I met Anetka on March 20, 2007. She was looking for someone to help her with English. A year earlier, almost to the day, my mother died. I was a bit sad and lonely. So was Anetka, it seems. Anetka is from the Czech Republic. I assumed that Czech and Slovak languages were the same, since not long ago, Czech Republic and Slovakia were one country. I said to Anetka, "Velke objatie(big hug)". Anetka corrected me, "Velke objeti". I think that very first day, Anetka told me that she needed a Big Hug. Donna was away for the week with friends. On the phone, I mentioned this new girl I'd met, and about how she really wanted a hug. We wondered what would make a girl tell a stranger that she wanted a hug. What could she be hiding?
Anetka and I chatted several times a week. We exchanged email addresses and we discussed many things about each other's lives. Anetka was a first-year university student studying International Development Relations. I could tell immediately that Anetka was a very intelligent young woman. As time wore on, I would learn just how intelligent she really was. We exchanged mobile phone numbers. Anetka asked if I could please send her a message that day. I obliged. Since that time, we've sent hundreds of messages to each other. Most of the messages those first few months were messages of encouragement, especially for her studies.
I've learned a lot about the education system in Europe. It differs quite a bit from what we have here in the USA. Most students start learning English in the first grade. They learn other languages as well, but English is the key to success for non-English speaking countries. Secondary school is intense, especially at the gymnasiums, which would be like advanced placement studies here. Anetka traveled every day by train from her home to the gymnasium school. There she would study about 13 subjects every year with long school days. Every subsequent year, the subjects would intensify, preparing the students for university life. University studies in Europe are completed in 3 years, unlike the 4-5 year Bachelor's programs of the USA. Sixty credit hours are required every school year to advance to the next year. In 3 years, that totals 180 credit hours, as opposed to 120 credit hours for the typical 4-year USA degree. Succeeding in a course is based solely upon the ability to pass the final exam. Each student is given 3 tries to pass the final. Exam periods often are 30 days or more. Many students carry a course load of 10-13 subjects each semester. A full time student in the USA is usually 12-21 credit hours or 3-6 courses. The USA universities also do not base their grades totally on the final exams. As you can see, the pressure to succeed in Europe is quite different.
During the summer of 2007, I was visiting my aunt in Florida with my wife, Donna. We were eating a wonderful dinner at our favorite restaurant, Roy's in Tampa. During dinner, Donna asked me if we could bring Anetka to the USA for a few weeks to help her with her English. I almost fell off of my barstool. We decided to try. At that time, Anetka needed a visa to visit the USA. I didn't think it would be difficult to make it happen. I wrote to the Czech Consulate in Prague. I gave them background information for Donna and me. Anetka went to Prague for an interview, and she failed. She was so disappointed. The Americans treated her so badly that Anetka's parents told her not to try again. Undaunted, I contacted Senator Joe Biden's office. Senator Biden wrote a letter for Anetka. I told the Consulate what we'd been doing with Slavka and we submitted round-trip airline plans for Anetka's trip. I convinced Anetka to try again. Without telling her parents, Anetka traveled 5 hours to Prague by train. She was given a 35 minute intense interview, but again she was denied. Anetka told me that she was treated like a Nazi. They didn't believe her. She was considered a flight risk to leave her country. I think Anetka was very close to getting the visa. Usually, interviews are 2-3 minutes. 35 minutes is almost unheard of. The Consulate wrote to me and told me that she would have a better chance after 2 years at university, as they feel that students will not leave with only one year to complete their degree.
Since Anetka wasn't able to visit us in the USA, I spoke to John from Canada and Donna about going to Prague, maybe around the New Year's holiday. We would bring Slavka to Prague, and John would bring a few of his friends as well. A few weeks later, John's back gave out. He was undergoing therapy, and he would not be able to fly.
On October 9, we were having some work done around the house by Mr. Handyman. Donna and Meg decided to go to the local shopping mall. Just a short time later, I received a phone call. Donna and Meg had been hit head-on by another car and were taken to a nearby hospital. Meg had suffered a concussion, a cut to her leg and injuries to her sternum and shoulder from the air bags. Donna's injuries were more serious. Both of her knees were severely banged up. Her chest was bruised and she had a lot of back pain. Donna missed 2 months of work and still has complications.
Obviously, the trip to Prague was not going to happen as a group. I really felt that I needed to go, even if I went alone.
