Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Update :-)

Sorry we haven’t updated our blog in a while! We weren’t really sure if anyone was reading it since we never get any comments on our posts……just kidding ;-) But seriously, please feel free to comment. We would love to hear from you.

A lot has happened since we last wrote. I’m going to start with some bad news :-( Šimon is gone. It makes me sad just to write that. A couple of weeks ago we had a game in Czech. We were going to be gone for a couple of days and didn’t want him to be cooped up inside all that time. He was used to being outside…we usually put him outside for a few hours each day while we were at practice or just running errands, but the second we got home he would come running. It was pretty sweet really. Well this time he didn’t come running. We were so excited to see him that we were disappointed when we didn’t see him right away, but it was like 5 in the morning so we decided to just go to sleep and call for him when we woke up from our nap. When we woke up there was still no sign of him. We knew something wasn’t right. We called for him constantly for the rest of the day, but he still never came. About two days later we made signs with his picture and information on it. It took a while to get these done because we don’t have a printer so we had to go to a copying store. On top of that, we had to write the sign in Slovensky. I (Tina) made the sign but then had my teammate look at it and help me make the necessary corrections. We hung them all around where we live, at the vet’s office, and everywhere else we could think of. We had some glimpses of hope over the next few days with people calling about our signs saying that they had seen our cat. It took us a few days to realize that there are a couple other black and white cats around where we live, and the people were always calling about a cat that they thought looked like Šimon. It was very sweet of them to call though! To make a long story short, our kitty is gone, and we miss him like crazy! I seriously don’t even like cats, but I LOVED that cat. He had the personality of a dog, and it was just so cute. There is still a small part of me holding on to hope that he might just randomly show up one day, so we would appreciate some prayers if you think about him :-)

We had a day off a while ago so Jen and I decided to take a day trip to Košice, a city about 30 minutes from where we live. It is the 2nd largest city in Slovakia (the largest is the capital, Bratislava). In Košice, we went to the mall first. We shopped, saw Santa :-), and ate McDonald’s! After that, we went to the Center where the city’s Christmas Market is set up. From what I understand, many European cities have Christmas Markets during the holiday season. Our city, Prešov, has one. Also, when we were in Vienna a few weeks ago, they were beginning to set up theirs. It is basically a bunch of booths set up in the center of the city selling food, hot drinks, ornament-like things, and then there are always some completely random things that don’t really seem to fit. It was fun to see Košice’s market, but we didn’t stay long because we were freezing!

We were supposed to have a game against the 2nd place team in our league last Sunday, but on Saturday after practice, our teammates told us that our game was cancelled. We thought they were kidding, but they promised they were serious. They said it was cancelled because the team we were supposed to be playing had some players who were sick. Jen and I looked at each other like, “Are they serious?! Tough break…” I don’t think I have ever heard of a game in the US being cancelled because some players were sick. Anyways, we are now learning that that game has to be rescheduled sometime before January 16th and one possible date is January 5th. If that happens, our Christmas break will be shortened by about 5 days which we are not happy about at all! There is a chance that the game will be rescheduled for January 13th which is what we are praying for. Hopefully we will find out soon!

It snowed today! It has been getting steadily colder over the past week or so, and a few days ago we had some snow flurries, but it didn’t really stick. Today was the first real snow! I’m so excited. We have been waiting for this for a long time….we can’t wait to have a snowball fight, make snow angels, and go sledding! We still need a little more snow before we can do all of that so we will probably have to wait until we come back after Christmas. Driving in the snow is a new experience for me! I think our car was in shock today because it did not seem like it wanted to take us to practice. It would barely accelerate, and then when I tried to brake it was very delayed. I learned quickly not to follow closely behind the other cars. At one point, when I was in the middle of a left hand turn, the car just stopped turning and started sliding to the right. Luckily we were only going about 5 miles per hour or it could have been bad! Thanks for protecting us God :-)

We have a tournament this weekend before we go home for Christmas. We play 3 games in 3 days against different teams in our league. Apparently this tournament is a pretty big deal so I hope we do well!

We can’t wait to go home for Christmas. It will be great to be with family and friends and also just to be back in the United States! I have been craving Mexican food soooooooo much so that’s something else I’m looking forward to :-) Anyways, we leave the morning of the 22nd to head home so we have 5 days left! One thing that’s pretty weird is that as of now, Jen and I are on different flights. We are both leaving from Budapest and flying to LA but not together. Weird…..I don’t know who plans these things. We called our manager and the travel agent and asked to be on a flight together since that would make our 15 hours much more enjoyable, but we will see what happens. Also, I’m glad that I got to look at my itinerary ahead of time because after a quick glance, I could see that my last flight stopped in LA instead of making a connection that would take me home to Phoenix. Haha…..I got that problem resolved pretty quickly :-)

We hope you are all doing great, and we hope that you are enjoying this Christmas season! Only 9 more days until Christmas!

Here are some verses to remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas!!!

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Luke 2:9-14
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Until next time,
Jen and Tina

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Late Thanksgiving!

