Sunday, September 5, 2010



So what´s happened since my birthday? Let´s see...

I had my first day of school, which was only about an hour long. The whole school was out on the tennis courts, organized by classes, and the principal gave several speeches, introduced teachers, etc. When she had finished, everyone was free to go home.

Tibor showed me where my classroom would be and where the locker area for my class was (you wear slippers at school, so you have to put your shoes somewhere). It was only nine or so by this time, so there was still time for me to meet Ruth downtown at her school.

Ruth´s school is Catholic, so the first day they only had mass. Tibor dropped me off at the church-school and I got to see the last hour or so of the mass. The inside was the prettiest of the many churches I´ve seen so far. Though I wasn´t inside! Standing room only. I was actually right in the doorway, and eventually as people left I made it into the entrance hall.

The next day, Friday, was real school. I was half an hour late, but that was because Tibor and I had gone to the police office first with school documents and we´d had to wait so long. That first day there were only three classes: Math, German, and English. I don´t think I´ve mentioned this, but unfortunately Golianove doesn´t have Spanish, so I have to take German. I´ve always wanted to learn German, but I don´t really think it´s going to happen this year...

The Math teacher was so nice. At break she took me up three floors to show me where her office was. Students, you see, stay basically in one classroom the whole day, and teachers, who have private offices, rotate between classes. The exceptions to this are that for gym and science classes the students have to go to the gyms and labs, respectively. We didn´t do math the first day, though, it was just introduction speeches.

German didn´t actually happen that day either. Well, I didn´t even meet the teacher. The class was divided into three groups based on language proficiency, with the top kids, an intermediate group, and those who had only started learning the year before. The top kids left for another classroom, and the rest of us just sat without any teacher for forty-five minutes...

I´m not exactly sure who the English teacher is, since there were two teachers there, but nothing to do on the first day regardless. And then school was out, at 11:55 (a special short day--I shouldn´t get used to it!), and it was lunch time. Everyone has prepaid meal tickets that they get punched in the cafeteria. So that´s the incentive to eat lunch there, but technically you can leave whenever. As soon as you´re done eating.

My classmates were so wonderfully nice. I had a good day. We got schedules for the year, and it looks like all Fridays will be good, since they only have the minimum number of classes that day, five. The maximum days are Mondays and Tuesdays with seven classes apiece. But classes are only forty-five minutes long and there are breaks after each one, so it´ll be fine.

That day Ruth´s friend Silvia was having a barbecue at her family´s company garden in a village just outside Nitra. It was such a nicely landscaped place! I had a great time with the good food, nice people, and fun games. We took a bus back to Nitra at 8:45. I was surprised at how quickly the sun went down! It was only a span of a few minutes between when I was appreciating the beautiful sunset to pitch black darkness.

The bus was very nice and clean. It looked exactly like a private charter bus. And the half-hour trip only cost .90 Euros... Regular city buses, which are also wonderfully clean (cultural difference: here, everyone rides the bus. Teenagers can´t get their licenses until they´re eighteen, and there are no school buses), only cost .30 Euros, or .20 Euros if you have a card certifying that you´re a student. This is compared to the expensive dollar a ride on the buses back home...and don´t even get me started on BART...

Tomorrow I´m presenting to my Rotary club at my first meeting. I made the Powerpoint and wrote up what I´m going to say in Slovak (there´re probably lots of errors, but I give myself credit for the effort), so let´s hope it goes well. Sorry this was a pretty boring post...

Much love!


  1. Glad to hear the school day went fine. You should be buying your own meal ticket and bus tickets, don't you agree, once you get your bank account established? love, mom

  2. If you don't come back fluent in German, it's going to be a blow to all of us. Remember that as you try to manage everything else.

    Love, Deirdre