I woke up at 4am PST, was out the door twenty minutes later; and three time zones, 28 hours, and no sleep later I stepped into a mid-sized room to look for the carousel with luggage from Paris. I saw a yellow sign indicating a wet floor (I think) and sent a picture of it to my mom, half out of excitement from seeing the Czech language for the first time, and half so that she would know I had arrived safely.

The handle of my rolling suitcase was broken in transit so I walked with a slight hunch to my right rolling it out to arrivals. My buddy had a handwritten sign with my name on it but we immediately recognized each other from the photos we had seen of each other over Facebook. He helped me purchase a bus ticket and I stepped onto my first piece of Prague’s transit. (More excitement regarding this to follow.)

May I just say that the transit in Prague is so fun?! Coming from a small rural part of Canada I am not used to many transit systems, other than occasional visits to Vancouver, at least nothing particularly reliable or efficient. My buddy laughs at me for how I light up with excitement at the little details around the city: metro stations in funky colours, beautiful statues, or really just any signage at all.

Though I think of myself as reasonably approachable and outgoing, sometimes I am not as good at meeting lots of people in large groups as I would hope. So, dorm and school orientation were, initially, a little intimidating. With my buddy’s direction and company, as well as with students from my home university, and our new roommates, I have managed to explore quite a bit of the city and am slowly but surely making more and more connections with other students.

So far, my favourite places I have explored have been a tiny grass park next to the river, a carousel you can ride in the middle of Hamley’s toy store, and an art gallery called Magická Jeskyně on the trail down from Petrín tower.

I cannot read or understand almost anything but I am able to greet and thank people in Czech and I will start learning the language at school in just a couple of days. In general, I am feeling reasonably well settled in and organized after only a week and other than purchasing dairy products at the grocery store (because there is so much to choose from, it is packaged differently, and I cannot read the labels), I am feeling right at home.


Maria Wallis
(Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)