Friday, June 12, 2009

Life is Good

So another weekend in Kremnica. I can’t even begin to tell you how good I feel when I am here. While I will miss Camp this summer, Kremnica is the best analog I can find and will enjoy spending my summer rebuilding my cabin. (No, I have not bought it yet but I am in the process. I need to make sure I can get my papers before pulling the trigger but it will happen. And yes it will happen because I want it to. Have you not figured that out yet?) I have been here almost as much as I have been in Bratislava this month. This week I came back on Tuesday with Joey and we had a great night hanging out and talking. I am amazed at the improvement of his English over the last 6 months. We were able to talk about much more complex issues then in the past. They are slow conversations but still good. I need to keep reminding him to slow do because his brain gets so far ahead of his mouth sometimes. His English will progress at a much faster rate then my Slovak but I am learning. My vocabulary has not improved but my pronunciation and a reading are becoming much better. I tell my students the best way for them to speak a new language is to master the pronunciation first. If the other person knows exactly the words you are trying to say, they are then able to put them into the correct order and tense for you. But if you mess up the pronunciation it changes the meaning and you never what might happen. Like if you went to a restaurant and asked the waiter for a fork and mispronounce “fork”. (Fun for the waiter.) So I am now working more on my pronunciation then new vocabulary. I did get a great dictionary a few weeks ago that has been my main lesson book lately. It is a Slovak dictionary with big pictures, it’s for little kids and it is the best book I have found. It has both English and Slovak sentences about each picture which is helping me learn a little about sentence structure in Slovak. Unlike English word placement is not nearly as important in Slovak, which is another lesson I keep drilling into my students heads. If you misplace a word in english it can change the whole meaning of a sentence and can cause confusion.

I am currently in a cabin with no electricity and no internet but still able to write this. Thanks to the nice people at Asus and Apple computers for making great laptops. The Asus 1000HE was the best purchase I made in the last year. I get over 9 hours of battery life out of it. (even more if I only use it for music) And my Apple is good for at least 4.5 hours. Having the ability to run into town for a meal at the Modrý Cúckor (the Blue Cat) and get an hour of power and internet and BOOM I am back in business for at least a 50% battery charge is a nice luxury and a chance to have a good pizza or the best Minestrone soup I have ever had. (Currently enjoying a slice of leftover pizza from lunch today.) (Now I am in the Modrý Kocúr ordering dinner, the slice was good and I wanted soup only to find out they don’t have Minestrone soup tonight, which sucks, so I am going with a salad, I will let you know how it is.)

So my plans so far for the summer will be to get everything settled with the purchase of the cottage and start to do the renovations needed. As I said before it has running water but no electricity. I will add the second floor and raise and change the roof line. I will have drawings in the next few weeks, if my friend John has the time to draw them up for me. The question is where I put a balcony but right the south facing wall makes the most sense. I am also toying with the idea of rigging some kind of swing that will allow me to hang about 30 feet in the air hanging out like a bird in a tree with a great view to look at. (Mom, I will make safe, remember safety is no accident.) (By the way, my salad came and it is very good.) The cabin has a toilet already but I might change it. There is a space for a shower but I am not sure about my septic system size so I might go with an outside shower. And if any of you have had the wonderful experience of the outside shower you know what I am talking about. But this presents issues in the winter for me as I plan on being able to use the cottage year round. The other thing I will need is a small kitchen but that should be easy to put together (think Ikea) with a small fridge and oven and small area for a sink and work area. I will have a better idea of what I want to do once I get inside and see what exactly is already there and what I need to change.

So what are my other plans? My Turkish friend Zeynep will come to Bratislava sometime in late July for a visit. I would like to meet with my friends in Amsterdam at some point but I think I will wait until late September for that trip. I am going back to America in early September and will stay for a few weeks. My friends Joey and Martina are looking into coming with me, which would be super as I want to show them NYC, DC and the Beach House. I am starting to plan the Half Way to St. Patrick’s Day party we like to have every few years with my S.P.D. gang. Other plans include a 3 day music festival “Pohoda” in Slovakia, I will go with a bunch of people and am really looking forward to it. Next year we want to get a vendors license and sell chicken fajitas from a trailer. There is no Mexican food here and it is cheap and easy to make, I smell a big opportunity :) .

So that brings you somewhat up to date, there are other things and people I want to write about but I have yet to get the muse to get those together into cohesive thoughts worth writing yet. You will get them as soon as I do. It is not up to me.

Think Positive, Be Positive.

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