It started with just a funny application, and finished with lifelong friendship from across the ocean.
As usual, we met each other by chance. As I look through my life, everything has happened by chance. I have the feeling that all of these chance encounters have happened for some purpose, as if they were written in some book with a name like “Marketa’s Lifebook”, or maybe even in an article? How original! So, how did we meet?
Lets say that the Internet is not as a bad place as you might have heard. I love meeting people from around the world, as you already know. So one day, I downloaded Tinder, a dating app. I had heard that it is not just about dating or one-night stands as rumor may have it, and you can actually use it to meet nice people out there. After a few weeks though, I gave up texting with all the people on Tinder and began to think that perhaps this is not the right place to find an international friend. To be honest, some people don’t seem to understand “looking for friends” when written in your profile, or they might not read it at all. So after a few invitations for sex from people who don’t even try to ask for your name and just message you with descriptions of exactly what they would like to do with you, I nearly gave up.
A few days later, I gave it one more chance, was matched up with Stewart. He had such a nice photo with a guitar on there, if I remember correctly, and wrote that he was looking for some friends. He said he’d love to meet new people in his new home: Prague. A nice Canadian guy in Prague looking for friends? I was like YES! Ding, ding, jackpot! But then I was like: I hope he is a normal guy, instead of some freak like in my last experience.
We decided for a meeting in a tearoom. It would be our first meeting after texting a lot. We both don’t drink coffee, so we agred on a tearoom near Karlovo náměstí. It was the a great place for this, as it‘s situated near Stewart‘s place and on my metro line B. We decided on a meeting on a Sunday afternoon. The hardest part about these meetings is recognizing each other for the first time, as people sometimes use older pictures online or just look different in their pictures. We found out each other quite easily, but found out that the place we were going was closed as well. What?! I didn’t check the opening hours but I didn’t expect it to be closed. It‘s near the city center, so I thought it would normally be open. Stewart surprised me and came up with a second plan immediately. We went to a nice place nearby and had some drinks there: tea with milk for me as always, and hot chocolate with whipped cream for Stew. He’s the first man I know who ordered hot chocolate in a restaurant. We were talking a lot and I found out a lot about him. He is a Canadian from Halifax living and working in Prague, and a nice person who loves travelling and meeting new people, exploring new places, and who doesn’t like cooking.
He is such a nice person, and together we were great explorers of places to eat and events to enjoy. We went for Karaoke night at the Globe; Stewart is such a great singer and he also can play the guitar! What an artist! We also went to a Speak Easy event together while both trying hard to speak French. He might won‘t agree, but I still think he was better than me. To my surprise, he was from Canada and he couldn’t speak French fluently, and it was my impression that all Canadians did. My fault…
Anyway, we found many great places for brunches such as Café Amandine near Karlovo náměstí, the place we met for the first time, Můj šálek kávy, a place in Karlín I reviewed previously, Marty’s Kitchen, a small French-looking bistro with amazing food and not just for a brunch, and many other nice restaurants. Near Náměstí Míru, I have met a number of Stewart‘s friends. When we were just wandering around Prague, we also found some nice places for evenings, like Aero Cinema. This place is like an alternative cinema with old movies, as well one movie we both think is classic: The Silence of the Lambs! It’s the absolute perfect horror movie for us, as we are both horror movie lovers.
He is back in Canada at the moment, and I miss him very much. He was my partner in crime, always supporting me when I needed it and giving me positive energy. He’s also a truthful person who I can trust and an amazing friend who I’ll never forget, even if he is hundreds of miles away. I will never forget our Karaoke night in Globe, our brunches, trying new places around Prague, and our crazy talks about my problems that he always listened to so well. I’m pretty sure we are going to meet again on our travels, and he will always have a huge place in my heart.
So thank you Tinder for helping me out with finding such a great friend!
Interview with Stewart
What is your name? Where are you from? And can you describe yourself?
-My name is Stewart. I’m from Halifax in eastern Canada, and I love music, history and food.
What did you do in Prague?
-I taught English, wrote stories and explored the centuries-old cellars and alleyways of the city.
Why did you choose Prague and not some other country in Europe?
-I chose Prague by chance. I saw a picture of it, liked the look and decided I had to drop literally everything and go there.
Describe your stay in Prague in three words and explain why.
-Magical (because of the proliferation of castles, the outstanding cultural traditions and the lovely Vltava), decadent (because of the rich food, cheap beer and nice weather) and friendly (not the stereotype of Central Europe, but true nonetheless)
Did you travel around the Czech Republic, and if so, where?
-I travelled several times to Cesky Krumlov and to the famous Ossuary in Sedlec.
What places would you recommend for a visit?
-I recommend the Vyšehrad area for its great look-offs and nice gardens, and Riegrovy Sady for its grand view of the city. My favourite bars, cafes and restaurants would be U Sudu, Café Liberal, Bašta, Vzorkovna, Café Slavia and the Globe Café.
Why did you leave Prague?
-My visa was up and I chose to take a new adventure.
What do you do at the moment and where do you live?
-I now balance English teaching and film acting in Vancouver, in western Canada.
What are your future plans?
-Wander the earth getting into wacky hijinks.
What do you miss when you talk about Prague and why?
-I miss being constantly surrounded by beautiful buildings, having my pick of excellent Czech cuisine and beer, seeing the friends I made there and taking long walks through the city alone. The reasons why, I think, are obvious.