Archive for August, 2010

Awww….

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

I got this from my Mum via email – ain’t he a cutie?!

– Lina

Orienting Ourselves

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Orientation is under way – can’t believe it’s already Friday! So we are into the last bit of the Critical Thinking, Academic Research and Writing: today’s lectures involve folk from all four areas we work in, and we’re trying to show, in several different ways, how interconnected these areas are. We’re about to do an hour of what is meant by ‘applied theology,’ but now the folk are still enjoying the coffee break. (Coffee seems to be the indispensable element for some teachers and students to survive!)

The geography of students this year is probably even more amazing than previously: not only from nearby places, like several small towns of the Czech Republic or Ukraine, but also Bulgaria, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Israel, USA, Malta, Korea, Honkong, Canada, Lebanon, Serbia… That’s only postgraduate students, masters’ and doctoral level. Most CATs are still to arrive, but we already have someone from Ukraine, Lithuania, and Uzbekistan.

This morning, as I was chatting with one of the teachers about the plans for the year, she got so excited about all the students that she started jumping! That made me smile too. I also can’t wait to see what will we learn together, and how the Teacher of us all is going to surprise us, yet again.

– Lina

Old folk have their rights – even foreign old folk

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Any person who is over  70 years old is eligible for free transportation on the Prague subway, buses and trams. We were very surprised to learn that even we foreigners  are eligible for this wonderful privilege. The only difference is that for a Czech national their national identity card is all they need. For foreigners  the card  costs 20 Czech Krowns, just over 1 US dollar each. An annual pass for those under 70 comes to between $270 and $300. What a deal, free transportation on Prague’s busses, trams and subway for the rest of your life for just over $1.00.

All you need is your passport and one passport picture. Go to the ticket office at the Dejvická station (closest to IBTS) or any other station with a ticket desk. They will prepare the identification as a pensioner, or in Czech, identifikační průkazka. 

The next time you visit IBTS buy the pensioner’s pass and enjoy this beautiful city if you are ‘lucky’ enough to be 70 or over.

Being nice to older people seems to be very much in the Czech culture. Previously we had noticed that when an older person boarded a filled bus, tram or subway a younger person immediately jumped up and offered their seat. The only exception we have seen to this was when a very pregnant young woman boarded a tram and an elderly woman got up and gave her seat to the young woman.  So, Czechs are polite whatever their age.

– Bill

Glory in the sky

Friday, August 20th, 2010

A few days ago we have welcomed back a couple of our dear friends, Bill and Nancy, who have returned to do another year of volunteer service with us. Here’s one of their first impressions:

Sunday evening we walked up the Sarka Valley, that valley with such steep sides and cliffs facing it and paths running up the hills that you feel like you are walking in the mountains, that lies within the Prague city limits. It is almost like a wilderness. Hiking the valley is one of our favorite activities whenever we are here. There had been a lot of rain but the trail was not as muddy as we anticipated.  Knowing there is one section that can very muddy we walked only to the foot bridge that is about 1 1/2 miles from IBTS and just before the wettest portion of the trail. Mushrooms and toad stools were growing in profusion. Call us cowards if you want, but we never want to take the chance of touching the European version of America’s Death Angel so we walked by without picking any up.

The sun was below the ridge of the valley when we turned to retrace our steps to IBTS. As we emerged from the woods the glory of the sky and clouds opened before us. I grabbed my camera as soon as we got to our room and retraced my steps for a good view of the clouds. We hope you enjoy the photos.

Those same clouds and MANY that followed on in the next hours produced one of the wildest thunder and lightning storms we have ever seen.  The light show woke us up over and over during the night.  This continues the summer problem of too much rain here in Eastern Europe where there has been extensive flooding for around a month. 

Hope you enjoy the lovely clouds.

– Bill