Our Friend Magdalena


Our Slovakian Friend Who Lives in Kuwait

The Delmar students met Magdalena online in October and enjoyed many wonderful e-mails with her. She told the children about her school, her Christmas celebrations and even shared a recipe that is famous in Slovakia. Delmars students wrote to Magdalena throughout the year. In the picture above she is holding her little cousin.

Date:          Wed, 26 Oct 1994 09:22:47 GMT+3

Dear Erin, Betty, Holly, Leslie, Rachel, Becky, Stacey, Tanya,
Gary, Brandon, Rhae, Yolanda, Cassey, Courtney and everyone else!

Hi guys, how are you. I am sorry but I can't write separately to
each one of you because I don't have enough time for that but I'll be
pleased to read all yor letters and answer your questions.

I am 14 and go to 9th grade. I am Slovakian. I have lived in Kuwait
for 3 years before the war and two and a half after. Before that and
during the war I was in Slovakia. I have one sister called Veronika.
She is almost 13 and in 8th grade. The British school system is a
bit different from the American. There are

KG  -  age 3-4 years - so you spend two years in KG
Infant  - age 5-7 (grade 1 is Infant 2) - three in Infant
Junior  -  age 8-11  -  four in Junior
Senior - age  12-18 (Senior is called Secondary as well) -  four
to six  in Senior.

I am now in Senior 3. This was the first grade that we could opt for
the subjects we wanted to take. So I chose Biology, Chemistry, Physics,
History and French. Maths, English and Arabic are compulsory. My
favourite subjects are Chemistry and French. I also like History. What
are yours? The name of my school is Gulf English School. There are
three American schools in Kuwait and 6 or 7 British. My best friends'
names are Sara, Sahab, Heba and Sophy. My other friends' names are
Farah, Shrouk, Aseel etc.

In my free time I like to read, watch TV, swim, play basketball and travel.
I also like listening to music. These are all my favourites, I don't know
which one is the best one. I don't have any pets but I like dogs and
hamsters. I've never heard them called fire-drills but I know what they
are. We practice for them sometimes as well. Once they told us it was
one of them but the truth was that someone phoned to say that there
was a bomb in our school. They were only joking. It happened to me
twice in Slovakia. Did that ever happen to you, guys?

Is Delmar a big city or just a little town? The capital of Kuwait is Kuwait
City and there are lots of little towns around it but what they really make
is one city with the towns being districts. I live in Hawally. I go to
school in Salwa. Most people I know live in Salmiya. Who is your
favourite singer or group? I like Ace of Base, Mariah Carey, Bryan
Adams, All 4 one and many more.
I am gonna have to go so write to me
  bye ,  MAGDALENA

Date:  Tue, 8 Nov 1994 08:28:58 GMT+3
Subject:To you all

Dear Holly, Betty, Yolanda, Erin, Ashley and you!

Thank you so much for your beatiful letters. I really love reading
your letters. Sorry I didn't write to you for so long but I had very
little time because I had a lot of homework recently.
I'll try to answer all your questions. I'll try to make the answers
as clear as possible so that if it was someone else's question everybody can
understand the answer.
I like to swim, play basketball, listen to music and travel I also
like to watch TV.
The grade that I am in is in the British system called Senior 3.
Kuwait is a small country in the desert. The food here is good. Most
of it is imported from other countries (a lot from the U.S.) but some
vegetables are grown in greenhouses or just normally in oasis.
I do not know where Salisbury is. Is it somewhere in Maryland?
We learn about a lot of things in our school. For example: in
Chemistry right now we're doing the structure of different chemicals, in
Physics we learn about Forces, in Maths we do graphs etc.
My best friends' names are Sahab, Sophy, Heba and Sara.I travel to
school by car.
Thank you again for your wonderful letters !
Can you all write descriptions of how you look so that I can imagine
Thanks, that would be great! How is the weather like over there? It's
raining over here just now but it's still pretty warm. About 30
degrees Celsius (I don't know how much that is in Farenheit, sorry).
This weekend my family and some of our friends went to the beach. We
had a barbecue. What did you, guys, do this weekend?
I think I am gonna have to go so see you next time!

