30 June 2008

mullet of the day

Just wanted to share the joy. I have no other words for this.

24 June 2008

the slovenian life: your burning questions answered

Q: How is Slovakia?
A: I will surely let you know how it is, if I ever go there.

Q: You're in Slovenia? Why the... ?!
A: It's because of Shay. He became interested in the coutries that formerly made up Yugoslavia when he was a missionary in Croatia. Now he's working on a PhD in history and focusing on eastern Europe. He studies languages in order to do research from original sources in the coutries he's interested in. So, he's here doing language studies.

Q: What language do they speak there?
A: They speak Slovene. It's a Slavic language and it shares some basic features with Croatian. When Shay speaks Slovene it sounds quite nice. But he has some work to do if he wants to sound like a local. When Slovenes speak to each other on the street or in the grocery store or at school, it generally sounds like this to me:
"You idiot! I am so angry at you!"
"Well, good! I did it just to make you angry!"
"You would! I can't stand you!"
"I hope I never see you again!"
They are likely to be chatting about last night's soccer game or congratulating a friend on her recent marriage, but often the tone doesn't seem to match the message. It cracks me up.

Q: How long will you be there?
A: I'm here for three weeks total. Shay will stay for a few additional weeks after that. We were apart for five days once and it was uncomfortable. So, that should be interesting. That's a post for another day.

Q: Will Shay get to visit some of his mission areas?
A: Not really. He'll spend a few days at an archive in Croatia and might see some friends in Zagreb, the capital. Last year we visited some of his mission areas and other places on the beautiful Adriatic coast, during last summer's Croatian vacation. You too should visit the Croatian coast before you kick the bucket. You won't be sorry.

Q: Speaking of Lonely Planet guidebooks, do you remember watching Lonely Planet episodes in 9th grade geography?
A: Melis, I totally remember those days in Mr. Scholzen's class. Shay does too. In fact (as I reveal the true extent of our nerdiness) we still check out episodes of Lonely Planet from the library sometimes. Vicarious traveling is awesome.

And now, if you don't mind, I have a few questions of my own:

How many days can I wear the same pair of pants before washing them?

Is it okay to eat burek all the time (a decidedly not-figure-friendly cheese-filled pastry) if I'm willing to walk 2.5 km to my favorite burek stand?

Why do all the women my age here look like Slavic Barbie? Are they just genetically blessed? Because they eat burek all the time too.

Why do I get a receipt when I pay my 17 cents to use a public restroom? I bet it costs 10 cents to print the thing. That doesn't seem very efficient, now, does it?

Since when is the MULLET experiencing dramatic popularity? I am sorry to report that duirng this trip, variations of the classic 'do have been spotted frequently on "hip" young sirs in Zurich, in Vienna, and all over Slovenia.

20 June 2008

checking in

Since Shay started school on Monday, I've been left to my own devices for about 4 hours a day. It's an invigorating feeling to find my own way around all this newness. I've loved seeing some of the sights off the beaten path.

Still, I am hardly a city girl, and I am excited for a side trip to somewhere quiet. We are heading out to Bled Lake today. Let's all hope for good weather, shall we? Because I would really like to paddle a little rowboat out to this marvelous island today:

And hey. I haven't been very good at answering the questions you've asked, by comment and by e-mail. Well, don't you worry any longer, because I see a lot of spare time on the horizon next week. Look forward to a post where I will answer all your burning questions about Slovenia and about the meaning of life. Do you have more that you want to ask? Feel free to add them here.

17 June 2008

planes and trains and automobiles

We spent a day and a night in Vienna, and then took a train to Ljubljana. My gosh, I love trains. I sat with my nose practically pressed against the windows, oohing and aahing at the greenness against jagged mountains, the old walled cities, the idyllic villages in gorgeous valleys, the castles tucked away in the hills. Most of the locals were reading the newspaper, thinking, "Ho hum, just another ride through the Austrian countryside.˝ Well it all feels new to me. And I like it.

It was raining when we got to the station in Ljubljana. It rained the next day as well - cold, constant rain. When I woke up to the sound of rain the next day, I cursed Ljubljana and all its inhabitants, and especially its weather predictors for being right. But the sun came out that afternoon, and I got to wander around the city with my camera and without a coat or an umbrella, and I forgave quickly - because how could someone stay mad at a city this lovely?

This is where I intended to post pictures, but the world is conspiring to make that impossible for me today. So take my word for it - this place is exceptionallz lovely. And I'll post visual proof the next time I get the chance.

Thanks for all the well wishes! It seems they have come true.

10 June 2008

leaving on a jet plane

We're off to Slovenia tomorrow. Shay is starting summer classes at the university in Ljubljana, and I am tagging along for three weeks. Shay has a class schedule, government funding, and a basic grasp on the local language. I have a Lonely Planet guidebook, a camera, a tight budget, and a basic need to visit new places. So maybe the resources aren't evenly distributed between us. But I expect we are still going to have a pretty great time.

I'm planning to blog now and then once I settle in. But there is always the possibility that I'll get lost in a hilltop village with no internet access in sight, and I'll decide to stay forever. So let's get our goodbyes out of the way right now, just in case. Nasvidenje, folks. It's been real.