“I can tell you two different stories about why I moved to Prague – the boring one and the real one, even though the latter would not seem so real to many. I could say that I moved to find a better life, or a better job, or a better country… it is all true in a way but there are things way more subtle, things which may seem unimportant at the first sight but which, at the end of the day, really matter.
In Gustav Meyrink’s book ‘The Angel of the West Window’, a woman sees a city in her dreams, a magic city with high towers and beautiful bridges, a city which she immediately feels she belongs to. How surprised she is when, some years later, she is travelling to Prague and realizes – it IS the place she has seen in her dreams! Believe it or not – that exactly is what happened to me, long before I discovered this book. I first came to Prague as a tourist in 2008 and my heart immediately recognized the place I had been dreaming about for a long time. On the train back home my heart was tearing apart, being separated from its newly found love – Prague. I came back again and again, and finally, in 2011, I packed all my stuff in one suitcase and booked a one-way flight ticket. It has been 2,5 years now that we are together. I found out that Prague has a heavy personality and is moody a lot. I still cannot figure it out. This city is like a beautiful sophisticated woman you cannot ever get bored with. These walls and stones were here centuries before I was born, they will be here centuries after I am gone. Our lives are not more significant than that of a firefly – and I am thankful that mine got to shine, even for a little while, on these beautiful streets.”
Evgenia, born in Russia, resident in Prague since 2011, freelance software tester.
“Sometimes new acquaintances, upon finding out about my “mixed-European” origin, wonder: ‘What even brought you to Prague?’ All I can say is ‘An accident’. My entire life path until arriving here had been quite spontaneous, full of coincidences and adventure, so the decision of moving to Prague came almost ‘out of the blue’, no kidding! By then I had spent my childhood and adolescence in four different countries, so the idea of trying out another one was nothing intimidating, but rather already natural. As a fresh high school graduate, living separately from the family, I luckily had the freedom to decide where to start my university studies and a career, and this country in the middle of Europe, which was therefore equally close to any trip destination in Europe, gifted with a stunningly rich cultural and historic heritage, with an interesting language and peaceful, friendly people, eventually got to the top of my wish list. I want to emphasize that this choice was one of the best decisions of my entire life. At the moment I feel at home – more than anywhere else before or after moving to Prague. My professional and personal lives are strongly bound to this place, and the beauty of Prague is something that can impress me eternally, each time like the first time: It is the sensation of having freshly fallen in love, which never passes.”
Ari, born in Russia and raised in Finland, resident in Prague since 2007. Founder, CEO, translator, interpreter and copywriter at OWL languages. Technical support specialist for an antivirus IT company.
Both photos by Alef Prazsky at the Tribo Fuego fire show, Petrin Hill, Prague
These stories are part of vessel no. 52/100M’s journey to the Embassy of Sweden in Prague Czech Republic 2012/2013. Many thanks to Rolf Ericsson.