I left home exactly one month ago today.  That’s so hard to believe.  I feel simultaneously as if no time has passed at all, and as if I’ve been here forever.  I guess that isn’t really new, though.  I remember feeling similarly at Grinnell.  I could never really get my HPIM2113mind around the fact that I spent three years in rural Iowa, and yet I felt like I had been there for so much longer.  I think, though, that as long as I’m not looking at my time and thinking, “That’s it?  Only a month has passed?  Eleven to go”, I’ll be all right.

Thomas came to visit this past weekend, and it was wonderful to spend time with someone from home.  When I’m here, I’m very self-conscious about seeming like a tourist.  I don’t like to have my map out, I don’t like to speak much so that fewer people realize that I don’t speak Czech.  I don’t mind it when I’m an actual tourist, but now that I live here, suddenly it seems so embarrassing.  Having Thomas here was nice because, among other things, it gave me an excuse to act like a tourist.

On Saturday, we took a tram all the way up the hill on the west side of Prague to see what Brandon promised us was the best view in the city.  From above, Prague is a sea of reddish clay roofs, interspersed with the occasional spire and cut down the HPIM2108middle by the Vlatava.  My friend Erica once told me that every city has a color, and that is undoubtedly Prague’s.  The city was lucky enough to be relatively untouched after the war, and most of the architecture is hundreds of years old.

It was the warmest and sunniest that I’ve seen it since I’ve been here, even though everyone swears that the summers are usually hot and humid.  What I said before about Czechs loving to be outdoors still holds true.  As Thomas and I walked down the hill towards the city, there were families picnicking in the vineyards.  Making out way to town, we wound down through Mala Strana, where Prague Castle is, and briefly stopped to wander past the HPIM2124enormous gothic cathedral.

Part of me is worried that if I don’t have more visitors, I’ll never really do the touristy things here.  As it is, there’s so much that Thomas and I didn’t do.  We didn’t walk through the Jewish quarter or actually go in the castle.  On the other hand, I did all of those things two years ago, and I think perhaps the best part of being here for a year is to have the time to move past what the hoards of tourists are doing and find the little places.  Even though I’m not completely comfortable exploring “unpopular” (at least with the tourists) places alone since I don’t speak the language, I’m looking forward to finding my own spots, even if they are full of other expats.  That being said, maybe my year here will make me more adventurous.  I guess I still have time.

P.S.–It’s my dad’s and my brother’s birthday today.  Happy birthday!