Miss Czech-Slovak US 2015-16
Meagan Kurmel

I am only just adjusting to being back! I had a wonderful trip to Washington D.C. Please read below for a snapshot of what I was all able to do as Miss Czech-Slovak US in our nation's capital!

After flying into Ronald Reagan national airport, we rented a car and drove to Bethesda, Maryland. We stopped at Sweetwater tavern and it was so good! We joined the Sokol Washington DC at their school. Michelle gave us a tour of their Czech and Slovak language classes. The ages ranged between 3 years old and adults. It was very interesting to see the different techniques that were used to teach the students. Michelle, also informed us that many of the students have at least one parent whom is a Czech or Slovak citizen! After we toured the school, we gathered with the Sokol in the main gym area. The children practiced their dances and gymnastics presentation, which they were to perform at the embassies the following day.

I was able to meet many Sokol members and discuss how they run their Sokol. I was pleasantly surprised how many were interested in the Miss Czech-Slovak US pageant. I handed out many pageant fliers and my business cards. This is a wonderful organization to keep in contact with. I am very happy I was able to visit!

Saturday was embassy day in Washington D. C. All of the countries in the European Union opened their doors for visitors. I had been working with many wonderful individuals from the Slovak Embassy. I am so grateful for all of the help that was given to me! Dagmar, was extremely helpful in ensuring I knew where and when I was to e atop the embassy where to park, what to wear, and all of her items that she was helpful with! I greatly appreciated all of her help! I was featured in their open house! So much so that I was part of the official EU day open house scavenger hunt!! There were many people who asked to meet with me, talk with me, and even take photos with me! So many wonderful people were there and I am so happy to be able to be a part of this year's Embassy Day.

After changing out of Kroj at the Slovak Embassy, my family and I headed toward the Embassy of the Czech Republic. This year, the Czech Republic decided to have a sports theme of their Embassy Day celebration. They featured Sokol gymnastics, military dog training, soccer demonstration, and meeting with Olympic Athletes. I was at the Czech Embassy only a short time before the embassy began to close up because of the rain.

My family and I went up to Mount Vernon on Sunday morning to experience just how Washington lived. It was my grandmother's first time to his house. She was in awe just like we were the first time we saw it. Visiting Mount Vernon in the spring offered a different perspective than we had previously experienced. The gardens were just starting to bloom. The sheep were being shorn. It was pleasantly cool instead of the blazing heat we were used to. Quite a wonderful Sunday morning. A great experience and great memories!

After walking through the gardens and everything at Mount Vernon, we had lunch at the historic Alexandria fish market. Very fresh catches that we enjoyed. So delicious! After a filling lunch, we pursued the shops of the Torpedo factory and watched local artists as they worked. This building was used previously to make torpedoes, repurposing this as an artist's haven is a wonderful reuse of space.

Monday, we spent in the National mall at different museums and at the Capitol. We toured the Nationals archives museum, viewing the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. Afterwards, we visited the Russel Senate building, sitting in with the Nebraska senator staff. Then were taken on a personal tour of the Capitol building! Even being able to ride the Senator only shuttle! Talk about perks of being queen! During the tour of the Capitol, I even saw a bust of Vaclav Havel! After seeing the Capitol, sitting in on proceedings of the House of Representatives and the Senate my family and I were able to see my Aunt, Uncle and cousin for dinner.

My next appearances include a local parade in Nebraska, Sugar Creek Missouri Slavic Festival, attending and participating in the Wisconsin Pageant, and cheering on the Nebraska chapter queens as they compete in Clarkson, Nebraska for the Miss Czech-Slovak Nebraska title! That is only through June! I am so excited to continue to travel all around the country and celebrate our Czech, Slovak, Silesian, Moravian, and Rusyn heritage! I am so blessed and honored to be able to do so!

Thank you all! I look forward to seeing you all along my journey.

Meagan Kurmel
Miss Czech-Slovak US 2015-2016
Bůh dá den, Bůh dá pokrm. | I veľký dub bol kedysi len žalud´om.