I Promise To Keep In Touch

You can take the girl out of Berwick...Colette on the 1000 mile bridges that matter
October 27, 2022

Recently I have moved roughly 1,000 miles away from home. For one year I am living and studying in Prague. After already being away from home for 2 years I thought I would have no issue. However, it’s not just absence that makes the heart grow fonder. It’s distance.

Whenever I'm away, I don’t like the idea that my family’s life just goes on without me. I still want to know what’s for tea or what series is being watched on BBC iPlayer. I'll take days to reply to my Mum's texts, especially the ones that require me to look at a calendar. But I'm on the phone to her nearly every day and my sister's the same. I know for a fact my mum will often accompany one of us around the shops on the phone, to finally hang up so she can get on with her day, to have her other daughter call wanting company as she walks from A to B. This has not changed since I moved here. Today both my sister and I phoned our mum on our lunch breaks. This turned into a nice WhatsApp group call. Which was interrupted by me walking past loud fountains in Prague, my sister ordering lunch in London and my parents trying to clean their dishes and get on with their day back in Berwick-Upon-Tweed. This is the most scattered we have ever been.

So how are my parents, my sister and I coping with our long distance set up? Well, my sister now has her Prague clock on her lock screen so she knows what time it is where I am. Which is lovely but also slightly worrying about her maths level as I am only an hour ahead. My parents seem to have made several new commitments to town projects and seem a little bit more obsessed with Fitbit and Strava than before. Don’t even get me started on the cat, which has become their new favourite child.

Meanwhile in Prague, I have put up pictures up that remind me of my family and take comfort in things that remind me of home. Yet, it would be a wasted year if I just sat around looking at pictures of my family: and Prague has a lot to offer. When I am at home I love going on a walk to clear my head and the options are endless. Coastal walk, walk along the Tweed, walk around the Berwick Ramparts. The list could go on.

Beautiful Prague

In the middle of a city there’s not much countryside. However, I have discovered beautiful parks. The part of the Vltava river that runs through Prague doesn’t quite have the rolling hills that the River Tweed has but it does have food stalls, beer and amazing views of the castle. At home I also can’t drive, which is slightly embarrassing for my age, so I constantly rely on others or barely existing rural public transport. Out in Prague my provisional drivers licence doesn’t matter, I can hop on trams and metros and I have loved the access to places that good public transport enables. Shopping has also been different and despite Google Translate I have managed to buy the wrong thing a few times. I miss my Nectar card deals, my Marmite and other English brands. Having said that, the satisfaction of a three minute walk to a large supermarket with an endless pastry selection and cheap alcohol isn’t a bad swap.

Although each day I wake up a little out of my comfort zone, slowly things I haven’t had before have become part of my routine and I already have things I know I’ll miss in Prague when I move back home. Yet, nothing can replace speaking to my parents as I do mundane tasks or gossiping and asking advice from my sister. I know Prague will soon feel like a home too and for every new experience out here I will send an update or phone call 1,000 miles back to my family.

Header Image: The Royal Border Bridge, Berwick Upon Tweed (Michael Fraser)