Sunday, September 23, 2007

All good things...

I'm going to (try to ) continue update about my trip with posts that got written but never typed up, so keep an eye out, but for now, back to our regularly scheduled programing.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Leap until the gulfstream sets you down

I made it to London safe and sound, and now am reunited with all of my worldly belongings in my cozy (?) room, despite all obstacle. I seem to have a magic ability to make trains run late, and I have blisters from dragging my suitcases all over the underground. There is still Tonks hair all over my stuff.

My grand adventure is at an end... and another is just beginning. I've been so excited lately to actually be coming to London, and now here I am. It's strange to think that this is actually my life.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Srecan put

I am leaving Novi Sad in a few hours. Despite my initial non enthusiasm, I managed to survive this week and actually enjoy it. For the last class we had a test, and I certainly know where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I got all of the conjugations right and all of the personal pronoun declinations wrong. Oh well. I'm too lazy to write more. Overnight train to Budapest, morning flight to London, then a new life.... strange

Monday, September 17, 2007

We're being followed by a tent. Walk faster.

I am back from Budapest and unfortunately wish I had never gone. Not because it wasn't a great time, it really was. I liked the city even better this time, although I had forgotten how expensive it was, and even though it was overflowing with mid-September midlde-aged tour groups. I liked it so much I was bit by the travel bug, as I so often am, and the last thing I wanted to do was come back to Novi Sad. 3 weeks ago I was more than ready to settle down for a month here and head to london. Now I want to travel for another month. At least heading to London will be an exciting adventure rather than going back to the same old boring thing. But I am a bit tired of drilling through Serbian courses everyday. Hopefully this week will go by fast. It should! I will have to figure out a better way of doing it for next time. I might be more interesting if I were doing research at the same time as studying. Maybe I will know enough to do that next year (If I am not forced to drop out of school for lack of funds, hurrah).

Friday, September 14, 2007

This is for me the most beautiful cookies in Serbia

Njamb wafers
Tzatziki flavored potato chips
fake serbian feta cheese
ice cream *fortunatley it got cold and I never go to the city center
pašeta (?) šunka i sir pastry from the bakery at spns
kinder eggs

I don't like to imagine getting on a scale

My cat is happier than your cat

So I am heading off to Budapest tonight with two others from Azbukum. Yes, I know, Budapest. I was there quite recently, and I will be going there again shortly (next friday on the same train, actually, unless it turns out to be horribley late, because it's supposed to get in only 3 hours before my flight and it takes at least an hour to get to the airport according to LP.) All my intentions were for Zagreb this weekend, a mere 5 hours away by bus, but Novi Sad isn't exactly a transport hub and the buses only leave in the morning. I didn't want to miss class today so I've had a nice afternoon, nap, going to do some homework them some hanging out, then onto the train at midnight. We arrive in Budapest at 5 and will hopefully get to nap at the hostel, then we're taking the train back on Sunday night. Two full days in Budapest and two full nights on the train! It will be exhausting but worth it. I am actually really looking forward to it. I can go to the Soviet statue park, try out a different bath, and revisit the palace of iced coffee and cakes. Plus I was always planning on buying a few souvenirs and presents there, this way I can have them very well packed and arrive by the night train, and spend my full last day in Novi Sad.

Sorry again for the lack of posts. I had a whole complaining entry written out about my land lady but I haven't typed it. I was hoping to escape her clutches this week but the director of program has squashed those hopes. Oh well. Like I said, I am very much enjoying my time here and I feel very satisfied with the amount I am learning, but this is one thing that irks me and puts a dark cloud over everything else. Plus I am in general looking forward to getting back to London. I keep thinking about my room and the computer, books and clothes I have in storage, and the things I can do to make my set-up nice. Then today it occured to me that I will have to start looking for a job in a little more than a week, that is not so exciting. It has been nice to have such a long holiday! I think I will start off applying at the Waterstones about 5 minutes from where I live (I chatted with someone there and he said they should be hiring) for the meantime and try to look for something better (paid) for the long run.

We have had a couple of interesting interludes. Yesterday we went to a "working" monistary outside of novi sad, where they are doing all kinds of things: making candles, rakija, cheese, painting icons, and running a rehab program. We had a hilarious, stone-faced monk who delivered the kind of jokes you wouldn't know were jokes unless you were listening carefully. "You want to go to the dentist? I will show you a dentist." Then we went a kafana called Kraj Svet (End of the world). I thought it would be more end of the worldy, honestly they made it seem like it would be the most remote place we have ever seen--maybe it was for some people but I have certainly been nearer the end of the world. However, the fish soup DID eyeballs and brains in it. And was really good.

The cats are always with us. My fellow cat-mate, I mean class-mate, has a thing about cats too. Today we practiced comaprative and it turned into a war of cats. Yesterday our professor said, "You must miss your cat, where is he?" I replied, "U Sand Franciscu.... stric...." I was trying to remember the Serbian word for uncle from mother but she heard "street"; "NA ULICU?" Poor Tonks.

