I will never forget the first moment I realized I wanted to create a life for myself in Prague. It was a crisp Saturday morning in November, and the sun had not yet peeked up over the spires. It had been about two weeks since I arrived in Prague for the TEFL course, and I finally was beginning to learn more about the city I was going to be spending the upcoming weeks in. A few of my classmates and I had heard from past TEFL alumni that the best time to see Karlův most (Charles Bridge, which is one of Prague’s most captivating attractions) was in the early morning as the sun rises. Attracted by the thought of seeing the bridge without tourists, we decided to wake up early and see it for ourselves.
At 6:30 in the morning, walking side by side with three of my classmates, I was astounded by the peacefulness that surrounded this city. I have never been in a capital city where there could be such silence. There were no cars, no honking, no people yelling at one another… it was a drastic change from city life I was used to waking up to back home in the States. And I loved it. As we were walking towards the bridge, color slowly began to fill the sky. Mesmerized by the way the vibrant colors were contrasting against the Gothic spires, I found myself falling into silence as well. I felt as if I was in an art museum looking at some of the world’s most gifted and talented artists create their new masterpieces. This is how surreal the sunrises are in this city.
As we approached the bridge, all of us began to feel giddy and excited; a feeling I rarely experience early morning, pre-coffee. One of my classmates told us that it felt unbelievable to her that we were studying for our TEFL certification while living in such a beautiful place. We spent an hour watching the sunlight reach itself over the buildings on the East side of the river, slowly touching the castle and neighboring buildings in Smíchov on the West side.
Chasing the sunlight, we walked to a breakfast cafe famous amongst the expat community called Cafe Savoy. Located directly on the river, we were able to continue enjoying the views of beautiful Prague over some coffee and breakfast pastries. We chatted about what a great morning it had been, and how Prague continues to be full of surprises for us. One of my classmates who had plans to leave Prague after the TEFL course began to express her regret for leaving, and how she had begun to fall in love with Prague. I chimed in and told my new friends that I believed I had found a new home here, and that the morning we shared had really opened up this possibility for me. It was amazing that four people who are all very different from one another could love the same place so much.
I realized on that chilly November morning that I wanted to feel like this every day of my life. I began questioning why I had previously allowed myself to be living in places where I felt a disconnect, where I no longer had a sense of wonder about the environment surrounding me. I needed to feel captivated and curious in order to feel like I was being challenged enough to grow. I made the decision in this moment to stay in Prague without any hesitations. I do not regret for one moment the adventure that this decision has taken me on. After graduating from TEFL, I had the time to travel to other parts of Europe. Even after seeing many other beautiful cities, I still found myself missing Prague at the end of each day. I began the Visa process and acquired a trade license to legally work in the Czech Republic. With the help of the TEFL administration, I found great job opportunities and an amazing apartment with one of my TEFL classmates in the same neighborhood as where I first fell in love with Prague. Every day I am here I thank myself for being open to change and following my sense of wonder and adventure. Prague continues to surprise me every day with the new discoveries that come with every breath-taking sunrise.