“Have you checked for ticks yet?”
I stopped typing out my lesson plan for English Camp and looked up.
“Ticks. We have deer ticks out here so you may want to check yourself.”
Autumn didn’t look up at me as she explained the surrounding wildlife and their snacking habits. She just clicked away at her computer as though this information was not paralyzing and delicate.
“Check myself?” I asked again. “Where??”
I feel the need to apologize for my last post. I promised to keep them short and sweet and that last one was the most unnecessarily long-winded summation of my disorganized thoughts that I have written since sixth grade. If you found yourself a little confused and bored somewhere around the middle, I was too. The only thing I can think to say is that I did write it after an 18 hour bus ride so you’re lucky you weren’t getting excerpts straight from my junior high journal.
Today is a Czech holiday in commemoration of Jan Huss (John Huss). It’s funny because I grew up learning about John Huss as a Christian reformer and a martyr for the faith but in the Czech Republic he is only seen as a political figure. Kind of like the way America pulls out Indian feathers and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and forgets the Pilgrims and the prayer aspect of the Day. As long as there’s stuffing, am I right?
We’ve been folding and hole-punching literally thousands of pages all morning for the English Camp coming up in a week and I needed a break, so I grabbed some letters, 50 koruna and an umbrella and set off. (Real Europeans all carry umbrellas even if it’s not raining when they leave. Umbrellas are a pretty foreign concept in San Diego, so I was feeling pretty authentic when I began my walk).
I suppose it doesn’t cross your mind as a Kindergartner that the girl sitting next to you who is so much better than you at drawing the hand-traced Thanksgiving Turkeys will one day be sitting next to you on a bench in Vienna at 7:30 a.m. eating salami-cheese-and-butter sandwiches made the night before.
But life does happen like this, as if it’s really an intricate tapestry where everyone’s threads crisscross in a frenzy of color and panic and beauty and not until we reach the end of the spool will we see just how elaborate a craftsmen the Weaver is.
I think cities can be like this too. Just looking at the U-Bahn maps in Vienna is cause to give those of lighter constitution a small case of nausea. (And to tie it into the tapestry metaphor, those maps ARE really colorful).
Wait a second, Mary – what are you doing in Vienna?
Oh, awesome question. In order to obtain my visa I have to apply outside the country. So at 00:30 on Tuesday morning (that’s 12:30 a.m. for normal people), my good and long-time friend Lydia and I trekked across Prague to the Student Agency Bus station in Florenc. We were guided by eldest daughter of my missionary hosts and cherry-picker extraordinaire, Autumn. She pointed out our stops and explained how the maps work and then left us at the bus station to catch her tram back home saying, “Just pay attention and you’ll be fine!” . . . Right.