It’s been a while.
I’ve now been in Europe for two months which is insane to me. I have turned twenty-two, have visited two countries for the first time, and have reunited with friends that I have not seen in years!
I started graduate school a month ago, and I’m just starting to get the hang of things. I enjoy my program, I am happy with my professors, and Brno is quite nice.
The culture shock has been something else here. People don’t smile very much and are not open and friendly. I had different expectations, but it is what it is. All I can do is make the best of it. I’m in a European country where I have met incredible people. Of course, I expected to learn Czech while I was here, but I still have not made one single Czech friend. I only interact with Czech people when I’m in the store or dealing with the university administration.
When I first traveled around Central/Eastern Europe two years ago, my faith in humanity was completely restored. Many were willing to help with and show kindness. Here, well, let’s say my faith in humanity was sort of crumbling until I realized that I will be here for two years. I decided to move here and embark on this journey. I cannot focus on the negative. But, there’s something that bothers me: I am not here as a tourist, I’m not just passing by, I am living here and I want to connect with people that live here.
But, how can you connect with others in a cultural setting where it’s not common to interact with strangers? I will be honest, I’ve given up. I started Czech classes about two weeks ago and dropped out of the class. It’s defeatist, I know that. But, I decided to put my energy elsewhere. I now have extra time to explore the city with the friends that I already have and care about.
Now, on to the food…
As soon as I landed in Vienna, I was a hard-core vegetarian again. I have thrown out my dairy-free diet out the window and my body is dealing with the consequences. It’s been hard to be vegetarian and dairy-free. Here, food is seasonal, which is great, but at the same time, it’s difficult when you don’t want to spend all autumn and winter eating potatoes and rice. I also have not tried to explore the vegetable markets here. I’m still adjusting to my classes, my surroundings, and my diet is not my priority for now.
I know that this blog post doesn’t sound like I am having a magical time here. Well, no, it’s not magical, but it’s great. Emotionally, I feel amazing. Mentally, even better. I do not regret moving here at all. Opportunities just keep knocking on my door, and now more than ever, I am ready to embrace them all.