Friday morning I woke up at my usual time and went to the city with Zora. I went to her office to gather my things and to get ready to go on the train. For the first train ride it was just over an hour so I listened to some music and looked out the window. Once I was in Bratislava I got off my train and switched to a different train. It was quite simple to switch and I didn’t have any issues. The second train was nearly five hours long so I had a lot of time to myself. I worked on writing some blog posts, wrote in my journal, listened to music, ate all of my snacks, and took a nice long nap. When I finally arrived to Poprad I got off the train and walked to find Ceci who I would be staying with for the weekend.
I had a backpack and my small suitcase so we decided to go to her house before anything so that I could drop off my stuff. There was quite a bit of snow so I slowly dragged my suitcase down the street and path to her house. When we first arrived only her host brother was home so I met him and then we hung out in her room. I hadn’t really gotten to know Ceci at all at our first meeting so we had a lot of talking to do. We had been talking for about an hour when Gervaise showed up. Her host family had been one of his previous families so he came over a lot. We all hung out with Ceci’s host brother and listened to some music.
We got bored after awhile and Gervaise had kept talking about how his hair was getting too long. He asked Ceci if she wanted to cut it and of course she said yes. She had never cut hair before but it would be fun. Gervaise didn’t really care if it turned out bad or not so he sat in the bath while Ceci cut his bangs and I took pictures. It ended up being pretty bad, but we just had a good laugh about it and continued with our evening.
Later in the evening her host parents came home and I got to meet them and try to see how much Slovak I could understand. I was pleasantly surprised that I could understand just about as much as I normally would in Czech. Ceci’s host mom made two different dinners for us to choose from or to have a little bit of both. After eating a ton of food and helping clean up a bit, we decided to go out to meet one of Gervaise’s friends.
We went out for a few hours with his friend and we ended up playing foosball and eating some pizza even though we had already eaten too much. We went to the Christmas markets for awhile before heading home to get some sleep.
When we got home around 11:30 we talked with Ceci’s sister and made a plan to get up early the next morning to go ice skating for our first time.
Saturday morning we woke up at 6:30 to get ready to go ice skating. I borrowed an old pair of Ceci’s brother’s skates and we all walked over to the ice rink. It was just Ceci’s sister (Saška) and her boyfriend, and Ceci’s brother and then the two of us. Saška’s boyfriend helped us tie up our skates so that they were really tight and then we stood up and waddled our way to the rink. They taught us the basic movement and then let us hold onto the side and slowly figure it out on our own. It was really cold, so we kept taking breaks to drink some of the tea that we had made. I only fell twice and both times were when I was starting to get the hang of it and I would get too confident. By the end of our couple of hours skating Ceci and I were going slowly still, but we weren’t holding onto the wall anymore and we were just skating around together. I had been really scared that I was going to hurt myself or not like it, but I’m so happy that I followed my exchange rule of saying yes to everything because I ended up having a really good time.
When we were back at the house Saška made us all breakfast. We all ate together and then Ceci and I decided to take a nap because we were tired and cold. When we woke up we had leftovers from the night before for lunch. Then Ceci took a quick shower and I changed into some warmer clothes. When we were finally ready, we went to the Christmas markets to meet up with the Aussie guys. They were working in the Rotary booth in the markets for a little bit longer so walked around the markets. When the guys were done working they went to a cafe and we went to meet them. We met up with them while they finished their coffees, then we all went to Ceci’s house.
At Ceci’s we mostly just hung out and talked because the main reason I went was just to see all of them. We ended up having a pillow fight and completely messing up Ceci’s room, but it was totally worth it. Later Ceci had planned on meeting a friend of hers from school, but she didn’t want the guys to go with her. She told me that I could stay with them since I had been with her for the whole day before and then we would meet up in the evening when she was done. She asked us to help her clean up her room before she left. After she was gone we gathered our things and made our way to Gervaise’s house which was close by.
Once we were at his house we had some snacks and we watched part of a movie together. We were waiting to hear from one of their friends who wanted to meet up. So when he texted Gervaise we got our things and went to meet up with him for awhile. We all hung out for an hour together before Nav had to go home. Ondrej was nice enough to pick us all up and take each of us home. He is one of the Rotarians and he was hosting Nav for the weekend while he worked in the Poprad Christmas market. First we dropped off Gervaise and then we went to Ceci’s.
When I got home Ceci had just gotten back too and we had a little late night snack before going back to her room. We wanted to watch a movie but after watching 30 minutes we got really tired and decided to go to bed.
Sunday morning Ceci got up really early to go to church with her host grandma, but she let me sleep. I ended up waking up at 7:30 and just hung out in her room until she got back. Her host cousins had come over the night before so we had a big breakfast with all of the family and I did my best to keep up with all of the Slovak.
Ceci had to work in the Rotary booth on Sunday for a few hours before my train so she left me at her house to pack my things and get ready to leave while she worked. I agreed to meet her part way through. After packing up I went and thanked her host parents for everything and thanked her sister for teaching me to ice skate. We talked for a little while and they insisted on me leaving my things and getting picked up and driven to the train station so I thanked them again and made my way to the markets.
Ceci was quite cold when I got there so we were jumping around and dancing in the booth while we waited for people to come. We were selling tea and bread with lard and onions on it for donations to Rotary. She had worked three hours and I worked two, but by the end we were completely frozen. We got a snack from the markets before going to meet a couple of her friends in the mall for a little bit.
We talked with her friends and finished eating before Saška called to say that she was there to pick us up. She drove us to the train station and Ceci walked me to my train to say goodbye.
While I was on the five hour train to Bratislava I wrote a whole week’s worth of journals, and I texted with my mom a bit. I took a little nap before finally arriving. Then I had about 20 minutes to switch trains so I wandered around and took advantage of the better WiFi. As I was standing at the platform I realized that the train switched platforms, but luckily I noticed in plenty of time and made it onto the train to Brno.
When I arrived back to Brno, Robert picked me up so that I didn’t have to wait hours for the bus home. When we got home we had a small dinner trying to finish up some of the food they had had at a party over the weekend. Then I made my snack for school the next day.
My mom asked me if I wanted to help her make some Czech sweets for the holidays since I love baking. We made cookies and sweets from 8:30 until almost midnight. It had been a really long day for me, but I was happy to be baking with my mom.
When we were done baking I unpacked while I waited my turn for a shower. It was really late and I was tired but I really needed to shower before school, so I waited until about 12:30. I ended up staying up even later braiding my hair and unpacking enough so that I could sleep on my bed. I finally made it to bed around 1:30 in the morning.
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