Interesting story. Maybe even funny, but not very.
I’ve written in other posts about the power of presence and how I wish I had more contact with my students. This year I had a rare opportunity to meet one of my current students face to face. The first time I met him in person was last year–at least that’s the first time I remember meeting him.
Maybe I should back up…
Meeting Again for the First Time
At the end of the spring semester last year one of my students (Pavol Krasnocvetov) contacted me by Skype. He said he was going to be in Chicago for the summer and was wondering if we could meet up. Absolutely! So we did, we ended up getting together twice. Once he came to our house and we spent the evening enjoying live music at a park here in Deerfield.
The next time we met was more interesting. It turns out Pavol has been making annual trips to America for several years. In fact he has a green card and comes back each year in order to be able to keep it. While in the States on those annual trips he works for some Slovak construction companies in the western suburbs and attends the same church as some Slovaks we know from back in Slovakia. So it turns out our circles of friends intersect. Actually, it turned out that our circles of friends intersect even more than that.
While I was writing posts for the series on religion in Slovakia I went into some detail as to why we have found English camps to be so effective in Slovakia. In order to supplement that post I was going through old collections of photos from the Nitra English camps of 2001-2005. As I was browsing through the photos I noticed one in which I was sitting next to someone that looked very familiar. Pavol Krasnocvetov! That’s him sitting right next to me (far right) in the photo above. The picture is from about 2003 or 2004, well before I met him for the first time. Er, that is, well before I thought I met him for the first time.
I feel I must explain myself. I’m always telling people what close relationships we establish with people at these English camps and here I am sitting right next to a guy that just a few years later I don’t know even when I meet him face to face. To defend myself, since I was one of the few Americans at the camp that could speak Slovak, I usually ended up teaching the very, very, very beginners class. Pavol was not anywhere near that group. Also, as one of the organizers and translators at the camp, on top of the teaching duties and presenting the gospel at the end of the week, I didn’t have as much time to get to know the campers as some others. I guess that’s still pretty lame.