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!! For the last 4 years we have been away from our families during Thanksgiving, but we were with our Vanderbilt family so that was still great. This year was a little different. Obviously we were in a different country, and since nobody here celebrates Thanksgiving we had to make some plans of our own. We had the day off which was great! We slept in and then went to lunch at our usual place. After that, we went to the grocery store and picked up some things that we needed in order to cook or own Thanksgiving meal. We borrowed some pots and pans from a teammate so that our cooking would go a little faster.

I (Tina) started off cooking the green bean casserole. That is definitely one of my favorite Thanksgiving foods so that was one thing we had to have. Jen was in charge of the mashed potatoes, and I must say she did a fantastic job. After those two things were taken care of, I got the corn cooking and then turned my attention to the gravy. Jen and I both love gravy, and we agree that it is one of the most important parts of a successful Thanksgiving meal. Well, let me just say that we were pretty darn close to having an unsuccessful meal if we were basing it off of our gravy! I must have looked up 15 different recipes before settling on the one that sounded the best. Granted, we didn’t have a turkey (we ate chicken instead) so that meant we didn’t have any drippings or anything. I started making the gravy using some flour, olive oil, beef broth, and some other ingredients. It hadn’t been cooking for 2 minutes before the flour completely decided to take over and form the chunkiest, lumpiest “gravy” I have ever seen. We added water, more broth, more oil, and whatever other liquids we could find to try to make that lump resemble something similar to gravy, but that flour had a mind of its own. Failed attempt #1. We decided to try again. At this point, the rest of our food is pretty much getting cold, but oh well. The meal would not be complete without gravy. We tried again using much less flour and much more broth. The flour immediately clumped together and just started floating around in the broth. After trying to break it apart, we decided to just scoop it out and try to at least save the broth. Failed attempt #2. I decided to look up another recipe completely. This one called for ½ cup of flour, but we only ended up using about 2 tablespoons…we had already seen what happened with the other two attempts…we didn’t want to make that mistake again. I have to say, this gravy didn’t exactly taste like gravy, but it was a liquid so we were happy about that, and we decided to just go with it. We cooked the chicken, heated up the rest of the food that was now cold, and then sat down for our feast. DELICIOUS! In spite of the gravy fiasco, our meal was a success! And to be honest, once the gravy was mixed with some mashed potatoes and chicken, it wasn’t half bad. We topped off our feast with a little sparkling cider (another Thanksgiving necessity, in my opinion). It’s always tough to be away from your family and friends during the holidays, but I am just so thankful that I can be with my best friend sharing all of these fun experiences!

I love Thanksgiving, and I’m so happy that Jen and I were able to find ways to celebrate. We have so much to be thankful! I know I speak for both of us when I say that we are thankful for our families, our friends, all of the amazing opportunities we have been given, and most of all for Jesus who died for us and who shows His love to us every day.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is just around the corner, I can’t wait to start getting in the Christmas spirit! I will be making a CD of Christmas songs very soon, and I’m sure we will start watching some of our favorite Christmas movies in the next couple of days! Oh, and we are going home in 24 days! Starting the countdown…

Until next time,
Jen and Tina

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” -James 1:17

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vienna, Austria

In our last blog, Tina talked about our new kitty Šimon. He has been a lot of fun. He is a very active little kitty! He also poops a ton! We aren’t going to feed him as much because he doesn’t know how to control himself. We had to leave him for a day or so when we left for our trip to Vienna, Austria. He was not very happy with us when we came back. All he did was meow at us. Tina and I felt horrible. It was almost like he was yelling at us for leaving him so long. I never knew a cat knew how to work a guilt trip!


The trip to Vienna was a lot of fun. Tina and I made cookies for all the girls to eat on the way there. The bus ride took about 7 hours with a few stops in between. We drove past Budapest which was beautiful! We thought we were in Vienna because Vacki, one of our teammates, told us we were in Vienna. It was very dark so we couldn’t tell. We thought, “wow that was a fast trip!” Then she said, “Oh sorry, I was just kidding.” We were so mad ;-) Vienna was 2 ½ hours past Budapest. We got to Vienna really late. Tina, Vacki, and I were roommates. We laughed and talked for a bit then went to sleep. Someone woke me up on the middle of the night with her snoring and it wasn’t Tina! (SMH) We had asked her if she did that kind of thing and she said no….

The next day we woke up for breakfast. I had a couple pieces of bread with butter on it. The European style breakfast has been a little different compared to the US. There is always coffee, tea, ham, cereal, and warm milk. Sometimes there are hard boiled eggs and jam. I was still hungry after breakfast, but I heard there was a McDonald's in town so I knew I wouldn’t be hungry all day :)

We went to the gym next for a short practice. This was the first time we ever had practice or a “shoot around” before the game. I’m glad we did because Tina and I got use to the slippery floor and worn down WNBA balls. Shoot around was interesting. We played a game of 5 on 5. Each team had to play zone. I didn’t want to get worn out before the game, but as soon as he said, “No dribbling,” I knew I wouldn’t be tired at all. Just frustrated.

