After a few false starts to our trip and some last minute changes, we ended up making the 5 hour drive (rather than the 9 hour train ride) to Ženavlje, Slovenia. We were running late and had no idea what we were looking for as we followed directions from a text message. As we drove into town we rolled down our windows and listened for music…the unmistakable beat of a Hillsongs tune guided us to the camp.
Though we were told it was a youth camp, the age bracket was more young adults. As the week went on the group grew from 30 people to 70 (as the weekend allowed more people to come). People were incredibly welcoming and the level of spoken english allowed for good times and great conversation. Slovenia itself is beautiful and it is hard to imagine it was once part of Yugoslavia as signs of modernity and progress are everywhere (from architecture to the way people think).
We had the opportunity to do some speaking and some teaching, which we did together or Matthew did solo. We could understand bits of what was being said in Slovene as Slovak and Slovene are both Slavic languages (is that a tongue twister?). To listen to them though, Slovene and Serbian sound much more alike – Slovene has a touch of Italian cadence to it.
While speaking on the Friday night (full house) Matthew decided to do some mixing of English and Slovene in an attempt to wow the masses with his linguistical skills. In Slovak and Slovene, you can add the suffix “ička” (pronounced “ee-ch-ka”) to make nouns small or cute. Matthew was talking about how rabbi’s were the movie stars of early Jewish society and so everyone wanted to be just like them. They were the Brad Pitt’s of their day (because what guy doesn’t wish he had Brad’s hair). So if you are just like Brad, a “mini me” of sorts, then you could be a Brad Pitt-ička. Well at this the whole room, including the interpreter, burst out laughing in a manner not proportionate to the joke. The interpreter refused to translate the statement and would not tell what it meant. So we pressed on….
After the service, with some coaxing, one camper finally broke down and told us what had been said. Let’s just say that word is the name of a certain female body part…but even worse, it is not the anatomically proper name for that part, but the street slang.
Things you never thought you could say in church…