It's been about 2 months since George and I moved to Prague, and so far this place has totally exceeded our expectations. We didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into, but everything is falling into place relatively seamlessly.
We knew we wanted to go back to Europe, and we needed a destination that wasn't too expensive and also had a good job market. Also, we were both intrigued by Eastern Europe (which we have since learned it's actually "Central Europe" and the Czechs do not like being culturally associated with Eastern Europe). We were also open to the fact that it may not work out here and that we'd possibly have to pick a new country if need be.
We hostel-hopped for over 2 weeks while we figured out what our next move was -- Should we do work exchange at a hostel again? Should we do a month-to-month flat rental sort of thing? Should we just sign a year lease?
Our biggest hesitation about committing to anything long-term was because I'm not an EU citizen, so legally I can only be in the Schengen zone for 90 days. I was sort of just planning on pulling a Barcelona and overstaying my visa because I like to live in this impetuous dreamworld where I don't consider the long-term consequences of my actions.... 😬👍
I just kept telling myself, "Meh. I'll figure it out when push comes to shove." Then I realized that I was going to have to go back to the U.S. in September for my cousin's wedding and I wouldn't be able to re-enter the E.U. for God knows how long. So, reality kicked it and I needed to find a way to stay, or come up with plan B.
To my luck, I had TWO OPTIONS for getting a legal visa here, which totally blew my mind! It is near impossible for Americans to get a work visa in Europe (honestly, check out the subreddit r/IWantOut -- you'll be berated for even asking about moving to Europe). Since I'm the domestic partner of an E.U. citizen and I can prove that George and I live together and are in a legit relationship, I am able to get a visa that allows me to stay and work in the E.U. for up to 5 years. There's also an option to work as a freelancer legally (the Živnostenský list visa), which is more expensive and tedious to get, but worth it if you want to stay. So, the Czech Republic has the ultimate loophole so I'mma go school everyone on that subreddit real quick...
I don't have visa-in-hand yet due to the the waiting game for paperwork to be processed, so I guess I can't get too cocky yet.
So we decided to get a flat, and we signed a lease for a year, so we're tied to Prague for at least that long. We found a little place in a newly renovated building in the Žižkov district, also known by the locals as "the rough area of town", which is kinda funny because I feel at least 10x more safe here than I even did anywhere in the U.S. There are no guns here. Just sayin.
So here we are, living in Žižkov in our tiny little apartment with a washing machine in the kitchen. Honestly, George and I are pretty minimalist -- we've been living out of suitcases for the past 2 years -- so we don't really need a lot of space because we don't have a lot of stuff, so it works just fine.
As of now, life is pretty ordinary and uneventful. George has a 9 to 5 at Johnson & Johnson which is sweet, and I'm waiting on visa paperwork to be employed so I've been doing freelance Photoshop work in the meantime. I'll elaborate more about what it's like living here in my next entry, but to wrap this one up: all is well, we love Prague, and we can't wait to have visitors!