 Write soon!
 Your friend

Subject:       Merry Christmas

Hello, Patti! Hi, guys! (Ashely, Yolanda, Erin, Betty, Becky, Amanda, Leslie,
Holly, Crystal, Chrissy)

 Thanks for your beautiful and long letters. I'll answer them
 in more detail later because I don't have too much time.
I hope you will have lots of fun at your Christmas Party. Is
this your last school day? I finished school two days ago.
Have a  very Merry Christmas and an enjoyable and
successful New Year!
                                       Hope to hear from you soon
P.S. Best regards and Merry Christmas from my parents!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Ashley,
Thanks for your letter. Did you enjoy your trip? A big trip that I
went on ...ehm....I went to Greece this summer holiday and I wnt to
Bahrain a couple of years ago.
The big news at school is that the Christmas holiday this year is
quite long. 17 days I think! Cool!
Thanks for your address, now i can write to you!
 I wish you a Merry Christmas and lots of fun in the New Year!
           Your friend   Magdalena

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Amanda,
  I hope that you did well in your Science test. Did you?
How old are you? Wow, you are already an aunt!
Your cousin must be very cute. How old is he? I like red hair.
He must be especially cute with red hair!!!!!
Is there any news in your school?
What are your hobbies? I like basketball, reading and travelling.
 I will have to go.

                        Bye, Magdalena

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Leslie,
Merry Christmas to you too! How are you? How's school? I finished my
exams right now and I've done fine so I am happy.
Wow ten cats! That's a lot! I don't have any animals but I love them!
Where are you going for the holiday. I'm staying here, because my
parents don't have a holiday because Kuwait is a Muslim country.
I have a holiday because the teachers in my school are British and
want to go home for Christmas!
 I hope you are fine!
 E             S
  R          I   T
   R       R       M
    Y    H           A
       C               S
and a Happy New Year!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Holly,

How are you?
Of course I don't mind short letters from you. What's new at school?
Next week in the French class I'm going to the French embassy, to the
library there. We are going to watch a movie and can borrow books
and magazines.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very, very Happy and wonderful New

                 * * *
               * * * * *
             * * * * * * *
            MERRY CHRISTMAS!
                             See ya! Magdalena!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Everyone Else!
  I hope you are doing fine.
   I wish you the best of Christmases and all your most secret
wishes fulfilled in the New Year!


Date:          Wed, 25 Jan 1995 08:16:07 GMT+3

Dear Holly,
 I got your letter in the mail, and I sent you one back! Thank you
for your picture! I don't think that you're ugly at all! I think
you're very cute and beautiful. I don't hate your letters. I think
(sorry, I like analysing people's personalities which you might think
is very stupid but I like it anyway). So, I think the reason that you
like writing short letters (although the one I got in the mail wasn't
short) is that you have a very efficient personality and you usually
only do what's really necessary. (What a load of RUBBISH!)
Getting back to reality.... How are you? I really hope you're fine.
When is your birthday and how long are you going to be on your next
birthday? My birthday is June 13 and I'll be 15 this June.
                                   I hope to get a SHORT letter soon!
                                        Your pal Magdalena.

Dear Leslie,
 Your birthday is one day ahead of mine? That's really great! I
really do hope that your brother is all right. Was he taken to hospital?
          I am so sorry that it's sooo short this time but I REALLY
gotto go! (or I'll be late for school)
                           Bye!!!!!!!!!!!! Magdalena

Dear Ashley,
 Thanks for a wonderful picture and a HAPPY belated BIRTHDAY!
You mean you sent me a letter in mail? No, I didn't get it yet and
I hope to get it soon. It's a bit late to send you a birthday card
but I'll send you a postcard with a picture of Kuwait or something
in Kuwait! Did you have a birthday Party? Tell me all about it!

               Thanks for a wonderful picture!
                               I hope to hear from you!

