Easter vacation started last week. No school Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday. Thursday and Friday I mostly just hung out, nothing special. My host aunt and uncle came Friday and stayed until Saturday.
Saturday my other host aunt and uncle, and my host cousins came. For lunch we had goulash (Hungarian version, cooked by Czech and Slovaks) that was really good. Saturday night I went out with my host cousin and Ernesto, fun times.
Monday morning...ah, Easter Monday. I was woken up at 7:30 by my host dad coming in my room, saying good morning, and proceeding to dump a glass of cold water on my neck, and hit me with a willow switch a few times. After he left, I went back to sleep. Until my host cousins and their dad came in. They sneaked in and woke me up by pulling off my blanket, and hitting me with their switches. They had a spray bottle filled with water, which was used on my face. Yea, thanks. After them, my host grandfather came in, hit me a few times, sprayed me with his bottle...yay. So yes, Slovak Easter Monday is not my favorite thing. Supposedly the water is for beauty, and the hitting is for...something. I don't remember what, exactly. It wasn't as bad as it sounds here. The glass of water sucked, but the spray bottles weren't that bad. And the switches didn't hurt. My host cousin said they were being nice, apparently last year he had a bucket of water...yeesh.
So, that was my Easter in Slovakia. Tomorrow the girls are allowed to get revenge, or so I've been told...we shall see.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Yesterday afternoon, I met my dance teacher and Olivia (my friend who's also in my dance class) and we went with a bunch of other classes from our dance school to Bratislava. We took a bus, so it wasn't a great ride (I'm still a little freaked/excited when we drive through the circles on the bus haha), but it wasn't horrible. Once in Bratislava, we had a little free time, during which Olivia and I got ice cream. (The ice cream is better in Piestany.) Then we all went into the theater, to see Giselle. We had really good seats, first row, right center of the balcony.
Giselle is a ballet, for those of you that are confused right now. It is one of the ballets I have always wanted to see (the other being Coppelia). (And for those of you that have only heard of a few ballets, yes, I have seen Swan Lake once, and I go to The Nutcracker every year. [Except this year, but that's beside the point.]) The traditional story of Giselle, Reader's Digest version: A young peasant girl and a prince fall in love, but he is in disguise so she doesn't know that he is a prince. There is also a peasant boy in love with her. (Insert random dances with the other townspeople to take up most of the first act.) A bunch of royalty shows up, yada yada. The peasant boy finds out who the prince is, and proves it to the girl. She dies. (Either by stabbing herself with the prince's sword, or from a weak heart, or dances herself to death. It changes. Either way, she's dead.) Then in the second act, the peasant boy visits her grave at night, and is danced to death by the other young girls that died before they were married. Then the prince comes, (same night) and she saves his life by not letting the other dead girls dance with him. And, that's pretty much it. Aw, how romantic. (It's like "zombie bride saves life of beloved, and also doesn't eat his brains". See why I love this ballet?)
But the version we saw, changed a bit. The basic story was the same. Except it was traditional Slovak dances in the first act. Which was really odd, set to classical music. If you have ever seen Slovak daces, you will understand. It involves a lot of stomping and a little bit of yelling. Meaning no one was wearing pointe shoes in the first act, so Giselle couldn't do her traditional solo. Well, she had a few solos, but not with the choreography I had been looking forward to. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL5dKMWkIe0&feature=related attn. 0:26)
It was still really good. I loved the scenery, it was truly spectacular. And in the second act they all had their pointe shoes, so it was a little closer to the traditional version. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time, it just wasn't what I had been expecting. It was still a great ballet, done very well. Now I want to actually see the traditional version in person, to see how different they really are.
I'm sorry that I don't have pictures, but we couldn't have cameras in the theater. And they announced that in English too, so I couldn't pull the "poor little american exchange student" act if I got caught. So, no pictures.
Posted by Kathleen Buckley at 11:43 AM
Monday, April 18, 2011
This past weekend my friends Teague and Sami came over. They are exchanges staying in Kosice. Teague is from Wisconsin, and Sami is from Mexico. What fun!
They arrived Friday afternoon. I showed them around a bit, and we went food shopping with my host mom. Then we went out with Ernesto. Saturday morning I made pancakes. "We" cooked lunch...meaning I supervised, and had some issues when we realized Teague couldn't even manage to stir two things at the same time. She was put in charge of washing the lettuce, and tearing it for salad. The extent of her cooking skills were revealed even more when she asked "wash the lettuce with soap and water, right?" No, Teague...no. So, I supervised Teague not killing us, and we cooked baked beans, "Barb's Salad", and Hawaii Burgers. (Hamburgers with pineapple, onion slices, and guacamole on them instead of ketchup and mustard.)
In the afternoon we went for another walk, taking lots of pictures. We came home for dinner, and then went out with Ernesto again. Sunday the girls walked to the train station to get their tickets for later in the day. This should have taken about a half hour, maybe 40 minutes. An hour and a half later, they got back. (They missed the turn walking there, but managed fine on the way home.) While they were gone, I made cheesy potatoes and Death by Chocolate, with my host mom's help. As she told me with a laugh, "I like American cooking. You just have to mix everything in one bowl and that's it!" She then baked chicken for lunch, too. After lunch the girls headed back, managing to get on the right train and get home without problems.
All in all, it was a very good weekend. And the Death by Chocolate was the favorite dish, I'm thinking...my host dad was sad as he finished the last of it today, asking if there was more as he scraped the bowl clean. My host mom asked me to make it again next week for Easter, which should be fun. (Expect a full report about Easter sometime next week...I've been warned it will involve water, and lovely little sticks to beat the girls. Oh, joy.)
Posted by Kathleen Buckley at 4:20 PM