I think I'll end on a quote from my flatmate while we were joyriding to the zelenica stanza to get our tickets.
Aleks: (describing and English bookstore in Novi Sad) And there was a huge Harry Potter display.
Nate: The definition of American culture right there.
Aleks & me: ...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I forgot my mittens

Someone flipped a switch and it became fall in Novi Sad. Actually, it extends further to much fo southerastern europe, and its more like winter, actually. It's FREEZING. This happened about a week ago. Even the East Coast kids, which is every American but me, are complaining about the cold. None of us were prepared for this, except those two who are staying longer than just one month. And I have to say, I expected a little more delicate of a transition. It was literally 90 degrees one day and 40 the next. Today is a little nicer, but I remain suspicious. There is no H&M in Novi Sad, which is a great tragedy, so I scurred over to Zara to buy the cheapest jeans and sweater they had. It was quite necessary! And I think I am going to buy another sweater today, as I haven't had a chance to wash the first one I bought it or my original one as I have been wearing both together everyday. This kind of thing is ok when you are traveling but seems less so when you are stuck in one place. With a washing machine, even is your dragon-like landlady is fiercely posessive of it. I'm still keeping close records of what I'm spending, so it seems a bit comical to see my average $3-5 a day contrasted with $50-100 when I have to buy jeans or send something through DHL. I really can't wait to get back to london and my coat. and sweaters! and flannel jammies... yeah.


next time I see someone with a UCLA sweatshirt, I will ask how they came about to have such a thing. (this has happened twice)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Well,I stopped off at the internet cafe with the express purpose of making a post, but nowI am feeling too tired to do so. However, the mimimun time is half an hour and I just signed in, so
I might as well.

As you may have guessed by the lack of posts, my free time here in Novi Sad is not so polific as I had anticipated. Added to that, whenever I sign on to email I seem to get more bad news, which makes me lazy and all I want to do is read other people's blogs, not write my own. I am having trouble with the bank, which demands I call to verify purchases, despite the fact that I just did so less than 3 months ago, and that I told them I was going to be traveling abroad, for how long, and to which countries I was going. When I emailed them to tell them the collect number for overseas was not accepting collect calls they replied with a form email saying please call this number if you are overseas. SO HELPFUL. Even worse was on Friday, just as I was about to leave for a weekend in the middle of nowhere, Serbia, when I got an email from a stupid legal secretary demanding to know why I had not signed the document I have never received and why I have never returned her phone calls or messages. From someone I TOLD I was going abroad less than a week before I left. And she waited until 5 days before she needed a document signed by me for the hearing to ask my brother where I was? Apparantly totally ignorant that he has power of atterney for me so I shouldn't have to sign anything? Of course I freaked out, not able to find anything online about DHL or Fedex in Novi Sad, thinking I would have to go to Beograd to mail this document and it would never get there in time and all our lies were ruined. As it happened it worked out but I am still angry.

Anyway, enough complaining. My mornings are occupied by classes, we have several hours of homework a day, and usually an activity such as history lectures, games or parties in the afternons and evenings. I am really loving Novi Sad, which is a fantastic place to live. I am enjoying my time here in almost every aspect. Today I was paid a very important compliment. One of my profesors told me that they commented on how they can see me improving everyday. This about someone who despaired of every being a sucessful historian for lack of langauge ability! Actually, I am really, really pleased with my progress here and I think I am learning a lot.

So I've suddenly become brillant at learning languages? I think not. Rather, there are a number of factors that make this an opportune opportunity, if you will, for me to be learning Serbia. Firstly, I have a really good base from what I learned last year. I certainly wasn't as sucessful as I am now, but you don't spnd three weeks in Serbia to no avail, and it is all coming back and falling into place for me. Secondly, I have just come back from 2 months of complete mental, if not toherwise, relaxation, and I am really well-rested mentally and up for the challenge. Perhaps I am smarter than I suspected! Thirdly, I have true motivation because I realize the importance for my own future. Fourthly, I am not recently recovering from a traumatic event... Sorry there is no spellcheck installed on this computer.

A lot of other things I'd like to post about, but my time is running out and I have to pee....

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

From an email

I am lazy so I copy and paste: I am completely recovered now and I have been in Novi Sad for a week. Things are going really well here. The program is small so we all made friends very quickly, except for some who tend to keep to themselves: a polish couple and an Austrian girl who is staying here with friends. The rest of us are about half a dozen americans and a pair of swiss germans. There are only two people in my class, although we may have gotten a third today, a girl who arrived late. The instruction is really good and I am learning a lot, I think a lot of things are falling into place for me because I have a good base and I am ready to learn. So I am pleased with my progress. We have been working very hard, class all morning, several hours of homework, and activities in the afternoon or evening. Of course there is also time for relaxation, as they say here... The swiss have fallen in with a gang of Serbian football hooligans so that makes things interesting. I just returned from a weekend in a traditional serbian selo (village) farm where we ate a lot of food (they really wont take no) and herded cows, etc. It was a lot of fun and good language practice, although we were in central serbia and the monasteries we went to visit were the same ones I saw last summer in Valjevo. One of them has some really nice frescoes. I am uploading some pictures of novi sad, you can see them here if you like:

Random quick post

Soon Ićll get used to these keyboards having z and y switched. mazbe.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

3th birthday party

I'm back from a weekend in the middle of nowhere in serbia. I'm reeaaaaly tired although all I did was sleep and eat. And herd cows and sheep. And speak Serbian. Ok, so no wonder I'm tired.