An Ode to Prague

My dear, sweet Hermelín — no one will ever be able to replace you.

After spending the last two years living in the Czech capital, the time has come for me to move along on my next life adventure. Before I go, I’d like to pay homage to the myriad moments and experiences that have filled these last couple years with vivid color and personal growth.

At surface level, Prague is full of opportunities to enjoy life’s small pleasures, whether that means taking a walk through a park on a particularly crisp morning or stepping into one’s favorite pub for a much-needed Pilsner after work. Past the city’s most obvious eye candy known and loved by tourists, Prague is your oyster when it comes to encountering interesting styles of architecture. Though the city’s inhabitants aren’t always as glamorous as their surroundings, the city itself dances to a comfortable beat, and when living here, it’s nice to be able to feel it on a daily basis.

Looking back on the time I’ve spent living in Prague, here are the things I’ve learned that will stick with me moving forward. First, here are three notable life lessons:

  1. Being blunt and being mean are two completely different things.
  2. Strangers almost never care about how you look or what you’re doing. Thus, there’s almost never a real need to be self-conscious.
  3. Cherish good friends, because not all friends are good ones. Some people will flake out on you repeatedly; others might fall off the face of the Earth without any given notice. Keep hold of those who make a conscious effort to spend time with, check in on, and take care of you when you need it.

Prague has taught me to get my financial shiz together. This is the place that, through time, has shown me how to get rid of (and stop buying) things that I don’t need. The best things in life are not things, and when it comes to owning stuff, less is almost always more. Living a leaner, more minimalistic lifestyle has allowed me to begin investing in my future in meaningful ways.

The haul from my first mushroom forage. Yes, I know that most of them are inedible.

One of my favorite parts of Czech culture is the strong bond that many people share with surrounding plant life. The average local can spell out the basics of wild mushroom foraging like nobody’s business, and many Czech doctors recommend natural remedies to patients before prescribing more chemical ridden medications. Through familiarizing myself with the properties and benefits of local herbs and plants, I taught myself the basics of herbalism and have invested a lot of time and effort into creating a cozy collection of handmade household remedies and skincare products.

On a similar note, I’ve gotten more in touch with my health than ever been before while living in Prague. I’ve learned to practice self-care on a daily basis, and I have come to understand the massive impact it has on my body, mind and soul. I’ve become a decent cook (if I do say so myself), learned which foods I respond to positively and negatively and have become more conscious about the manner in which I eat. Earlier this year, I took the plunge and corrected my vision through laser eye surgery after years of wishing and waiting to undergo the procedure. The city has also supplied me with several exercise methods that I truly enjoy. Through regular exercise and a well-thought-out diet, my life in Prague has helped me get into the best shape of my life.

Lastly, I’ve been lucky enough to meet and fall in love with a devoted partner in Prague. He has played a large role in helping me maximize my strengths, confronting my weaknesses, and striving to be the best version of myself that I can be. Like me, he’s also open to a new life adventure. We’re now looking forward to soon becoming two residents of Helsinki!

Dat castle tho. (Taken on my phone, no filter needed.)

For tips on where to eat, drink and be merry in Prague, check out the master list of all my favorite spots across the city.