After our one hour practice we had to leave the hotel by 12. The game wasn’t until 6:30pm, so we had a lot of time to kill. We ate lunch at this restaurant in the gym and then we were off to see Vienna. Vienna was a pretty city. We saw their Parliament, Center, and different markets that they have during Christmas. It was a nice city, but I wish we would have had a chance to see other parts of Vienna. We looked up so many beautiful buildings before the trip. We thought we would get to see most of them, but only saw one. It was still nice being in a different country. The people in Austria speak German. It was a good thing we had Vacki with us because she studied and played in Austria for a little bit and learned the language. To kill time we went to good ol’ McDonalds, a very cool park for kids, and talked with different people who spoke English. After all of our different adventures we took a tram through the city back to the gym.

The Game…

We were so tired before the game from walking and site seeing. Tina and I were thinking, “hope this doesn’t affect how we play.” It didn’t one bit. What affected us the most was the refereeing. Before the game, one of our teammates told us not to talk to these refs because they were bad and would give us technical fouls. We were thinking, “uh oh.”

The other team had two American players and one player who played in America but was from Slovakia. Tina and I both were excited to play against other Americans and to speak in English during the game with them.

The start of the game was crazy! The ref blew his whistle at least 5 times in the first minute of play. Travel…carry…travel…foul…carry… We didn’t know what to think. One girl was literally walking and dribbling and the ref called her for carrying. I have never played in a game before with horrible refs like this. I know we all complain about calls sometimes, or think it cant get any worse, but I mean it when I say, THEY WERE HORRIBLE! Six people fouled out. Six others had 4 fouls. We would talk to the other Americans during the game and ask what was wrong with their refs. They would reply…I don’t know they hate us! We would laugh at almost ever call and talk about it. The fans were going crazy because of the lack of basketball knowledge on their part. My coach got a technical for saying, “Hey, Hey, Hey!” haha Tina and I laughed a lot during the game. I have never felt this feeling in a game before. I actually felt like the other team was sort of a part of our team, and we were all playing against the refs. It was like one big joke on everyone in the gym put on by the refs. I really wish we could have won the game, but it was completely out of our control. Even the other team felt as though they lost. I’m shaking my head right now thinking…. “I don’t ever want to play a basketball game in Austria again.” After the game we laughed and shook hands. I told the Americans on the other team to not worry about this game. When they come to Slovakia they will be able to enjoy the game and maybe have fun. I’m not saying our refs are good, but after experiencing those refs, let’s just say I’m thankful for the ones we have.

*Jen and Tina

Sometimes in life we want things to go our way, but we need to remember that God says in Proverbs 19:21…"Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails."

Pray for God’s plan for your life.

If you want to see more pictures of our trip to Vienna, just copy and paste the following link:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our New Friend Šimon

We have a kitty! His name is Šimon (it’s pronounced ‘Simon’ but with an ‘sh’). We were at lunch last week and then after lunch we decided to go to the bank to finish getting some things set up with our accounts. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the restaurant to the bank. We were walking, and it was kinda raining a little bit. We had walked about one minute when I (Tina) heard a ‘meow.’ I looked around and saw a cute little kitty sitting underneath a parked car. It looked so sad and cold being out in the rain. I walked over to it and stuck my hand out towards it and it came right to me. A car drove by and it ran under the car again but then it came right back out to me. Jen was standing on the sidewalk and told me to pick it up. I picked it up, and it just curled right up in my arms. We started walking with it to the bank, talking about what to do with it. When we got to the bank, we didn’t want to leave it outside so we took it in with us. We figured that if anyone had a problem with it we could just play the “I don’t understand what you’re saying” card. Nobody seemed to mind. After the bank we were getting ready to drive home. We decided to take him with us.

When we got home, the first thing we did was give him a bath. He was surprisingly really good about it. He tried to escape a couple of times, but for the most part, he just stood there and let us wash him. We drove to the store and bought some kitty litter and food. When we gave him the food, he ate like an animal that hadn’t been fed in days. I know I keep referring to this cat as a “he,” but to be honest, we aren’t sure if it’s a girl or a boy. We looked up on the computer how to tell if a cat is a male or female, but we still aren’t sure. Obviously the name Šimon is a boy’s name so we are just gonna go with that unless we find out different.

I don’t know a whole lot about cats, and to be honest, I don’t really like them that much. Jen has a cat so she knows more than I do. Both of us were shocked at how much Šimon wanted to be with us. Most cats that I’ve been around seem like they want to do their own thing and just come back when they want food or something. Not this cat. He follows us around like a little puppy. If we sit on the couch, he is curled up on top of us or right next to us. If we get up, so does he. We don’t let him come in our bedrooms or in the kitchen though so that requires some disciplining on our part. He is trained pretty well, but sometimes he still tries to sneak in. If he disobeys too many times we just put him in the bathroom and close the door for a little while.

