First up, a thousand apologies for neglecting you last week. Our Pday was moved to Thursday in honor of Thanksgiving and we took the opportunity to visit Bojnice Castle about an hour and half away. Most of the fun things to do in Slovakia likecastles, art museums etc are closed on Monday. Totally unfair. The castle is beautiful, the best of Slovakia I'm told. I got a couple pictures of the outside but my camera died just as we got inside. We took a great walking tour. I didn't understand any of it, of course.... I gathered that it had quite the exciting history though. It was probably the first tour I went on where I didn't ask questions!
After the tour I needed some cash to get home, I had just exhausted my mission funds for the month (I budgeted in dollars, they use Euors here....) so I used my personal card. No big deal. Just 10 Euros. However, the ATM ("bankomat") ate my card. To be more specific, the receipt said that it had "captured" my card. Fantastic. I turned to Bodily and said, "We are going into this bank and getting my card back. Promise to interpret everything I say?" The gal behind the desk said that they didn't accept foreign accounts. Which is ridiculous. Its the largest bank in Slovakia. I think Bodily was a little embarrassed inside the bank when I insisted to see the manager to get this sorted out. The manager said that it took the card because there was no signature and reprimanded me for not signing it. I am positive the card has a signature. Anyway, she said there was absolutely no way that I could get my card that day, strictly against policy. My card would be shipped to Bratislava to the bank's headquarters then shipped to my bank where they would contact me about where to send it. She said it would be faster just to request a new card from my bank. I told them I would no longer use their ATMs for the remainder of my stay in Europe and left. I don't think Bodily translated that for me. So I've been bumming off my companion for the past couple days. Our cards are getting more money on them today so that's a relief. The moral of the story is to always listen to your mother. Heres why: almost two months ago Mom told me to make sure I copy the front and back of all of my cards and send a copy home and keep one. Every pday I forgot and planned to do it the next week. Well, here I am halfway around the world without my debit card and I don't have any of its information. Please don't be mad at me mom.
The rest of my week and a half as been pretty much the same with a couple major confidence boosters. The first was last Saturday. We sat down and talked with this woman Katka. We were having a good lesson and she was taking everything pretty well. Then she stops, looks at me and asks if she knows me. I told her that I had only been in the country for 3 weeks and there was no way she could have met me before. She then asked if I was a Hollywood movie star. Whaaaat?? I thanked her for the compliment (of course I took it as one) Bodily rolled his eyes and continued with the lesson. Then on Monday I had an exchange with Elder Bacon (missionaries sometimes pair up with other missionaries for training purposes. I think its to get away from their companion for a while) You might remember Elder Bacon from the MTC. I thought it was an awful idea and was a little upset that they expected two newcomers to talk to people. Totally lacked the faith. Turns out we had a fantastic time! I was so impressed by our ability to talk to everyone we met and explain who we were. We exchanged telephone numbers with two people and even set up an appointment for the next day! I could hear the words of my old branch president "Wherefore canst thou doubt!" I was even more impressed by the amount of personal and language growth Elder Bacon has had since arriving in the country.
I felt like a real missionary this week. We stopped to help some older ladies rake leaves. There were three of them out there working and were a little confused why two guys in suits wanted to help. But I had just learned the phrase, "Can we help you?" and was dying to use it. They tried to thank us with a jug of wine. Awkward.... And then yesterday I tried my hand at tortillas. (not sure why that made me feel like a missionary, but it did) I miss tortillas so much. They taste more like scones and so I'm trying to just accept it as a sacrifice that I just have to make for two years.
This morning was the first snow and it was kind of anti climatic. Not sure what I was expecting, but my hatred for the snow is still strong. However, I am warm. I now wear two layers of Underarmor, thermals, and another long shirt. All before I put on my white shirt and tie. Then I have a sweater and my jacket. I would like another coat so that Slovaks stop telling me I'm going to catch a disease. I guess I don't look warm without a big winter coat, but I let them know that I have 6 or 7 layers on and am plenty warm.
I am a little stressed and frustrated (what else is new) but I am happy and healthy and loving Slovakia more and more. Glad to hear Thanksgiving on the beach was a success. I had a frozen pizza.....
Oh and thanks for finding the Skrlecs! Alžbeta will be so happy! Ill be sure to let the branch know and send you an update on all of them!