We have arrived. In Prague.
In a land of immigrants, one was not an alien but simply the latest arrival. – Rudolf Arnheim
We actually we arrived in Prague 4 days ago, but my body & soul can only process it as one extremely long day or perhaps I should say “month”. Since my last post of 4 weeks ago, we packed out our home in Tampa which included a shipment of furniture back to Baltimore, an airfreight shipment to Prague and a household effects (sea shipment) to Prague, drove up the East Coast with Diplo-Dog, sent 2 additional shipments to Prague from Baltimore, said our goodbyes to most of our family and friends and then collapsed on our plane this past Sunday afternoon for 15 hours of travel. To clarify — I collapsed, but did not sleep despite my attempts at drugging myself.
Lexi did not get out of traveling by crate even though she appeared relaxed and ready as we checked in. She must have still been under the assumption that she was traveling 1st class as any international diplomatic dog should. Nevertheless, she survived as I expected she would, but not before I had a hormonal meltdown at the airport and she upon arrival. Peri-menopause and moving to another country are not good bedfellows. At least that is my excuse.
She looked terrified when we met her at the oversized baggage counter and had apparently “held it in” for the duration of her ordeal. Most of the lack of sleep that I have endured these last few days have been due to Lexi’s jet lag and pacing at all hours of the night.
Our days since arrival have been hectic & filled with unpacking, buying a Nespresso machine (ahhhh), drinking espresso, getting to know our Czech housekeeper Eva, drinking espresso, shopping for essentials, drinking espresso, checking in with the Embassy, and drinking much more espresso. My doctor recently told me that I had to give up caffeine. I suppose the 8 shots of espresso I had yesterday would not be following orders.
To be fair, my day was non-stop. Steve & I departed our temporary apartment at 8:30 AM (2:30 AM body-clock time) after another sleepless night and headed to the US Embassy which was a brisk 1/2 mile walk down hill on all cobblestone streets. Brisk as in 32 degrees and my coats are still clearing customs! Checking in with the Embassy consisted of non-stop meetings till 4 PM that included photo taking, form filling, ID issuing, phone plan negotiations and security briefings. Then there was a welcome reception from 4PM-6PM for us, as well as the rest of the Embassy newcomers. After introductions and making small talk with about 50 people, I snuck in one more latte before heading over to the Ambassador’s house for a dinner party. The day was a blur to say the least. What I do recall was about 5 names and the fact that everyone was extremely nice & welcoming. Not bad.
Fortunately for all involved – we finally slept last night. So today, feeling a bit energized, Lexi & I walked Steve to the Embassy (Lexi on the leash) for Steve’s 1st official day on the job as DCM (Deputy Chief of Mission) of US Embassy Prague and will be in the role of Charge d’Affaires (acting Ambassador) for the next 5 days while the Ambassador is traveling. I know that he will do a great job, but I also realize that I need to get busy keeping myself busy.
I didn’t waste any time. Lexi and I ventured out at lunchtime for a 2 mile stroll down and around the Charles Bridge area. We pushed through hoards of tourists, which ironically I do not see myself as despite just arriving, and found our way to a lovely outdoor cafe with a spectacular bridge view called Hergetova Cihelna.
My meal was just as yummy as the view. Having passed by one too many restaurants with bacon dumplings, pork knuckles and bread with lard, I settled upon a terrine of tuna tartare with caviar, breadsticks with olive oil & sea salt and a glass of sauvignon blanc. Not too shabby. Lexi was fascinated by the sites and smells, and really enjoyed our outing together. I know this can only be a great start to a great adventure, and while things are a bit “alien” to me, I am going to try not be be one!!