Christmas was approaching. We had bought several gifts for Slavka and Anetka. I sent large packages to both of them. I want to share part of a letter that Anetka sent to me:
I don't know, how to start... Pete I am deeply moved, before half hour package was delivered. Why did you send me so many gifts?? I am blushing and I was close to tears...so much emotional. Thank you (you and Donna) very much!! I didn't unpack them, I would like to unpack under Christmas tree on 24th December, I hope you agree! My parents were shocked together with me! They still cannot believe...they asked why? And I still say them, it is destiny :)
Daddy was joking, you send me more gifts then they bought for me :)
I have for you big box with presents, but my daddy is afraid of you will have problems take it to plane. Because you can have just 20 kg and the box is very heavy Lol I wanted to give to you things typical for our country ( region Slovacko, where we live, Olomouc and capital city ) and mainly things ( symbols ) important for me. One thing is very very old, like me... :) I explain it, when you are here :)
This morning I sent you small letter with Christmas wishes and 2 paper's things, which Nikolas made in children garden ( Vesele Vanoce means Merry Christmas ).
I love Christmas, now when I don't spend much time with my family; I feel this time is more important for me. Not because of gifts and lots of food Lol but because of they are uncommon and I have a great regard for my family and time, which I can spend with them.
ufff.. I want to explain my feeling, but I don't know if you understand. I know, you know it's very hard for me explain intangible things. I hope one day I will talk fluently with you about this feeling.
Pete, please, I hope you know, how much I like you and how much I respect you! your care, your love, your friendship... its driving force for me, for my study, for my endeavor... I don't want to disappoint you. I am up to you a lot!
When you told me, Donna and Meg had accident I was shocked, I wanted to be with you, hug you and say you "it will be all right, muj kamarad".
Pete, we are friends, we are team! Not because of money, gifts and USA.. But because of YOU and ME... I am crying... sorry... I am moved again. I like you a lot! You helped me and I feel you are really my friend. Thank you for everything!! I trust you!
Mam te rada a dekuji za vsechno!
Velkou pusinku a objeti... soon real - brzy opravdove :)
Anetka's course load for her winter semester was simply crazy. She had 13 subjects for a total of 48 credit hours. She had taken 5 final exams prior to Christmas. She had 8 more to take before the next semester began on February 18. Back in the USA, Donna and Meg decided that I could visit Anetka and Slavka on my own. I told Anetka that I was coming. She was so excited. The problem now was selecting a date. Anetka failed exams in 2 of her subjects, and then she failed both of them again. I told Anetka that her professors didn't want her to fail. I asked her to email both professors, and to tell them that she really enjoyed their subjects, but could they please tell her what she did not understand on her exams. Anetka responded to me, "But they needn't to answer me." Guess what? Both professors did answer, and she passed!
I left for Prague on Sunday February 10, 2008. I took an extra suitcase because Anetka told me that she had so many gifts for me. Of course, I filled the bag with things I knew Anetka liked, especially Peanut Butter Tandy Cakes! I wasn't sure what the weather would be like, so I wore a very warm jacket. I had a long walk to check-in at Philadelphia airport with 2 bags and a carry-on. I'm guessing I had about 100 pounds to carry. By the time I got to the ticket counter, I was soaking wet! I flew from Philadelphia to Atlanta on Delta, and then Business Class from Atlanta to Prague. My seatmate was a very interesting guy. He worked for the International Atomic Energy Commission. He was traveling to Estonia to meet with Russian leaders. We had a great conversation, especially about the WMD's that never existed.
I arrived in Prague early on the 11th. I guess I looked suspicious. A Czech customs agent x-rayed my bags, and then he picked one, and said "Open!" I complied, of course. He asked what everything was. Soup? Yes. Cookies? Yes. Cakes? Yes. Candy? Yes. I thought he was going to take the food. Then he said, "Close!" I was free to go! I took a cab to the Marriott Courtyard in downtown Prague. Anetka would meet me there.
Anetka was taking her last exam on the morning of the 11th. Her professor gave her a 20 minute oral test. As I was traveling to the Marriott, I received this text message:
"Pete, I passed it! It's a beautiful day! I'll be in Prague about 12:30. Where are you?" I said that I was almost at the hotel. "Oh My God! Really? I'm very nervous! Uf, uf, uf!"
