Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Day of Camp: Culture Shock

No amount of preparation could have prepared me for the first day. Haha. So far I've lived in the comfort zone of speaking English with the Americans on the team and the Czechs who speak English. A bus pulled up to the (I'm trying to think of the correct word here. The place we are staying is not exactly a hotel as we know it. It's a lodge in the mountains with a downstairs restaurant and upstairs rooms with a community bath. Hmm...hostel?) Well, a bus pulled up and 30 something Czech teenagers came out. After getting them settled in their rooms, I had 2 teenage Czech girls staring at me. I was like, umm do you want to play cards? We had 3 hours until dinner. So I got out my cards and they looked confused. Our playing cards are different than theirs. Nicol, one of the girls, pulled out her deck of cards, which were brightly colored with pictures and symbols on them. They were crazy! But we played a game like crazy 8's. The other girl in my room is named Monika. Later we went outside and threw the frisbee with a big group and played some funny name games. 
Everything went smoothly until I was introduced to my class. I prepared to have beginners, but it was still surprising to be in the midst of no English. We sat around in a circle and as I asked them questions, they responded in one word answers, and then continued to speak in rapid czech to their friends. As we sat in the circle and played a card game, I felt useless. My feeble questions like, "Where are you from?" and "How was the trip?" only merited one word answers. As I got to, "What are some of your hobbies?" The girls said sports and the guys said, "BEER! euiwfheaiw eiaf ai hfeuia!!!!" I was like, oh ok! Ha ha... 
However, the culture here is very beer oriented. This threw me off as an American but for Czechs, beer is like liquid bread. And as I started my lesson today, I really began to engage all of the students and learn more about them. The girls are Bara, Iva, and Karol. The boys are Tomas (pronounced Tomash) Milan, Pavel, and Vasek (Vash-ek). My translator is Jara (Yada), who is still learning English. Czechs are very logical- they are quick to understand and learn. They are also very respectful listeners and questioners. The students are here to learn and they get all afternoon to relax, so they are all enjoying themselves. I have already overheard conversations involving science and the concept of God. Tonight we will dive in to the first story of God and have discussion afterwards.

Please pray that we would not stop engaging, not stop loving, not stop giving 100%. I am already dragging on the second day. It is non-stop. I cannot wait to see how this week turns out. I've already picked my favorite Czechs (if I'm allowed to say that). I met a brother and sister last night who are amazing. We talked about Harry Potter for a solid hour. Whenever I suggested going to bed as it got to 10pm, 11pm, 12am, they just smiled and shrugged. They said they just loved speaking English and they didn't want to stop. I learned that the brother, who is 24, came to camp last year, but is not a Christian. Though he has such a peaceful, loving nature. It is interesting to me how some non-Christians could be the model for a lot of loud mouthed American Christians today. Hmm. 

Oh, as last night was the 4th of July, we celebrated with a bonfire and smores. The Czechs love smores! :-)


  1. Bebe - what an experience! Hope it continues to be an eye-opener for you and your Czech frrends. Keep writing - we love reading about your journey. Love, B

  2. Bebe,

    this is an incredible journey for you, in every aspect...and this journal is MUST reading for me, your faja...

    I love you!


    p.s. yes when you get back you WILL be going to HSV with HH and Sally! Grandmother is counting on you! And she wants to hear all of your stories of the Czech Republic!

  3. Bebe,

    this is awesome! I am so proud of you and I love you!


  4. Keep writing and taking pictures. I promise you that the Czechs are thrilled to be there, they are thirsty for knowledge...and they may not even know that they are thirsty for God yet...but they will be!