Dear Chrissy,
Thank you for your wonderful letter. I too feel very sorry about the
people in Iceland and Japan! No, I don't know who Edgar Allen Poe is.
I am just going to school and my dad is going to send this to you
when he gets to work. Today is the last day of the week! Tomorrow
is Thursday- THE WEEKEND!
                    I am sorry it's short but got to go
              BYE BYE BYE Magdalena

Dear Patti,
Thanks for your letter. Say hello to everyone else for me, please!
Benchball...ehm.... It's very similar to basketball but the ball
is not shot into baskets but it is thrown to someone(from
your own team)standing on a bench. There are two benches, exactly
like two baskets. The players on the benches swop with  other players who
want to try catching. This may be done every time it's been scored or
may be every two scores. It is usually played with a soft ball.
Therefore you can't dribble and the only way you can transport the
ball is to pass it to other players. You cannot walk with the ball in your
hands. This sport is sometimes used to practice passing the ball in
basketball.  .....ehm...I hope you understand.
                          See ya

Date:          Wed, 11 Jan 1995 08:31:29 GMT+3

Hello to all my friends at Delmar!
 Thanks for your wonderful letters. I really enjoyed reading them.
Sorry, I sent the same picture of me to everyone who gave me their
 address but I didn't have any better pictures of me available.
I will try to do better next time!
I am happy that Gary and Brooke joined the "party". Welcome!
My name is Magdalena Cerna (Leslie, you're right, I don't think I
ever wrote you my surname. I just feel wierd about writing it on
informal letters for some reason. It should be read "Chernaa"
because there are some special signs added to it that don't exist
on e-mail because they don't exit in the English alphabet.) It means
Black. I am 14 and in the 9th grade. My hobbies are playing
basketball, swimming, listening to music, talking on the phone and
having fun! I am Slovakian but have been living in Kuwait for some
My Christmas holiday was fine. I hope yours too. I am going to
write to you about Slovakian Christmas traditions.
We also (naturally) celebrate Christmas as the birth of baby Jesus.
Before Christmas the house is cleaned so that everything is ready.
On Christmas Eve we eat some bread and honey and then garlic (this
is supposed to protect you and make sure you stay healthy in the new
year, it's very traditional). Afterwards we eat a cabbage soup (it
probably doesn't sound like it but it is very mmmmmmm.... delicious).
Then some fish with potato salad is eaten. Then you would sing
Christmas carols and eat sweets. (many kinds of different little
sweets and cookies are baked and some are hung on the Christmas
tree.) Then you can look at all your presents! Children in Slovakia
believe that it's the little baby Jesus who brings the presents and
that the angels decorate the Christmas tree.
You can go to church for a Midnight Mass afterwards. You should also
go to church the next day. After you have a turkey (or sometimes
duck) dinner. Because my sister Veronika was born on Christmas Day
we also celabrate her birthday.
We also celebrate Saint Nicolaus as a Saint on the 6th of December
and children get little things like sweets and fruit in their shoes
and stockings which they leave on the window sill. St. Nicolaus
was a man who lived in Turkey or those parts of the world and used
to leave gifts for the poor on their window sills.
 How long did you stay up on New Year's Eve? I stayed up till five
in the morning but I was really, really tired by then.

I don't have any pets. Idon't know how many teachers are there at
our school but more than 60 definitely! I love history and
that's why I chose it as one of my option subjects. Yes, I
know quite a lot about American history because I think it's very
Thanks to Erin and Ashley for telling me how you celebrate
Christmas over there.

I think that's all for today so don't worry be happy!
                                your pal

Date: Tue, 4 Apr 1995 18:32:20 -0300

Dear Chrissy!
 I already wrote you two letters and both of them I don't think you'll
ever get 'cos my computer or e-mail or whatever is on strike!
I hope you'll understand if this letter is not going to be very long!
I have three pieces of great news!
1) The Alladin production that I wrote you abut was a success.
2) Our school is moving into another building. The new building is much
larger. It's only a few streets aweay from where our old school stands.
We are moving there in September. We've all breen there last Wednesday.
It still needs a lot of work but it will be better (I hope).
3) Right now I am in the middle of a two week holiday.
Have you got any news?
No I don't really play anything except the keyboard (sort of).
                  i HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON
P.S. I pressed the Caps Lock key and didn't feel like retyping that line!

Dear Leslie!

