This past week I was on spring break, which just so happened to line up with Hope College’s spring break. Because of this lucky timing, my sister, who is a freshman at Hope, and my mom came to Prague and I was able to show them around the city I am calling my temporary home.
At first, I was a little disappointed that I was going to stay in Prague for spring break when people from my program are everywhere from Morocco to Sicily. I was jealous of everyone who would be sitting on a beach soaking up some sun.
But when I first saw my mom and my sister in the hotel lobby, all those feelings melted away. It was so good to see familiar faces. While I’ve made great friends this semester and I love seeing these new relationships develop, it was refreshing to be in the company of people who know me.
We had a great week together. I got to show them my apartment, my school, and my neighborhood. We took a day trip to a Czech town called Český Krumlov, which is situated on a bend of the Vltava River and is home to a 13th-century castle. We also traveled to Terezin, the only concentration camp on Czech soil, for a sobering but necessary dive into history. We ate the most delicious meals on a food tour, explored Old Town and Prague Castle, soaked up art at the Mucha Museum, and took in the blooming trees on Petrin Hill.
The best part of the week, however, was catching up with my mom and my sister. Even though technology has made keeping in touch with my family so easy, FaceTime doesn’t replace the ease and magic of face-to-face conversation. Having them here this weekend made me realize how much I’ve missed the familiarity of family and friends, even as I am so grateful for all my new experiences.
This week was a much-needed reset. It was nice to take time and be a tourist in Prague. During the week, I get bogged down in class and internship responsibilities, and many of my weekends are spent in other places. This week, I got to slow down and delve deeper into the city. I also was grateful for the break from the busyness of travel and school and friends. Even though I want to take advantage of every minute while I am in Prague, I know that I cannot go-go-go. I need time to recharge. I need time with people I’ve known my whole life.
This week emphasized these facts. For me, it was an opportunity to reset before taking on the rest of my time abroad (I cannot believe I am already halfway through!). I am grateful that my mom and my sister visited me and that I spent a week in Prague, seeing all the sites.
Now, I am ready to take the second half of my semester head-on!
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