not taking it for granted.

I know that I will be back, no question about it. I am meant to live in Berlin and so when the time comes, I will come back to Europe. I want to go home and see my family, but if I could come straight back after that, I would. I am not afraid anymore to be on my own, I can survive.

I have so many thoughts in my head and emotions that it is hard to sort it out and get them all down. I couldn’t have asked for a better study abroad experience. Yes there were hard times, but now that we have reached the end, I can hardly remember them. I can only think about the amazing things that happened to me here.

I remember this night were we all went to the club and my friends decided to leave early (3 am) and like usual, I stayed until about 5. I was trying to get home, but was completely lost in the city. I just remember walking and seeing the lights and empty streets. I had many nights like this, and during my walks home I always would have time to think about what was going on in my life. I remember always feeling so grateful, empowered, and just at complete peace with myself. I won’t forget these nights because you learn the most about yourself when you have to find your way home (Or that is at least how it was for me).

I have fears about going home. I think that things will be different from when I left. I honestly cannot remember the last time that I skyped my best friend, which hurts, or when I talked to anyone from DU. I know that they have lives to lead as well, but I feel that we have grown apart so much and maybe we all arent meant to be friends forever. I know that is a morbid thought, but I just can’t see myself having the same relationship with my friends back home. I am a different person and they had events happen in the last few months that I wasn’t there for. That is one of the reasons that I want to stay, I think, What does going home have to offer me? I will probably change my mind when I get home and see everyone, but that is just some thoughts I have had.

This entire experience has been so surreal. I sit back and think, shit. I have been living in Europe for the past three months. I have only ever dreamed of doing something like this and now I have. I have contracted the travel-bug and now the thought of living in the US and going to school like society says I must sound terrible. The Aussie’s travel for months at a time before the go to school or settle down. I like this way of life because I feel that in the US, we miss out on so much that life have to offer because all we care about is getting a fucking job and having money. That IS NOT what life is about. I have learned that life is about experiences. I want to travel the world. I don’t need a lot, maybe a backpack and a few dollars to get me over seas. I hope that I am able once I graduate to just travel for awhile. It is so important to see the world and how it works, outside of the comfort zone of the country that you call home. It seems like the rest of the world understands the importance of this, but I never get that vibe in the US. I don’t think that I will live there for the rest of my life. The US doesn’t support travel, growth, or knowledge like they do in Europe and other parts of the world.

I feel like I am just rambling now. But, on a final note, I want to share with you the best thing that has ever happened to me. I traveled to Berlin by myself for four days over fall break. Besides already having a very intense relationship with the city ( I know I lived there in a past life), I just felt like I was home. I knew the entire city after one day and felt so comfortable. Traveling there alone was the best thing that I could have ever done for myself. It made me realize that I am capable of anything and that I am strong. I was a little depressed before going, but since coming back from Berlin, I have never felt so content with my life. The other day I was thinking and realized that all of those negative emotions and all that teenage angst that I used to have is completely gone. I hardly ever get angry or upset, everything is just at an even keel. Coming to Europe helped me to achieve this.

Anyways, this is my last blog post. I hope you all enjoyed the ride with me.

Best,

Elisa Jeanne

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Trip to Vienna- The tale of rain and royalty

