Sunday, August 24, 2008


After a few false starts to our trip and some last minute changes, we ended up making the 5 hour drive (rather than the 9 hour train ride) to Ženavlje, Slovenia. We were running late and had no idea what we were looking for as we followed directions from a text message. As we drove into town we rolled down our windows and listened for music...the unmistakable beat of a Hillsongs tune guided us to the camp.

Though we were told it was a youth camp, the age bracket was more young adults. As the week went on the group grew from 30 people to 70 (as the weekend allowed more people to come). People were incredibly welcoming and the level of spoken english allowed for good times and great conversation. Slovenia itself is beautiful and it is hard to imagine it was once part of Yugoslavia as signs of modernity and progress are everywhere (from architecture to the way people think).

We had the opportunity to do some speaking and some teaching, which we did together or Matthew did solo. We could understand bits of what was being said in Slovene as Slovak and Slovene are both Slavic languages (is that a tongue twister?). To listen to them though, Slovene and Serbian sound much more alike - Slovene has a touch of Italian cadence to it.

While speaking on the Friday night (full house) Matthew decided to do some mixing of English and Slovene in an attempt to wow the masses with his linguistical skills. In Slovak and Slovene, you can add the suffix "ička" (pronounced "ee-ch-ka") to make nouns small or cute. Matthew was talking about how rabbi's were the movie stars of early Jewish society and so everyone wanted to be just like them. They were the Brad Pitt's of their day (because what guy doesn't wish he had Brad's hair). So if you are just like Brad, a "mini me" of sorts, then you could be a Brad Pitt-ička. Well at this the whole room, including the interpreter, burst out laughing in a manner not proportionate to the joke. The interpreter refused to translate the statement and would not tell what it meant. So we pressed on....

After the service, with some coaxing, one camper finally broke down and told us what had been said. Let's just say that word is the name of a certain female body part...but even worse, it is not the anatomically proper name for that part, but the street slang.

Things you never thought you could say in church...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Time Warp - back to youth camp we go

Keeping with our theme of different approaches to time, we are getting ready for a last minute trip to Slovenia (it's the red one on the map). Milan, a pastor in nearby Nové Zámky, was stuck for someone to travel with him to Slovenia where he is the main speaker at their youth camp. Our names got mentioned, we got a phone call, we agreed, it was confirmed and by Monday evening we'll be in Slovenia...not bad for a Friday afternoon.

Because of conflicting schedules we will not be able to chat with Milan until we are actually on the train - good thing it is a 9 hour ride.

The central theme for the week is discipleship. We will be doing some of the teaching and we want to bring high quality material despite the not-so abundant amount of prep time. We do not really know Milan, we speak zero Slovene and have never been to Slovenia before - but man are we excited!

1 Slovak, 2 Canadians, 6 days and 70 campers - look out youth camp, here we come!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hang Pictures or Life Chunks

Time is an interesting concept that is currently under scrutiny in the lives of the Price duo. One such reason for this review on all things chronological is that Slovaks and Canadians tackle time in two distinct manners. With the strengthening of the EU, Slovaks sense of time is beginning to match those of traditional Westernized nations; but it's not quite there yet. Spending time with family, friends or extended lunches often pushes back other regularly scheduled events. Though this may smack of Pleasantville-esque greatness, try inserting two type-A personalities into the mix who scheduled a meeting for 1pm sharp...

It is a blow to the tick-tock superiority of the clock, but we're working on it!

Time is a lens through which we filter nearly every element of life. For us it has been quite easy to compartmentalize life thus far: childhood - elementary school - high school - college - apprentices in Canada - apprentices in Slovakia. Even on a relational level we can fragment our time together: 3 years of dating in college - 1 year of engagement - 1 year of marriage completed. This divide-and-conquer approach to life could go on and on and semesters - seasons - work contracts - years - months - weeks - days. And then we wonder why we can only look at things as pieces rather than as an element of a whole.

In talking with friends the other day we realized we have allowed our worldview to be centered around pieces of time - life chunks. We are in our 7th month here in Slovakia and there are times when our thoughts dwell on the reality that our apprenticeship will conclude in 17 months and then God only knows where we will be (literally). Of course, we often have these thoughts right after our language lesson! The potential for the temporary nature of our time here changes how we think (and maybe how people view us - why invest if it is not permanent?).

When you move into a new place, one of the last tasks is to hang pictures. Something about putting a hole in a wall makes every transition feel more lasting. So it is true - we may only be here in Slovakia for a maximum of 2 years, but we are where we are supposed to be. We must inhabit our time here, settle in, branch out, take possession, grow to feel at home and of course, hang pictures.

PS - for the record this is very metaphorical, our walls have been well decorated since week 1