Yesterday was my 23rd birthday. It was a good birthday, except for waking up at 6 a.m.
A few of the students found out it was my birthday and sang "happy birthday" to me in English and Slovak. I heard "happy birthday" maybe four or five times during the school day. It was nice, but a little much. My students expected that they would not have to do work because it was my birthday. Oh they thought wrong.
That evening most of the ELCA people here went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. It was a nice evening. After dinner, I talked to my family over the Internet. It was nice. A birthday for the record books.
I have dubbed this last week "Field Trip Week." Every day I had a class that either had 2 or 3 people there or none there. Some of the students were in the Czech Republic, some were in Austria.
Anyway, one more week until Christmas break!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Last Thursday was St. Mikolas Day, also called St. Nickolas Day in other countries. Apparently, Slovak children put their shoes out before they go to bed and they get candy in their shoes in the morning. I forgot to put my shoes out and so I got no candy at night. Nevertheless, St. Mikolas did visit my classroom.
It was the last class of the day. We were having a discussion about hobbies, free time, and lifestyles, and the discussion wasn't going very well. The students didn't want to talk much. Then one of my students from another class knocked on the door and asked if he could test the electricity in the classroom. I told him that he could check it later, after class. He said that needed to check it now. So I said, "Fine, whatever." So he plugged some speakers in, and before I knew it, loud music was coming through the speakers and some other students came into the classroom dressed as St. Mikolas' helpers. They started dancing around and singing some Slovak St. Mikolas song (I think). Then St. Mikolas came in. He was dressed like Santa Claus and was riding a scooter. It was quite humorous. So he began to pass out candy, and he sang a little himself. Then the music changed and some "evil" St. Mikolas' helpers came in. I don't know how to categorize them. They were dressed in red and black.
It was quite a strange experience. I could hardly control myself. I laughed and laughed and laughed. My students didn't find it so funny and I have no idea why. I mean, come on, St. Mikolas on a scooter. That's funny stuff.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
While you all were enjoying turkeys on Thanksgiving Day, I was enjoying myself the only American thing we know in Bratislava (well there is more than one I suppose)...McDonald's. I know, I know. I promised myself no McDonald's while I was gone. It's not that McDonald's tastes good or anything. It's that it is American, and it was Thanksgiving. So a few of us went to McDonald's and I ordered a Big Mac Menu, as they call it, what we call Big Mac Meal, or #1. The burger was what I expected, which wasn't much.
Nevertheless, a number of Americans (60 or so) celebrated a belated Thanksgiving that Saturday. It was the feast of feasts. Each person brought a dish and there was a turkey, and it was a huge turkey. I brought corn. I'm good at making simple things like corn. Anyway, so there were two large tables of main dishes and one large table of desserts. I suppose I would compare it to a Lenten potluck, but actually good. Let's be honest, as good as Lenten potlucks can be, they would be a lot better with a hulking turkey in the middle of the table and some stuffing and gravy. I suppose the only thing that would have made it better would be finger jello. I suppose.
At this feast, there were us ELCA people in Slovakia along with LCMS people from around the region. I had the opportunity to speak with some people who worked in Kazakhstan. From listening to their stories, I realized living and working in Bratislava was easy compared to doing that in Kazakhstan in the middle of nowhere.
Anyway, that's all.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Okay, back to blogging.
On Friday, November 16, I went with a group of people to watch Slovan, the Bratislava hockey team. It was my first Slovan game and it was a great experience. I had been to a professional hockey game once in my life, so hockey is something foreign to me.
Slovan played Trechin. Slovan was ranked first in the league and Trechin was ranked second. And Slovan won! It was pretty fun. Apparently a lot of students go to the games. They had fun cheers. It is hard remembering them, but most of them were in Slovak so it was hard enough telling what they were anyway.