An Anniversary and an up and coming Goodbye...

On January 13th, 2007 after just a little more than a year and a half of married life Bryan and I took what has (as of yet) been the biggest risk of our lives and moved to Prague. Just a few weeks ago we had our one year anniversary of moving to Prague…it passed by with little to no fan fare or attention from Bryan and I, but today I decided I wanted to mark the one year anniversary with some thoughts…

Things I love about Living in Prague:

-          I love being surrounded by so much history and culture – it’s not uncommon to be out walking in Prague and to discover around a corner a beautiful old church or historic building and I love that. There are museums and art galleries and formal balls and operas and ballets and theatre (the joys of living in a big city) all right at our finger tips and I love that as well.

-          I love that Prague is a big city with a lot of opportunity but I also love that there is need here – it’s not a finished, perfect city – it is still Eastern Europe - it’s still very much in the process of developing and in many ways it’s still coming out of communism and that mindset. There is a lot of need in Prague and a lot of opportunity to get involved in doing something to help people and change lives here.

-          I love the more subtle, less in-your-face, more subdued, quiet and introspective atmosphere of Europe as a whole and the Czech people in particular

-          I love the things that I’ve learned about my own culture that I would never have realized if I hadn’t left it – you really do learn a lot about your own culture when you view it in contrast to another culture. It’s sort of like getting married – you learn a lot about yourself when you see yourself in contrast to another person who lives in such close proximity to you.

-          I love the things I’ve learned about the Czech culture and people – things that I would never have really understood without living here.

-          I love the things I’ve learned about myself through this move. I think there are things I’ve learned about myself and ways in which I have grown this past year that I would not have experienced if we hadn’t moved here. And think the same is true of Bryan – I love the things that I’ve learned about him through this move.

-          I love the ways in which this move has stretched and strengthened my relationship with my husband – when you have nothing else to turn to and no one else to run to you are forced to turn to and run to each other and we have definitely experienced that this year and I’m grateful.

-          I love our place here – it still isn’t really decorated completely, and I’m still figuring out where to put things and how to make it really represent us but it feels like home. It is so much better than we had imagined and it really was a direct and miraculous gift from God and I continue to be in awe that we live here. I thank God often.

-          I love the church/group of believers we are involved with here – it is the first time in a long time were I really love the church I’m going to and feel passionate about the vision the church has. Hum, maybe that sounds bad or not right, but honestly I’ve really struggled a lot with the churches that I have been involved in during the last few years, their methodology as well as some of the theology. But, I haven’t left those churches or went looking for something that “fit me better” partly because I felt that was a selfish attitude and that the church isn’t meant to serve me, I’m meant to serve the church and partly because I was scared and partly because I felt it was important to go to church with my family and then latter with Bryan’s family as a bonding family time where we can worship together as not just a physical family but as a spiritual family as well. But, in moving here we had the ability to choose our own church and when we found out what the Springer’s vision was and learned more about what they are doing here (along with the help of many others) I felt like this church that they are starting is really exactly what I have been longing for and desiring from church for years. I love being here in Prague and being able to be a part of what God is doing in this community of people.

-          I love being part of an expat community – there is something really unique and wonderful about meeting other people who are in the same boat you are. They just moved here too, they are also just meeting people and making friends and settling in. They understand. Or maybe they have been here for a while but they remember when they just moved here and are anxious to help you and make the transition easier for you. They understand. It is a very transient community – people are constantly coming and going, but instead of closing themselves off to each other because of the transient nature of their relationship they engage even more with one another and welcome the new with open arms even as they say good bye to the old. It’s amazing how quickly you can become close to people in that sort of situation – you are all sort of in transition, you are all from somewhere else, you understand each other and you quickly connect with each other. I love that.

-          I love the specific people we have met here in Prague - they make Prague feel like home. They make me a better person. I thank God for each of them every day.

I really am so glad that we made this move. I am so glad that we took the risk to move to Prague, Czech Republic. There are still days that are difficult, days when I feel overwhelmed by the language, days when I feel like a fish out of water here and feel foreign and lost, and there are still days when I miss home and the familiarity of my friends and family there, but I am so glad that we made this move. I am so glad that we live in Prague. I don’t know how long we will stay, and that’s scary to me at times, but I really do love it here.

That being said… We are leaving for 3 months. We officially got tickets and will be flying back to the states on February 28th and flying back to Prague on May 30th. We will be spending time in New York City, Orlando, Arizona, Seattle, and southern California. For those of you in Prague we are going to miss you a lot… For those of you we know in the states we look forward to seeing you and reconnecting with you.

Rejoicing in the journey – Beth Stedman