Wednesday, January 25, 2012

RHETO Extravaganza: 11/1/2010

     My Slovakian correspondent woke me up super early in order for us to get to her school in time for the meeting. The Belgians and Slovakians gathered into the cafeteria and separated into groups. Lucia, my correspondent, made me go into the wrong group by accident. My teacher from my real group was looking for me everywhere and brought me to the correct place when she found me. I did not mind because the groups were just doing random arts and crafts activities to occupy ourselves while the Belgians and Slovakians socialized.
     I met some new aquaintances who gave us a tour of Kosice. All the Slovakians had to give presentations in french about various famous buildings in their town. Their accents were extremely thick so comprehension was out of the question. During one of our observations of a church I saw a family of beggars in the street. A child who must have been the age of four or five, came up to our group, with arms stretched out, asking for money (she was not speaking english, but I understood what she was doing). I looked down at this little girl and a chill ran down my spine. Although I did not know this girl I pitied her. Life must have been cruel to her if she was forced to wander the streets with her parents, pleading for a sliver of food or money. The American government would never allow such a spectacle. If this innocent, little child was in America the government would have taken her away from her unsupportive parents and placed her in a foster home, which is the responsible act. I stormed away from my group in a furry because there was nothing I could do that would change the little girls situation. What also got under my skin was when my classmates started to mock me. They thought the poor child's situation was a laughing matter when it obviously was grave. I don't think I could ever forgive my insensitive classmates.
     Around two in the afternoon everyone returned to the cafeteria to eat lunch. I was starving to death by the time I walked into Lucia's school. While some of the Belgians were trying to get through the cafeteria doors a Slovakian teacher yelled at them. The Belgians nor I understood Slovak but I am sure she was telling us to get out of her way from the way she barreled through the crowd. Moreover, when I was waiting for an eternity in line to retrieve my lunch, all the Slovakian teachers budged in front. From all these observations I was unimpressed with the Slovakians behavior toward the Belgians and myself.
     At the table I noticed my friends refused to eat the food and I don't blame them. The cafeteria ladies served us white rice, a chunky carrot drink, strange chicken tasting meat, and runny gravy. I looked passed all the deformities of the meal and stuffed myself to tame my hunger. My correspondent took me shopping later and we ate more at the main mall; so in the end I was satisfied.
     On my way to Lucia's house, all the Belgians and Slovakians stood packed together on the same subway and practically took up all the space. The volume in the confined space was augmented and I could not hear myself speak. While walking away from the subway someone accidentally pushed me into a women. She turned to face me and spoke a stream of sentences in a firm tone and paused for my reply. I stared back at her for a few seconds then said "Ďakujem-" thank you. Her eyes lied on mine a few moments longer then walked away. I turned to Lucia who saw the whole event and I asked her what the lady said. Apparently, the women was insulting me and said something like, "you foreigners are rude, loud, and you §@s&iso$*d?e (Slovak swear word) kids should get out of Slovakia. I bursted out laughing because, since I do not know the language, I would have went on my way thinking the women was just saying pardon or something of the sort.
     Lucia and her Slovakian classmates took the Belgians to a bowling area that one of the parents of a Slovakian owned. The game was strange because the bowling balls did not have any holes in them and the pins were connected to strings which would reposition them after they were knocked down. I over exerted myself from the fake bowling and the ping pong games and I became hungry again. Lucia told me that her friends and herself ordered 17 pizzas! The only problem was that five packages of pizza came successively in thirty minute periods. I managed to grab some slices before the others claimed them all. The Belgians and Slovakians also bought a lot of beer. The Belgians took advantage of the situation and became extremely drunk because the prices were cheaper.
     People were getting bored from sitting in one place, therefore, we ran around town to find another bowling joint. I did not mind the new building because it had an amazing atmosphere with its funky lights, mini bar, pool tables, bowling lanes, and comfortable cushioned couches. One of my good looking Belgian friends bought me a soda. It only costed 0.50 euros, but it was still extremely nice of him. I tried to leave with my correspondent, but my Belgian friend; who bought me the orange pop, told me that we were not allowed to leave. Some unknown Belgians and Slovakians bought loads of beer and played a series of bowling games then left without paying. The bar tenders demanded the Belgians and Slovakians who were still in the bowling joint to pay the expenses. We had to call my teachers to fix the situation. Dismayed, my teacher payed the 105.00 euros on his credit card for those hustlers.
     During my second day in Slovakian I learned about some Slovakian history and explored some ancient buildings, ate Slovakian mush, bowled excessively, and watched my teacher get ripped off. The time was not always cheerful due to the impoverished homeless people I came in contact with and the money situation at the bowling ally. Lucia was kind and generous toward me the whole time, like when she contributed money to buy the 17 packages of pizza. Slovakia was turning out to be a really exceptional country.

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