As some of you may have been aware of this, I made plans to couch surf with a Slovakian hippie, J, an hour outside of Prague, Czech Republic. From his couchsurfing profile, he made it very clear that his cottage is 'very simple' because there is NO central heating, very small, VERY cold, and if hot water is desired - - one must fetch pails of water and boil. I thought to myself, 'Wow, this could be a very interesting experience - - the simple life will be very eye-opening and as a result, make me very grateful for the comforts I have had most of my life.'
'Be comfortable with being uncomfortable' - a saying or mantra that helps me get the most out of life and I realized I was about to take this saying to a whole different level...
Back to the story. From my couchsurfing host, he told me once I arrive at the train station, I will need to walk with 'Prague behind me' (?) for about 1 mile until I see 'rocks in between the tracks'. By the way, I tried the best I could to google map this mystery residential area and wrote down a rough address. And I'm glad I did!
Once off the train, I did the best I could to walk with 'Prague behind me' while rolling my luggage with snow and rocks on the ground. Now keep in mind, I got off the train at approximately 4:30pm and the sun was already setting behind the mountains. If you know me pretty well...
The dark still kind..of..freaks me out :/
AND to be in the dark, in the middle of the woods -- in the harsh winters of Czech Republic was enough to encourage a nice Panic Attack. But, alas, I decided to strap my hefty 40 lb luggage onto my back and do the best I can to find this damn cottage. Ugh, but I was already so tired and have walked for so long already...Some of the thoughts running through my head were:
'How the FUCK did I end up lost the middle of the snowy woods...where is he?!?'
'I guess I am not as strong as I thought I was...Eff this shit, I'm going back to comfortable living i.e. hostel!'
'What did I get myself into? I want to go home and feel weak right now...'
However, I remember the saying 'Get comfortable with being uncomfortable' and decided to turn around - walk back to the train station and figure out SOMETHING! Half way back, I ended up planting myself right outside of a nearby village that had some civilization - and cried it out. Luckily, a nice man approached me and asked me (in English - yay!), if I needed any help. I said I was looking for my friend's cottage but don't have a phone to call him. We called my couch-host and figured out that, yes I was headed in the wrong direction and just needed to walk another mile the other way. Ugh, another mile? I'm sooo close...I MUST overcome this obstacle! And so - I continued onwards..
Approximately 10 minutes into my walk back (in the right direction) - - the same 'gentleman' approached me, yet again and asked, "May I ask you for a favor?" To this, I replied, 'Of course' - - but had a very bad feeling about this. "Do you like giving blowjobs?"
W.T.F. - - Let me ask those who are reading this very blog, how would you have reacted to this offensive question??
What did I say?
'I am gay. I am, like, SO gay, man. I'm sorry. But good luck!" To my surprise, he replies "Oh...I like you...okay...bye!!"
I continued on my trail to my couch host while periodically looking over my shoulder to be ready for war. Luckily, he really did continue on his way back to his home as I continued to look for my temporary home. I was so scared and had some 'near-death'-like thoughts/memories flashes occur!! Don't worry, this story ends well with my couch host, J, whistled and FINALLY found him at the meeting point. I told him I listened to his directions by walking with 'Prague behind me' but what he actually meant was:
'No, no, no...walk BACK to Prague...my apologies, my English is a little bad..."
Oy...the challenges that come with language barriers, offensive remarks from strangers, and overall, how challenging it was to PRESERVERE (sp?) under interesting obstacles.
So let me just say this - - Anything is possible. Handle it with a calm demeanor - - and continue to stay positive. In the end, it really does come a LONG WAY! In my situation, I am so proud to say I made it to my friend's cottage because it ended up being an AMAZING experience and taught me to be super grateful for the simple things in life. Imagine waking up in a room and seeing your breath rise above your head from the bitter cold...and the only way to heat up was to wear ALL your clothes from your luggage while throwing wood into an old fire stove.
I hope you all enjoyed hearing about my adventure! Stay tuned because right now, I am currently in Krakow, Poland and will be headed to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam on Tuesday the 7th. And, as promised, here are some pictures from the cottage in Czech-Republic:
Love and miss everyone out there! You know who you are! :)