Amazing! All of this thanks to Milos’s inspiration to write a letter and Ladislav’s willingness to dig. “Till now the Lord has helped us.” New stones to turn over – but where to find them!! These new clues about Jacob and his wives all pointed to the area of Slovakia where there was once a shoe factory – Partizánske. Further south, was Oponice, where Jacob and his wives had lived. Amazingly, my dear friends the Krplands also live 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Partizanske. So Miloš and I made a plan. When EFL class was finished, I would return to their home for the week end. And on the following Monday, July 9th, we would visit Partizánske.
The week went by quickly, with the end of class a bittersweet time. Goodbyes are exchanged tearfully, with promises to stay connected till the following summer. While this was the end of one adventure, I needed to grab my suitcase and get ready for the next chapter! The rest of my team were packing up to leave, but not until the following morning. After hasty good byes, see you back in the USA! I joined Miloš, sisters Lýdia and Lenka, and Cousin Emma. We were westward bound in a short time, driving through rural and city roads alike on our way to the Krpelan home where I would enjoy being one of their family until my return to America.
Though we’d left the classroom far behind, the language lessons did not stop, for the Krpelans or me! Miloš and his wife Iveta were more than eager to practice their English skills – as was I to tutor them! We laughed and laughed as they tried new English words on me, and then turned the tables on me and my pitiful attempts at Slovak. (My father, I’m sure, never imagined in his wildest dreams that I would be speaking – well, trying to speak-his native tongue!) I was so proud of them both, and saw much improvement over just a few days. Again, the tables were turned on me, as I became a student of Slovak cuisine. Iveta and her daughters bustled around their small kitchen, instructing me in making their traditional dishes… halušky (hah-loosh-kee), a potato dumplings with Bryndzové (sheep) cheese, and of course Koláče for dessert…. all from scratch and all delicious. If only I could figure a way to take home some of that Bryndzové, plentiful in the small market we walked to Saturday morning. Would be a pity to have to part with that going through customs!