Monday, July 1, 2019

Officially a Decade

Saturday was the party but today is the day.  Officially ten years in the Czech Republic.  Who would have thought that I would have lasted ten years?

Some colleagues back in Atlanta thought that I was absolutely mad to pick up and move to a country that I'd never even visited before and where I couldn't speak the language.

Moving to Czechland is one of the best things that I've ever done.

The 10th most peaceful country, 7th least miserable economy, and with record-low unemployment...there are for sure worse places to be.  And right in the middle of Europe is perfect for travelling.  I for sure made a good choice.

The location is awesome; right in the middle of Europe.  It took me seven years but I'm the only person I know that's been to every country in Europe at least once.  All 50, plus several others.

I definitely can't leave out how great the healthcare is.  I never thought that I might end up in the hospital over here.  I made it through the tonsillectomy fine and it's now been 2,5 years since I finished my radiation treatment.  It was just good fortune that when I moved to my new flat that it just happened to be only 600 metres (0,4 mile) from one of the best oncology centres in Central Europe.  So on top of everything, Czechland saved my life.

It's not just Czechland.  I'm very happy that I ended up in Brno.  Prague is beautiful but after three days I'm happy to be back home in Brno.  I think that if I had lived in Prague then I would have ended up in the usual Expat trap and I would have missed out on getting to know Czech life.  I know that I would not speak as much Czech as I do had I been in Prague.

Brno is absolutely brilliant.  With so many students here there is a youthful energy and there's always something going on here.  Na Brno dobrý means "it's good for Brno."  It's a self-deprecating jab here because Czechs outside of Brno love to tease the city.

This is the best place though.  I used to tease that Brno was a nice village but people get passionate that it's a city and not a village.  True but Atlanta is 5,4 million people which is ½ of the population here.  Brno is big enough that everything I need is here.  There's fantastic public transportation and if I don't want to wait for a tram, trolley, or bus then you can walk from one side of the city to the other in maybe 1,5 hours.  The theatre scene here is amazing.  It's incredibly safe and it has a low-cost of living.

I was eligible to apply for permanent residency after five years here which was July 2014.  I wanted extra time to prep for the A1 language exam so I ended up losing five months.  I need five years as a permanent resident in order to apply for Czech citizenship so even though I've been here for 10 years, the earliest that I can apply is February 2020.  Provided that I pass the B1 language test.

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