Hi how are you! I am fine. I am just in the middle of a holiday and in the
middle of a book. The book is called "Gone with the wind". Did you hear
about it? It's a great book. I went to sleep at one a.m. yesterday because
I couln't stop reading it.
How's school? Our school is going to move to a different building.
I already wrote you one letter but it's gone! There was something wrong with
the computer.
Say hello to everybody elase for me, please. Whyt aren' they writing to me
like you and Chrissy?
     Gotta go!
     See ya soon!
            Your friend

Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 10:00:39 -0300

Dear Kelly,
    I was really busy and couldn't write back.
 I will write you a recipe that is very famous in Slovakia.
It's called Bryndzove Halusky. Bryndza is a very special and delicious
cheese made from sheeps' milk. Halusky is the word for flakes made of
OK, so the recipe goes:
you need:1kg potatoes, 400 g flour, 300g of Bryndza cheese,100g of
bacon, some salt
Peel and wash the potatoes. Grind them on a food processor and salt them.
Add flour to make a dough that shouldn't stick to the walls of the bowl.
Using a sieve with big holes press the dough through it to make flakes.
Throw the flakes into a pot of salted  boiling water and cook them.
Take the flakes out, add brindza and fried, chopped bacon. Eat!

About games: we like playing about the same board games as you do.
      Well, that's about it
                     I hope to hear from you again
 P.S. Sorry, if the English of the recipe is so wierd. I was
translating it from Slovakian.

Dear Megan and Ashley,
I would like to welcome you. Thank you for your letter.
I also like animals. Although I don't have any pets at home. I think my
favourite animal is a horse. I also like dogs. My favourite kind of dog
is a Cockerspaniel (if you spell it like that).
Am I really your thirteenth keypal? Thirteen is my favourite number.
What's yours?
My birthday is on the 13th of june. I am gonna be 15 on my next birthday.
How old are you?
My favourite movie right now is Schindler's list. It was the last movie
that made me cry. I like movies that make me cry. I also like Speed.
                   That's all Folx

Dear Erin,
What exactly does recess mean?
Today is Thursday. In Kuwait Friday is like Sunday for Moslims. Although I
am not a Moslim my weekend is on Thursday and Friday. so today is the first
day of my weekend.
I will probably go to the beach. It's really hot here. What's the weather
like in Delmar?
My exams are going to start in about a couple of weeks. I am going to be
tested on everything I have done since September. So i will start revising
  pretty soon. I won't be able to write to you for a longer time.
                        Good bye

Date: Tue, 2 May 1995 18:54:38 -0300

Dear Chris,
I am sorry it took so long to answer.
Thanks for writing to me. I think writing on e-mail is
very exciting! Don't be scared to go to Middle school, those are just rumours
that people make up to scare newcomers. They consider it fun
When is your birthday? Mine is on June 13.I will be 15 on my next birthday.
I like playing badsketball, swimming and working out.
How do you do at school? I am doing fin.
well I really have to go.
                 Sorry again for the delay
                         Your newpal
                                  Magdalena Cerna

Dear Chrissy,
Thanks for writing to me. Is your cold better? And how was your
report card? I have to run because I have a biology test tomorrow.
I am sorry I have not written to you for so long but...
The swimming pool here has just opened and I've been swimming.
It's pretty warm here. What's the weather like in the US?
How are you doing at school? I am doing ok.
I am going to a play tomorrow it's called "SEE HOW THEY RUN".
My form teacher performs in it. It's a comedy.
                       Sorry this letter is so boring
                              love, your friend Magdalena

Date: Wed, 17 May 1995 23:03:38 -0300

Dear Chris
Thank you for your letter. How is your ankle? Can you play baseball?
What is your favourite sport? My favourite sport is swimming and
Well, I don't really have a favourite singer. I just listen to
different people. Who is your favourite singer?
What is your favourite song? I like the song called Michelle
but I  can't remember who sings it.
Today is Wednesday. Here in Kuwait the week starts on Saturday and
finishes on Wednesday. This is because Kuwait is a Moslem country.
Moslems have their "Sunday" on a Friday. So tomorrow the weekend
starts.  What do you usually do on a weekend?
                     Thanks for being so much on time (unlike me)
with your letters.                            Your pal

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