Tuesday, June 28, 2011


We have 2 to 4 hours of history per day. Some days we have had two history classes because Prof. Magocsi had to go to Germany for a conference for part of a week. I have had lectures from Magocsi so I know what to expect, but some don't like his teaching style. His style is very much college professor lecturer. He is following his Historical Atlas of Central Europe which starts ca. 400, but making it more specific to Carpatho-Rus and the Austrian Hungarian territories throughout history. His plan is to write a history of Carpatho-Rus and he is trying it out on us. We were told to bring our books, but don't need to refer to them because he has large size maps to refer to. Although, I have read most of Magocsi's books including the atlas, I am still learning new things.

We have language class 2 hours a day. Our teacher Professor Pugh is a linguist - which is great. He is a good teacher. Our goal is not to become fluent in the Rusyn language, but to know enough to learn more on our own. There are a number of new language books which is wonderful because we have never had them. Professor Pugh has given us a draft of his book "Rusyn, A Practical Grammar and Textbook" for teaching Rusyn to English speakers. We have a new language book book that is being used in Slovakia, by Slovak students. If I had a Cyrillic keyboard I could write you something - but it will have to wait until I am home.

New this year is Pat Krafcik teaching several folklore classes. Yesterdays was on the Robin Hood type folk heroes, today it was on magic and superstitions, and tomorrow on wedding traditions.

Yesterday and today we also had a Pysanky Workshop. We made three different kinds of Pysanky. I am not very artistic so mine are pretty simple, but some of the students are very good. One of the young fellows from US showed us a website of his Pysanky and he is really a Pysanky artist. He made one of the iconostas at his grandparent’s church and gave it to them for the 50th wedding anniversary! It was amazing. Something interesting is what she uses to dye the eggs. She puts colored crepe paper in hot water with vinegar and lets it cool. The color is great. She also takes a watercolor piece (from a child's painting tin) smashes it up and puts it in hot water with vinegar and lets it cool.

Friday, June 24, 2011


A little about the students attending this school.  There are approximately 13 students from the United States and another 8 from other countries.  From the US there are some young college students, some professional people and a number of us older folks (over 55). There are two Slavic study students from Germany and one from Ukraine.  There are also two Rusyn school teachers - one from Ukraine and one from Slovakia.  For some of the American students this is the first time that they have been exposed to their Rusysn roots. 

The food served at the cafeteria here has been very boring.  They serve us as a group and 80% of the meals have been chicken, gravy and rice or potatoes.  Today, I met up with Iveta and had dinner with Victor Krusko at his resturant.  We had duck with red cabbage and what I call a potatoe pancake, but is really more like Lefsa with more potatoes.

This evening we had a Literary Evening with some of the Rusyn poets.  They presented the Duchnovich Literary award to a poet from Serbia.

Tomorrow off to Medzilaborce folk festival and the Andy Warhol museum. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

2nd week

You will have to excuse my typing - I see I made a number of typos in my first post.  I have my Netbook and the keyboard is so small.

I will fill you in on the rest of last week.  In addition to language and history class we are taking some side trips.  On Tuesday we went to the Presov Museum of Rusyn Culture.  I have been there before, but they change their displays.  The current display is on folk dress - got some nice pictures of folk dress.  I will try to post pictures - but not sure exactly how to yet.

Wednesday we had a Rusyn folk song workshop.  Someone came with their guitar and accordian and we sang along.  I was not familar with many of the songs.  We did get a handout.  The Workshop was by Marek Gaj.  He teaches folk songs to the students in the schools.

Thursday we went to the Rusyn Language class at the elementary school in Cabiny.  The children were 7,8 and 9.  They did a little program and then ran through some of the classroom exercises they do.  I video taped some of this so hope to show it to those interested.

At noon on Friday  I left with a couple others to attend the World Congress of Rusyns in a town outside of Budapest.  I will address this in a separate post.  The rest of the students went to Stara Lubovna Castle and Skanzen (open air museum) and on a raft trip on the Dunajec River.  This is the third time I have missed the raft trip.

Got back from Budapest (we drove) late on Saturday night - so just stayed one night.  I went to the Orthodox Church on Sunday  Those who went to the Greek Catholic Church were there for three hours - they ordained 6 priests!  They said the male choir was great - so sorry I missed that - but not the three hours!

The weather was great until Sunday when it began to rain off and on.  Sunday afternoon we visited three wooden churches that are on the UNESCO World Heritage list which meeans they are protected historical sites.  All three are currently being used as Greek Catholic Churches. The three churches were Nizny Komarnik, Mirola and Ladomirova.  I not sure which one it was - I think Mirola which had some very interesting icons which included depictions of Rusyns in their folk dress.  For example, the Nativity icon had three men in dress in their traditional folk dress venerating the Christ child instead of the Three kings.

Now for washing clothess - The washer and dryers take about an hour each! so I was lazy today and mixed a couple of white shirts with a pair of dark blue pants.  I now have a few more blue shirts and socks -- I should have known better.  It is ok cause it is kind of a pretty blue.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

First Week of Rusin School

I wrote on my facebook about my trip to Slovakia on June 9,10 and 11th.  I will continue my story from here.

Got settled in the Dorm room.  The Dorm rooms are in pods comprised of 2 rooms, a shower room, and bathroom.  There are two beds in each dorm room - so if full there would be 4 people sharing the shower and bathroom. We were supposed to have roommates, but mine decided to get her own room and paid extra - which left me alone which is great.

School started on Monday.  We have two hours of history and 2 hours of language a day.  The morning starts with Breakfast about 7:30 or 8 am.  Breakfast is a buffet consisting of different things each moring.  Combination of cold cuts, eggs, yogurt, bread or rolls, coffee, tea.  Not very interesting, but sufficient.

Classes start at 9 am.  One history class is in Rusin by Professor, Valerie Padiak from Zakarpattia and in English by Professor, Paul Magosci from the University of Toronto.  Of course, I am in the English class.  Magosci is following his Atlas of Central Europe, but focusing on the Subcarpathian Rus area.  By the way Magosci said that his Atlas of Central Europe is his best selling book.  The Rusin Class has been in the afternoon starting at 1 p.m..  The teacher is Professor Stephen Pugh.  He is a Linguist.  He was supposed to teach last year but was ill and couldn't travel.  He is a great teacher, but we are trying to acomplish a lot in the three weeks. 

After language class we get a little break or we have had some additional events like a folk music session.  More latter.