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My Long and Winding Road

April 4, 2010

Today was a lovely, lazy, rainy Sunday. I stayed in bed a little too long, barely got out of my pajamas and organized some paperwork so I could file away my 2009 tax return papers. I came across some random tidbits that got my mind flashing back and thinking about how I got here.

If the day ever comes that I write a book from my story, I already have the title in mind. Or at the very least, a chapter title. For now, I'll keep it as my little secret.

My story's been a little interesting, but it became a little bit more when I left my career fast track in Miami to completely change everything. Because I knew, deep down, that there had to be so much more to life than what I was living.

And now for something completely different. That's what I was seeking and that's exactly what I got when I left Miami in January 2004 for Prague for a one-month TEFL-certification course and then to teach English and business skills to Czech executives. I could not have grasped just how the experience was going to change the course of my life.

Fortunately, I journaled quite a bit while living abroad, sending the not-so-private musings to my friends and family as email updates. These writings will forever serve as reminders of the best decision I ever made in my life.

I did my best to capture the silliness, the sense of adventure and the freedom I felt while living and working in the fairytale city. And, of course, there were the language faux pas.

PragueI went to Prague with my close friend who was looking to escape in the same way and from some of the same things I was. That made the decision to go and the actual going so, SO much better…especially in the hours of weakness, worry and offers of MORE MONEY TO STAY.

And then, of course, there was the language.

We arrived a week before our course was to start so we could explore and get the lay off of the land. Our first day, we set out to explore. We crossed a small  bridge (a 'most,' in Czech) from our hotel in search of a place to change money.  I had prepared back in the hotel by writing out exactly how to make my request. 

We picked a bank. I marched right in with my little note card and asked the teller, in VERY rough Czech , do you speak English? He smiled and replied, 'ano.' (Note: Ano means yes. It's a tough one, right? Sounds very similar to NO.) So NO is what I was sure he said as I jumped back to my card to try to get out the practiced request in Czech. It wasn't pretty. I was so focused, I didn't look up again until I was finished. It was then I realized that he, and my friend standing behind me, were laughing. At me. Because he did speak English. Ano means yes.

That story is still good for a laugh. And yeah, I got my money.

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