If you want to feel like going back in time, there is nothing like taking a train during winter from Paris to Prague. The snows were coming down blanketing Europe delays and cancelations of all forms of travel, except for my charmed trains. I watched the ticker of the schedule canceling all Eurostar trains bound for the UK, and the other lines were on the brink of the same fate at Gare du Nord. I was one number off, and mine was still a go despite a 20 minute delay. Incredibly, I was booked to share a car with other femmes...but as fate would have it...I got a car all to myself. Getting the perk without having to pay for it when I boarded the change of trains in Köln Germany was like getting an unexpected gift. I however learned quickly why I was given two bottles of water...no running water on the train...so the irony of seeing a shower and the towels and soap reminded me of (ahem) a more horrific time in history.
I realized these routes had more horrific destinations, and I am sorry, but being on a train, where the end point was Moscow, really made me feel the full weight of history. Yes, I was (am) obsessed with the history of the second world war as we went along and through the dark snowy night...I crawled into the bed...really more of a litter and looked out the window, pulling the curtain down just enough to feel the rocking of the rails.
I arrived in Prague, met by a wonderful girl, named Helena. Helena's English had the most wonderful accent, perfectly imperfect English, that seemed to be the right dramatic effect to go along with the surrounding area. Helena later took the bulk of our motley crew on an adventurous tour, snow and all through the center of Prague. I feel like I have this growing love affair with the city, the cold, the snow, and of course the depth of the history that lies within their bones. Just over 11 million people live in the Czech Republic. Though they are apart of the EU, they resisted the Euro, which the people are very proud of that fact. As one local told me, 'it protected us from what the rest of Europe is going through.'
While we toasted our journey, our beginnings, we are this group of teachers who all breathed in for a moment what being here really means to each and every one of us. There is such a positive energy in this group that is unmistakable.
The beginnings of a journey that has a smile and a huge sense of humor, even if it means falling down a time or two in the snow...sliding down a hill and screaming at the top of my lungs as if I was 10 years old again...while I still can do it.
As this graph clearly illustrated for me...yes, 'I'm stronger...' but even more so...I am stronger than I even thought I was. Let's make most of this time...this adventure continues on.