We are very thankful for Šimon because he brightens up our days. We look forward to coming back to our apartment to see him. When we are just sitting on the couch being bored, it’s fun to watch him. We gave him a couple little balls that I had brought with me. He loves playing with them. He will chase them all around the living room, then stop, wait, and pounce again. You have a lot of free time when you’re overseas which is great but can sometimes be a little boring. Šimon helps the boring times not seem so boring. Thanks Šimon, and thanks God for bringing Šimon to us :-)

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” -1 John 5:14

Until next time,
Jen and Tina

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Šariš Castle

We had a day off over the weekend so we looked up some fun things to do. Jen loves castles, and we found out that there are 3 in Prešov. After having lunch at Atrium, we decided to drive to Šariš castle and take some pictures. We didn’t really have good directions (since there are NO street names/signs out here), but amazingly we found it without getting lost once. I take that back…we found the parking lot without getting lost once! After we parked, we got out and started walking towards the castle. It was a pretty cold day, and we were dressed in jeans and sweaters (if you know me and Jen you know that we are usually in sweats, but on this particular day, we decided to get “dressed up”…terrible decision!) We just ended up freezing!

Anyways, moving on…we had walked about 5 minutes on a little path when I decided that I thought I knew a shortcut so I climbed up this little hill thinking that the castle was probably sitting on top of that hill…wrong. All that was there was a little covered wagon type thing. We took some pictures and then continued on our way.

We walked for probably 20 more minutes before we started wondering if there even was a castle and if we were walking in the right direction. There were a couple signs but they were all in Slovensky which means virtually nothing to us. So basically, we were freezing cold, walking through the woods, and all the while, not even sure where we were supposed to be going. We finally saw some people walking towards us so we decided to try to ask if we were on the right track. We know the Slovak word for castle is ‘hrad’ so we would just say the word and then point or look sort of confused…it seemed to work. Most people nodded or pointed in the direction of the castle. It was just great to have some confirmation that a castle existed.

We walked probably 20 more minutes and right when Jen had just about had enough we saw the castle! We walked through the entrance of the castle and immediately 3 goats started walking towards us. Jen and I looked at each other like “What in the world? Are these things safe?” Luckily there were some other people nearby, and I’m sure they could tell we were nervous so they just sort of smiled at us and nodded their heads.

The castle is mostly in ruins now. It was originally built in the 12th century and was later burnt down by the Polish king in the 17th century. We walked around and explored different parts of the castle. Then we saw that there was a way to get to the top of one of the tallest building so we climbed through a tiny hole and then up some stairs. The view at the top was worth it. We looked out over the city and the beautiful surroundings. It was especially beautiful because we could see the sunset. That’s when we realized that we had better get the heck out of there! The sun sets around 4:30 here, and it was about 4:05 when we were standing on top of the castle. Considering that it had taken us about 50 minutes to get to the castle, we knew that if we didn’t get moving we were gonna be stuck in the woods in the dark! Needless to say, we made good time getting back to our car! It wasn’t exactly the trip we had planned (we just thought we were going to drive right up to a castle, get out, and take some pictures)…it turned out to be much more of an adventure, and that’s what made it so fun!

If you want to see more pictures, just copy and paste the following link:

Until next time,
Jen and Tina

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." -Philippians 4:8

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pizza Friday

Jen and I are quickly becoming pretty darn good cooks. We make new meals every night, and I must say, we haven’t made a bad one yet. On Friday we decided to make homemade pizza. First of all, we need to give a little shout out to Spin and Mike who inspired our “Pizza Friday” idea and who also were the greatest teachers ever when it comes to Italian Cooking 101! :-) We wish you could have been here to taste our pizza…we think you would have been proud.

We were proud of ourselves because it is no easy task walking into a grocery store and trying to buy things when you really aren’t too sure what you are actually buying. We can’t read very many words in Slovensky and even when we can read the words, there is sometimes a big difference between an American version of a product and a Slovakian version of that same product. With some help from a few women at the grocery store, we managed to buy tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, oregano, mushrooms, onions, pizza dough, and cheese.

When we started cooking, Jen got to work cutting up the cheese. We don’t have a cheese grater (and we are too cheap to buy one) so we had to cut the cheese into small pieces. I made the pizza dough. After that we had to go to practice. When we came back, we got to work on the sauce. We had a general recipe to follow, but we sort of improvised, as well, and it turned out delicious.

We made 2 pizzas. One was half cheese, half pepperoni. The other was half pepperoni, half ham. Both were very, very good. All in all, I think our first Pizza Friday on our own was a success. Next time, we want to try making BBQ Chicken pizza. We will see how that goes… :-)

Until next time,
Jen and Tina

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” -John 14:6

Monday, October 26, 2009

Road Trip to Čimo’s

We went to our teammate’s house for a day and a half this weekend. She lives about two hours away. We had practice Friday evening, and then me, Jen, and three of our teammates piled in the car and drove to her town. The ride seemed quick. We listened to music and played “Guess that Celebrity.”

