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The Metamorphosis: Reflections on A Semester Abroad

December 18, 2015

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

- Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Dear Prague,

It's been a good run. We've had more fun times together than I could ever hope to count. You've been a bright spot in my life for the past few months, and I know that I will never forget our time together. But I think it's time we had a talk.

I think it's time for us to go our separate ways.

I know what you're thinking --there has to be a way to make this work, right? Trust me, I've thought that one through. You know that if there was some way for me to stay here with you, I would. This isn't an easy thing for me to do. It's not going to be fun. But none of that will take away the memories we shared. I'll always look back at you fondly. My phone is full of pictures of us together. I promise I won't forget about you.

 Some of my favorite memories of you were
watching the Praha Spartans win at home!

I remember the first day we met. I was on top of the world. You're still as beautiful as that first day--in fact, the more I looked, the better you got. I got to know you: Old Town Square, The Metronom, Petrin Hill, the Charles Bridge, Vyšehrad. I loved the things that made you unique like the Lennon Wall and even the weird baby statues. It was easy to fall in love. I found out all about your history. It was exhilarating, to say the least.
 A beautiful sunrise over the skies of
Munich outside the Löwenbräu tent.

You introduced me to all your friends. Split took me adventuring on the cliffs of the Adriatic Sea. Interlaken got my adrenaline pumping on a ropes course and followed it up with some of the best hiking views I've ever seen. Paris welcomed me as an old friend, Amsterdam and Munich shared their beers with me, and Krakow opened my eyes. I got to meet your family too - Jičín and Český Krumlov are pretty awesome. But every time I left, I couldn't help but miss you. You always welcomed me back with open arms.

You helped me through some rough times, too. Yes, we were afraid, but you kept me safe. We never let the fear control us, despite how hard others tried to spread their hate. We got through it together. After the dust settled, I saw your compassion for the victims, and it inspired me. I want to thank you for that.

It isn't you. It's me.

 The gorgeous view from atop
Harder Kulm in Interlaken, Switzerland.

I'm just not the same person I was when I met you. I've changed. You opened me up to so many new perspectives. I've experienced new languages, tried new food, and picked up how to work a metro system. These are things that will stick with me forever. It's overwhelmingly positive; I feel like an entirely new person now, and I have nobody to thank for it more than you. But it's just time for me to move on. I wish I could stay. I really do. If I could, I would just throw away all my responsibilities and stay here with you. But I'll be graduating soon, and then I'll need a job. I have a lot of exciting opportunities ahead of me, and you've helped me realize my potential and even improve my chances of getting there. When I left home, I told everyone that I was off in search of new experiences. You helped me achieve my goals.
 I'll miss my home station of Andel when I leave Prague.

So, this is it. I'll be honest, it's going to take some time for me to get over you. I don't know if I ever will. You'll always have a special place in my heart. Who knows, maybe I'll find my way back to you someday. We'll compare how we've grown, how we've changed. I would worry about you, but everything I've seen tells me that you're going to do just fine. I have high hopes for your future and a newfound respect for your past. Na zdraví, Prague. You'll always be my fairy tale city.



Andrew Guastaferro is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic. He is currently a senior at Chapman University.

Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.
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