I’ve been trying to decide what I want to do next. That’s the present perfect continuous — an ongoing activity that started in the past and continues into the present time and perhaps beyond.
When did this activity start? The idea of not knowing what to do next? I’d guess shortly after the time I was born. Is it still going on in the present moment? Yes. Will it be ongoing in the future? Only time will tell, but yes.
Last Friday, I finished my Teaching English as a Foreign Language course with the Language House Prague. I now have a TEFL certificate and could start applying for teaching jobs. But I’m not sure if I want to stay in Prague.
My plan has always been to travel for awhile after the course and see where I might want to live. Now I’m not sure again.
When I initially signed up for the course, I hoped that I would make some meaningful connections but I honestly went in keeping my expectations low. After four weeks, however, I look back and can’t believe how many amazing people I’ve met and how many great friends I’ve made.
I always felt as though I missed out on something by not moving away to university and living in dorms when I was 18. Like a piece of my adult development was missing. I think I made up for it in just a single month at Kubelikova 32. My three roommates and the five girls who lived two floors down from us made it a truly wonderful experience. Despite being so far away from home and often under enormous stress, I never felt alone.
Someone from Kubelikova was always there to talk to, I could rely on all of them for help at any time, and there was just always so much laughter.
Now, some of them are staying in Prague and some are leaving. I’m not sure which side I want to be on. A secret dream of mine when heading to Europe was to try to find a way to get involved with a hockey team as a photographer or potentially an English communicator or writer. I don’t think that sort of opportunity would be easy to find in Prague. There are too many people and the teams are massive businesses.
But Prague now has a strong base of connections for me, a network of Language House alumni and I do truly love the city. I also had a lot of fun with different parts of teaching. Making lesson plans was gruelling at times but also provided me with great joy when I came up with a great introduction or activity. I wasn’t always fond of being observed and critiqued, but interacting with Czech students and feeling like you really made a connection or taught them something was an experience like no other.
I have the training to be an English teacher and I feel like I should at least try it for awhile to see what it’s like in the real world. And where better to do it then Prague?
The visa process will be a pain, but the rent is way cheaper than Vancouver. I’ll miss my family and friends back home, but I’ll surely make a lot of new and exciting friendships. I don’t know if I want to be an English teacher, but I don’t know a lot about what I want to do, so why not give it a shot for the moment?
As I wrestle with the decision of whether to return to Prague or move on, I can’t help but think about some of the low points of my past month. Like on the Thursday after teaching my last group lesson, when I felt the need to release some energy and go running without a plan and (more importantly without a phone).
Trusting myself to somehow figure out a perfect circular route back to my apartment building in an unfamiliar city with old winding roads — after sprinting a few kilometres in a direction I had never explored — turned out about as well as you would imagine. Completely lost in a part of town that I had never seen before, I felt terrified.
Throughout my entire trip, I had relied upon the Zizkov TV Tower (or “the baby tower”) to get me back to our residence. Standing right outside of my window, it served as a northern light, but on this particular run, I had somehow travelled far enough downhill that it disappeared.
Speed wandering the backstreets of Prague, I almost gave up hope before I caught its red and blue lights in the horizon. At that moment I felt back on top. But the excitement wasn’t about being saved from the cold or getting back to my stuff or my precious phone with GPS. I was happy because at that moment I knew I had a home nearby.
I moved out of Kubelikova last week and the baby tower no longer signals where I necessarily need to return. But if I’m ever lost and need some direction, wherever I might be, I’ll just imagine it and know that I do have another home out there, however scattered across the world it might be.
Right now, I’m in Berlin with some friends from the course. Then I might head west over to the Netherlands and France. Maybe then I’ll go back to Prague. I’m getting okay with being lost. I’ve been finding my way for a long time.