Saturday, August 9, 2014

are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Well, Melanie got her mission call yesterday.  She will be living on the other side of the earth in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  As we replayed the video (which I can't seem to download here) of her opening her assignment, we overheard each other saying "She's going to Czechoslovakia!"
I later learned a few things.  There hasn't been a Czechoslovakia for over 20 years. Does that embarrass me that we didn't know that?  Yes. Yes it does. (although in our defense, she said "Czech/Slovak", it sounds similar, right?) I thought it might have been a country on the Risk game board (our source of our basic geography knowledge growing up), but I just looked up images of current and older game boards and there has only been northern Europe and southern Europe, so I suppose our Czech knowledge really did come from 5th grade geography (pre-1993, when it really was Czechoslovakia)
On the video you can also hear us say it is in Eastern Europe.  Although it is more 'east' than some other European countries, it's really in the central region. The Czech Republic borders Germany and Austria. Rather than geographical differentiation, there are cultural and religious difference between the central European countries and eastern European countries.  Our friend Tom, from Holland, piped in and said it was not an Eastern European country.  I am sure in the next 2 years we are going to learn so much about an area of the world that truly is unfamiliar to us. The only thing I know about these 2 complete countries is that Prague is a beautiful city. That is very limited knowledge. I'm excited to start learning.
Melanie wants to learn 500 words before she gets to the Mission Training Center in December. (One college friend offered her help with the language. She said - I know one phrase in Czech I can help you with: "You a dumb boy!") Tom suggested looking up the famous poet, Franz Kafka. That might be fun to learn some poetry in the language.
When Brady opened his  mission call a few years ago, also with the possibility of serving anywhere in the world, I was surprised how relieved I was when he read his assignment -- Illinois. I didn't realize how anxious I was feeling about the possibility of him dealing with medical emergencies in a third world country or navigating roads and highways in a jungle. Illinois and Iowa were foreign enough for me. He loved the area and the people there.
We went to buy a map for Melanie today and while at the store, we were studying the globes they had on display.  Dave went on his mission to the northern island of Japan, the Sapporo Mission.  It is about 1/3 the way around the globe.  Melanie's mission is about 1/3 of the way around the globe in the other direction.
Although this is a modern and stable country, it is still so far, far away that I feel anxious sending our baby around the globe. She is competent and capable though and I know she will be an amazing missionary and an amazing ambassador for our church and our country.
Let the adventures begin!

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