About an hour later, a tall blond girl walked into the hotel lobby. It was Anetka. She got her hug. Anetka grabbed one of my suitcases, and we walked to the subway. We went up and down stairs and escalators, got on the subway and changed subway trains. Finally we reached the train station. We missed the train to Olomouc by a few minutes. We had to wait another hour. We were very nervous. Anetka was shy about her English. On the train, we were discussing many things. Anetka sometimes was confused. A nice Czech girl in the next seat helped us to understand. But we were doing ok!
It was a 2.5 hour ride to Olomouc, where Anetka goes to university. We arrived and took a short trolley ride. Then we walked to Anetka's flat. I opened my suitcase full of food and candy and gave it to Anetka. Anetka showed me my Christmas presents!! She bought me some wine from near her home. Moravia is wine country in the Czech Republic. She gave me food and candy. Afterwards, she had me sit on her couch, where she showed me a beautiful picture book of the Moravian part of the Czech Republic, her home. She showed me pictures of young girls in costumes for a festival, and told me that she dressed like that as a little girl. I read the book later on a flight. Since my heritage is from Ireland, I found it interesting that the Celts of Ireland were first in the Czech Republic, about 1,000 years ago.
The special present was saved for last. On the day Anetka was born, her father made plum brandy. He had it bottled, and it was to be opened on Anetka's 21st birthday, which was the next March 23. I felt very touched to get such a personal gift from Anetka and her family!
I slept in Anetka's bed, while she stayed with another girl who lived in her building. The next morning, Anetka fixed me a nice breakfast of cheeses, meats, breads and vegetables. Then, we went to her university. Anetka had to meet her professors to get her grades certified in a little black book. Afterwards, we walked into the town center of Olomouc. We had a lunch and walked some more. In the evening, we had a bottle of Czech champagne and a pizza at Anetka's flat. It was a celebration of her wonderful semester at university. I gave Anetka the hug she wanted and we talked for hours about all kinds of topics.
The next morning, we awoke early and traveled by train to see Slavka in Slovakia. The ride took about 7 hours. We arrived in Poprad shortly after noon on the 13th, one day after Slavka's birthday! Slavka was so excited to see us. We had a lunch at the hotel, and then Slavka invited me to her flat. I met her husband and her son again, after 1.5 years. Slavka gave me a huge slice of the chocolate birthday cake that she made. We walked back to the hotel to get Anetka for dinner, pasta and beer.
We awoke early and took the electric train up into the Tatry Mountains. There was snow and ice at altitude. We walked uphill for quite a distance, almost slipping several times. I was carrying a bag with cameras, which made the walk more difficult. I was walking ok at lower levels, but I was having breathing problems from my damaged right lung while climbing. We descended back to Poprad, where Slavka gave each of us a nice massage. After dinner, Anetka and I boarded a train back to Olomouc. It was a long day, but we had a good time.
On Friday morning, Anetka and I took a train to Prague. We had planned to catch a movie, but it was too late. We had a nice dinner at the Marriott. Anetka spent the night with a friend. In the morning, we talked and I worked with Anetka's English. We corrected writing mistakes on emails she had sent to me. She makes small errors. When I asked her what was wrong with a certain phrase, she would tell me. Later we had lunch in the Flora Mall across the street. The friend picked us up in the afternoon, and we walked around the Prague town center. In the evening, Anetka and I went to the Flora Mall and watched "Sweeney Todd" starring Johnny Depp. We watched the movie with Czech subtitles, the way Anetka likes to watch American movies. As the evening ended, we ate pizza at the Marriott.
It was Sunday. Anetka was to begin classes the following morning. We ate a buffet breakfast. Anetka had never been to a buffet. She couldn't believe she could eat anything she wanted. "I can have this? And this? And this apple?" She took some food for her train ride. Soon, it was time to leave. After a final hug and a kiss, Anetka was gone. I spent the afternoon on a bus tour of Prague, Prague Castle and St. Vitus's Cathedral. I love old churches. I'd like to return one day for a tour of just the church. I returned to the USA on a Delta flight on Monday morning. It was a great adventure!
Anetka was quiet for a while afterwards. We had invited her to travel in Ireland with us in May, and she could visit or work in the USA during the summer. Anetka decided to travel to Spain to study Spanish at a university in Malaga and work. She was very brave to travel like this alone. One day, I received an email from a very upset young lady. There were few jobs available and accommodations were expensive. Anetka was also being stalked by African men. She was afraid. Her mother feared for her. Anetka decided to return home to the Czech Republic. It wasn't the summer holiday she had hoped for.
