Friday, August 31, 2007

A Cold August

Greetings again from Bratislava, now chilly and windy Bratislava. The temperature this week has been hovering around 60. That's right, 60 in August.

We have today, Saturday, and Sunday off, but I have many more hours of lesson planning and syllabusing to do. This morning, I went to the police station with a few people to begin the process of getting our visas. We got there at 7:45, we left at 11:30. It was a rough morning. Sitting around for a few hours is very draining.

The frustration of the language is beginning to catch up to me. It is very frustrating not being able to understand what people are saying. I am trying my best to learn the language (maybe not my best, but I'm trying), but I guess it's not something I'll learn in a few days.

There are many things happening this weekend in Bratislava. The city is celebrating the re-enactment of the king going through the city. There will be many activities at the castle tomorrow. It's a cool castle and a six minute walk from my flat.

Well, I suppose that is all that is new from me. School officially starts Monday. I'm excited and unprepared.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Address

For all those who we patiently waiting for my address, here it is:

Daniel Lichtenberger
Evanjelicke Lyceum
Vranovska 2
85102 Bratislava

That is my address for the Lyceum (it's pronounced "leets-eum). I don't know the address to my apartment, but the address at the Lyceum is fine as I will be there 5 days a week.

Today I got a European bank card. Apparently workplaces don't give out paychecks. They only use direct deposit. I also got a bus pass today.

Yesterday was my first day at school. We had a few meetings, which were in Slovak, and worked on syllabi.

Tomorrow is a national holiday to celebrate the beginning of the uprising against the Nazis. I am not too familiar with Slovak history, but from what I have heard, even though the people were against supporting Nazi Germany, Slovakia was their ally during most of WWII. However, in August 1944, in Central Slovakia, 80,000 Slovaks defied the German army to begin the uprising. Most history says that Russian freed Slovakia. However, I have read that the Soviets would not have gotten as far into Europe as they did without this uprising.

One of the most interesting things about being in Slovakia has been listening to their history. One person I met shared with me that historical events in Slovakia are not simply, "This was done right," and "This was done wrong." Instead, people debate what was right and wrong. I suppose I do not fully understand these debates, but it is interesting listening to people question history.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Moving In

I finally got to move into my apartment yesterday. There are two rooms. One for Larry, the guy I'm living with, and one for me. There is also a small kitchen, a toilet room, and a shower room. The shower room doesn't really have a shower; it's more of a hose. It was interesting showering for the first time. And it has no curtain. The picture to the right is of part of my room. As you can see, there is a little sitting area.
The second picture is of the view from the apartment.

Larry and I had our first meal at the apartment. We made spaghetti. This morning we went to the English speaking church, which was nice because it was in English. Then we went to Tesco, which is the Europe equivalent of Super Wal-mart. It was very difficult buying food. Shopping in America is hard enough for me. I wandered most of the time wondering how I was ever going to make it (with food that is).
Friday night we had the national meal, which is basically macaronni and cheese. It was very cheese. It was goat's cheese. Not really my thing.
Tomorrow we start our teacher inservice where we will plan for the first couple of weeks. I'm ready for the students to come.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Breakfast of Champions

At Michi-Lu-Ca this summer, I experience Yedsnedew, a Wednesday backwards. When we woke up we had dinner. It was spaghetti and garlic bread. It was quite an experience. Today, which is also Wednesday, I woke up, went to breakfast, and found 3 hot dogs sitting on my plate. Yes, that's right hot dogs for breakfast. The thing was though that there wasn't any buns for the hot dogs. I was polite and at least ate one.

During one of our sessions today, David, one of the pastors at the English speaking Lutheran church, said that sometimes for lunch at the school the cafeteria will only provide soup and three or four jelly-filled donuts. Yup, donuts for lunch.

Besides strange meals, everything has been going very well. The language is hard to learn, but I am able to buy a few things when I am out. Last night we got to go out into the city for the first time and experience the night life. We learned a little bit about the rich history of Bratislava, which includes Napoleon firing a cannonball into one of the buildings which still stands.
Tonight we get to learn about the ELCA Global Missions policies, which includes absolutely no ransoms if someone is kidnapped. Reassuring, I know.
As promised, I took a picture of the city from my temporary room at the seminary. I hope to have some more pictures up soon.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hello Bratislava

After three plane rides and a long night, I finally made it to Bratislava. The plane over the Atlantic was quite an experience. Everybody but me and the little Swedish kids in the row in front of me slept. I kept myself busy by watching three movies and playing games on television on the seat in front of me. When I arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, I found my terminal, blopped down on a seat and put my head onto my backpack. I slept for about 30 minutes. I slept again on the plane to Vienna for a little while.

When I arrived in Vienna, people had been waiting for me and we left for Bratislava. The best part though was we rode in a Benz. That's right, a Mercedes-Benz. The only thing was it was a van. We found it quite humorous.

We are staying at the Lutheran Seminary in Bratislava. I room with Eric who is from Minnesota. He refers to U-M as University of Minnesota. We already talked about distinguishing between the U-Ms. Everyone here is pretty nice. A few are my age.

The view from the seminary is fabulous. I have been trying to put new batteries in my camera to get a picture of it; however, I cannot figure out the Europe adaptors yet.

We have Slovak language class in a little bit, so I should go. I will try to put a picture up later.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Countdown Has Begun

Only six days until Europe meets Dan. I've bought nearly everything I need. I've seen nearly everyone I need to see. I've even been commissioned by the ELCA. Some ask, "Are you ready for Europe?" I ask, "Is Europe ready for me?"

At this point, my alter-ego Life-Lesson Dan would say, "Are we ever really ready for anything?" As we all know, we can prepare for the future, but nothing works out as planned. Even events that appear to be the same are always different because no two things are ever the same.

So, like children say in a old-fashioned game of Hide-And-Go-Seek:

"Ready or not, here I come!"