When we got to her house, her dad had dinner ready which was very sweet. After dinner we went bowling. Jen and one of our teammates (Mima) had made a bet that the loser would have to buy the winner Marlenka. It’s a sort of cake-like dessert that Jen loves. I wasn’t in on the bet, but I decided to beat them both anyways. Just kidding…but I’m serious about beating them :-). We bowled two games, but by the second game we were all just goofing around. Jen was bowling between her legs, and everyone tried spinning around ten times and then bowling. I don’t think anyone hit a single pin. It was fun though just spending time with our teammates in a different atmosphere than we are used to.

The next morning we woke up around 9 and Čimo had breakfast ready for us. Thanks Čimo! :-) After breakfast we all bundled up in the warmest clothes we had and headed for the High Tatras. This was something that Jen and I were hoping to do ever since we found out we were going to Slovakia. According to a little Slovakian book that we have, the High Tatras are Europe’s most magnificent mountains (besides the Alps :-). It was about a 45 minute drive from Čimo’s house. The drive up the mountain was so foggy that we could literally only see about ten feet in front of us, but when we finally got up high enough it was BEAUTIFUL! We parked and then walked around for a few hours. It wasn’t really that cold. Our teammates told us to bundle up like crazy, but as the hike went on, I kept taking off layers until I was in some basketball shorts and a dri-fit long sleeve. We saw the ramp where people train to do ski jumping. We climbed all the way to the top of it (which was quite a task) and then pretended to prepare for our jumps. It is really quite ridiculous to imagine someone doing that…especially after being up there and seeing how high it is. I have a new respect for those athletes, and I will probably be excited to watch it during the Winter Olympics. After we finally came down from there, we walked to a restaurant and got lunch. I tried halušky for the first time. Jen got chicken and rice. It was good. And cheap! After lunch, we walked to the car and drove back to Čimo’s.

We hung out at Čimo’s for about 45 minutes and then got ready to go to the Aqua Park. Jen and I had read a little bit about aqua parks in Slovakia while we were still in the USA , but we really couldn’t picture what they were like. Who would think of going to a water park when it’s freezing cold outside?! Well, it was great! When we got there, it pretty much looked like a water park that we would have in the U.S. We were thinking, “There is no way we are going to be walking around wet and in our swimsuits when it’s 30 degrees out here!” But the cool part is the whole thing is inside! There are heated hallways that you walk around in to get from place to place. And all the water is heated, too! It’s like being in a Jacuzzi. A lot of people come just to relax in the water because it’s mineral water and supposedly good for you. We went straight for the slides and spent a solid hour and a half going on slide after slide. It was so fun! There are slides where you need tubes and slides where you just need a little mat. We had races down slides that were side by side. Then, we tried this new slide. It was great! Jen and I got a double tube so that we could go on it. We didn’t really know anything about the slide so it was even better. The first part of the slide allows you to see a bit and then it gets dark. Before you know it, you shoot out of the slide into this big bowl shaped thing that is OUTSIDE in the open air! It’s ridiculous. We had no idea it was coming so we were just dying laughing. You go around the outside of the bowl about 3 times (enough to make you frozen) before you are eventually sucked into the middle of it and into another slide….and then it’s over. I have never been on a slide like that before! We went on it a few more times and then we got a great idea. Instead of waiting in line for the double tubes, we just decided to use the mats. So me, Jen, Mima, and Mišca grabbed mats and climbed the stairs to the slide. We were going to go two at a time but then we decided to just all go at once. I went first, Jen second, Mišca third, and then Mima. When we all shot out into the bowl-thing, I started to get separated from the others so Jen grabbed my hand. After we went around a few times , Mišca started to get sucked into the hole. I tried to grab her to keep her outside longer but we both got sucked in backwards. Jen and Mima weren’t far behind. We were laughing so hard when we got out. And then we got in trouble by the lifeguards….but it’s ok. We had fun :-)
We went back to Čimo’s and had the Slovakian version of spaghetti (I like to say the Slovak word for spaghetti. It is spelled špagety, but in Slovensky, the letter ‘š’ is pronounced like ‘sh’ in English so it sounds like you have a speech impediment when you say it…just some random information for ya :-). The spaghetti sauce in Slovakia basically tastes like tomato soup/ketchup so it’s not really spaghetti like we are used to. After dinner, we packed our bags and drove back to Prešov. A couple of our teammates live in Koŝice, a city 25 minutes away, so after dropping some off in Prešov, we drove to Košice. After we had dropped our teammate off, we went to McDonald’s. One of Jen’s favorite snacks is French fries and a caramel sundae from McDonald’s. I got two cheeseburgers. I have never been a big fan of McDonald’s but boy did it taste good! :-) We drove back to Prešov, and on the way we taught our teammate Mišca how to say some slang phrases in English. It was hilarious!!!

Anyways, it feels good to be back in Prešov for a few days. We play on Thursday and Sunday this week (not sure who or where…we kind of find things out day by day :-). I hope you are all doing great!

Here is a verse for your week:
“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” -Ephesians 6:19-20(Please pray for us :-)

Until next time,
Jen and Tina

If you want to see some more pictures, copy and paste the following link:

Poland -- Lubię podróżować- I like to travel! (In Polish)

Hey Everyone!

