29. 6. 2009

Brno should never lose its authenticity

It has been a year now since I left the Moravian city of Brno that I called home for a year. Yet, there are moments in my mind that are as clear as if they happened yesterday. I remember waiting by the tram stop in the early hours of the day; I remember looking out over the glowing city from a top City Hall during “Museum Night;” I remember sitting down for pivo with friends from all over the world; I remember strolling among the stalls at the Christmas Market and hearing children ring the bell; I remember these moments and countless more as if I had only just lived them.

Today, I am back home in the United States, and I am missing the sights and sounds of that bustling city. People often ask me if it was hard to not understand the language of the land I was living in; they ask me if I liked the food and if I fit in over there. My response is always the same. The Czech people welcomed me into the homes and lives. People were more than happy to speak English with me after hearing my faltering attempt at speaking Czech. The food is rich and distinct, and when it is coupled with the local wines, there is nothing that can beat it. By the end of the year, I felt as if I were a Brno-ian myself. At times, I still do.

As more and more people come to discover Brno, the city would do well to maintain its local flavor. This was one of the advantages of Brno over other larger cities in the Czech Republic. When you were in Brno, you knew you where in the Czech Republic. In other cities, the tourists have so crowded out the place that you are often left wondering if you are really in the Czech or if it is just a caricature-like veneer to cater to foreigners. Brno should never lose her authenticity. She should cling to the events, places, and way of life that make her unique while still embracing growth and change and diversity. Her present success at this balancing act is the reason I fell in love with this beautiful Moravian city.

Kellie Sharpe

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