As of the first week of December, we have officially been living in Prague for six months. Which means we’re at the halfway point of our year abroad! It’s crazy to think that six months have already flown by and we’re now in the last half of our time in Prague.
In case you need a little refresher, here’s how our expat year came about and what we’ve been up to so far (get ready for all of the hyperlinks!):
- 2017: Start talking about the possibility of maybe someday moving abroad for some period of time…maybe
- 2018: Decide we want to move abroad and start telling people about our plans. Figure moving to the UK is the best option.
- February 2019: Realize the UK is not going to work for us, and that we want to bring Ellie instead of leaving her with family back in Canada. Begin brainstorming new options for where to live.
- March 2019: Decide on Prague! And send off our Youth Mobility Visa applications.
- April 2019: Sign a lease on our Prague apartment (that we only saw over video chat), visit family in Toronto, and get our Surrey apartment rented out.
- May 2019: Live at my mom’s apartment in the West End while wrapping things up and saying goodbye to everyone in Vancouver. Also figure out how to bring Ellie to Europe.
- June 2019: Arrive in Europe! Touch down in Paris, train to Munich and train again to Prague. Settle into our new city. Also visit Dresden and Kutna Hora. Phew!
- July 2019: Celebrate my birthday in Vienna. Do dog training, buy a vacuum and go bowling back in Prague.
- August 2019: Solo trip to Stockholm. Museum hopping and beer gardens in Prague.
- September 2019: Moms trip! Visit Copenhagen, Sweden, Prague, Salzburg, Venice, Tuscany and Cinque Terre with our moms.
- October 2019: Visit Nuremberg and cross Oktoberfest off the bucket list! Castle hop in Bratislava, enjoy views in Budapest, and watch a hockey game back in Prague.
- November 2019: Weekend in Cesky Krumlov. Pose for family photos in Prague. Eat everything and explore ruins in Naples and Rome.
- December 2019: Celebrate six months of living in Prague!
So in honour of reaching the mid-point in our expat adventure, I thought it would be a good time to do a little reflecting on life in Prague thus far. And since Colin is in on this adventure with me, I
forced asked him to join in too!
Shout out to Petite Adventures for inspiring some of these questions!
What made you want to move abroad?
Colin: It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do but haven’t had a good opportunity to. I was excited for new experiences, making a change from our life in Canada and being able to travel around Europe.
Riana: Back when I studied abroad in Amsterdam, I knew I wanted to live abroad again. But once I got back to Vancouver, met Colin, adopted a dog and bought a house, I didn’t think it would be possible. I’m so glad we found an opportunity to make it happen.
How did you decide on Prague?
I actually shared all about how we landed on Prague in this blog post!
Happy with that decision?
R: Absolutely! Prague has been a really good fit for us. Despite moving here having never visited before, it really worked out.
What is the best part of living in Prague?
C: Easy access to travel in Europe.
R: It’s awesome being so central in Europe for travel. I also love how beautiful this city is with its parks and old buildings, while also being really affordable.
What is the worst part of living in Prague?
C: Not having friends and family around.
R: Not having good and cheap sushi around 😉
What would you change about living in Prague?
C: I wish I was able to work here. I know, it sounds strange to say it, but I miss working. While I am working online here, I definitely miss some aspects of my career as an x-ray tech back in Vancouver.
R: I would love to have enough time to dedicate to travelling, getting my client work done, writing blog posts, discovering Prague, meeting new people and keeping on top of our home life. It often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day and something is always slipping.
Best food in Prague?
C: Vietnamese food.
What do you wish you’d known before moving to Prague?
C: I don’t think I was blindsided by too much here. I guess I wish I had known about some of the difficulties of being an international landlord.
R: I wish we had done a bit more planning for what we wanted our lives to look like. I did a ton of research on things in Prague like which bank to open an account with and how to find housing. But I think it would have been good for us to sit down and talk more about how our work, or lack thereof, would affect our lives and how we want to spend this year living in Prague.
What do you miss most from home (besides friends and family)?
C: The ability to converse comfortably with anyone you need to. There are a lot of times where I feel like I’m struggling to communicate or unable to answer people because I only speak English. When I’m looking for something at the grocery store, I can’t just go up to someone and ask.
R: The food! Luckily we’ve found some great Vietnamese options in Prague but I miss a lot of my Asian food from back in Vancouver. I also miss living on the coast and having the sea and mountains outside my window.
What are some of your favourite memories from the first half of your year living in Prague?
C: The first time we wandered around Prague and discovered our neighbourhood; any time we’ve gone to our local park, Riegrovy Sady, for sunset; our 3 weeks in Europe with our moms in September was really special.
R: When our train came over the bridge into Prague for the first time and we got these giddy smiles on our faces; my solo trip to Stockholm; the gorgeous Tuscan villa we stayed at with our moms; crossing Oktoberfest off the bucket list; and eating great food in Italy.
Anything you wish you had done differently in the last six months?
C: I don’t think so! Nothing sticks out as a regret in my mind.
R: I wish we had made a better effort to meet people. It’s not too late, so I’m hoping it’s something we can work on in the next six months. But I wish we had tried harder to get outside of our comfort zones to make more friends.
What are you most looking forward to in the next six months?
C: Watching Canada play Germany in the World Juniors at the end of this month; Riana’s family coming out to visit us in the new year; spring and warm weather again!
R: Super excited for Christmas Markets; looking forward to Jade and Lee visiting in January; excited to celebrate Colin’s birthday in March somewhere cool; and hopefully make it to country #45!
What advice would you give to someone considering an expat year abroad?
C: Try to limit as many responsibilities back home as possible; things get difficult to manage, especially with a huge time difference. Try to learn some of the local language. Live in a busy part of the city so you can integrate and learn more about the culture.
R: Do your research! I found it hugely helpful to join expat groups on Facebook to figure out some of the basics like housing, banking, internet, etc. But overall, my advice would be to just do it. We certainly aren’t taking the traditional expat or gap year route but we found a way to make it happen – you can too!
Any other reflections on living in Prague for six months?
C: I’m surprised it’s already the halfway point! It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. I’m really looking forward to the next six months but I’m also looking forward to going back home to Vancouver.
R: I’m both shocked that it’s already been six months and, at the same time, that it’s only been six months. Now that we’re past the half-way point, it feels like the countdown is on. We only have so much time to fit in everything we want to see and do in Prague.
To Colin: Thanks, babe, for putting up with my interview questions and, more importantly, for saying yes to this crazy adventure with me. It’s been a pretty epic last six months living in Prague and I can’t wait for more!
And thanks to you for following along on our adventure! Here’s to six more awesome months of living in Prague!