Jen here. I’m sure you all enjoyed Tina’s blog, but I know you have been dying to hear from me! Tina didn’t really talk about our trip to Poland, so I thought I would update you guys on all the fun we had.

The drive to Poland took about 5 hours. I thought I was going to read or listen to music in the car, but Tina and I just looked out the window for most of the ride. I wish I could show you a picture, but the van we took had huge pictures of Janel McCarville’s face on both sides of it. So anytime we were looking out the window we had to stretch our necks because her big head was in the way. It was hard looking out of Tina’s window because I not only had Janel’s head but Tina’s also!

Tina and I of course wanted to take pictures on our way to Poland, so our assistant coach stopped the van and let us take pictures on the side of the road. The other van apparently didn’t want to stop, so they kept going and we didn’t meet up with them again until we were in Krakow. I wish they would have waited because we were lost for about twenty minutes.

We stopped at this castle when we first crossed the Slovakian/Poland boarder. It was pretty. When we were walking into the castle there was a random sign with a picture of a ghost on it. I think that meant it was haunted…

It was hard to see Krakow when we finally arrived because it was dark outside. It’s a big city. We saw a few signs for McDonalds, IKEA, and KFC! We didn’t stop at any of those places, but it was nice being able to see some American signs. For dinner we had pasta with Alfredo type sauce and ham on top. It’s very similar to Halušky, which is one of Slovakia’s traditional meals. After dinner, I asked to see if we could go to the center of Krakow. My coach said he would take us so we all drove to the center. It was so beautiful! I love seeing the old buildings, the European style streets and alleys.

In the middle of the center was the famous Wawel Castle! It was really big and lit up. I love seeing castles! Some people may think it’s boring, but I’m used to seeing them in the movies. So to see it in person just amazes me.

Overall we had a pretty good time in Poland minus the loss. We could have beaten that team, but instead our coach wanted to work on our zone while we had a lead against a good team with a great shooter. Ahhh I miss the matchup zone we played in college!

Verse for today!
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 12:1-2

Love you & Dobrú noc! (Good night)

*Jen and Tina*

Oh, and if you want to see more pictures from our adventures in Poland, copy and paste the following link:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jen and Tina Back Together Again! Super!!!

Hi Everyone,

It’s Jen and Tina here. We are driving in Poland right now on our way back to Slovakia. I (Tina) got to Slovakia about a week ago. My first week has been a lot of fun, and I feel like I’m adjusting quickly to the culture and being on a new team and things like that. Jen and my teammates have been teaching me a lot of words and phrases, but I still can’t really communicate with people who don’t know any English…so we end up playing a lot of charades. I love that game :-)

Jen wants everyone to know that she is so happy I am here (I didn’t make that up). She says that it’s nice to be able to split the cost of gas :-) But I know that it's really just cuz she just missed me!

We go to the grocery store pretty much every day which we both enjoy. We have been eating very healthy meals (chicken, spinach salad, omelets, protein shakes…but those of you who know us well know that we still make room for our candy – peanut butter M&Ms, licorice, Milka, ice cream)!!!

Jen moved into the apartment about a week before I got there (and of course she took the better bedroom!) Don’t worry, I will show you pictures :-) Our apartment is nice. It is big, has a nice kitchen, hardwood floors, and a good heater (which is very important because it’s getting cold here in a hurry). I’m kind of a clean freak so I have spent a lot of time wiping everything down with Lysol wipes. I have had to stop doing that for a little bit though because we discovered a more pressing issue. Our apartment is infested with daddy long legs! Ok…maybe not infested, but there are cobwebs in pretty much every corner. It’s kind of ridiculous really….just when we think we have found all of them, we look up at the ceiling and find a new one. Luckily though, daddy long legs are probably the only bug that I’m not scared of so I’m in charge of killing them when we find them. In a few more days I think we will have the problem entirely taken care of!!! I just hope they don’t come back :-)

We have a washing machine, but up until a few days ago it was broken. A repair man came over a couple nights ago to fix it, and that was a hilarious experience. Two men came and neither spoke a bit of English so as you can probably guess, we had difficulty communicating. We finally pulled out a translation book that a friend had given to Jen, but could only find phrases like, “Where do we pitch our tent?” or “Where can I get a part time job?” or “Can I rent a car for two weeks?” We were dying laughing. The good news, though, is that our washer finally got fixed!!! Drying our clothes is a whole different story. Our contract said that we would have a dryer, so of course, being American, we were picturing a washer/dryer together. Not the case. Our “dryer” is basically like a combination of an ironing board and a clothesline. The first time we went to fold our dried clothes, they were as stiff as a board. Then we smelled them, and oh wow! It was like we hadn’t even washed them. We asked a teammate if there was a secret or something to washing/drying the clothes but she said no. We bought some fabric softener and are hoping that maybe that will be the key…we will see.

The basketball part of everything is a learning experience. Our coaches don’t speak English, but most of our teammates speak at least a little bit so they translate for us. It is great playing with Jen again…we have a lot of fun together. We find ourselves doing a lot of pick and rolls and just really looking for each other on offense. Our teammates are great though…very sweet girls who have made us feel welcome here. As Yulka, one of my teammates, says “Super!!!”

Here are some of the words/phrases we have learned:

Ako sa máš? = How are you?
Potraviny = food store
Dobré ráno = good morning
Prepáč = sorry, excuse me
Prosím = please, ok, excuse me, etc. (this word has a lot of meanings)
Ďakujem = thank you
Ako sa voláš? = What’s your name?

Well, just wanted to update you on our experiences over here. We will try to be more consistent with writing and posting pictures! Hope you are all doing great!!!!!!!!

Until next time,
Jen & Tina

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully commmitted to Him." -2 Chronicles 16:9

Oh, and we just wanted to say, Liz, we know you’re reading this…hang in there! :-) Coach Vicky, hang in there, too!! :-)

Copy and paste this link to see some pictures:

Sunday, September 27, 2009



There are a couple of food pictures above. One is of an omelette I eat pretty often and the other is something I had for lunch the other day. I eat lunch at a restaurant called Atrium. People in Slovakia typically eat pork every day. It is tradition and history of the country to serve it at lunch and dinner. One of my friends was telling me, that Slovakia was a poor country in the past. It was cheaper to buy swine than it was to buy cows. I assume it still is, but in Presov they are very proud of their country and their town. Even though they offer other options like chicken or fish, they hold on to their roots and serve pork with everything! I really admire this and respect them for holding onto their traditions and values. (even the younger people) :) I still eat chicken everywhere I go. Slovakian people also love their potatoes! They can eat potatoes with any and everything. One of my friends Alena farms potatoes. She told me I won't need to buy any because I have her. I had a famous meal with Alena a couple weeks back called "Halusky". Pronounced(ha-loosh-ky). It tasted like gnocchi. There was also ham on the top. It was very filling and not nutritional at all, but I was happy I tried some of it. Rice is also another typical side dish with a few cucumbers. Atrium changes their menu every week, so each day I'm trying new things.

Above, there are also pictures of me and a few of my friends here. One picture is of me and my friend Natalia and her puppy Kimo. He is the cutest dog ever! The other picture is of her, her husband Richard, and Kimo. One of the days this week we went to a park and had "Kofola." Kofola is basically Slovaki's version of soda. They have other brands of Soda, but this is their creaton of it!

I found out yesterday that I will be moving into my apartment on Tuesday. That's what they "say", but I will believe it when I see it. I was a little sad when I received that info because I really enjoy staying in the hotel. I love seeing all my friends everyday. I told some of them that I might be moving out on Tuesday and they told me they would put a chair for me at the receptionist table. That's usually where I hang out. The other day one of my friends gave me some homemade strawberry jam. It was delicious! I shared with some of the girls the taste of peanut butter and they loved it. I told Miska PB&J is the way to go, so she told her mom to make me jam!

I have a game later today in Poprad. It is an hour away. We played them a couple of weeks ago, but this one counts for league. I'm excited because there is a guard on the other team who is really fiesty and I'm not sure if any of you know this about me...but I'm competitive. Today, I will show her my fiesty side! :)

Love you all!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Hanging out :)

Hey everyone!

Today is a very beautiful day in Presov. It's about 75 degrees outside. I just got back from eating lunch at Atrium. I get to eat there free everyday for lunch. I can't read the menu so I just order some form of chicken everyday. After lunch we went and got ice cream from the Croatia ice cream stand. Very good ice cream! It's really cheap too. One scoop cost 30 cents in Euros.

I'm still living in the hotel as of right now, but I don't mind it at all. Like I said before everyone is so nice. I have really good conversations with the receptionist who are becoming very good friends of mine. I can't do my laundry becuase I'm not in my apartment, so the cleaning lady, Franchesca does it for me in the hotel! She is so sweet. She doesn't speak a lick of English, but everyday we try to share a few words, smiles, and laughter.

Last night I ate at the hotel and met Mark, an American that works in the Automotive industry here. He works in the factory in Presov. He lives in Prog, but travels to Presov during the week. His co-worker was also there. Her name is Stacy. She is from Munich and flies in Presov about once a year. It was really nice having dinner with them and talking about random things. Next time Mark and I hang out, he is going to show me different sites in Presov.

Mark and Stacy were not the only English speaking people I talked to yest.. I also spoke with Erin Lawless who plays for Kosice. Kosice is twenty minutes from me. We are having a tournament in Presov this week so I will see her again today. Erin played on the Presov team last year and moved up to the club's higher team. She said there are a good amount of American people that live in Kosice and that I should come visit her and hang out. I will have to do that very soon! :)

Matt 5:6
Blessed are those who thirst and hunger for righteousness. For they shall be filled!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Oh ya!

I forgot one more thing. For lunch I had pasta and salad. This salad is amazing. It takes like the salad Lisa C. use to make at her house. (Except no crackers and cheese and you know what else ;) ) While I waited for my lunch I read a verse in Mark. Mark 16:15 it says, 'He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."' I love that verse! Misha asked me what I read while I was eating and I had her read it in English. She understood perfectly! I have made great friends here in SLovakia. Women who also have faith in an amazing God. Love you! Time for my nap!