I gave some thought to trying to bring Anetka to the USA to visit before her next semester started. We still had the potential problem with her visa, although the Czech Republic had been given tentative approval for visa waiver. The visa waiver was finally approved on November 18. In the meantime, Anetka signed up to do a study program from her university in Moldavia for two weeks. The students traveled 26 hours by bus to Moldavia. It was a great experience! The students spent a few days in a refugee camp, sleeping in tents with sleeping bags. They spent 3 days living with very poor families, helping them to clean, cook and care for the children. Anetka and her classmates could now understand what difficult lives some people endure in our world.
Anetka began her final year of studies for her bachelor's degree in late September 2008. Besides her heavy course load, she has to write a thesis about developing countries. The texts are in English and Spanish, so she has to read the material, then translate into Czech 40 pages. This is a good experience for her learning new languages, but I can't imagine how difficult her task must be!
Anetka is making plans for her dreams, her final two years at university. Anetka would like to study for her master's degree in International Development Studies, and she would like to study Latin American Studies at the same time at a second university in another city. I am confident that Anetka can succeed in achieving her goals, but from now on, she must pay to study. Study for a bachelor's degree is free, but not a master's degree. Anetka expects her expenses to be at least $5,000 a year with no frills for her. She was able to get about $500 total for her good grades and because of her parents lack of economic resources.
Since one of Anetka's goals is to learn better English, I've decided to help her to come to the USA to get a summer job. She will probably work 2-3 jobs in order to earn enough money to pay for her school. My plans include bringing Anetka to the USA in March or April of 2009. She and I will travel to a beach resort to look for jobs and accommodation for three months. Unlike last summer in Spain, if Anetka gets sad or lonely, she can seek refuge with my family, as we will not be far away.
I've been having Anetka write down her thoughts for me, to help her practice with her English. I want to share with you, in Anetka's own words, what she wrote about our visit in Prague:
So, how to start?
It's very hard to write about things and events which happened in past, if I know that the period wasn't so much happy. This year 2007 wasn't optimistic. I started study the first year at university and my family hadn't money to support me. My mom didn't work because she stayed at home with my small brother and my father hadn't good job. So, I had to work and study together. I looked for any job-in restaurants, bars, shops or supermarkets, but I wasn't successful.
And now start my story.....
I remember a moment. The moment which maybe changed my life. It was 20th March 2007. I met a secret man in language chat :)
He was very nice, he spoke with me normally-no stupid things...
We spoke about life, my study, about normal things...And he was so funny. With him I felt so well, secure He was smart and he was really interest in me, my soul.
I have never met so much nice person before. I didn't know him and he didn't know me and we achieved "speak together" several hours. Every day, he came back to my chat. And I just spoke with him or with our friend Maggie. It was wonderful period.
Now I am reading old chats which you printed for me, I must to smile, sometimes I have tears in my eyes. I really like you... And I know, in the time before when I didn't know about you much, maybe nothing, you were the first man in my life... :) and we became very very good friends. But both of us know-it wasn't so easy. In start I didn't believe you. Didn't understand why anyone wants to help to other person? Why me? Do you remember? Now I know-DESTINY. Sometimes If I am in hard situation I hear my intuition. And 18 months ago my intuition screamed, YESS, YESS. You can do it-you can believe him!!! And I did it. I have never been felt sorry!! Thank you!!
The man-YOU- helped me so much, believed in me and gave me self-confidence and trust. Now is now. I have wonderful friends from USA- a little bit crazy Americans :p :p :p lol
It's incredible, both of us have similar feelings and we want to help to others-people in need.
Pete, I am glad I believed you and I gave you my phone number and e-mail. It made me happy, really. You supported me and still do it. It is very important for me and I really respect you!
Do you remember last summer? I felt sad. And wonderful man offered me visit in his country. I couldn't believe! I have never been in the United States. It was my chance-get to know new country, brilliant friends and practice English.
But consular clerk destroyed my dream :( You had for me wonderful traveling, sights-seeing, ocean...relax in your country. I felt so low-spirited, lonely, sad... And I think you too.
I had no energy to do other things. I was angry on your policy, your government... I didn't understand why they make problems to our people. I felt injustice, it was very unfair.
But you still were with me. You supported me. And we thought how to meet. One day you have surprise for me :)
You wanted to visit to me here-in Czech Republic. I was so happy and a little bit I was afraid. I don't know why, I think I was just nervous. It's natural :)
It was very complicated. You wanted to travel during Christmas but Donna and Meg had bad accident and you must have been with your girls. I understood you. They needed you there.
On Monday 11st February 2008 in the morning I traveled to Prague-our capital city. Why? Because one of my wish became true. Pete arrived to Czech Republic.
I was so nervous.
He waited on me in vestibule of Marriot hotel near shopping center Flora. Wow! I was so excited. And I think he too. We have never seen just photos and web-camera. I came there embarrassedly and the first I didn't know what say, because my English wasn't good. It was funny. But I was so glad that we met. And I wanted to enjoy this week and I wished we enjoy it together. I hope we did. What do you think?
First day we traveled to Olomouc-city where I study. I have own room in old flat. There Pete could spend time, in privacy. I slept in other room with my friend Katka. We traveled to Olomouc 3 hours, I was nervous and Pete too, but all way we spoke, Pete told me a lot things about him, we laughed together. It was very nice. Then we put up in flat and I gave to Pete big gift bag with presents. I and my parents bought them like Christmas presents for Pete and his family. One of the presents was book. The book about our country especially about our region, where I live. One page is in Czech language and second is in English. There are very much pics-people, buildings, sights, habits, food... The rest of the evening we browsed through the book. I explained him some pics-our old habits and so on. Ice was melting :) we spent very very nice day.
Next day we were still in Olomouc. I wanted to show to Pete town-historical centre, churches, cathedrals, city hall and my school- Palacky University. I really enjoy this day. We drank Czech beer in nice pub inside city hall and spoke together.
Two days we spent in Olomouc and next two days we were in Poprad. I looked forward to our trip. I have never been in Tatras. And I was curious how looks Slavka ? You talked about her so much. I imagined her like nice and unpretending woman and I didn't mistake. In addition to she was please and jokeful. We spent very funny day and we all got to know more. I wanted to be friend with Slavka, but we didn't exchange mobil number and later I didn't know, if she wants to be in contact with me or not.
Second day in Poprad I and Slavka thought up special trip to Tatras mountains. It was high adventure-experience. We went out up to mountains by train and then we went to walk. But one member of our expedition wasn't ready for so long way :p and we came back to village. We spent nice time in beautiful sweetshop. In afternoon I and Pete traveled back to Olomouc, because next day we wanted to visit Prague again and spend there 2 or 3 days. I really enjoy it. We just spoke and eat LOL. And one time we went to cinema. I like John Depp and Pete invite me. I felt like queen. We ate in beautiful restaurants, where I never before been. We talked about serious things and I felt that I am with person who understands me. I respect every day what you been here, Pete!!! Thank you for everythink.
I've put together a few sentences from other writings that you may enjoy:
Pete, I hope, after two years, you and Donna and maybe Meg, if she wants, will go to Olomouc for degree ceremony (graduation). I mean last day in school :) after 5 years at university, when dean of faculty grace us...It is my big wish. I would like to have here my best friends...and you are :)
Pete, yesterday I saw your web site OMG! I was totally moved! Why did you not tell me that you have pictures that you have never shown before? I laughed when I saw picture of the train as I am sleeping. This is the nicest surprise. Really! I feel like cry! I very much thank God that I met you. Have my guardian angel-you are. Always, you are the pillar, a true friend.
Anetka's story will continue. I will update here or on the web log. Feel free to add your thoughts! It is the goal of Slavka's Dream to assist Anetka in finding good work and scholarships so that she will finish her studies, and eventually help other humans in need!
March 2009 Sometimes the best laid plans go awry!
As I stated before, I had plans to bring Aneta to the USA to interview for summer jobs and to relax on her Spring holiday from university. It should have been easy, but then I should know better by now. The Czech Republic was granted visa waiver the the US State Department in November of 2008. I bought Anetka a plane ticket, and she was to arrive on April 2, returning on April 10. Anetka filled out the Immigration form online, and she was given clearance...or was she? One of the questions on the form asked if she had ever been denied a visa. She had been denied 2 years ago, but that shouldn't mattter now. She had visa waiver. I had Senator Kaufman's office write to the Prague Consulate. I wrote and Anetka wrote. 2 days prior to departure, Anetka was contacted by the Consulate. She had to apply for a visa. I asked if she could apply the day before her flight, as she would be in Prague anyway. The answer was no. President Obama was visiting Prague that week, so the Embassy was closed. We were told that Anetka could take a chance and fly to the USA, but that she might be detained in Atlanta and sent back to her country. It wasn't worth the risk. Anetka's heart was broken again.
