Today I decided to go to church.
Many, but not all of you, know that I was raised Catholic. Up until the age of 18, when my parents deemed me old enough to determine whether or not I wanted to attend Mass, nearly every Sunday at 4:30pm you could find me kneeling in the pews of Holy Name Catholic Church. I think like many people my age, church wasn't something I particularly looked forward to. I've always considered myself a spiritual person, but the whole "being condemned to hell for sinning" thing was just a little too literal for my taste.
But, as I've realized, it's all about perspective.
And today, at St. Thomas' Church Catholic Church, I gained some serious perspective.
Yes, this is St. Thomas' Church. This is where I attended one of the most spiritually stimulating Masses I think I will ever attend. It's not that anything extra special happened, or that the priest was extra holy. Besides the fact that people don't hold hands during Our Father, and sing barely loud enough for anyone to hear, this Mass was ceremoniously equivalent to any other I'd been to. And it was this exact "sameness" that made the Mass so special for me. It made me feel safe and nostalgic. Like I was home. I barely held it together when the choir announced we'd be singing 'On Angel's Wings,' which is my Mom's favorite church song. I stared remembering those good ol' Mass days--when my Dad would turn heads with his laugh, and my brother would create dance moves and sing at the top of his lungs to the choir songs.
And I decided then and there that church for me is not so much about what is literally said, but the message that I can take away from it. Maybe I don't agree with everything the Catholic Church has to say (I don't), but I liked the feeling of being there, and observing the fact that there is something greater than myself. Going to church today made me feel good. And best of all, attending was a decision I chose to make. That in itself makes it far more eventful than being dragged kicking and screaming each week. So does that make me more holy? I don't know. But it's given me a newfound appreciation and perspective on what it really means to "be religious."
This week was also eventful in the sense that I helped celebrate my wonderful roommate's 21st birthday. Considering the fact that she's legally been able to drink since getting here, 21 wasn't as crazy as it might have been in the States. But she was still spending this birthday away from her family and her boyfriend, so we wanted to do something to show her it could still be special! We started planning weeks in advance for a surprise party--ordering a cake from her favorite bakery (Bakeshop Praha, which I've mentioned in here before), getting decorations, talking to her boyfriend about presents, and making sure she wouldn't catch on. She is very sharp. We honestly came up a rebuttal for every possible protest she could have had to us bringing her back to the house for the 'surprise.' But in the end, it was an incredible success.
|My beautiful roommates, Abi and Lacey (the Birthday Girl!)|
We had dinner at a quiet restaurant on the Vltava River, where I witnessed hundreds of ducks take flight simultaneously take flight. In the dim evening night, it was nothing short of breathtaking. The meal was amazing, as every meal here has been. The best part was definitely once we got home and Lacey was greeted with a fully decorated living room, our friends from upstairs, and (of course) the most perfect cake. Seeing the joy and absolute surprise on her face made it so worth it! It was an incredible evening, and I felt so blessed to be able to share it with her on her birthday.
|"Happy Birthday Lacey" in Czech|
Oh, and the cake was divine too. Layers of chocolate cake and mousse, with the occasional hidden gem of a coffee bean. Perfection, I know.
|And the Beaming Birthday Girl!!|
And on an entirely different note: this week also included a visit to a klub (club, just in case you couldn't tell). This klub, all five stories of it, just happened to be the same one that the movie EuroTrip was filmed at. I'm not going to lie, heading there I was pretty excited! I do love to shake my groove thang occasionally, just like any good person. I'm just going to come out with it though and say that the klub was...meh. Absolutely nothing special. Someone had rented out the top two floors (who DOES that?!), and the bottom floor (an Ice Pub) costed more money, which left only two open dancing floors. With the choices being 'Oldies' or a crappy version of 'techno-dance-dubstep.' It was fun for a while, and I really loved dancing to "Footloose" on the Oldies floor, but Thursdays are apparently not a huge night for the klub, and it honestly felt like we were the only ones there. Which is fine by me because my dancing tends to take up a lot of space, but after a while the vibe just got dull. The only reason I would ever go back is if Mason or my brother wanted to go, but other than that my experience with the supposedly most amazing klub was none other than unsatisfactory. Take that EuroTrip.
And now, just because food is life and pictures of food make everyone happy, I've included me eating the most gigantic and amazing falafel pita. For around $3.50, I got this monster. And yes, I did eat the whole thing. No, I did not use a fork. Life on the edge folks.
"And whatever you do, make sure it makes you happy. "
Čau for now!