Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Still Alive: Getting Caught up on the News

I can't believe so much time has gone by since the last time I blogged. I haven't been late for anything, but the rapid passage of time sure has surprised me.

For about two weeks I have nearly completely cut myself off from communication with the New World. I'm not sure what it is that I've been up to that I'm too busy to respond to people's emails, to write a new blog post, to get around to writing and sending my newsletter (if I don't have that written and emailed by Friday, I'm going to feel REALLY guilty). I did talk to my family on skype on Sunday, as per usual. I think the only other contact I had with America was to also talk to my friend Sandi on skype and reassure my friend Elise that I was still living, in spite of the fact that she hadn't heard from me since she couldn't remember when...

To me this indicates that it's well past time to give an accounting of my time (well or not) spent. Of course the majority of my time and thoughts and energy has gone into teaching and working on class prep, trying to think of interesting things for my students to learn/talk about in English. I've spent a lot of time corresponding with the other LCMS Eurasia girls trying to get a weekend getaway for all of us planned (looks like that should come together quite nicely, if briefly, this weekend).

The other Ashley arrived in Cesky Tesin on Monday, so I went to see her during the day on Tuesday. I had a brass rehearsal last week (we started practicing Christmas music already three weeks ago!) and for the Friday afternoon Book of Concord meeting, Ashley and I went to see Stephanie. We managed to not get any reading done, but rather the we two Ashleys did some shopping in Stephanie's foyer. She'd had a three day fall break at the beginning of the week, and had had a chance to sort out even MORE junk that she didn't want to keep in the apartment. In this case, one woman's trash turned out to be TWO women's treasure. I couldn't lift all the stuff that I wanted to bring home with me, so I will be doing some more shopping in Stephanie's thrift store as soon as I get the chance.

This past weekend was also the fall conference for the youth of the SCEAV (Silesian Lutheran Church) which Ashley and I attended. That was Friday evening and most of Saturday for me.

Sunday was a blessed day of rest for me! I had no lunch invitations from anyone, and so I had the luxury of trying to make something tasty and new for myself for my Sunday Dinner (I made something, and sure made a lot of it, although I am not sure what to make of it...). I also spent some time reading a BOOK, something that I have been rarely doing lately, but am always longing to do. In the afternoon at Biblicke hodina (Bible hour), I learned that Pastor Klus' youngest child-- two-year-old Daniela-- had fallen off the toy slide in the children's Sunday school room and had to be taken to the emergency room (the CT scan showed nothing major, and she and mom should be home from the hospital this afternoon). That evening I had dinner with Pastor Kadlubiec, his wife, and one of the teachers from my school and her family. They had come to sing at Bible hour and they did a marvelous job.

Monday was the 19 year anniversary of the fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia. Because of the holiday, there was no school and I slept all the way until 8:00! Yes, indeed: the sun was actually UP when I woke up yesterday! Hard to believe, I know. I didn't get out of bed until 10:00, but rather spent those two hours finishing "Through Gates of Splendor" about Jim Elliot and the rest of the missionary men killed in "Operation Auca" in the jungles of Ecuador in January 1956. After that, I did a tiny bit of cleaning (another thing I'd been neglecting for at least two weeks... yuck) and got ready for the day.

I'd received an invitation to lunch with the Danys family, and so at noon Daniel picked me up and we went. It was a very delightful afternoon. There is such a dedication to and a love for learning in their family. Daniel and his wife, Jana both speak English quite fluently and they are working on teaching their two sons the language as well. Kuba, their oldest, is a brilliant second grader who likes to spend his vacation time in museums! Filip is about kindergarten age, and talks a blue streak. It was wonderful, and would have been even more wonderful if I could have understood more than 15% of what he was saying. Then of course there is beautiful little Natalka, their 6 month old daughter. On the day of her baptism, I had been honored to be a guest at their home and to share with the extended family the joy of their little girl being adopted into God's family. Wonderful. Yesterday we talked extensively about travel and language learning and also played a full game of Phase 10 (miracle that I won... Kuba was on a role for most of the game).

When I came home I finally had the chance to speak to Pastor Klus and ask him about his little girl and when she would be home. I spent the rest of the late afternoon/ early evening chatting with him, his father-in-law, Bishop Pietak, and Dale Feenstrom, a visiting American pastor. It was great to get to "talk church" with them and learn how things have changed here for the Church since the time of communism. Very interesting stuff.

Today: I hope that Sarka will be able to come for our weekly prayer meeting tonight. It may not be possible, as she and Daniela are only supposed to come back from the hospital this afternoon, and she may need a rest.
This evening are my conversation classes, and I'm praying for amazing things, based on how the classes went last week. I really owe a whole post to discuss Adult Conversation Nov. 11. Hopefully I'll get to that today too. Hmm. I've got a lot to do.

Tomorrow: Follow-up appointment with the dermatologist to check on my Pityriasis rosea. I've had more interesting "conditions" here than I've had at any other one time in my life, I'm sure. This means that tomorrow should be pretty restful as Monika has told me I should take the day off for the appointment. Maybe I'll finish up these loose ends tomorrow during my free time.

I suppose that will do it for the Ashley-centered update. I hope that'll be the last one... John 3:30

Please pray for my students, especially those who don't yet have faith in Christ's atoning work for the forgiveness of their sins. Pray that Daniela will fully recover from this scary injury and will suffer no long-term damage. Pray that Chris will find a new job. Pray that Tyler will fully recover from his car crash. Pray that Christ will give me direction as whether I should remain here another year or return to the States.

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