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Hello all!
It is hard to believe that I only have two and a half weeks left in Europe; oh how the time has flown.
This past weekend I went to Vienna, Austria with the ISA and had a wonderful time.
We left Friday morning at 8:15, wicked early, and had a four hour bus ride there. Even with my Starbucks coffee, I passed out and slept the entire way there. I sat next to my wonderful roommate Angela. We have bonded so much and she is definitely my favorite person here. I have never met anyone so nice, deep, and giving. It’s super funny too because she goes to Fitchburg State and used to work at Market Basket in Westford, the town I used to live in; what a small world. Anyways, back to Vienna.
When we arrived we took a quick bus tour of the city and then a walking tour. It was nice to get to see the entire city in a glance. Vienna takes you back to another time. Everything is white; the architecture and the sky. It was so beautiful and cool to see the center of the once Austrian Empire. I didn’t pay attention much on the tour because I was talking to Martin, from the ISA, about films. He also is interested in cinematography so it was really neat to talk about our favorite directors and types of filming styles. Vienna is so cool because they are really into the holidays apparently and the entire city was lit up with Christmas lights, it was like a fairy tale or a scene from Frozen.
After dropping our stuff off at the hotel, my friends and I headed to the most famous Christmas market in the world. Navigating the U-bahn was easy and we got to the market right after dark. The largest christmas market in Europe was located right by a huge cathedral and the lights were incredible. As soon as a got there I bought hot wine and it was delicious. We walked around for an hour or two, but it was raining a little and about zero degrees Celsius, so it was soooo cold. We took a detour and got dinner to get warm then went back to the market. I bought sooooo much stuff (friends and family be excited for your Christmas gifts:) ). I also got desserts and just had a nice time walking around surrounded by all the Christmas cheer! Around 10 pm we went back to the hotel and I passed out!
Today, I woke up early, had breakfast, then as a group we all headed
To the Hofberg winter palace. I learned all about the dynasty in my cultural history class and it was so cool to see where the former rulers of the Holy Roman Empire actually lived. Although it was cool walking around and seeing the beautiful living quarters, it was also so sad because Elizabeth, the wife of Franz Joseph, was so unhappy there. The audio guide also talked about her seclusion and how she hated being queen. She felt like she lost all of her freedom and was eventually assassinated. It’s funny how you can have all the money and power in the world and be completely miserable.
After the tour, my friends and I walked around more markets, I went and got coffee, and we had a lovely lunch. After that we went to the famous Hotel Sacher and had great coffee and dessert. It was absolutely delicious. Angela and I were pretty tired after that, so we split up and she and I went to Starbucks and ended up falling asleep until it was time to meet the bus to go home.
It was a pretty short trip, but it was nice to have a weekend out of Prague. I got pretty sick today, the antibiotics took away the infection, but now I have a cold. All in all, it was such a relaxing weekend and I am happy that I went.
I am getting excited to go home to my family. I have had the experience of a lifetime here in Europe, but it will be nice to be home for the holidays. I hope everyone is well and I sent my best.

Elisa Jeanne

What a life!

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Hello everyone!
I know it has been awhile since I last wrote to you and so much has happened. I think last time I posted I had just gotten back from Berlin. That trip seriously changed my life and my time in Prague has been so different ever since.
I came back to Prague with a new sense of happiness and contentment. I feel like I belong here and I have just been so happy. I go out four nights a week with my friends and I am meeting new locals. I figured out that by going to local bars, I am able to meet the natives and get to know the real Prague. I went out one night last week to a bar right by my house alone and met some Czech people who had just come back from a soccer game. They bought me drinks and we just sat and talked. It was a wonderful experience because I saw a type of Prague that I have not seen before.
I am just living life here as normal. I go to school, meet up with friends, go out on the town, spend much time at Starbucks with my coffee, watch way too much American Horror Story…. I feel like I finally found who I am here and I no longer am home sick. I have barely talked to anyone back home if we are being honest. I miss them, I do, but I feel like I am so different now, I am mature and understand who I am. It took so long for me to be comfortable here, but now that I finally am it is the most liberating experience. I am doing whatever I want to do while living in another country!
I had this thought the other day. I am here on the opposite side of the world with people I don’t even know, and we are sharing such life changing experiences together. It is a beautiful thing to share the most exciting time of ones life with others. We have come together and made best friends with others over this crazy life experience. I am not sure if I am explaining it right, but I hope you understand the feeling I am trying to convey.
Just so you all know, I definitely found myself here. I have goals, ideas, a sense of self-awareness that I have never felt before. Anyways, enough of this sappy heartfelt stuff…
I have so many projects due in school next week since our time is running short here. It is so hard to believe that I only have one month left and the time is seriously just flying by. I am heading to Vienna, Austria in two weeks which I am excited about.
It is already Christmas here in Prague. Because we don’t have Thanksgiving here, Christmas begins right after Halloween, which I don’t really mind. I love snuggling up here at Starbucks with a good book.
I guess that there is not a lot to write about except my feelings and thoughts while here. I really miss my best friend at home, but I know that they have a life and I can’t constantly be texting across waters. I can’t wait to go home and see them though!
I will post some pictures of what I have done lately.

From here in Prague until next time,

Elisa Jeanne

Berlin thoughts!

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I couldn’t have asked for a better four days. I came to Berlin by myself and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I know these streets like the back of my hand (it’s like a basic instinct), giving people directions left and right! I definitely can’t do that in Prague. I have traveled the world and this city is the only one I want to call home. The people, the energy, the city- it’s perfect for me. I wish I could stay here for the rest of my time abroad because I have never been so happy.