Friday, February 29, 2008

jsem studentka

for the past three weeks i've been getting on the tram every morning at 8:17 to head to school. i'm halfway through a 6 week intensive czech course and having a blast. it's a really great set up for learning czech and also meeting some new and fun friends. i just happen to be the only north american in my class. there are people representing all the following countries: uzbekistan, ukraine, egypt, argentina, russia, siberia (i know it's part of russia but worth noting!), israel, moldavia, bulgaria and australia.

there are only a few who don't speak english, so i've been able to converse with a lot of them about more things than our basic czech will allow us. even though we're all from different countries, it's amazing how a sense of humour knows no bounds. many days i'm giggling in my seat or trying not to roll on the ground laughing.

today, during our first break, two of the students decided to demonstrate their tango skills in front of the class. our professor had left the room and people were just lazing around. all of a sudden the music gets turned on and edgar and masha are tango'ing' in a circle at the front of the class. i turned to ulrich, who sits beside me, (he's from australia) and we bust out laughing. he was making hilarious comments as they danced which only increased the hilarity of the moment and everyone else was laughing and trying to stay under control. our prof walked in a few minutes into the dance and, once she got over her shock, laughed along with the rest of us. i'm not sure if it was more funny or disturbing, that 37 year old edgar and 19 year old masha were dancing such an "intimate" dance. i'm pretty sure it was a mix of both.

me, being the smart person i am, just happened to pull out my phone and take some video footage of the whole event! it's currently on my phone, but will bluetooth it to jackie or sara's computer and get them to send it to me so that i can attach it for ya'lls viewing pleasure!!

i know you're worried, so i'll reassure that we do study a lot too :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


after a convo with my mom, i was reminded that the term, "tongues out" really has no meaning to most people. sorry about that! tongues out refers to the style of your hockey gear (your shin pads in relation to your skates, to be specific). in the picture, the tongues of my skates are sticking out in front of my shin pads, whereas they are usually tucked in behind. going tongues out when you don't normally do it is just something hockey players do for fun, or to be silly, or whatever. so the connotation for the blog was mostly just to indicate that it was a lighthearted, fun set of games. hope that makes a little more sense!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

tongues out

jacks and i hit the ice tonite against the czech national team. the cz girls are having a weekend training camp for the upcoming world championships in march, held in latvia. lucky us, we got to play today and will also tomorrow against the cz team (made up mostly of our teammates from hc slavia).

there were a few highlights on the night, but i think i summed it up best when i gave sara the 411 on the phone: we lost 2-0, jacks played defence, and i went "tongues out". FUN.

czech out the pic below!

i'm also posting a picture of martina and i that we took after practice during my visit to slovakia. the next pic includes a few of her christian teammtes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

the heywoods come to town...

yesterday morning i tearfully said goodbye as mom, dad, uncle ken and auntie heather headed off to the airport. they arrived on monday, feb 4 and spent the past week and a half spoiling me rotten! it was wonderful.

some of the highlights of the trip included an overnight stay at the Grand Hotel Pupp. if anyone here has seen the movie, "the last holiday" (not to be confused with "the holiday"), then you know what i'm talking about. lets just say i didn't leave quite the mark queen latifah did on the hotel and staff, but it was a blast nonetheless. we went to the spa and saunas, had a fabulous meal at a local german restaruant and walked around the breathtaking city. apparently, the nickname for karlovy vary (where the pupp is located) is called 'little russia' since almost half the people that live there are russian. the pupp is almost 300 years old and in 1701 was the biggest hotel in europe. not bad, eh? considering canada wasn't even a country yet!

we also toured around prague, seeing the old clock tower, the castle and cathedral, getting the best view of prague from the top of petrin hill and hitting up a ton of great restaurants. thankfully we did so much walking or we'd all be on the lettuce diet right now! the crew also got a taste of regular life for me, coming out to practice and seeing two games on the weekend. the games were both blowouts, but the second game was a bit of a gong show, so at least that was entertaining! apparently there's some bad blood now between our team and plzen, the team we played on sunday. next game with them should be interesting.

dad and uncle ken also got to show off their hockey prowess by joining us on the ice for two practices. it was great to have them out there - kind of weird for me though as my two worlds came together. i'm glad my team and coaching staff got to meet some of my family and vice-versa.

we also spent some quality time playing cards, which i never seemed to be able to win. another interesting passtime was watching dad and uncle ken learn to drive in prague - definitely an acquired skill!

already, i miss them, but i'll be home before i know it and there's still so much for me here! but such a blessing to have them here in my new home across the world. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

mam rada slovensko!... i love slovakia :)

i spent a weekend in slovakia - on a rare weekend off - with a friend of mine, martina stasova, who i got to know on two previous athletes in action trips. martina and i bonded over hockey and the rest is history.

i had an interesting journey to kysak, slovakia, over a 10 hour time period on the train. i've taken the train before - on a cross canada trek to northern quebec in the summer of 2005 to study french - i don't think that trip quite prepared me for this one!

after about 2 hours of journeying alone, i was joined by an older man and a younger guy. the older guy was pumped for life and definitely wanted to talk. unfortunately, when i told him in czech that i didn't really understand much czech, his vigor for conversation did not die down. he prattled on and i tried to pick up what i could. eventually, i just apologized and said i just couldn't understand, and picked up a book. the younger guy looked like a bit of a vagabond. or maybe he just smelled like what i'd imagine one might smell like. either way, an interesting combo. thankfully, by 3am mr. talkative had peaced out and the vagabond soon after. around 5am, people started to board the train, presumably for work. by about 7, my compartment was packed with 8 people squished onto our small bench. when my stop finally arrived at kysak where martina was to pick me up, i was half asleep trying to gather all my bags, including my hockey stick, to rush off the train before it took off again. i only wish i could have watched myself - it would have been extremely funny! obviously, i didn't think it was at the time.

the weekend was a ton of fun with highlights being: attending martina's practice on friday night (with gear - minus my skates - almost entirely donated by teammates not in attendance (i don't think they knew about it!)), going for pizza with some of martina's teammates along with her christian friends (i shared some of my testimony and got to ask her friends a bunch of questions about life in slovakia and the spiritual culture there - totally interesting to hear their points of view), celebrating with martina's family as her uncle celebrated his 50th birthday (i kid you not, the party started at 1pm and went until 4am - luckily i peaced out at 12), ate quite a few delicious slovak meals and was downright spoiled my martina, her sister, mom and dad.

it was a precious weekend. it's amazing to see how the lord brought martina and i together in friendship and continued that as i've come back to prague repeatedly. martina has been an encouragement to me and a prayer warrior. we're trying to plan an AIA hockey camp in slovakia for august. there's a definite need for it and i don't think something like it has ever really been held there for women.

i had the strangest ride home from slovakia. again, a night train, but this time with a bed. and 3 men - who stripped down to their undershirts and boxers and snored the night away. probably one of the strangest experiences of my life and one i'll never forget (and don't really want to repeat either). i took a moment to gaze down from the topmost bunk and marvel at how this would never have happened in canada.