Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving is a happy time

Oh, how fun it is to celebrate Thanksgiving! 

For as long as I can remember, I have always spent Thanksgiving with my JV family. Over the years, though the conferences have changed as people come and go, JV still feels like my close family. We spend time chatting, preparing food, watching the guys (and some girls too!) play our own Turkey Bowl and, of course, eating a wonderful feast (I might as well call it that!).

With my dear friends Katka and Hayley
It's nice to to break up the usually uneventful month of November. The delicious smells that come with special food cheer me up. Catching up with friends from Slovakia, Poland and all over Czech is refreshing. And how great is it to remember all the things we can be thankful for! 

I am thankful for God's unending mercy, for his love, and constant companionship. I am thankful that I get to be a part of the mission that He has for me and my family in Czech right now. I am thankful for friends and fellowship.

Not only did I celebrate Thanksgiving with my JV family this year, but also with my Czech youth group. It's a completely different experience, because technically Thanksgiving isn't a Czech holiday! These Czechs wouldn't celebrate it at all if it weren't for the Americans living here! 

What I liked about it, was that it wasn't about the traditions of food, but more about the fellowship and time of thankfulness. It was fun celebrating a holiday with them that's close to my heart!

Just had to put this one in! This is a pie that my mom made that I couldn't get enough of!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time for me to begin thinking about what I am really most thankful for: God's own Son- Jesus. In under a month we celebrate Jesus' birth, and that is so special! Thank you Jesus, for saving us! And thank you God, for loving us so much that you sent your Son!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Video of Sluskolona

The first dance- the valcik with the flowers that the guys gave the girls

Here's a video so you can picture what it was like at the ball! 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Šluskolona and dance lessons

Yesterday, I had a wonderful time at my very own ball. Well, wasn't only my ball, but I got to participate in it along with around 70 other high-schoolers from our town!
Here's what the ballroom looks like. In this one we're doing a Greek dance!
There is a Czech tradition here for high-schoolers to take ballroom dance lessons in the fall. You can either go with a partner or get paired at random at the first lesson (of course, I chose to go with someone I knew, rather than a stranger- awkward!). It's something that is optional, but so worth it, and really fun too! I took these lessons with my fellow JVK, Noah Ellenwood, which was great, because we're like cousins, so it wasn't awkward at all! 

On my birthday! 
For two months we took classes every Friday (and sometimes on Sunday) and learned how to jive, cha-cha, polka and waltz. We also learned some country dances, rock-n'-roll, the valčík, mazurka and čardáš (a typical dance from this area) and more. It was exhausting, but great! 

Half-way through our lessons we had a "pulkolona" ball, which happened to fall right on my birthday! What a special occasion to have on my sweet 16! That will definitely be a memorable birthday!

Then yesterday came the big day. In Czech, it is quite a big occasion. The teacher even compared it to your wedding. Ha...yeah right! It was pretty special though. We had a grand opening of the classic promenade and then danced our way through 3 hours of the evening. There were dances where we danced with our parents, our partner's parents, in groups, and also free-style! All in all, I loved the entire event. 

Thanks Noah for being a great partner!
It was made even better by my dear friends and family who came to support me, and my fellow dancers that I had spent so much time with! Some of my own classmates were a part of the sluskolona as well, so we had a wonderful time together throughout the whole process of what they call "taneční" (=dancing).

After all that work for two months, it's strange that it's over. I hope that some day I can use my ballroom dancing "skills"! It's such a fun thing to have gotten to do, and I'm so happy that this tradition lives on in Czech. If you ever get the chance to take basic ballroom lessons, take it. It's a marvelous experience.

The last step of the promenade...the bow and curtsy!
The "valcik"
Thanks so much Emily for doing my hair! And thank you Caleb for taking some awesome pictures!
Oh yes...the polka. We had fun doing this one...LOTS of turning for me!