My name is Antonio. I am from Palermo, Italy, and I have decided to take part in this ESC experience, mainly because I really wish to grow up a bit more.

For a long time, I relied on my parents to help me with almost everything, from cooking to bedmaking. Being conscious of this, I figured out that it was my time to understand a bit more about my self-care skills and how to do things on my own. So I applied for this ESC project and was accepted. I had to organize the trip in two weeks. Pretty tight time window. And here comes the first problem: 3 days before my departure I got a high fever. It is not good at all. I took 3 painkillers a day and, fortunately, I got better, so I managed to overcome my sickness and arrive in Prague anyway. 

I admit that I felt like trash and wanted to give up just before arriving. But even though staying at home was the most sensible thing to do, I did not want to throw in the towel after organizing everything for my arrival. I finally arrived in Prague, where I was welcomed by everyone with care. After only two days, so many emotions were running through my head: I had just finished this journey, not in the best of shape, and even though it may feel too soon, I was already trying to understand how I should live my life here from now on and, later in the future, whether I should stay with my parents or try to make a life for myself. The only way I know for sure is to go on and do my own thing as best I can. All on my own. This will surely build a lot more self-esteem for me. 

I’ve been in Prague for almost three months now. The first week was brutal: I had a lot of difficult times and everything was so new for me. I felt a bit overwhelmed by the various tasks. I started exploring the city and my surroundings, to understand more about this city. Although the difficulties seemed almost unsolvable, I still kept on going, to test myself and my strength. The second week was a bit better: I started to find some ways to cope with my homesickness. I began to remember what I used to do back home. I also started to be more confident in the knowledge of the city and I started to attend expats meetings, where people from all over the world meet. I attended one in the Down Under, an Australian pub and I was amazed at how easily I managed to talk to people here. I always thought that I was a pretty shy person, so it felt like a surprise when people started to talk to me without any kind of problems. Then I got to know an interesting point for me: there is an interesting bookshop with American people and books. I managed to befriend the shopkeepers, they are amazing people. And it was near the river, so, bonus points for me. By the third week, I felt like I fit in well enough: I started eating Trdelnik, which is a local sweet, and I took strolls near the river or in Malá Strana, in the centre of Prague. And now, I feel like I belong a lot more here. Granted, after a month I was still looking forward to the rest of the experience because I was starting to get a grip on how I perceived myself. 

However, lately I started to feel a little less satisfied with the experience and decided to shorten my stay here. It had to do with the fact that I had subconsciously come to the conclusion that I wanted to get away from my life for a while because I couldn’t cope with it there. Now I realize more about myself and especially about my own limits, which sometimes can’t be surpassed, and I’ve learnt that it’s OK not to be able to. It is also thanks to them that it is possible to identify oneself in a healthy way. It is also possible to go beyond these kinds of limits if you want to, and it is up to the individual to understand what they want to do with their own limit. Thanks to the self-awareness I have developed, I believe I am ready to face my own problems in my own country. There’s still a lot to learn, of course, but with humbleness and patience I might make my way through.