Travel is “broadening” – I hope only in mind, not in body.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
I spent the morning writing a long email to the University of Bratislava in SLOVAK. DH & I have decided to spend a month in Slovakia this summer taking an intensive course in language and culture.
Over 100 years ago my grandfather, a widower, came to America and married my widowed grandmother. His grown sons stayed behind. After retirement I began seriously to research family history and find my cousins.
I haven’t heard Slovak spoken since my grandmother died in 1976. She never learned to speak English well even though she lived in the US from age 17 – 93. Like many immigrants today, working long hours and family responsibilities left little time for classes. Her children grew up bilingual and her grandchildren hardly remember anything of the old language.
I bought a Slovak textbook and CD and began to study on my own since no one knows the language around here. The nearest course is in Pittsburgh.
I am my grandfather’s 15th grandchild and in 2008 I found and introduced myself to the other 14, their children and grandchildren. Fortunately the grandchildren speak English very well or our conversation would have been limited. My Slovak was good enough to travel around the country on our own and be understood, but my grammar is bad and vocabulary limited.
We visited again in 2012 at Easter. I enjoyed experiencing the old traditions of my heritage.
So at the advanced age of 68 and 66, DH & I have decided to take a “learning vacation.”
Maybe in addition to language and culture I’ll learn how the people in Slovakia stay so slim.
Edit: Yes, they really are slim, especially the younger people. During our visits we wondered how they maintain that considering how the traditional food is so high in carbs. Lots of great bread, potatoes and noodle dishes.