Tuesday, December 1, 2015

From Paris to ... Prague!



Things have been kind of quiet on my blog lately. I've been in countdown mode, a naturally occurring phenomenon that manifests itself around year two or three, at the very latest year four, of every expat posting. That's when it also becomes more difficult to answer the questions "How much longer will you be in ______?" and "Where do you think you'll go next?". For anyone who isn't a career expat, it probably seems inconceivable that I rarely have a clue as to when I'll be packing up my life and moving on. For me, it's part of the territory. The stability of waking up in the same city for five consecutive years is what Stéphane and I long ago agreed to exchange for the experience of living in other countries.

But, I'm not going to lie. Even though I've been a trailing spouse for a long time, the uncertainties of the past year were starting to take their toll. Whenever I opened my laptop to write a blog post, I found myself studying Google maps instead. Where, I wondered, would we end up next? Africa, Asia, back in Switzerland? Rather than feeling excited at the prospect of starting a new adventure, it seemed that we were playing Russian roulette. I was happy in Paris. Would I be as happy someplace else?

About the time I finally convinced myself to stop worrying about things that were out of my control and enjoy my visit with family in the United States, Stéphane called with the news that we're moving to Prague.

Now that I've returned to Paris and have had several weeks to adjust to the idea, I've started to enter the "leaving" phase of the expat life cycle. My time orientation has shifted from the present to the future. Before I've even wiped the sleep from my eyes in the morning, my brain is flitting from question to question: "Where will we live?", "How will I communicate with people when I don't know any words in Czech?", "Will I find new friends?".

I'm excited, scared, tired and unsure about how it's all going to come together. Returning to blogging seems like a good idea. It's what helped me through the first months in France. Perhaps it will be a welcome distraction as life in Paris becomes another memory.

Let the countdown to Prague begin! I'll get my very first glimpse of the city on December 31, 2015.

Prague in the winter. Photo credit: Daily Mail

14 comments:

  1. Mary Kay: It has been a pleasure getting to know you and watching you learn to love Paris and thrive there. If you conjure up that ambivalence you had about Paris in 2011, just think ahead and know how great you'll do in Prague. I'm looking forward to your next chapter and to perhaps a return visit to Prague. Bon courage!

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    1. Merci, Anne! You've been in my thoughts a lot the past months because I'm now at the stage where you were when I first started reading your blog. I'm truly grateful for all the information that you provided to a newbie in Paris. I hope that you do make a return visit to Prague. If I don't see you there, I'll track you down in DC! ;)

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  2. I lived in Prague for three months years ago, it's a great place! Back then, the more "expat" as opposed to "touristy" neighbourhood was Vinoradhy, which is quite nice, but maybe times have moved on. Communicating with people using English was not too difficult, especially young people. I picked up some phrases using Pimsleur - which helped my pronunciation enough that I was more than once mistaken for a fellow Czech until I understood absolutely nothing of whatever the follow-up conversation was ;)

    I'm glad you're getting back into blogging and can't wait hearing about your new adventures and re-living some old memories!

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    1. You lived in Prague, Gwan?! I don't think I ever knew that -- but then you've lived so many places that it's hard to keep track of them all! From what I've started to gather, Vinoradhy is still a sought after location. I think we'll start our apartment search there. Thanks for the tip about using Pimsleur! I'll need all the help I can get with the pronunciation. The language does looks tricky, mainly because it doesn't equate with any other language I've learned. I had hoped it would resemble German but it doesn't. I love that you were mistaken for a Czech person! I'd have a deer in the headlights look if that happened to me. When I was in the hairdressers the other day, I had the thought that I'm probably going to have to use lots of sign language in Prague. But that's all part of the adventure. It was good to hear from you! I'll visit your blog to catch up with things in your life.

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  3. You will be fine, land on your feet and start wandering through a fascinating city and region! As for meeting new friends, you are sure to have people fall in love with your thoughtful and sunny disposition, endless quest for information, your awesome blogs and amazing photographs. I know I did.......Best of luck to you and Steph

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence and the good luck wishes, Nancy! I'll remember your words when I'm feeling a bit lost and blue (it happens!) the first months that we're in Prague.

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  4. So exciting!! :)

    I did just check duolingo---Czech is 97% hatched, so it should be open for beta testing soon!

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    1. Thanks for checking duolingo, Bridget! I see that the estimated completion date is December 4 so I'll soon be on my way to learning Czech. :) Děkuji! (thank you in Czech!)

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  5. This is exciting, Mary Kay! I have very much enjoyed your Paris blog and will be sure to enjoy one about Prague, another one of my favorite cities.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that Prague is one of your favorite cities! Everyone seems to like it so I'm sure that I will, too.

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  6. I hope you do continue to blog as Out and About in Prague!! I would love to read about all of your adventures and discoveries. We are going to miss you Mary Kay - you made Paris much more of a home for me and for that I am so thankful!

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    1. I'm going to miss you, Kristen! I can't tell you what a pleasure it has been for me to see you blossoming in Paris and to watch all of your achievements, both professionally and personally. My favorite has been seeing how easily you've slipped into being a wonderful mother. Grady is a lucky girl!

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  7. Oh I must say I'm sad you are leaving Paris, you introduced me to blogging and lots of people. Even though I don't visit Paris as often these days, or blog myself, I will miss you.

    However, I love Prague, it is an interesting and exciting city and I'm sure you will carve a niche there too.

    .....and its not far on easyJet!!! Lol!

    Love Denise.

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  8. Exciting! Paris is always a dream city and known for peace too. However, feeling sad for the boomed of ISIS in the city. Shocking!

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