What was once foreign has now become a routine
My daily routine in Prague is very much like me: laid-back. It's not surprising that I sometimes feel like I am on a four-month long vacation. It's easy for me to feel this way when I don't have class on Mondays or Fridays. It's also easy to feel this way when I can afford to go out to eat every single day due to Prague's cheap prices. And It's most definitely easy to feel this way when I spend many of my four-day weekends traveling to other countries. Because I find that I have accustomed to this relaxed lifestyle, my standards for what I find “stressful” have significantly changed. For instance, I find myself complaining twice as much over assignments that require half the work than they would in New York. I also tell myself I don't have time to do things such as go to the gym, when I have twice as much time than before. I try to be as mindful as possible so that when I catch myself doing this, I stop it.
My living situation is actually very pleasant. I share a huge room with three other people and our suite is also nicer than many apartments in NYC. Our suite consists of two bathrooms, two rooms, and even our own little study lounge! In addition to that, the elevator in our building stops inside of the suite, which is extremely convenient (opening front doors is so over-rated). We also have a cleaning service that comes in 2-3 times a week, so I don't find myself worrying about cleaning as much. The only complaint I have about my building is the process one must go through to do laundry. The washing/drying machines are terrible. Those who are okay with having wet and dirty clothes after doing laundry (if you are thinking 'is that even possible?', the answer is yes) should have no problem with this process. Everyone else, however, might experience trauma and paranoia (I'd go into more detail but I honestly think it deserves a post of its own). And on that note, don't be surprised if those who successfully do their laundry reward themselves with a drink afterward.
“Having a drink” has become part of my routine along with going out to bars and clubs. I find that Wednesday nights has become a regular night to go out. It doesn't even phase me that I have a class at 9 am on Thursday. I still find that it gets a bit “boring” or “old” if I go out too often. So, while going out is nice, it is not the most prominent part of my routine abroad.
My favorite part of my daily routine, of course, is eating. Even if I'm not hungry—I will eat. While I try to go grocery shopping once a week, I usually opt for the easy way out and choose to eat out more often instead. Although eating in Prague is cheaper than it is in New York, I find myself spending just as much, if not more. In New York, an entrée and a drink is usually enough for me in a restaurant. But, in Prague, a soup, an entrée, a dessert, a wine, and something for the road? Don't mind if I do. While I have accustomed to the European approach of taking time to sit down and savor a meal, I always find the inner New Yorker in me taking a coffee to-go while I run to class every morning.
Sometimes, when I commute to class in the morning, I catch myself functioning on auto-pilot. When I find myself doing this, I tell myself, 'Vanessa, stop it! You're in a foreign country! You can't just let your mind wander! What if you get lost?'. But then, I realize: although I'm not consciously finding my way, I have become comfortable enough with my routine to know where I am going. And because direction is something I've had trouble with in the past, it's foreign to me that I am able to subconsciously know my way around Prague. Still, it's a relief to know that a month and a half into my stay in Prague, what sometimes feels like a vacation, sometimes feels like home.
(Also the photo above is mine. It's hard not to feel at ease with views like those!)