This post may look long, but its not, and there’s a surprise in it if you read all the way to the end:)

It may be spring in your part of the world but we are actually still waiting on it here.  Maybe it’s that pesky volcano, but we have experienced a month long span of daily rain storms.  Along with the rain comes beautiful flowers (I’ve never seen so many tulips) and Burke’s birthday!  For his birthday Burke requested a touring bicycle which will be put into very good use this summer.  We have an epic trip in the planning stages and we will be sure to inform you as the details come.  A lesser trip we are taking is one across town: we’re moving out of our tiny apartment!  Its been a nice first home to us, but we outgrew it before we ever got settled so we will be living in a brand new apartment with room for visitors!  Incase it isn’t obvious yet, I should mentioned we have officially decided to stay another year and with that I figured it is time to tell you some of the fun things about Slovakia.  Here you go:

-The word for “Yes” is “Ano” and can be shortened to “No.” Surprisingly, it’s not that confusing.

-They don’t use articles: the, a, an, etc.

-Kids pee outside, and parents think its just a part of being a kid.

-They use cassette tapes and VHS tapes on a regular basis.

-Glue is strange here; it’s either watery or cement-like.

-Slovaks LOVE backpacks. A given slovak might wear a backpacking backpack just for a daily commute to work.

-When they ask for a signature, they only want a last name. No one signs their full name.

-The most common informal salutation is the piratic “Ahoj” (As in, Ahoy Matee). The other friendly greeting is the ever popular čau (Ciao).

-Maternity leave is three years.

-Most Slovaks never learned official typing and have adopted a dexterous hunt and peck system.

– Older people do not use canes, crutches, or rarely even wheel chairs, they use this type of crutch.

-Not only do they take off their shoes entering a house or even a business, they sometimes bring their own slippers with them.

-Slovaks are emphatic about their use of jackets and especially hats.

-There is a strange infatuation with plastic paper sleeves. Similar to the need for people to have jackets, apparently so do papers.

-Their main meal is lunch. This is a common difference between foreign cultures and our own American ideals, but after 9 months of living here we are beginning to see that the “main meal” might actually mean the only meal.

-Slovaks love dogs and nature as a whole.  I mentioned in an early post that to “go for a walk” can mean an unanticipated hike.

-They like french toast, but they call it eggy bread and do not sweeten it.

-Slovaks LOVE poppyseed anything. Not like an American style poppyseed muffin, but thousands of poppyseeds making the consistency of a spread.  (BLAH! Every time I read this sentence it turns my stomach. Burke likes it though.)

-They rarely eat raw vegetables, something I am still not happy about.

-We heard this before we came, but its true: sometimes the vegetarian section of the menu includes pirohy or halušky, a boiled potato dumpling with bacon on top.

-They eat french fries with tartarska omacka, aka tartar sauce.

-Slovaks have sweet lunch or dinner on a fairly regular basis. Sort of like when an American family may occasionally have pancakes for dinner. The funny thing is though that Slovak desserts are not very sweet so lunches are sweeter than cakes.

In other news, I finished both of these videos a while back. First is our wedding video, pretty self explanatory:)

My Wedding from Elizabeth Falknor on Vimeo.

And this second video is from School in Nature. The kids go ski camp for a week, have semi-regular classes in the morning, ski in the afternoons, and have an evening program. This year’s theme was Multicultural week, kicked off with America day. Burke and I put on a nice program for them, my favorite part was when I gave the kids each a state and had them tape the paper to where they thought it was on the map. I prepared the activity in my room with two first grade boys nearby and as I wrote they took great interest in what I was doing. They pronounced each state as I wrote it, “Meess-ees-see-pee. Mee-so-ree. Mon-tan-a. Montana? Hannah Montana?” It was adorable.

during america day, we gave kids these papers with states and told them to put it where they thought the state was.  That's south dakota up there behind louisiana.  Don't forget to check out ohio:)

This video is from the whole week and you can see the map the kids created too. Check out Ohio:) one of my kids made me really proud.

Škola v prírode , from Elizabeth Falknor on Vimeo.

Here’s a real cute kid from school. Check out this outfit!

So darn hungry.


Also, by request there are some new photos of our kitty in the Nici (Nee-Chee) folder so make sure you check those out.  He became the most popular cat in our part of the city by greeting people from his perch outside of our window.  Lazovna 58 will miss him dearly, I’m sure.