As the evening falls, I  scurry out to the road beyond Charles Bridge. I feel all the bumps and cracks of the cobblestone through the thin sneakers on my feet.  Every step reminds me to really observe what is going on before me.  The sun is shining perfectly between the tall and detailed buildings, and festive clarinet music fills the air.  Standing at the top of the stairs next to the place that makes a sugary bread dessert outside, I take a deep breath of the sweet smell, as I usually do.

Nicolle Bridge 1

Very rarely does one find a view this spectacular when making their way home from the store. In Prague, it is the usual. (Photo by Nicolle Kovacs)

And it sounds quite odd that I am saying things along the lines of “I usually do” and “Normally I go to.…”

Despite only being here about 12 days at this point, I find myself saying those types of phrases. Twelve days can, and has, held more than I could have ever guessed.  Every time I walk on the cobblestone, I am reminded of the great differences between here and home.

I will be honest, multiple times a day my brain is working to figure out how many days and even hours until I step foot in the Cleveland-Hopkins airport. I long for simple things like driving a car and watching television in English.  Simple communication becomes extremely difficult when an ocean stands between two people, and that has been quite an experience on this trip.

I do not see the longing for these things as a bad thing. I appreciate these things more than I ever have.

But, even with the longing for home, I am already missing Prague.  Every morning feels like walking into a Disney movie. This place is stunning.  The small details from the pattern in the cobblestone to the tops of the buildings leave me in awe.  Musicians are everywhere in this city, like a living soundtrack for that walk to class or run to the market. Wooden witches hang from the store ceilings.  At this point, if birds started coming to me in the morning to dress me, I would not be surprised.

Nicolle flower 1

Simple reminders of home, like similar plants such as the sunflower or a common food, can keep the homesickness at bay. (Photo by Nicolle Kovacs)

Having mixed emotions barely begins to cover what is happening. The simple beautiful life here competes with the comforting and convenient life at home.

I’ve been warned about this but underestimated its amplitude.  My world has gotten a whole lot bigger in the past 12 days. Soon the cobblestone beneath my feet will become airport tile, followed by the asphalt of my driveway. My adventures in Prague will soon become stories and photos.

I hope that I never lose what the cobblestone has given me. Take a second to observe the world around you because Sunday night at the airport, I know I will be.

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