Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hungary Trip: Day 4

Conference Day 2

This is Tuesday. Breakfast was the same and the kids went to their respective classes at 8:30. The devotion by Jeff was so good, about Paul’s prayer that we be rooted in God’s love. So challenging to me about what I pray for and what God’s power is to be directed toward…

We each attended half of a morning workshop (Heather on learning styles, me on Third Culture Kids). Curious to know what a TCK is? Here is the definition we used in the workshop, borrowed, I believe, from Sociologist David Pollock.

"A person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents' culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership of any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of a similar background."

We missed the last half of our workshops to take all three of the older kids to get hearing screenings. They had set up a little desk at the end of a hallway (which kept getting interrupted by a door connecting the hallway to the other wing of the hotel) where a man had a laptop and headphones hooked up. A program allowed him to test each ear at different frequencies and decibels. All three showed some minor loss in their left ears and though not urgent or major, encouraged us to have a more thorough evaluation done soon. Hmm.

We took the kids back to their classes and then sat at the bar and had a Coke since we were already late for the main session. After a quick lunch, Jacob joined a group of kids playing soccer and we didn’t see him the rest of the afternoon. Haven had her first of two sessions taking the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) in the 9th floor lounge. She had a blast and it brought back memories of taking similar tests growing up.

At 14:30, I took Jacob for his eye screening. Now, this is not an optometrist visit, it is to tell if there are any muscular/coordination problems that might be causing reading difficulties. The lady had him take several tests on a computer and said she would email me the results. He quickly rejoined the soccer bunch…cool to see him use some of his moves.

We all went to the pool for a dip. I wish you all could see Harrison. He is a mini-Susan Casey. I think because he isn’t as confident with his Italian and because we’re used to seeing him around our team members, we don’t often see his outgoing side come out. He is AMAZING. Walking up to complete strangers and connecting, conversing, sharing stories, asking questions. In the hot tub he was showing the other kids how to hold his breath underwater and then teaching them words in Italian.

For dinner we ordered three little pizzas and a calzone from the bar/kitchen and ate them quickly around a little round table. I don’t know if it is unique to Hungary or just this hotel, but they used BBQ sauce instead of tomato sauce – good though.

We then attended the annual talent show where the TCKs perform for everyone. These were things they had prepared beforehand. They played the piano, sang, acted out dramas, recited dialogue (The Pee Little Thrigs), rapped and did a Yo-Yo presentation. What a cool thing – to allow these kids a safe environment to show their talents and passions – a place for them to connect with others like themselves.

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