Day Three Laura and AmirMay 20, 2011
Today I toured Prague with the rest of our group. Our tour guide, Edgar, was extremely knowledgeable and had some great personal insight on historical facts. Something that stuck with me was when he was asked to explain his view of Communism. He talked about the facts, but then he stated: “ (back then) It was hard to trust wealthy people because if you were doing things right and honestly--there is no way that you could have been rich.. And that is so sad, because you should be able to appreciate successful people.” I never expected our tour guide to be so quiet yet extremely compassionate or so insightful to the ways of the world. Needless to say, I was truly impressed with Edgar and extremely grateful that he was our tour guide. Even though he was not overtly bubbly, he had a sense of humor and warmth that allowed us all to trust him--both in answering our questions and in getting us around Prague. He did a phenomenal job of leading us around historical monuments, and had a very good knowledge of the styles of architecture, especially in conjunction with Prague Castle. It was a lovely morning filled with many laughs and a lot of group bonding.
I spent the evening with Jayme and Alice. I can truly say that I have not had such a relaxing or pleasant day in a very long time. It was like an experience that was straight out of a movie---Eat, Pray, Love style. We had lunch at one of the top Garden Cafes in Prague, and spent the day relaxing in Old Town Square. Then we had dinner at an outdoor restaurant and decided to go on an adventure with Mary and Taylor. After many train rides, we arrived at a beautiful water show. Originally, we had planned to go to a musical event. However, due to unexpected circumstances, we got to experience a lovely water show instead. The whole day taught me a lot about servant leadership because our tour guide was so devoted to our education and well being. It relates to transformational leadership because I saw a lot of give and take between both our group and the culture that we were interacting with. A lot of effort to see other viewpoints had to take place in order for our adventures to be successful and enriching experiences. I can relate it to the social change model in much the same way, but I will say that it was a phenomenal experience to watch how it takes time for one person to really feel comfortable relating to another person. Sometimes, the connection is lightening fast. In Prague, because they are used to tourists, they welcome friendliness and a smile, and even when everyone is tired, I have found that the most successful way to accomplish something is not to focus on the elements or problems, but on achieving the end goal in a situation.
Today we went on a tour of Prague with the entire group, and afterwards we split up for lunch. After lunch, we decided to visit the Charles Most Bridge. I traveled with Gerri, Jordan and Jess. I enjoyed this group because we each had a set plan and had our minds set on what we wanted to do. After accomplishing each of our goals we decided to be spontaneous and went to the John Lennon wall. After viewing the wall we decided to ask locals for directions to the Catholic cathedral and once we made our way to the cathedral, we spoke to a man that asked us about our leadership program and talked to us about his mission trip in Africa. After conversing with him for a while he gave us each really cool and creative drawings of elephants and birds that were decorated in butterfly wings. After leaving the cathedral, we stopped for ice cream and then found a really cool park to sit in and journal. By the time we were done with our adventure it was around 9:00 pm so we decided to take the metro back to the hotel. I really enjoyed having the chance to immerse myself into Czech culture and take advantage of viewing the city. I think that my approach to this trip has been to be fearless in my decisions regarding branching out and taking chances. I think that I have already gained a sense of freedom and awareness that I can take back to the United States and apply to many aspects of my life.