Instagram Feed: @kitchenerpaul


28 March 2012


Hi. My name is Paul, and I've been in Bratislava, Slovakia for almost two months now. Thanks for stopping by.

I have a new 'do now. Stop by for a visit and you can see it.

I got lazy and didn't carry my Canon around as much this month. These pics were taken with my iPhone. They have incredibly cheap monthly phone deals here, so I'm able to have unlimited internet. It's been awesome for keeping in touch with friends and family. If you have a smart phone, you can get the free app Voxer to send text, pics, and audio. My number is +421.902.301.285 if you'd like to contact me!


Right now I'm eating some gummy worms that I got from the local Lidl (similar to Aldi's) and contemplating how to summarize the past month. Let's start here...


I'm getting somewhat more established in my role here, but still finding my niche and doing different things almost every day. This month we started pushing TWR Europe's Facebook and Twitter pages, began implementing changes to their website (in process of completion), worked through the direction of our internet presence and upcoming projects, wrote and edited all sorts of articles and reports for various publications, started some video projects, and drank lots of coffee (not necessarily listed in order of importance).

After the Annual Partners Conference at the end of April (the conference I attended last year where staff from TWR Europe and Partner organizations gather for a few days each year), I'll be interning with the TWR team in Lisbon, Portugal for a month. I'm really excited to join them, brush up on my Portuguese, spend time in a beautiful part of the world, and learn all about internet radio.


I've been attending one to three Slovak language classes per week. One of the classes is taught very quickly, and I have to write really fast. It's also very crowded. Almost forty people (representing twenty different countries) are crammed into a small room. If you are a bit late you have to sit outside. The photo on the right was my view for the entire class one evening. Ha! Not being able to see the whiteboard and being a visual learner is not always a beneficial combination.


I spent some time in Brno, Czech Republic one weekend. It's a beautiful city (second biggest after Prague).

Mummy museum underneath a church. The one on the right is a lady from the 1600s.

I attended a couple museums in the city.

Life Tidbits:

Hockey is the national sport here. Bratislava's team is called Slovan. A bunch of us went to a game earlier this month, and it was very entertaining. Unfortunately, they lost in a shootout.

I finally got to play some ping pong with the paddle I got right before coming (I may or may not have lost), and I'm hoping to join some sort of table tennis club. If you have suggestions for the best table tennis club in Bratislava, please let me know.

A Slovak guy named Ivan from eastern Slovakia who has lived in the US (near Topeka, KS as a foreign exchange student) and the UK in the past stayed with me for a couple weeks. I have an extra room in my flat until my roommate comes in May. William will be in Bratislava for a full year.

I use a huge exercise ball as my office chair (Dwight Schrute anyone?).

I've gotten carried away with my Mars Hill app (thanks for the recommendation, Kyle) and have listened to over thirty Mark Driscoll sermons in the last three weeks or so.

I'm starting to use Twitter more. You can follow me @kitchenerpaul and the weird things I post HERE.

How is your March Madness bracket looking? Ha, my Missouri/UNC final is not looking likely at this point. I've had a few late nights (I'm six hours later than EST) watching games. I loved seeing Roy Williams lose to his old team. Go Jayhawks!


I got a new bike. It is wonderful.

To commemorate the new bike, I had no choice but to hit the road. Last Saturday I was out the door before 7 AM with Győr, Hungary as my destination. A bike trail pretty much followed the Danube River the entire 80 km ride to the city.

For some reason, I crossed the Danube three times on the ride.

I had a little problem with my pedal at one point and came across this jolly Slovak man who had an uncanny resemblance to Santa Claus. He was so pleased to help me that he let me keep the tool he had let me use to tighten the pedal.

After going out of the way a few times and dealing with the harsh reality of an uncomfortable bike seat, I finally got to Győr around noon. Not as many people speak English in Hungary as in Slovakia, but they were very friendly.

After a nice day exploring the city, meeting some local people, and trying some Hungarian ice cream and coffee, I decided to catch a train home. What ensued was a series of unfortunate events that resulted in me being abandoned in a random border town between Hungary and Austria at 10:30 PM.


There was no train from Győr to Bratislava, so I'd have to go through a couple different Austrian cities (Bruck and Vienna) before getting home. Okay. No problem, but they only sold me a ticket to a town called Hegyeshalom. Upon arriving there, every single person on the entire train got off. Even though my train said "Bruck" on it, I thought I might need to get off to get a ticket. Hopped off the train. Ticket counter closed. Come back. Train gone.

Ah! Oh well, next train comes at 7 PM. When it arrives, I find out this train doesn't allow bikes. Next train is at 9. Ah! I went into town and spent the last of my Hungarian money on some supper. Come back. This train doesn't allow bikes either. Ah! Next train to Vienna is at 11, but it also doesn't allow bikes. So, I saw a smaller train that was going to Rajka, a town in the direction of Bratislava. I thought I could catch a train or bus from there. I get on. I'm asked for 550 Hungarian Forints (about $2.50). All the trains I had taken accepted Euros. Not this one, and I had spent the last of my Forints on supper. Ah! It's 10:30 PM, cold (I only had shorts on since it was so nice during the day), and I had no idea what to do.

