Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Bed Count - February

As we leave Slovakia we know that a lot of our life for the next 6 months will be lived out of bags and on the road. Rather than counting kilometers traveled or towns visited, we've decided to count the number of beds we sleep in.

Of course there are rules. We will begin counting the beds starting with the first night not in our bed in Nitra. We will keep counting until we have a home in Poland. Also, there will be no double counting a bed, even if there are weeks in between when we sleep in it. We'll provide an ongoing total at the end of every month.

February = 6

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hello Canada

One week ago today was our farewell Sunday at Mozaika. Amber delivered a power solo and Matthew got to speak. We were so thoroughly encouraged by the show of support and appreciation in the form of gifts, prayer and kind words. It was affirming and life giving...and tearful.

We've been in Canada just less than one week now and it has been great spending time with Matthew's family and connecting with friends (not to mention overcoming our old friend jet lag). This coming week will bring a change of pace as we hit the road to connect with partners and churches. In some ways the reality of leaving Slovakia has not hit us. There has been so much to occupy us - packing, goodbyes and conferences in Slovakia kept us going strong right to the end and here in Ontario there have been people to see, rest to catch-up on and a whole lot of favourite foods to eat. Right now it feels like we are simply taking an extended trip. Eventually the reality of the life shift will find us, but we have yet to feel the disconnect.

Not to play to stereotypes, but we've had a few moments of "oh right, this is how it's done in Canada". It has ranged from meaningful things to small realizations (like soda bottles are a different shape here). We ask that you pray for us as we adjust to living out of suitcases here in Canada, while processing the last 2 years and preparing for what comes next.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


It has been an intense few weeks and we'll share further about them shortly, but for now, we just wanted you to know that we are safely back in Canada.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Our Totally Shallow List of Things we'll Miss

Over 2 years ago we moved to Nitra. What was once so unfamiliar is now a part of the everyday (though, admittedly, the post office still confuses us...and most Slovaks too for that matter). In celebration of our 2 years here in the Slovak Republic, we'd like to share some things we'll miss - and these are not the deep profound things like friendships, life changing moments and favourite places to watch the sunset - no, this our shallow list of the little things that serve as the icing on top of the cake that we call life:


In a country where the posted speed limit is 130 km/h, drivers here have a liberal understanding of the rules of the road and truly know how to use the gas pedal and high beams (to warn you to clear a path). We love it! The true beauty of the dance of passing other cars takes place on the smaller regional roads where no corner is too blind and no hill too steep to stop someone from passing that transport truck.


The true genius of Slovak drivers is seen in their ability to park a car anywhere - literally. While we feel we hold our own driving amongst the Europeans, we cannot park like them. They seem to have an inherent sense of where they can get away with plunking their car. Sidewalks, lawns, corners, meridians and building entrances are simply parking spaces in the making. Now throw in that they fit 2 cars in spaces smaller than a single SUV.


Traditionally made at Christmas time (though there is a year-round booth outside of the mall entrance), trdelník is dough wrapped around a metal cylinder, cooked and then coated in your choice of toppings. We like them hot, fresh and covered in cinnamon and sugar.


We've encountered some debate over whether this food is Slovak or Hungarian, but regardless of who made it first, we love it. It is basically extremely oily, friend dough covered in garlic, tartar sauce, cheese, kolbasa, onion and ketchup - though you can mix and match as you please.


After blindly picking it through a website and signing our contract before ever stepping foot in it, our apartment has become our home. We love it - where it is, the layout, the ability to host people, the view.


Leftover from the wars, Nitra still tests the air raid sirens the first Friday of every month at noon. Now it is done as a fallout precaution for the nearby nuclear powerplant. The first time it went off we were concerned as we had no idea what was happening (looking around us no one seemed concerned so we took it in stride). It's great to have out-of-town guests here when it the sirens sound...there is fun to be had.


There is a small airfield located in a tiny village just outside of Nitra. It is home to gliders and stunt planes that use the airfield to practice for airshows. So from our back windows we get a summer-long free airshow and chuckle at pedestrians as they duck at the sound of the gliders wooshing in from overhead to land.


There are no giant mistakes when Slovak companies use English - inevitably everyone who's traveled has encountered some funny error. Here in Slovakia it is more of the unique naming of things that we enjoy. Like Party Power, a competitor to Red Bull.