Monday, October 26, 2009

Sitting in Starbucks :)

Hi Everyone!

I'm having a relaxing afternoon, sipping my vanilla latte at a table in Starbucks, on the main street of Prague - Wenceslas Square. The buildings are huge and gorgeous on both sides of the wide street with people bustling about everywhere. And no, I don't feel bad about the little taste of Commercialized America. :)

Let's see. This past week was a very nice one. Talitha had a friend visiting for a few days, which ended up being a very enjoyable experience for us all. We had a holiday from school on Friday which I used to finally shop for and buy a pair of winter boots. :) And we had a fun dinner with the Pastor and his wife of our church who Talitha works with (a young American couple with 3 young kids). That was really fun - the first question they asked us was "Do either of you play Blokus?" :)

We also had an interesting experience while dropping Talitha's friend off at the airport Wed. night. A girl in her twenties approached us and asked if we had any spare change. We talked with her for a while and came to find out that she was from Prague but had been traveling around the past few years, and lived with her boyfriend in France until a few months ago when they broke up. She's been living in the airport since then, without a job. She said she goes to the library to look on the internet for jobs, but hasn't found anything yet.

That morning in my quiet time I was thinking and praying about how I wanted to be more open and aware of situations in which God could minister to the people around me - it's too easy for me to just breeze through the day without really taking the time to see the people I come in contact with, you know? So, anyways, at the risk of being too "American" or "Christian-y" in this extremely different culture in Prague I asked her if I could pray for her. She looked at me like I was crazy :) so I just said something like, I wish I could help you more, but I also know that God cares about and loves you, and I'd like to ask him to help you too. She said yes and just stared at me, so I just kept my eyes opened and talked to God for a few seconds. Talitha also asked her if she would be interested in meeting for coffee the next day which she said she would.

To make a long story short, Talitha didn't see her when she went in the afternoon, but we went back together that evening and did run into her. She introduced us to another friend of hers and we sat and talked with them for a while. We also bought her two bus tickets to meet us in the city for breakfast on Saturday. She said she'd be there, however, we didn't see her then either.

And that's the story up to this point. It was all very interesting to say the least. I hope and pray that the little bit of time we did spend with her encouraged her and gave her a small glimpse of the love that God has for her and her life.

We have another holiday this weekend: Wednesday - Friday. I think it's fall break for most of the schools here. I was hoping to go to Rome with my friend Sarah from CCU who is in Germany right now. That didn't work out for this weekend (maybe in Nov.) but I am planning on going to Berlin with Michelle, the other teacher in my program. I'm excited about seeing everything there, and celebrating my first birthday in Europe! :)

I also have more pictures to put up. Some are of my kiddies and our flat, which you should be able to see from the links I posted a few entries ago. I just added them to the school and Praha 6 albums. The others I'll post the link to here as soon as I get them up.

That's all for now. Love and miss you all!!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy 1 Month Anniversary!

Well, today is the one month anniversary of me being here! I'm not sure if that seems like a long or short time. I guess it feels about right, so that's good. I feel less like a child and more like an experienced traveler when I say I've been here for a month now. :) It also means that you can tear a ring off for those of you who made a paper chain to count down the months. :)

This week has been pretty hectic, but good. Wednesday I went to a World Cup Qualifier Futbol match (Czech Republic v. Northern Ireland), which was really fun, and yes, it started snowing in the middle of it. The weather has suddenly turned from fall to winter, which is ok with me for a few days, but I wouldn't mind having fall back for a little while longer, since winter lasts long enough as it is...

My class of second grade boys enjoyed making fun of my artistic abilities while teaching them the plural form of "banana." :) It's fun feeling closer to my students with each passing week. They always get excited and say "Hello! Hello Stephanie!" when they see me in the hallway.

I read some from Psalms today and really liked 112:7-8. Talking about a righteous man it says "...his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear." Oh for my heart to be steadfast and secure. Trusting in the Lord, there is no reason for it not to be... little by little it's getting there...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ok, I'm really trying hard to post at least once a week. The problem is feeling like there's not much you'd be interested in hearing about... but that's not my problem, right? No one's forcing you to read this... :) It does make me feel closer to home though, when I know you're there!

Last Saturday Talitha and another friend of hers who just arrived to teacher here also made a big trip out to IKEA. There are two just outside the city, and I got a few more things for my bedroom and our living room, etc. that had been missing. Again, helping to feel more settled in.

Then I had a full week of teaching - I wasn't as prepared as I would have liked for the first half of the week, but I got it together and felt better about it by the second half. :) The lesson planning is unending though...that's actually what I should be doing right now. I was also given a few more hours running an English club on Tues. and Wed. that I'll be doing now. The extra hours were an answer to prayer, since I knew coming over I'd probably have to look for a second source of income to supplement the school. I think I could use a few more, maybe babysitting or a private tutoring lesson each week, and I'll be set.

The past few days have been beautiful - it had gotten pretty chilly by the end of last week, but it warmed up again for a few days this week. I spent quite a bit of time walking around in the afternoons, and went to a couple of coffee shops to work off and on.

I've decided that in the mornings when I'm just waking up and Wednesdays in the middle of the week are the times when I feel homesick the most. :) I'm not entirely sure why, but it seems to be the case thus far. If you think of it, you can pray for those moments that I'll remember how good and faithful my God is, and that I'll remember how exciting is it that I have this opportunity to experience life in this way!

I love and miss you all, and think of you often!!!!!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

School Days

Well, the first full day of teaching if officially under my belt. :) And it went really well! I had one hour long class yesterday and two two-hour classes today (one in the morning and one after lunch). Those three classes are the three I will have for the whole year. Two of them are second grade classes and one is first grade. Everything went really smoothly, and they all seem to be excited about learning English. One of my second grade classes is all boys (except for one girl, but she wasn't here today), and even though I'm sure they'll keep me on my toes, I think they will be a lot of fun. :) All the classes are really cute and sweet though. :)

Almost all of the students know a few words in English, and lots of animal names, however I am depending a lot on my assistant to help with translating these first few weeks. It's an adjustment, trying to think of the simplest ways to give instructions, and knowing that many things you say will just not be understood unless it's translated, but I think it will get easier as we get to know each other and learn the basics of what we need to communicate in order for learning to take place. It will be interesting to see how it goes once we start teaching actual lessons next week (we just did introductory things/procedures, etc. today).

I put up some more pictures of the school if you're interested. I know there have been lots of pictures in just a few days, but I'm sure they will be less frequent as there are fewer and fewer "new things" to see. :)

P.S. Happy first day of October!! :)