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: