Turkey day in Slovakia

This past week (and weekend), I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of my fellow American colleagues. The ELCA Global Mission teachers from all the cities in Slovakia and in Poland came to Bratislava for a group celebration.

Last Thursday, though, at the lyceum, we celebrated Thanksgiving on its actual day at a “turkey party” that the students have put on for the last five years. Some of my third-year students were the main organizers, and they [...] Continue Reading…

Going back to my homeland

On the train coming into Kraków at 8 in the morning, after a bumpy-night’s sleep and after listening to some randoms above us snore for a while, my friend Ella turned to me and said, “Welcome home.”

The center of Old Town at night.

“Oh yea,” I said out loud, laughing. “I guess I’m back where my family came from.” I think it was the bad night’s sleep that caused me to momentarily [...] Continue Reading…

A lovely weekend in Kraków

I arrived back in Bratislava this morning (bright and early at 7 a.m.) with my friend and colleague Ella. We took the night train back (just as we did on the way there), so we were exhausted upon arrival.

This time, we shared a car with a nun, which was awesome. As Ella said, “Well, we don’t have to worry about anybody taking our stuff.”

Our weekend was jammed packed with a lot of activity, including [...] Continue Reading…

Foreign Police: Round 3

It is amazing how small the world becomes during a visit to the Foreign Police. Last week, I made my second and third (and final) trip to the Office of the Border and Foreign Police in Bratislava, to secure my visa to teach.

Just like our first trip, we made the best out of a day-long bureaucratic nightmare. Because of this, we were once again pleasantly surprised. Surrounded by people from “all over the planet,” [...] Continue Reading…

I am officially approved!

Today I got a letter from the Foreign Police telling me my application for temporary residency in Slovakia has been approved. Hooray!

I got a notice from the post office that a letter from the police was waiting for me on Friday, but I couldn’t pick it up then because I didn’t have my passport with me. The thought of what it could be telling me worried me all weekend, so I’m relieved that all [...] Continue Reading…

My day at Hogwarts

A dream I never thought would come true did last week. I went to Hogwarts.

The Great Hall

Every year at the school where I teach, faculty and older students organize a welcoming party for the new first-year students. It’s called Imatrikulácie, and it has a different theme each year.

This year, it just happened to be Harry Potter-themed. I was in heaven.

Marauder’s Map

As soon as we walked into the [...] Continue Reading…

Re-energized and inspired after an escape to the mountains

The last week has been filled with many wonderful surprises. During our first week here at orientation, we were told that we will experience many “highs” and “lows” during our journeys as missionary teachers. Right now, you could definitely say I’m on a “high.”

When I first arrived in Vienna, I got in around the same time as the wonderful Tim and Michelle Olson. I landed before them, and while our driver went to look [...] Continue Reading…

Tidbits from the week

1. Our colleague and friend Peter has started giving Slovak lessons for the Americans this school year, and I went to my first one last week. I learned half the Slovak alphabet and a few other phrases. The funniest one that sticks out in my mind is “rubber meat.” We will continue to have these classes twice a week, so I’m hoping to become more functional in Slovak.

2. Saturday, the director of our school [...] Continue Reading…

My day at the foreign police

Think of your worst experience waiting at the DMV and then multiply it a couple of times.

That’s how many Americans have described the experience of going to the foreign police to start the visa process.

Before we arrived in Bratislava, we were required to secure certain papers for our visa (an apostilled birth certificate and an FBI background check to name a couple), but the rest of the process, we must complete here.

So, last week, [...] Continue Reading…

Forever about education

It seems that with every problem, better education is always (at least partly) the solution.

Today, I went with another American teacher to a discussion about the future of Afghanistan after 2014. Even though nothing too earth-shattering was said, it was interesting to listen to a panel discussion in another language  (with headsets that we could listen to translators on, but hey, I recognized a few Slovak words).

The panelists were Andrej Bán, journalist and photographer for týždeň [...] Continue Reading…

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