Anetka now concentrated on her studies. She had to take 10 exams in her final semester, write her bachelors thesis and finally she had to pass Czech State exams on 30 topics. The State exams were held on the evening of June 15. Anetka would be grilled by 5 members of the faculty for an hour, then she would have to defend her thesis. She made it! She had advanced to study for her first of 2 masters degrees.
While Anetka was studying, I was busy too. I contacted a few potential employers in Rehoboth Beach on her behalf. Armed with this website, I struck paydirt. I met with the manager at Nike Factory Store on April 14. The manager was impressed with Anetka's story, and he told me, "I want that girl. She is driven". Knowing that Anetka had a job, I told Anetka to apply with a student agency in the Czech Republic to assist with getting her a visa. The agencies are rip-off artists. They charge high fees, and help the students as little as possible. Many students arrive in the USA without a job, which is against the law. When I asked the owner of the agency what services he would provide, I was told it was none of my business. I thought it was my business since I was paying him. The bottom line is Anetka was granted an interview with the Embassy on June 3. Again, I wrote to the Consulate, as did Senator Kaufman. On the morning of the 3rd, I heard nothing from Anetka. I thought, Oh no, not again. But, early in the morning, I had an email from the Consulate. Her visa was approved. Anetka had forgotten her mobil and was unable to contact me. She wanted to surprise me, but I already knew. Grrrr, said Anetka..lol.
June 27, 2009 Anetka Arrives in the USA
Anetka arrived in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon. She breezed through Immigration and Customs. My plane arrived a few minutes after hers, but was delayed getting to the gate. Anetka was waiting for me at E Terminal security. When I saw her, I wasn't sure it was her. She was much thinner than the last time I saw her, and her hair was longer. I was on the escalator when she looked up and she saw me. A wonderful smile graced her face. We went to the Delta Crown Room for snacks and a beer while waiting for our flight to Philadelphia. I was able to get Anetka into first class with me for the Philadelphia flight. Anetka was surprised! A flight attendent took our photo. Anetka was very tired. She had been awake for 21 hours. She slept most of the way to Philadelphia. Anetka's bag was almost the first bag off of the conveyor. We got to my car and drove home. Donna and the dogs greeeted Anetka. She went to bed about 1/2 hour after arriving, and slept for 15 hours. :)
On Sunday, Donna decided to take Anetka to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. The food was good, and Anetka cleared her plate. Then, we went shopping at Costco. We bought things for ourselves, and bulk items for Anetka's flat, like pasta, rice, vegetables, canned tuna and chicken. We bought so much that we had to go home. We went out again for regular food supplies and bought pizza for dinner. Meg had been out, but she got to meet Anetka before she went to sleep.
On Monday, I took Anetka to apply for her Social Security card. The stupid student agency didn't tell us that she had to register with the government agency SEVIS when she arrived. We could have done it online on Saturday. Now she has to wait for her Social Security number. It will be ok. Nike is going to let her work, since she did apply. The lady who owns Anetka's flat in the Czech Republic loaned her laptop computer to Anetka for her trip (she will use Anetka's PC). However, the computer and Anetka's mobil phone have European plugs, so we need a convertor to allow her to use these products. I found one online. It will be delivered to Anetka's flat on Thursday. I let Anetka use my computer in the afternoon. She was able to speak to her Mom, Dad and brother. They were all very excited to be able to communicate with each other. Meg was around this evening! We had a nice talk together.
We packed on Tuesday for the 1.5 hour drive to Rehoboth Beach. We arrived at the flat and met Margrit, who owns the flat. She was born in Germany. She told me that she came to the US with $100 and couldn't speak English. Later in the day, I saw a photo of Margrit sitting at dinner with President Ronald Reagan. Wow! Margrit's husband was a member of Reagan's cabinet, head of Civil Rights. Margrit showed Anetka her room. It is nice. She has her own room. Most students share rooms, 4 or 5 to a room, for the same money. Anetka can use the washer and dryer, full kitchen, dining room, living room and patio. There is a swimming pool and tennis courts. We met one of her flatmates, Leah, who is a university student from Wilmington, Delaware. The other flat mate is Helena from Slovakia. Anetka will have someone to speak to in her own language. The location of the flat is great, less than 1 mile from work at Nike, and about 2 miles to the Atlantic Ocean, or the town and boardwalk.
