After a long two months of staying safe inside and at home, I was finally able to start going out again and seeing my friends. Amelia and I switched to our last host families in the beginning of May. Just a few short days after being with them, my host parents took me to the market near the city center.
There were tons of stands filled with fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, an even handmade gifts. It was such a great atmosphere seeing all the people finally being able to go out again after being home for so long. And the weather was so beautiful and warm, with clear blue skies, which made it all the more better. My host mom and I sat down for a little bit before we went to the market to get a coffee and talk with each other. Afterwards, I was able to go to the city to meet two friends to get yet another coffee. I was so happy to be in the beautiful city again seeing all the amazing buildings, and of course the St. Elisabeth’s Cathedral. After getting settled in and staying with my new host family for a few days, I was able to go to the city again and hang out with my closest friends as a sort of goodbye party for an exchange student, Juan, who would shortly be going back home to Spain. We spent the day at our favorite tea place, Čavango, talking and reminiscing on past memories throughout the year, and just having a good time together. Afterwards, we bought food and sat together in the park to have a picnic. It was so great being able to see my friends again after not seeing some of them for about two months. I’m so glad I was able to spend some time with them, especially since Juan was leaving in a short few days.
In my new host family, I have two host sisters, one a few years younger than me, Mia, and another my age, Sara, and a dog, Bella! I was so excited to come to this family because I would finally have sisters again (and a pet!). Throughout my time there, I bonded a lot with my sisters, especially the younger one. We would often play some games outside together like putting on a small show, have a dance party, or play with the dog. We also did some cooking and baking together which was a lot of fun. Sometimes, we would record what we were doing and pretended to have a cooking show.
One day, my host parents, Mia, and I went on a hike in the Low Tatras, or better known as Slovak Paradise. We hiked to Tomášovský Výhľad, which is at an elevation of 680m. It took about 45 minutes to get up, so fairly short. And the view at the top was like no other! At the top was an area of flat rocks, as well as an area a bit higher up. From there, you could see the High Tatras in the distance and look out over the forest of beautiful green trees below. We spent a bit of time at the top to eat our snack, take pictures, and enjoy the view. To go down, we took another trail that took a little more than an hour and a half, and also a lot steeper. Overall, it was probably one of my favorite hikes I’ve taken here in Slovakia.
One day, I was able to go visit Amelia in her new host family (my second host family). We spent the day going on a nice walk, making sure to take tons of pictures along the way, and baking cookies. We walked for almost two hours. And we even found a cool hunting stand of some sort that we carefully climbed on to take some pictures.
One activity that the exchange students in Košice have been wanting to do for a while was camping. And we finally had the opportunity to do it! I spend part of the day at Amelia’s house going on a walk, drinking homemade coffee, playing soccer outside, and caring for the kittens. Soon enough, we collected our tent, food, water, and other items to walk to the nearby campsite. We chose a place at the top of the hill right by the crop field (I’m not exactly sure what crop it was). There was a spot for our tent, a fire pit, and a picnic bench. After we took some time to set up our tent, we had a few more minutes to watch the sunset (and if you know me, sunsets are one of my favorite things!). Then we began to collect lots of sticks, twigs, and dry leaves to prepare a fire. It took quite a while to start because of the recent rain which made things still a bit damp. But eventually, we got it going and enjoyed sitting around the beautiful creation we just accomplished. A few hours later, our two friends who were just in Bratislava (one lives there and the other is from Košice) came back to visit and camp with us. They ended up getting there at around 2am seems how they unfortunately had to walk all the way from the train station to the campsite, which, as you can imagine, took quite a while. Once they got there, we were all pretty exhausted, so we turned on “Monsters Inc.” in the tent. We all fell asleep quickly, and then woke up before it finished. By that time, it was almost 4am and already bright outside. So, we decided to get up. The rest of that morning is quite foggy, seems how we only had about an hour of sleep. But overall, I’m so happy we were able to have this experience together!
More from Carissa:
Hello! My name is Carissa Plut, I’m 16 years old, and I am an exchange student from Blairstown, New Jersey, USA currently staying in Košice, Slovakia!