Now officially settled into Prague, it was time to hit the ground running in what was quickly becoming my new favorite city. Boy, was it a busy week! I kicked off Sunday eating a tasty brunch with Erica & John at Kavarna Zanzibar. I could eat that beet root, avocado & egg toast forever!
After some fun and lively conversation, we split up to explore. Erica & I picked a direction to walk, stumbled upon a fancy hotel, and made a quick stop at the concierge to grab a tourist map.
Being New Yorkers, you can venture a guess at how much walking we did that day! After passing the Narodni Museum (unfortunately under construction), we made our way over to the train station, Praha Hlavní Nádraží, explored the historical building and spent a bit of time shopping at Flying Tiger to stock up on birthday decor (and maybe a few chia pets…). We then meandered over to Prašná brána – one of the original city gates – and checked out the Municipal House, which was originally the site of the Royal Court palace!
We then made our way to the Church of our Lady Before Tyn, which sits across the Old Town Square from St. Nicholas’ Church. All of Old Town is rich with history and I highly recommend a visit! After checking out the inside of St. Nicholas’ Church, we made our way down towards the Charles Bridge & Muzeum Karlova Mostu for a nice view of Prague Castle across the river. After walking down the Vltava river a bit, we crossed over to view a monument to the fallen soldiers of WWII before hopping on the tram to head home. It was a lovely afternoon spent in great company with some sore feet!
After a quick dinner, my evening began at Group Process, a weekly, open, safe space John started in Split. It provides an opportunity to talk about what’s on your mind without fear of judgement or disapproval. Anything said at group stays at group, and you speak without interruption or discussion, allowing participants to open up about anything – both positive and negative. While it was emotionally taxing, it was a welcome change to be open & vulnerable. #whathappensinvegasstaysinvegas
From there, we went to our first open mic night at the Red Room. After Travis serenaded us, I was off to bed following my exhausting day.
Monday provided an introduction to our new workspace (K10) and our amazing city team, Danny (ops) & Tereza (experience). We received an overview of what we needed to know at City Welcome, just as we had in Split, and got a tour of K10. The building is a beautiful villa next to a large park & vineyard, and once housed the Danish ambassador! Meals were available for order from the kitchen daily, and the backyard garden made for a relaxing & productive workday.
I had a wonderful breakfast with Ms. Carol the next morning, with lively discussion and consistent reminders of how strong and amazing I am. It became a regular mantra for her to remind me to stop being my own worst critic and see my strengths. She’s an incredible woman with a wealth of information, and a love of life that brings an amazingly positive and supportive energy.
Tereza then taught us the essentials of the Czech language. I can’t say I was the best student as I can only say cheers without referencing google translate…na zdraví to all! After spending the rest of the afternoon at the workspace, I enjoyed a nice walk home and a beautiful sunset.
Wednesday started with an early morning walking tour of Prague. Marcus, founder of the Naked Tour Guide, is a wealth of knowledge – I can’t even try to do his historical tour justice. All I can say is that I wish I had a better memory for all the rich details he provided! He told us the history of the buildings in the Old Town Square, and explained the inner workings of the astronomical clock, dating back to 1410. This is the absolute coolest clock in the world and I am still amazed at the brains of the inventors. I’ll be back to see it again…
We then made our way to the Charles Bridge and learned about the statues before heading to the Jewish quarter. We walked along the Fifth Ave of Prague, Pariszka Street, and visited the unfinished Church of Our Lady of the Snows, which has a massive altar piece, to end our tour. If you’re ever in Prague, I highly recommend a private tour with the Naked Tour Guide! Marcus will give you all the intricate details of the history of this incredible city.
Later that evening, Jessica and I were off to my first professional volleyball match – Men’s Golden European League Czech Republic vs. Portugal! It was an exciting match, but Portugal was able to pull out a win over the Czech’s, ending the match 3 – 2. Even with the loss, it was a definite highlight of my week!
The next morning was another session of our Writing Tribe, and I met a few fellow Kairos writers at La Boheme Cafe. After a few good hours of writing, I was off to our first beach volleyball game on the river. It felt great to be playing again! We had a lot of fun, and only had to fish for the ball a handful of times before we grabbed a quick drink and headed home to wash off all the sand.
We ended the day with our very first Story Slam at Manesova Bar & Books. For those who don’t know, Story Slam is like an open mic night for story telling. You throw your name in a hat, and if selected, tell a five minute store on the topic provided. Our topic: The Struggle is Real!
As you might imagine, we had a number of entertaining tales, but we also got a deeper view into people’s lives with a few serious stories. Over the past month, our community had begun to build on a feeling of safety, honesty & vulnerability. We offered each other support without judgement, and hearing these heartfelt stories provided a further insight to our tramily.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to speak, but as it had been a few months since my last public speaking engagement, I threw my name in the hat. When my name was called, I didn’t know what story to tell, so I let the group decide between a funny sports story or a serious relationship story. Of course my audience wanted some drama.
But standing at the front of the room, I didn’t have my normal confidence. I felt small, weak, and as I told my story, I felt my shoulders hunch and close in on me. I had difficulty making eye contact and felt people lean in to better hear me.
I told a story about losing myself to someone, trying to fit a mold to make things work. It was a story about not standing up for myself, believing negative comments against my better judgement, and letting them eat away at my self-worth. It was a challenge to listen and learn from the past, and to move on.
When my five minutes were up, I practically ran back to the safety of my seat and reached out to a friend for support. While my entire body was shaking with what I had just revealed, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I received love and support from my new friends, learned about the “vulnerability hangover”, and was pushed to be more compassionate with myself. It was difficult and exhausting, but a much needed step in the right direction. With a big weekend ahead, and feeling emotionally drained, it was time for bed.
The velocity of Remote Year makes for extreme highs and lows, which can change on a dime. My first week in Prague proved it and kicked my butt. ❤️