So, I rode back into town and saw a sign for Rajka. Eleven kilometers away. I headed that direction. Pitch black besides a small LED light. I arrive in Rajka. It's after 11. No trains or buses. It's less than 30 km to Bratislava, but I was so tired (had ridden around 110 km by this point), cold, and sore (bike seat) that I decided to stay at some small hotel. The next morning after being told to wait on the wrong side of the road, I missed a bus after waiting for two hours. Ha, I just started riding in the direction of Bratislava and eventually caught a bus that took me part of the way. Then rode my bike the remainder of the way and finally got back home a little before noon.


I'm exploring Bratislava more and more whenever I get a chance. It really is a beautiful city with so much life. I really feel at home here, and I hope to host some of you during my stay!

Thoughts (at any given time, my mind is racing):

I think everyone has "that one thing" in their life. That one thing that they've begged God to take away. Or that one thing that they've begged God to give them. That one thing that consumes them to the point of sheer panic. That one thing that pierces their soul. Maybe you don't. Maybe you have more than one. I have two. Two things that have utterly crippled my existence.

I believe it all comes down to one question. Do I trust God? We've been taught that God loves us and wants what is best for us. That all things work together for good. That everything will be okay. Is it possible that "that one thing" or multiple things require trusting God in a way that wouldn't be necessary if it/they were nonexistent (i.e. the Apostle Paul's "thorn in the flesh")?

Everything we so deeply desire--love, acceptance, value, etc.--has already been given to us. We don't need to ask God. We need to trust God. Do I trust God? Do I genuinely believe that in Christ I am loved, I am accepted, I am valuable? If so, it changes everything.


My beautiful and loving mother is going through chemotherapy right now. If she's not extremely careful with her activities or doesn't stay way ahead of the pain with the medication, the pain is crippling and can reduce her to tears. Pray that God will continue to strengthen her physically and emotionally during this unstable period of her life.


I hope you all are well. I wish you all the best and am thankful for your friendship. God bless. The end.

01 March 2012

Slovakia is Slovensko in Slovak (My First Month Finished)


Timeline of My Life Thus Far:
December 1985 - Born.
October 1997 - Climbed a mango tree.
February 2012 - Arrived in Slovakia.
March 2012 - Wrote blog update.

Yes, I have now been in Slovakia for a month. It went by quickly! I'm starting to feel settled and at home here in Bratislava. I have also become fluent in Slovak. Three of the the four previous sentences are accurate.

I recently got a new phone! My number is +421.902.301.285. For those of you with apps on your phone, I am on WhatsApp, Voxer, and HeyTell.

Here's a picture of a dog:

Banská Bystrica

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to go to interior Slovakia for the first time. Banská Bystrica is the biggest town in central Slovakia and has a well-respected seminary.

City square:

Being at the base of the Low Tatras mountain range, BB is familiar with snow.

BB Architecture:

Church founded in 1303


Memorial for Holocaust victims:

World War II Tanks:


The most essential Slovak word ("Hello" is a distant second):

Have you ever had that feeling where you feel like you've seen Sandra Bullock? Then you realize that you've recently watched The Blind Side? Yeah, me too.

Whenever I hear Rihanna's song where it goes "Oh na na, what's my name? What's my name?", I always replace it in my head with "Rihanna, that's my name. That's my name."

Apparently there's American football in Slovakia. This poster caught me off guard.

I received something in the mail for the first time this week! I was all smiles for the whole day after getting Tasha's belated Valentines package. :)

Do you know Tasha? She's my beautiful girlfriend from the quaint little town of Greeley, Colorado, and is an incredible cellist among other talents. Hopefully it works out for her to visit this summer!

My office nook. I am very pleased to have an iMac on the way!

So, my old jeans started ripping. I found a pair of pants that fit so perfectly I had to get them. Unfortunately, I have really short legs. Anyone else have this problem? I plan on being 6' 8" in Heaven.

Slovak Tidbits

Music in Bratislava:

First concert. Hugo Čáves Orchestra. Nine People. Small Stage.

Exit. Bratislava City Church.

Name Days! Along with your birthday, you also get a "Name Day" here in Slovakia. So, don't forget to congratulate me on June 29th! Ha.

Have you ever driven in Europe? The traffic lights work slightly different. Right before turning green, the yellow light is lit in addition to the red to give you a head's up.

After church a couple weeks ago, I stopped by this building that a guy is renovating to help the homeless in his community. It had been abandoned for 6 years and inhabited by people looking for shelter.


Thank you for taking the time to stay updated on my life here in Slovakia. I'll have some exciting TWR-related updates next time! It's such a privilege to be here, and I know some awesome things are in store for my time here.

I will end this blog update with two sets of airplane wings.