First the facts. I am in a wildly foreign country to my own. The language is different, the buildings are different, the school system is different, the way people sneeze seems different. It’s pretty crazy to consider all at once.
Now since I arrived here in Sokolov in late August I have had the opportunity to travel to three other countries (the joys of being in Europe, right?). They are, in order: Hungary (4 days), Germany (1 day), and England (12 days). Each time it was really neat being able to visit and see different buildings and people. But it was also a bit shocking and disconcerting. In Germany and Hungary I didn’t know a word of the language. I didn’t even know the proper way to say “hello.” In England I knew the language (which was great) but the culture is still very different than America. I felt often in each place like I stuck out. In short, I didn’t feel at home.
The funny thing is each time I traveled abroad I kept having this feeling like “I want to go back to Czech, where I know stuff.” I have been completely immersed in this culture for over four months. I hear the language whenever I leave my flat. I go to the restaurants in town, I shop in the supermarkets. I walk 3+ miles around town on a daily basis. From time to time I see people I know on the street and say hello. While there is still so much I don’t know, much has become familiar. It is weird to say but in a very real sense this place has become my home and it is the place that, more so than any other place on this continent, I feel comfortable. Life isn’t easy but at least the country I live in is growing on me.