Ben and I had just parted ways and I was feeling ready to begin this next step. Let’s call it “Trying to make an irrational idea seem rational.” Let’s call it “Living life on the edge…of a really poor decision and a really great one.” Let’s call it “Yesterday’s history and tomorrow’s such a mystery that I don’t even know what country I’ll be in, so might as well live in this present.” Let’s call it “Meeting the world”
Yes, let’s call it that and keep those other wacky (but true) ideas to ourselves. Operation Meet the World was set to begin just after Ben and I parted ways in Berlin. I have a general idea of where to go, who to see and what to look for. I don’t always know when or how I’ll execute these ideas, but a few friends and family were waiting at the beginning of this journey to help set me off in the right direction.
During my last night Berlin, I sent off an email: “I wanted to let you know – I’m heading to Prague this week (well… tomorrow through Thursday) – will you be around at all?? Let me know if you do get this and are available, I’d love to see you!” It’d been years since I’d seen or spoken with my uncle, but the next day I was greeted with a reply: “Are you still in Prague? Please say yes! I would love to see you… “
Through spotty internet service, sticky August air, and long uphill climbs, we arranged a time and place to meet and were able to spend a few days reconnecting with each other, touring the city, and finding familial ties stronger than ever.
Crossing through the center of Prague’s old town, we stopped at the Gallery of Art to observe the works of Salvador Dali and Alfons Mucha, and he shared with me the memories of my cousin’s visit a year before when the two of them visited the same place. The first night, we took the train to his home on the outskirts of town, high on top of a hill which offers complete serenity while allowing residents to travel to the city in under 20 minutes. His girlfriend and he took care of me like a daughter, sharing stories nearly unbelievable with worldly wisdom and questioning my next steps, saying that if I was their own daughter they would hope for the same type of intervention to come along. While it was a difficult argument to win, I tried my best to heed their warnings and simultaneously persuade them that I had thought things over. I also promised not to visit certain countries by myself and to keep them posted as time progresses. To know that someone on the other side of the world, a family member of atypical arrangements, continues to love and support me proved further how wonder this world is.
The next couple days, we got to visit cafes hidden in tiny plazas, walk Charles Bridge and eat fresh gelato from the courtyard of Prague Castle while looking out onto the city’s brick red rooftops. We took note of interesting sculptures which have recently been erected around the city and posed for selfies with juicy wursts- while pretending they were healthy meal choices. We watched shooting stars from his patio and caught each other up on all those past dreams turned realities which we had once wished for.
Prague was a beautiful city. Prague IS a beautiful city. But I really can’t imagine how the visit would have progressed had we not connected. His insight and brilliance opened my eyes and I appreciate how much he made me think about what I was getting myself into by not returning to a secure job and instead stepping into a huge world of unknown pursuits.
Thanks to my Uncle Larry for making me think once, twice, three times about my decision, for showing me so much love, and for making my visit to Prague a memorable one.