I departed Pitt airports on Friday the 20th at 12:40 after my slightly teary and painful goodbyes to my mother and best friend Amber. Then, I was off to gate 82D for my first flight to Detroit. On my flight there, my seat buddy was a wonderful young man, originally from Croatia. We exchanged stories of where we were going and had a very nice conversation, mostly him assuring me that Slavic languages are not that difficult and once I got a handle on one that the others would come easily (:P)
At Detroit airport I met up with three other rotary exchange students that were to board my next flight to Amsterdam. There was Brian, who was headed to Ostrava CZ, Neil going to a city near Prague, and B who was on her way to Poland. I was lucky enough to be sat next to Neil on the longest flight of my trip. We talked, socialized with our neighbors and watched a lot of movies. Unfortunately this meant there was little sleeping involved…
Upon arrival in Amsterdam, we had to say goodbye to B and hurry to our last plain to Prague. All three of us found seats together on the small plain and had a great time listening to everyone around us (who was awake at 6:30 AM) speak Czech. In Prague, Brian boarded a plain to Ostrava, while Neil and I found baggage claim. Customs was nothing like I had expected… I was thinking that we were going to be asked to show passports and paperwork to large scary men, equip with guns and non sympathetic looks in their eyes. In all actuality there was one short chubby man, who asked us if we had anything worth over $500 in our luggage, and sent us on our way.
My father, Ondrej, arrived shortly after I did at the airport. He greeted me with a kiss on the cheek and helped my carry my luggage to the car. The ride home was beautiful, but not altogether unfamiliar. In fact, I would have to say that I looked almost exactly like any highway you would find in WV or PA… I slept for about half of the ride and awoke 5 km from Kroměříž (actually pronounced closer to ko me jeej).
Kroměříž is a very beautiful town. I live down the street from Pana Marie (Virgin Mary chapel) and share a back yard with and engineering high school. My home is like nothing I have ever seen. It is beautiful and as I am told it dates back more than 300 years.
I got to meet my mother Eliska, sister Barbra, and brother Martin immediately when I walked thru the door. They were more than welcoming and I was given a tour of the house straight away. Since it was Barbra’s last day before her exchange we had her favorite meal and talked about Seattle. We stayed up late watching movies and I bid her farewell at 3am on Sunday morning.
Yesterday, Sunday, Ondrej and Eliska took me for a tour of the town. I got to see my school and lots of cute little shops. They also took me to a zoo/park/garden type thing in town. It was so strange… There were peacocks and various birds running wild everywhere, but they had a random baboon, cats, hamsters and deer locked up in cages. That night I got to meet one of Barbra’s best friends Dína, who speaks English very well and is going to help me to meet people and get into activity clubs.
Today she is took me to a “western camp” she works at. It was made to resemble the Wild West. I met two girls she works with and they offered to take me to a dance club Wednesday evening J
I am very excited for school to start on the first… I am going to be in their 2nd year of gymnasium, and I hear that I will be taking a basic dance class… I can’t wait!