Where is Prague? Do you know anyone there? What language do they speak? Why Prague? Why Prague? Of all the questions I get asked in regards to my recent decision to flea the US of A, this is by far the most frequent. In fact, every time I tell someone about my plans I see the same stunned look, and then the same question emerges: Why Prague? Well, I’ll tell you – I don’t know.
I have never been to Prague. Actually I have never even wanted to go to Prague. It was never on the list of places I wanted to visit. London? Check. Paris? You bet. Rome? In deed! But Prague? Nope. In fact, I bet if I compiled a list of all of the times I have thought about Prague prior to deciding to move there, it would amount to about, (maybe) three times. And that is being generous. My Mom visited there a couple of years ago and well, I can’t really remember thinking about it other than that. I don’t even recall learning about it in school. I know something must have been said about it during the Regan era and communism and all of that but honestly, it went in one half-def ear and out the other. For me communism was aptly culminated in Sting’s classic song, “I Know the Russian’s Love their Children too.” I don’t remember hearing about the “Velvet Revolution” in high school, not once.
I think that might be why I’m moving there.
This is a clean slate. This is a pure pool of untainted water. I have the chance to view something, have an experience completely through my own eyes! This is amazing to me. I know nothing about it therefore I have no pre conceived notions or expectations. I will be alone – no friends, no boyfriend, not even the same language as a common thread – so I will be forced to form opinions on my own.
How much do we REALLY do that? We look to reviewers in order to find out what books or movies to read and see. We experience contagious laughter when watching TV – finding yourself laughing just because your friend did. We eat at restaurants that come “highly recommended” by friends or some guy named Zagat. Politics are no different. We think (whether Liberal or Conservative) what our peers think. We buy clothes based on trends forecasted by people we will never meet and we work at jobs that people told us to like because of the 401K plan or dental benefits. But…
what if all that stuff never mattered? What would you think was important? How would you dress? What would you eat?
Have we lost the ability to think for ourselves?
For me Prague is my way of asserting my SELF. Prague is my own undiscovered country and I am Magellan or maybe Ponce De Leon. I get the chance to discover not only Prague, but myself as well. This will be one hell of a journey! In my most fantastic thoughts, I see myself in Prague, sipping on Pilsner chatting with some friends from class. I am completely happy. And not just because in my fantasy I am super skinny because I don’t eat a lot over there due to the amount of fried meat… but because I am free.
It’s funny that I have to travel someplace I have never been to find freedom. I thought that’s why people came HERE.
As Janis Joplin said, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”.