After being abroad for so long, I tend to lose track of just how long it has really been. Luckily for me, Facebook is all over that. In mid-December, I started to get a bunch of notifications that reminded me of my 7-year friendship with assorted people in my TEFL course. In addition to the solid giggles I got at some of the pictures, it reminded me of just how exhilarating and chaotic those first few weeks were. To pack a suitcase with really no idea of just how long you are really packing for is a pretty wild sensation to say the least, and sometimes I’m still not sure exactly how I did that. But I did, and (mostly) luckily, there is photographic evidence.
To celebrate the occasion, here are a few of my favorite moments through the years. Hopefully these are all never-before-seen (at least, on this blog), so I hope you enjoy!
2009 was the year all this nonsense kicked off, so it gets two pictures. The first was on the first full day in Prague, when I met the first few people from my TEFL course and we set off to explore the snowy city. It is still one of my favorite days ever.
That year I also had the summer of brothers, where I learned what it would’ve been like to have an older/younger brother. Sorry, Holly, but it was pretty fun. They even accompanied me on a madcap trip to Berlin to pick up my first Czech residence permit when it finally came in. Not that Berlin is a hard sell, but it was in stark contrast to my first solo, anxiety-ridden trip to the city when I had applied for the permit.
2010 was a busy year, and I was fortunate enough to visit a lot of great places. But looking back now, this picture captured a major highlight. In Prague, there is never a shortage of things to do, and occasionally on quiet weekends here I do miss that. This particular evening we gathered to celebrate a small concert and party given for and by our friend Kyle. This was thenceforth known as the “prom picture.” Easy to see why.
The people in these first pictures are now scattered from the States, to Australia, to China, and of course here in Europe. Hopefully one day we may find ourselves in the same places again for a minute or two.
2011 brought a move, but before that, it brought my family. The biggest highlight of the year had to be showing them around the place I had been living, and then giving them a taste of where I was going next on our Czech-German-Austrian circle tour. I think the beer gardens with a view may have helped them to finally get this whole ‘thing’ that I was doing.
2012 was possibly my best year so far where travel is concerned. I went all over Germany, I was in the States, London, Hungary, Greece, Austria, and ended the year in Italy. Not bad, right? Plus, BV and I got together, which has clearly worked out pretty well for both of us. But sorry honey, one of my favorite parts of the year had to be when I finally, finally got Courtney to come over here. Yeah, I had to get her on House Hunters International to do it, but those few days were a total trip. We had a ridiculous amount of fun, and didn’t look too absurd on television, so wins all around!
2013 was another busy year with visitors here, and I got to introduce BV to the glory of real burgers in the States. All of those things were great, but one of my favorite things we did that year was our last minute trip to Brussels. It may seem small compared to other trips, but that was exactly why I wanted to move to Europe in the first place. To decide to go to Brussels for a concert on a whim. And it was fantastic.
In 2014 more friends visited! My parents visited! My sister visited!* We got a cat! We went more places, we did more things. A highlight of the year for me had to be Salzburg though. We had the perfect mix of city visit, beer tastings, and mountain hiking for me. No matter how many times I visit, Salzburg is and always will be one of my favorite cities. It just does it for me.
That brings us to 2015. I just did a recap of the year so regular readers know how sweet it was. My picture for last year is from an indescribably beautiful place. I had zero expectations of South Tyrol before we went, and as I said before… Just go.
What? You thought we were going to get through a whole post about the last seven years and you weren’t going to see a mountain picture? Hahahaha. Yeah right. Plus: with this post I have neatly met my yearly quota for pictures of myself. And it’s only January 8th. Good job, self.
I don’t really have anything particularly profound to say on my anniversary this year, possibly because I haven’t had any wine yet.** But on my fifth Euro-versary I wrote a list of things I had learned in the previous five years, and on reading it again, it’s all still true. Especially point one. So I guess that’s just the best advice I can give to anyone contemplating a giant, slightly insane leap of faith. Throw some shit in a bag, and just go. It’ll all sort itself out in the end. And seriously, don’t forget your umbrella.
*Not trying to sound jaded here. I know how incredibly lucky I have been to have had so many people able and willing to travel here to visit. Whether they came specifically to see me, or I just got thrown into the mix as part of a larger trip, I’m profoundly grateful for each and every one of them. Not every person who moves half a world away is as fortunate as I am in this regard. Keep on coming, bitte.
**We’re mostly dry this month, so still trying to decide how to celebrate properly sans a nice bottle. If you have any ideas, please let me know.