We went to Nike and met Jack, Anetka's boss. Jack has 55 employees for the summer, including at least 20 foreign students. He was very nice to Anetka. She will begin training on Wednesday at 2:00 PM. She will work Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for sure, as it is a holiday weekend. Her first pay will be July 17. I paid Anetka 1 month in advance for cleaning my father's house, so she will have spending money. We left the store and drove to the beach. It was a hot day, 91 F or 33 C. Anetka took her shoes off and began walking in the sand. I asked her if the sand was hot, and she said it was okay...until she took about 10 more steps..lol. She stepped into the Atlantic for the first time. She said the water was cold, but the body adjusts quickly. It is early summer yet. The water will warm to about 72 F soon.
Anetka was hungry, so we went into Rehoboth. I took her to Nicola Pizza. I've known Nick for years. He stopped by our table to say hello. Anetka had a salad and I had a slice of pizza. We each had 2 beers in a frosted mug, Coors Light. It tasted very good after we had been outside in the heat. We walked the boardwalk then back to the car. We were both tired from the ocean air. I drove Anetka to her flat.
Anetka seems very upset. She is nervous about her English. Her English has gotten better every day. It is all about practice and relaxing. Anetka told me that she understands me better each day too. Jack told her that she will relax and gain confidence. He's seen so many students in 9 years. He knows. Anetka also seems a little homesick. She will be better when she gets her computer online on Thursday, I think. Also, she will be better as she meets other people and makes new friends.I gave her a hug, and I told her it would be okay. Her eyes filled with tears.
Next week, I'll take her to my father's house on her day off. Maybe I'll bring her home with me for a day or two, if she wants.
Anetka already has a new friend! Our young dog, Maggie loves Anetka! Maggie and Anetka have the same birthday, March 23. We picked up Maggie on June 25 last year at Philadelphia airport. Maggie traveled on Delta from Portland, Oregon through Atlanta. Anetka arrived on June 27 this year. Maggie jumps a little for attention, which bothered Anetka a bit, but they were playing in the yard with a soccer ball on Monday, and we walked both of our dogs about 1 mile in the evening. Maggie likes to give hugs. On Tuesday, before Anetka left, Maggie put her head into Anetka's chest and held it there. Anetka was kissing Maggie! Maggie misses Anetka. She lays outside the guest room door, waiting for her new friend.
More to follow...
I met Aneta in March of 2006. She was in her first year of studies at Palacky University, taking 13 subjects that semester, while working 12 hour shifts at a factory on Saturdays and Sundays. Her self esteem was very low. Aneta told me that she'd made a mistake by choosing her faculty, International Development Studies. Her dream was to assist poor children of the world. Her grades suffered that first year, which would cost her in scholarships later. I helped Aneta get through that first year successfully.
The next semester, Aneta had two subjects that were proving too difficult for her. She had failed exams in each twice. She had one final chance. I told Aneta to talk to her professors, and ask them what it was that she didn't understand. Aneta told me, "but they needn't listen to me or care". But her professors did care! She passed both exams, the last as I was landing in Prague to meet her. She was so excited that she was successful. I spent a week in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with Aneta and later with Slavka. It was quite an experience for all of us.
Aneta finished her bachelor's degree in three years, not 4. I helped Aneta to obtain a J1 visa so that she could live and work in the United States that summer of 2009. Aneta had a great summer. Her thirst for knowledge was unquenchable. We spent hours some days discussing the English language, which she mastered. After the summer, Aneta went back for her master's degree in International Development Studies, and a second master's at another university in Latin American Studies. She was taking 19 subjects, in three languages, in one semester. Aneta is an absolutely brilliant woman. In March of 2010, I received a message from Aneta. She had left university due to finances. I told her "this is an unacceptable behavior for you". I told Aneta to speak to her dean, and to ask to be readmitted. The semester was three weeks old. Aneta again doubted me, but her dean welcomed her back with open arms. Aneta received her master's in June of 2011, with honors.
Aneta is currently working on her PhD. She has completed an internship with poor children in Peru and in the Amazon. Aneta is currently doing another European Union sponsored internship in London, a project dealing with underprivileged people in Nepal. Aneta wants badly to work for a US based foundation. She needs to get a foot in the door. Aneta has so much to offer the world if someone gives her a chance, like Slavka's Dream already has!