At home in Prague, for now
"You're in Prague, not home. But home for now!" It was a line in an email I received a few days ago, from someone I met while on vacation recently. He wrote to say that he hoped I'd had a good trip home—or to Prague, that is.
I admit, with the weeks of 30+ Celsius temperatures in Prague since June, the endless political maneuvering that has still not produced a new Czech government eight weeks after the elections, and the anticipation of seeing dear friends get married in Scotland, I was very ready for a vacation! And it was great. A reunion with Canadian friends, meeting new people, and somehow that charming Scottish town reminded me of the place I grew up—the west coast of Canada, which will forever be home.
So where does Prague fit in? To the people I know in other places I've lived, it's the place I live now, but it's not my home. I may reside here, and work here, speak the language fluently and enjoy the city, but it can't really be home. They're basically right, but there's also great advantage in being a little different, in always staying a bit of an outsider. A Canadian friend who lives not far from Prague shares my sentiments—he always says that this is a place where you can make a difference, leave a real mark. So long as one has a purpose, any place can be home.
So for all the things the Canadian in me would change, I have to say that I'm happy to call Prague home—for now. The remains of Soviet-style corners remind me of the resilience of the locals, of how much this country has changed since 1987, when I first saw its then-grey insides. That seaside Scottish town provided a grand retreat, but it's good to be back, good to be home—for now.