As many of you already know, European culture tends to have a more relaxed way of living in comparison to the fast-food, fast-paced, competitive world of America. Before I came to Prague, I had a notion in my head that this might be an issue for me over the next four months, but I never thought it would be this difficult.
The lingering in restaurants and pubs with friends was not a difficult adjustment for me because everyone on my program is so nice and fun to be around, and I feel that there is no where else I would rather be. The customer service here, however, is definitely interesting. It is also important to note that every restaurant in Prague is also a bar, and a pub, and vice versa, which may have something to do with the slower-paced service, but everything else seems to be at the same pace as well.
The apartment I live in is in a wonderful area. It is very residential and not touristy at all, so our meals are decently priced, there is still plenty to do, and we are very close to the school. This is all wonderful, except our landlord is very much set in the more casual mindset of customer service.
My three roommates and I woke up on a Monday morning for class to realize that the internet was not working, and when we asked our Czech buddy, Anna, we were told that the internet in the whole building is down and she has already told the landlord. This wasn’t really a big deal for me because I know that if this ever happened in my sorority at Indiana University, there would be lots of complaints and the router would be back up within the hour.
People always say, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” and now I can say I truly believe in this after 5 days without any internet access in our apartment. Over this internet-free week, there have been so many times when we all wanted to look up a recipe, a Czech word, or even a map, and we had to find other ways to accommodate our needs such as our guide books, or internet cafes.
The internet, unfortunately, wasn’t the only misfortune of the week though. After 4 days without internet, I was ready to get some work done and head to one of the many pubs/cafes with wifi. Right before I was about to leave, I went to plug in my power cord so that I could charge two things at once, and completely forgot about the fact that I might need an adapter for the stronger voltage…
As soon as I pressed the button, I felt a sharp electric shock in my hand, saw a fire spark, and suddenly everything went pitch black in the apartment. I had blown a fuse. Looking back on it now, it was so dumb and a little bit funny, but at the time, I actually thought I had shut off the electricity in the entire apartment and I was listening for my neighbors’ screams. Luckily this was not the case, but I felt terrible that I had done this to my roommates and that our Czech buddy, Anna, had to deal with this.
After calling the landlord and getting hung up on because I was speaking English and not Czech, we finally resolved the problem and the electricity and wifi are back on. This experience has taught me that sometimes not everything will work efficiently, but there are ways to accommodate your everyday needs elsewhere, as long as somebody speaks English!!