Friends are a gift!

Hey Everyone.
Today has been great so far. I had a hard time sleeping last night and woke up at 4am. I couldnt go back to sleep until 6:30. I didn't hear my alarm and almost missed shooting with one of my teammates. For breakfast, I cooked oatmeal that I brought from home. You may be thinking, 'how did she make oatmeal in her hotel!' Well, like I said, the people here are amazing. They are doing everything they can to make me feel special. They gave me a microwave to keep in my room while I'm here. The oatmeal I brought from home. :)

I went to shoot with Misha, one of my teammates. She goes to the University and is studying to get her BA in "Adult Development." After shooting I talked to Misha, the receptionist. (Misha is a popular name) She is starting to be one of my good friends, along with Alena (the other receptionist). Misha and I talked about all kinds of stuff. She has already invited me to come visit her home 40 mins away and see the historical church and town and to just hang out. I told her that Alena and I had talked about seeing a movie in the future. So we will all hang out at some point. :) Some movies out here are in Enlgish with subtitles in Slovencina/Slovak. I also told Misha that in the winter I want to go sledding with Tina. She said we can do that and go snowboarding! I'm so excited about the friends I am making here. They are very kind and sweet. God knew what He was doing when He sent me here! :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meeting Friends

I have met amazing people in the hotel I'm staying in. There are two receptionist that are starting to be great friends of mine. Misha is very sweet. She helped me figure out how to get my internet to work. She went out her way to figure out if my adapter would fit the Slovakian plug. We spent a couple hours hoping it would work. Finally I just said, "what the heck, plug it in!" It worked!

The other receptionist I met was Alena. She is great. We talked for a few hours tonight about, friends, family, God, America, Slovakia, Guys, School, and so much more. We are going to the Cinema soon, but I don't know what we are going to see yet.
Talking about God was really special. I told her that I like to pray and read my bible. It was nice just encouraging her to share her faith to others. Maybe we will go to church Sunday.

Well, today was another great day in Presov, Slovakia! Love ya!


Some pics from my first days

Please let me know if you cant see these pics! Here is one site from Facebook.

If that site didnt work here is another link.

First few days in Slovakia

My plane ride to Slovakia was great. My first flight was to Zurich Switzerland. The flight lasted around 11 hours. I usually always pray that I meet special people when I fly. This trip I met Rotem from Israel. We talked for hours about our family, friends, and culture. She taught me how to write my name in Hebrew. We also listened to some Hebrew music on her laptop. I thought I would share with her some American brownies I made a couple nights before with friends. She loved them. Everyone usually does.

My Second plane ride was from Zurich to Budapest. On that flight I sat with Gathen, a guy from Wales, UK. I shared brownies with him too! This flight was an hour. We talked about random stuff like sports, school, food. He helped me find my luggage at the airport when we landed. While we waited we cracked jokes about how some europeans cut you when you are waiting in line for places.

After I left Gathen I met Josef! He was my Taxi driver from Budapest to Slovakia. He was great! He spoke very little English, but we made it work. He gave me a book so I can translate Slovak into English. Very useful! We drove and talked. We listened to all kinds of American music and some Slovak. Then he put on a AC/DC video and we watched that. :) After 30 minutes we stopped at a gas station for water and candy. He bought me carbonated water :/ and chocolate:)
Kosice was our next stop. It's twenty minutes from Presov. We stopped there for dinner. I had pizza and a glass of white wine. While we ate we watched a futbol game. Slovakia vs Czech! It was a tie, but Josef seemed really happy about it. After pizza we drove to my hotel.

My hotel is called Carpe Diem. Seize the day! Don't waste it! This hotel is great. My apartment won't be ready for a couple weeks, but it's actually a blessing! I have a huge bed, nice view, flat screen tv, and restaurant to eat in.

The next morning I had breakfst with the mayor. He owns the hotel and the restaurant. I eat there for free breakfast and dinner. I had eggs and ham. I also had scrambled eggs with onions. This was very difficult for me to eat. I didn't want to be rude, but I didn't order onions! I hate onions and just tried to swallow it whole with out chewing. He brought his dog along with him to. Her name was Tina. I kept thinking, "how can I sneak these eggs to this dog?" Anyway, I ate half. Good enough! :)

Later I ate lunch with some teammates. They are so nice. Yunka / Julia is from Russia. Andy is from Slovakia. I had chicken noodle soup and chicken, rice and veggies for my meal. Oh, and more carbonated water.

Later that day I had a game. I met the rest of my team at the game. Learned a few plays. We played Poprad at home. It was really fun being able to play again. Refs...not so good.

After the game I came back to the restaurant and had a nice steak dinner, with a salad, and fruit salad. It was amazing! To drink I asked for regular (non-carbonated) water. It tasted so good! The name of the bottle was Savior. I thought was a great finish to my day. My Lord and Savior reminding me that he is still with me wherever I go and will take care of my every need. Thanks Jesus. Well, thats all for now. Love you friends and fam!