I recently moved to Prague after living in London for seven months and a little time off in the Netherlands. My first week so far has been quite the roller-coaster and I still can’t completely wrap my head around everything that happened but I will give it a shot.
Volunteer in Prague
I arrived in Prague on Thursday evening and went to HostelOne where I was supposed to work as a volunteer for the next three months. When I got there I introduced myself as the volunteer and they told me to put my stuff in the staff room and wait around till they had found me a place I could stay. I thought that was a bit strange since I had told them exactly when I was going to get there but didn’t care that much since I had nothing else to do.
When I finally got my room – which I had to share with three other, male, staff members – I was still a bit lost. So when Kaz came into the room I just asked him point blank, after some introductions of course – “How does it all work around here?”. He told me that it was basically all based on trust and then he told me that he was drunk and was supposed to start his night shift right now. He left and I still had no idea about anything but knew that this was a strange place.
The next day I had the party helper shift, this meant that I had to get as many people as possible down to the ‘Rave Cave’ and play drinking games with them. Since I still didn’t know much about this place and hadn’t gotten any instructions other than, ‘go play games with the guest’, I decided to trust Kaz, who I was doing the party shift with and is a paid staff member at the hostel. I should have known that trusting him was not the best idea ever, but he was the only guy around that I knew. That night ended with a big misunderstanding and the next morning I was called out of bed to the staff room and they told me to pack up my things and go.
I was really confused and didn’t understand how they would expect me not to make any mistakes when they don’t give any proper instructions. It was my first shift, I was new there and had just done what Kaz had told me to do.
But no way, no mercy, they were ruthless and I had to leave immediately even though the contract that I had signed implied that upon ending the contract I would have three days to leave.
I had no idea what to do next and even thought about going back to the Netherlands. I called my dad in tears and told him everything that had happened. He told me to calm down and that it was going to be okay. I took a shower, packed up my things and left the hostel, but had them print a few of my resumes before I left, I felt that was the least they could do.
Don’t Give Up
A friend of mine, who I knew from back in the Netherlands, is currently doing an internship here in Prague, so I send her a message after I had gone to Hostel Ananas to see if they needed any staff. I told her briefly what had happened and asked her if I could crash on her couch that night. She told me that that was no problem but that she was out of town for the day so that it would be a while before she got home. I wanted to turn it all around and decided that I didn’t feel like working in a hostel after this experience. I went to a Starbucks, got out my laptop and started to look up a couple of things.
- Flights back home – 800euro’s for a last minute ticket? No way!
- Bus rides back home – 59euro’s …. maybe
- Pubs in Prague and their contact details
I decided that since I had a place to stay for the night I shouldn’t just give up yet, so I made a plan to stay for a least another week. If I hadn’t found a job by then that that would be a sign to go home and try my luck there.
The Dog Bar
A little over ten emails later addressed to pubs, restaurants and tour operators, I started to feel a little better but tired and asked my friend, Tessel, if I could maybe drop my stuff off at her place already so that I didn’t have to deal with that. Unfortunately, she wasn’t going to be back until 10:30 that evening, but luckily she was able to arrange something with the guy that she’s dating. I dropped my stuff off at his place and relaxed for a bit, around dinner time he told me that he was going to eat some pizza with a friend and was wondering if I would like to join. I did, so the three of us we went to this little pub and had a beer and a great pizza. Afterwards, we went to this bar called ‘Vzorkovna’ but since that is very hard to pronounce everyone calls it the dog bar. Why? Well… there is this massive dog and a little one who walk around there.
The place was pretty cool even though it seemed a little sketchy at first. It had live music, decently priced and tasty beer, foosball tables and skateboard-swings. Oh, and of course the dogs… need I say more?
Around midnight my friend and I went home to her place, had a cup of tea, talked about everything that happened that day and went to sleep around 1:30 am. I usually check my email right before I go to bed and this time I was really happy that I did, since I already had a very enthusiastic reply from this Irish pub called ‘The Dubliner’ telling me that they would love to meet me and that I can just come by and ask for Paul so that we could have a chat about working there as a waitress. So with a slightly better feeling and an eased mind, I went to sleep and would see what the next day would bring.
The next morning I found a hostel to stay at for the upcoming week, packed up my things, thanked Tessel from the bottom heart and left to continue this adventure.
I checked in at Hostel Emma, dropped my stuff in my room, got settled in a bit and walked towards the Dubliner. On my way there I ran into the Prague Marathon which was just coming to an end. When I got to the Dubliner, Paul was standing right outside with a nametag on his shirt; it could not have been easier. I introduced myself and told him that I had sent an email the day before and he looked really happy to see me, we went downstairs, discussed a couple of things in his office and agreed on a training shift during the week to see how things go. After that, I felt quite good about the way things were going. The sun was out and later that day I went for a drink and a lovely dinner with Kay – a German friend – and two of her friends. We had a great time and even made some plans to go hiking and teach Jordi how to ride a bike. All felt right with the world again.
The last few days have, for me, been about taking it slow, exploring and enjoying the city, so that if I do go home at the end of this week I’ll still have some good memories of this place. Tomorrow, the first day of week two, is my training shift. I have to be there at 9:30am and am very excited about it but also a little nervous. If I get the job I will need to find a place to live for the next two and a half months so I have been looking for affordable apartments in Prague 1 and Prague 3 but I’ve also been sending out more emails to find a backup job. No luck so far, but I will not give up!