April 23, 2014
We started ISPs a few weeks ago and it’s going so incredibly well! At first I was caught off guard by how profoundly sad I was when I saw my friends off to the bus, but these part few weeks have been awesome. It’s really pushed me out of my comfort zone and instead of allowing Will or someone to plan what we’re doing, I make my own plan. Instead of going to the same old places, which are admittedly great and always fun, which is why wee go back as often as we do, I’ve been checking out new things regularly.
Working with alternative cultural groups really opens up doors for my social activities, let me tell you. I’ve been to provocative art exhibits, a post-modern dance performance, obscure coffee houses, and tonight, if the rain or my own lack of motivation doesn’t stop me, I’m going to this prohibition style cafe where a group of people are gathering to listen to a radio opera. It sounds so cool and I’m loving having this time to myself to meet new people and explore parts of Belgrade I hadn’t before. Because no one else is making the plans, I can pretty much go where I want, when I want without fear of missing out on something else.
On top of my own new discoveries, my friend, George, is very adventurous and quite curious and because he also stayed in Belgrade, we explore together often. Yesterday, he took me to the best coffee shop that I’ve tried here in this little hole in the wall place in the warehouse district. You can only imagine how hip it was, but the espresso was delicious and it was a gorgeous day, finally! Then we went to a buddhist meditation in this woman’s house which was cool to experience because it was an actual Buddhist practice, not some Earth Mom’s, looking to find themselves while staying hip. I really enjoyed experiencing a different style of prayer, reflection, meditation, whatever you choose to call it. I thin kit’s pretty important regardless of what you believe to open yourself up to what others choose to experience, practice and believe in.
I feel really good and wish I had had the opportunity to get involved with some of these alternative cultural communities earlier in the semester because they’re doing such cool work and I’m loving researching their role in processes of democratic transition in Belgrade (that’s loosely what my ISP is about). I’ve done endless reading and some interviews as well and today I started writing and actually was productive, imagine that! Hopefully tomorrow’s work will go the same. Fingers crossed.
February 21, 2014
Last weekend, Cooper, Will, Akvile, and I made the long voyage to Kotor, Montenegro. If you haven’t googled it, do, it’s like a dream. It was a 12 hour bus ride there which allowed for some pretty good bonding time for us, On the way, maybe 45 minutes into the ride, we saw this semi truck completely engulfed in flames. You could feel the heat through the windows of our bus, and the driver just kept on going around it like it was not big thing. It was crazy.
The road to and from Montenegro was so diverse, We’d be winding around the most beautiful mountains, then we would pull into a town that looked very much like how I imagine Arizona to look. It was so curious. Then, finally, the last stop was Kotor.
We carried our tired bodies and backpacks through this gorgeous little village to our hostel. It felt like a village our of Game of Thrones or a fairy tale. It’s a tiny town on the bay with all these little side streets all in stone with sweet little buildings on either side at the base of the most beautiful mountain.
After showering and getting settled, we hiked up to the fortress near the top of the mountain that looks over the bay. A long long long way up, we had very soar calves for days, but the view made it totally worth it.
The next day, we slept in which felt wonderful, and then headed to a little neighboring town that is quite popular in the summer season, called Budva. We spent that evening sipping cider on the beach because it’s be unseasonably warm here. Basically, it was the perfect weekend.
February 9, 2014
In Serbia you ALWAYS wear house slippers, especially women, because it is widely believed that if you’re feet are cold, your ovaries will stop working and you won’t be able to get pregnant.
Saint Sava Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Europe. Construction for the grand masterpiece started in the 1920’s I believe and it is nowhere near done.
February 8, 2014
Unofficial expirations of Beograd.
What a week. None of us realized how tired we were until we actually settled in with our host families last night. Mine is the best-obviously.
This past week we have been doing various orientations about our academics, the city, it’s history and culture, and safety and responsibilities while we’re here. It’s all been fine and was definitely important to do, but honestly I think we’re all just ready for classes to start. My schedule changes every day and classes are very intensive. For example, I have Serbian classes six hours a week, plus I’m living with a Serb family, so hopefully I’ll be ale to say one or two things by the time I leave.
The hostels e stayed at was great, so much fun and I definitely will go back there and to the bar that accompanies it to spend time with some of the people that wok there. It is however, so nice to not be sharing a smelly room with five other girls living out of suitcases. Unpacking last night, was such a joy.
My host family is probably the most adorable family in Beograd, about a twenty minute walk to the Faculty where my classes are. Aki and Marija (pronounced Maria) are in their thirties probably and live in a flat right across from this huge, beautiful park and the Belgrade Zoo, so that’s pretty awesome; this morning I heard roosters crowing. They have a Boston Terrier named Mimi and a cat named Coco, who looks like a ls obese version of my old, dear cat, Churchill. Their daughter, Aija (pronounced eye-ah) is 9 and the sunshine of the Earth. She plays the cello and is learning piano. This morning, she practically leaped into my arms the second I woke up and came out of my room. I couldn’t have ben pared with a better family.
Although we have done a lot of exploring on our own, today we had a more official tour of downtown as well as Nuovo Beograd (New Belgrade) which is on the other side of the Sava and is technically classified as central Europe, while Old Belgrade, which is more like downtown, is classified as the Western Balkans. It would be like Charleston being Eastern Europe and Mount P being Western Europe. I’lll post some of the pictures from today and of the last week as well. Aija and I just took way too many selflies on my PhotoBooth so I’ll post some of those too.
It feels so good to already become familiar with the city and that feeling will only increase with time. I’ve met so many interesting people from all over Europe who all have great perspectives and interesting stories and ideas and opinions, it’s like a dream to me. Everyone has an educated and formed opinion on everything and I can tell that I am going to learn a lot outside the classroom as well as during lecture.
We have a three day weekend next weekend and Akvile (pronounced Ahk-Villa), Cooper, Will, and I are planning a trip to Montenegro. The four of us a becoming quite a team and all clicked pretty instantly on the second day. Everyone is great though, I think God has my back big time cause so far things couldn’t be going better.
Tonight, the four of us and really whoever else wants to come, are going to this graduation party at a bar that used to be a train station. Will’s host sister invited us, so news of whoever that is, I really don’t know, but I guarantee it’ll be fun!
C`ao for now!
February 4, 2014
irking from the blog eastern-exposure.tumbrl.com while I’m abroad. Czech it out if you wanna see how the Balkans are treating me!
January 4, 2014
4 | 2, Melbourne
I haven’t posted on this crazy thing since Freshman year, so I think it’s about time I do. I’m going abroad in a month and am starting a whole new chapter in my life and all the emotions are here: excitement, wonder, anxiety, loss, gain, more excitement…
But anyway, like so many
hipwhite young travelers, I’m starting a blog that will document my adventures. I suspect it will be excellent (or possibly I’ll forget to post on it for 2 years and then write some nonsensical post about it). Regardless of its content, It’ll have a really cool, artsy fartsy theme, so it’s got that going for it.
More to come. Get excited!