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The final countdown

My days in America are numbered.

On Friday, Aug. 17, I’ll begin a three-flight journey plus a short train ride to Bratislava, Slovakia, to teach Intro to English Lit and English classes at a bilingual Lutheran high school. My volunteer teaching contract is for 10 months through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

I will teach two classes of third-year students English and one class of first-year students English. Books on the materials list include The Great Gatsby, The Alchemist, and The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (all of which happen to be personal favorites of mine).

The ELCA is providing me an apartment in the city with Internet, and I will spend my first week at a new teacher orientation.

Since my last day working as a reporter at The Winchester Sun, a small semi-daily paper in Winchester, Ky. (a town about 20 miles east of Lexington, Ky.), I have been living in Columbus, Ohio, spending time with family and friends. The time home has been great, especially being able to see so much of my family and to rediscover a city I love. It will be hard to say goodbye.

Now that my departure is less than two weeks away, my to-do list — from errands to people to see — seems to keep growing.

Today, I visited a teaching supply store where I proceeded to find way too many things that I “needed” for my classroom. I went in for a grade book and some pens, and I came out with that plus eight other items. Sounds like a trip to Target, right?

“Just a grade book and some pens” — Would you classify these items as necessary?

As far as packing goes, I’m limiting myself to two large checked suitcases (although I’m really shooting for just one, but we’ll see), a carry-on backpack and a purse. Packing for a year — especially since I’ll be teaching — is a daunting task.

I have tried to not think too hard about the adventure I’m about to begin to limit stress. Now that it’s approaching so soon, though, I sometimes find myself in a panic. But, as my mom has repeatedly told me, I seem to do best in situations where I’m out of my comfort zone.

Here’s hoping.

(This is the first post of what I hope to be many in my online journal of my teaching adventure in Slovakia. I am aiming to post at least one entry per week, so stay tuned and I hope you’ll comment.) 

1 comment

  1. Aunt Margy Meagher

    Hello Katie; My oh my what an adventure your on. And to top it your volunteering? Marvelous. I myself belong to Trinity Lutheran Church in Kent and they are an ELCA church. So, good to know that of you. (Your A Hope belonged to the same church like forever! Do I follow in her shoes? No, I have not found anyone who could!

    Wise in using those travel bags. I never thought of them for traveling ever until I recently saw an advertisement on the tellie. lol. Although I have used them for my own way of storing items for summer/winter or forever! I shall remember when I fly down to FL this winter.

    I will certain keep up with you and your classroom experiences. First year teacher …. I’m certain it will all work together in time. You have all prior classroom materials yourself so am certain you’ll go far with them and your smile will melt those who try trickery …. you have such beautiful dimples much like your father! …. And, I do like the color of your hair. Sharp!
    Reading about the words your learning, rather remind me of the Polish language don’t you think? Can’t be too much of a difference is there? Dobronik. (goodnight) Jen-ku-ia. (thank you) I’m pronouncing it as it sounds to me and you spell it Ja-koo-yem ….. pronounce the same?? These two words I learned as a child ….. and at the knees of your grandmother Gladys! When I would spend time at their home each summer for several days and my, oh my how much I loved those days! Why wouldn’t I … I was away from my brothers and I was not their punching bag … yes, couple times, just a couple… one of them can’t remember just who and that’s good. Punched me in the stomach …. and oh I can still remember how it felt …. oooo my tummy hurts just from remembering! So going to your grandparents (and this was before their children began entering the world,) was a place of serenity. Being special.

    OK, closing out and will be waiting for your further notes to all …. and yes, I must comment to you … it is too bad that we don’t think learning more languages… encouraging us onward … however I do believe that it has not been talked up especially during my growing years due to our immigrants coming to America and vowed to learn our language and learn our ways …. talking in your native tongue was looked down upon, so therefore learn another language? heavens no, we are Americans so therefore we speak American!! …. Now we look at it today and say, what a shame that we did not, instead; of not shame on us for learning your parents/grandparents native language. …………… Through any children you might have in the future and through my grandchildren and any great grandchildren can we encourage more language skills!

    Cheers to you my lady ………… May you wake up each day and enjoy it as the Lord has made it!
    Lovingly; Aunt Margy

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