Pálení čarodějnic!

I have been frequenting Gloria Jeans (a little coffee shop that is very similar to Starbucks) this weekend. Attempting to get a start on my final papers so that I can enjoy my weekend in Berlin and have time to spend with Annie when she gets here. I am almost done my Globalization paper but have not even touched my psychology paper or art history paper. I have to admit a good chunk of my time here yesterday was spent laughing with Sara and starting out the window at the beautiful spring weather and at the trams as they pass by. If you ask me that is a way better use of my time then writing about the negative effect that globalization has had on the environment and teaching myself how to write footnotes. But I am happy to report that I only need 5 more coffees until I get a free one. (Thats the park right outside Gloria Jeans)

On Friday night it was pálení čarodějnic or witch burning night. This happens every April 30th in Prague and here is the explaniation from the ECES website :

Witch Burning Night” has two possible origins. The first, Beltane, is a Celtic summer festival dating back from when Celtic tribes inhabited this area. Alternatively, it stems from either a Scandinavian or German summer rite, which later became the night of St Walpurga. This explains the event’s other name in English: Walpurgis Night. In Czech the night is also known as Filipojakubská noc (Philip and James Night), which you may find on some promotional material for the evening.

As Christianity spread, what had once been a pagan festival became more a tradition to keep all that was pagan at bay. The fires were lit to ward off witches and part of this process included burning old broom sticks. Today, the night is more an opportunity to get together with friends to build a fire and enjoy the outdoors, which hopefully are by now warmer and with all the vestiges of winter gone. The origins of the day will give you something to talk about while enjoying a beer and roasting buřty (fat Czech sausages) over an open fire.

So on Friday night I headed out with a whole group of people from my program to Kampa park in Malastrana. We spent the evening watching fire dancers, a hilarious pirate/solider skit that was in Czech so I have no idea what was going on but might have been the funniest thing I have ever seen, drinking wine, and roasting marshmallows (thanks to Kacy’s mom!). We definitely got some weird looks from the Czechs who were standing there with their sausages!  One lady asked us what they were. We tried to explain the concept of going camping and roasting marshmallows over a campfire but she just started at us blankly. We convinced her to try one and she hesitantly pulled it off the stick. The look on her face when she bit into was probably one of the funniest thing that I have ever seen. I don’t think she really liked it but she thanked us for letting her try it. The warm weather felt great and it was so fun to just sit outside with everyone. I really felt like I was doing something “Czech” despite the fact that we roasted marshmallows instead of sausages! The night ended in a sleep over in the Sara(h)s room. One of the best nights I’ve had in Prague.

I can hardly believe that it is May. I read over this blog the other day as well as my own journal and its so strange to see how quickly Prague became my home and how it changed me more than I can properly explain. I don’t like thinking about how soon it will become a memory for me and not a part of my daily life. My friends will return to their homes in Maryland, Texas, California, Utah, and Arizona and I will go back to Virginia. I know we will see each other again but I am not sure if I will ever see Prague again. Will I ever run around these cobblestone streets, go out for a night of dancing, hear trams rumbling by at all hours of the day, sit in Cafe Ebel and write for hours, step out of class and see the castle looming in front of me, listen to people speaking Czech, or walk across the Charles Bridge? Not knowing if I will ever be back makes it hard to leave. And I know if I do come back, it will not be the same because I will not be back with the people who made Prague feel like home.

I have to admit that I have been hit with an overwhelming desire to be at Assumption for all the traditional end of the year events. Pup Cup, leadership banquets, the beautiful spring weather.  And graduation. I can’t believe I am missing my best friends graduation. I had almost gotten use to missing things but I am having a particularly hard time with missing this one event. I have never wanted to be in 2 places as badly as I do right now. I never thought I would have a hard time leaving Prague. Leaving Assumption to come here was almost impossible and I honestly though by the time May rolled around I would be dying to get home. And while part of me is, I never thought I would find a place besides Assumption where I fit perfectly. Now that I have, I am so torn between wanting to be home but wanting to stay.  Things at Assumption will be different when I get back, but I know my senior year has great things waiting for me. And I can’t wait to right back into the swing of things with Orientation and working for the Reach Out Center all summer. But for now, I will be spending my last weeks in Prague discovering new things, enjoying my friends, returning to favorite old spots, avoiding writing my papers, and appreciating everything that this city has taught me.

But don’t worry Assumption, I will be back soon. I couldn’t stay away too long.

Sincerely,

Celia

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