Looking Back, 4

A re-printing of “April 10th Prague Journal Entry”(WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1, 2007)

I have successfully removed myself from my life in Los Angeles. I am in Prague. Can you hear the sigh of relief? Exhale.

Vysherad is beautiful. Jaime and I parted ways an hour ago – she had to go teach one of her classes – and I am sitting in Vysherad Fortress, having just gone into the gothic church and through a famous cemetery that has only artists buried in it. I loved walking through the cemetary, looking at all the writers, composers, artists. I saw Dvorak’s grave.

Picture of a sculpture in the Vysherad park

I always have the distinct feeling that I am going to get lost – very lost – but that also happens in my own backyard, which is part of the excitement of traveling. You may, and probably will, get lost. Very lost. But I love it when you realize that you are actually getting to know the city. As you walk down the same twists and turns of some back street over and over again, in whatever city you’re in, you are hit by the realization that YOU know your way around. You remember how to get to your destination. You’re getting to know the city!

I was walking to the Bohemian Bagel in the Old Town Square – great ex-pat restaurant with Internet – and a girl walked up to me and asked me if I knew where the Bohemian Bagel was. First off, I’m a quarter Bohemian – hence the blog title – which means my family is from Bohemia, which used to be a country that was made up of a part of the Czech Republic and part of Austria. My Father was also Russian, so I do look really Slovak. Like I might even belong here?

Anyway, the girl came up to me and asked if I knew where the restaurant was. I smiled and said, “I’m on my way there. I’ll take you.”

She was flabbergasted and we introduced ourselves. “My name’s Alexis,” I said, holding out my right hand.

She smiled and, shaking my hand, said: “Me, too.”

Imagine that! Two American girls. In Prague. On their way to check their e-mail at the Bohemian Bagel. And we’re both named Alexis.

Side note: I’m not the type of American that makes a beeline for the American Restaurant in a foreign country. I’m actually quite the opposite, but my computer was not hooking up to the Internet and I needed to check my e-mail. And I had already tried to check my e-mail at three different cafés before this encounter…

We walked to the restaurant and checked our e-mails. Well, she was actually signing up for classes at Boston University. Again! BU. I told her I had lived in Beacon Hill for three years while I finished up my degree at Emerson College. I had gone to Denison University for the first two years, but nearly went insane in the conservative Ohio town of Granville. I quickly moved back home to Newport, Rhode Island, for 6 months and then started back at College in January.

[Break from writing… cue Elevator music.]

So, I have left Vysherad and I am sitting in another Internet café, waiting for Jaime to finish her second class of the day. I just smiled at the waiter and said “Dobre Den. ” (Hello in Czech and strangely enough nearly the same in Russian. But that doesn’t help, since the two languages are rather different and no one likes Russians here. Again, thank goodness I am a quarter Bohemian.)

Anyway, I just ordered my latte (with regular milk, oh my) and here I am writing again. Right now, I am doing fabulously… I am loving Prague. It is of course sooo very beautiful. There are parts of the city that I do remember from my trip here ten years ago, but most of the time it is like I’ve never been here. Jamie, Jack and I spent yesterday walking around the city taking pictures. We went to the Charles Bridge and parts of Old Town and had coffee in a couple different cafes and wound up going to see the movie “300” in a cinema here. I can’t believe I saw “300” in PRAGUE!

Picture of a picturesque street in gorgeous Prague

Jaime and Jack are in such a beautiful flat here and I have a lovely little bed to sleep on… I was very, very tired after walking around the city from about 11 am to 6 pm yesterday. I am sleeping on two lovely little comfy mattresses that are piled on top of each other. And I have a nice comforter and a pillow. I am very, very comfortable at night. They live in a loft. With hardwood floors. And a beautiful view of the tops of buildings and a big hill – Petrin Hill – that I guess is part of a park that we’ve walked past a couple times.

It’s good to see my friend Jamie. I guess you could safely say that she is an ex-pat. I have an ex-pat friend… How very, very interesting… Also, story wise… Being here makes me think of a film I wanted to write and shoot in London (when I’m a little older than I am now) that I’ve been throwing around in my head for almost twelve years. This city makes me think and dream.

Think and dream. What a wonderful feeling. To be somewhere that makes me inspired. I wonder how I can keep that feeling going… It’s like I need a constant change of environment to ignite this feeling. It’s like needing a fix. I could move to London and I’d have a great jump off place to travel from and if (or when) I want to settle down for a period of time, take a break if you will, I can just go back to London… How do I do THAT?

Jaime is in love with Prague, so I am happy that she found some place that she is in love with and happy everyday to be in… She is thrilled here and has been here two years, but it’s like each day is her first… “Isn’t this a beautiful place to live?” every morning… She walks out the door and says “Oh shut up, stupid Prague” as the puffy white clouds quickly move through the clearest blue sky… and she beams. She beams with happiness here.

I want to beam with happiness.