Friday, July 25, 2008

Day #2 – July 13, 2008 (Sunday) – Day of the Students

We were able to sleep in a bit, well I slept until 7:30am so I guess it was sleeping in… but either way it was great!! Especially after waking up at 4:30am because the sun was shining into my room!! No joke!! Apparently the sun rises in Slovakia at 4:30am. Good to know right?! Thank God I packed an eye mask… it has cone in quite handy!!!

We met in the dining hall and ate breakfast as a group. Since I called off the vegan diet for the trip I ate bread with lunch meat and white peppers. I had never seen white peppers before but they tasted great… just like a pepper. And we had the most amazing tea (in Slovak tea is spelled caj – pronounced chi) ever!! I loved it!!

And, I found another vegetarian!!!! I was so excited. And they were able to translate to the cooks that I am lactose intolerant. After a little debate, I told them that I could eat meat (figured the easier I could be this week the better), however no dairy. And the cooks have been fabulous!!! Any time there has been dairy served they have offered me a substitute! I love it!!

After breakfast we all boarded up in the vehicle and when to the mall, which also contained a supermarket, and got our groceries for the week. We didn’t get much besides cookies, flavored water, and bananas because our meals are being provided for us for the week.

Then we walked our groceries from the mall to church. It was a fabulously small church and we had an amazing service about ‘Truth verses Lies.’ I think we each walked away thinking the message was directed towards us!! I did take some pictures of the church and they will be posted as well!

When church was finished we boarded back up into vehicles and when back to camp where we had a great meal… everyone else had chicken and rice but I had vegetables and rice!! It was amazing!! I loved it!!!

Our next plan of action was to decide how the week was going to play out. Us Americans thought that everything was already planned and we would just be plugged into service once we got here however that wasn’t the case. And I was assigned to the English team. The English team consisted of American leaders and Beckah (who is also American but is currently living in Slovakia with her husband. She is pregnant and they will be moving back to the States soon... and she will probably be working at North Point so I am excited that we will still be able to meet up). We decided that we would make four English groups that would essentially be teams. Each team would work together to improve their English and then they would compete against each other in different English events, sporting events, and anything else the leaders could come up with. In the competitions each team could earn points and the team with the most points at the end would win. And, since there were only 14 students all the leaders were able to participate in all events!!

Over the next few hour we came up with a plan of action for Monday as to what we would do in the English groups to break the ice and to get the Slovak students talking. It was a lot of fun sharing ideas and 3 of the people on the English team were either teachers (Sherry and Beckah) or were former teacher (Kristen). Garrett, the only male in the English group, has done a ton of different missions previously thru Josiah Venture and was able to provide many good ideas. I was the only one on the team that had no previous experience! LOL!! Luckily we had a lot of materials to look thru so I was able to provide some input!

Then the students arrived!! It was so fun and so intimidating! I knew that we would get to know each one of these students thru the week but I was nervous that I wouldn't be good enough, that I wouldn't be able to relate, or that no one would like me. It turned out that my fears were all quite silly and I got along with the students and leaders really well (and if I didn't they didn't tell me... hehe!).

My roommates for the week became Veronika and Mikja (pronounced Mikah or we also called her Maya). Both are extremely beautiful inside and out as well as amazing English speakers!!! We had a ton of fun as roommates and I miss them every day!! It became funny because I would generally go to bed at night before they would (still it would be around 1am or 2am) however I wouldn't be able to go to sleep until they were in the room. I felt like the room mom... hehe!!

Once the students arrived we showed them to their rooms and then we all met up for dinner. For everyone but me it was macaroni and cheese however they made macaroni with corn, tomato, and white peper... amazing!! I really liked it and it was so easy to make that I will be doing it for myself now too!! After dinner we headed down to the main meeting room for a lot of fabulous ice breakers where we lined up based on height, first letter of the first name, first letter of the last name, age, eye color, etc. And we had to do it quickly!! It was fun and a good way to get us all moving after dinner. This was followed by some really amazing fun music and we learned the camp dance. I don't think we have any video of the camp dance but if I find one I will add it here!! Hehe!! It was fun!

After music and a message (the theme of the camp was Aquaworld and the first message was pretty light and went back to how we remembered our childhood -- it was an excellent message for night #1) we had our first eNight. eNight was designed as a way for everyone to wind down together and for the leaders to ask questions to the students based on the messages that we heard. This first night we met over candlelight and American chocolate. It was surprisingly creative yet so simple. It was beautiful and so amazing.

Side note: Its funny that I as an American don't think of things this easy... its like we believe it must be complicated to be good. However this was better than anything I could have come up with. So, one of the concepts that I have taken away is that creativity beats complexity or money any day. It didn't take much money to create an amazing environment. I am trying to remember this when I have friends over... light a few candles and have a simple set up. It can be life changing.

Back to Slovakia: During eNight I was able to meet with Jay. One of the amazing students and he told me about his family's house. I was quite jealous of him... I miss my family a ton and he is able to live with his and they have a garden with tons of different fruit trees and plants as well as a ton of vegetables. If I ever move out of the city and live with any amount of land I want to have a garden, even if it just includes fruit trees. I think that would be amazing. And, if I ever get the opportunity to live in a European countryside I think that would be almost like heaven. Any European countryside that I have witnessed is gorgeous!!

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