6.27.2008

We are not in Slovenia.

That's right. I know, it may seem unceremonious to just get up and leave and not write my grand, final post to commemorate our time in Slovenia. Yet, how can we? How can someone just write a few meager words that could capture our experience living in such a country?

Really, I can't. I would cheapen the experience by rambling on and on about Slovenia being one of the most beautiful countries in the world, populated by a warm and gracious people. I admit I was homesick near the end of my stay, though now I'm comfortably nestled back in Canada I find myself missing the old brick buildings and distant mountains - Vancouver has mountains but the architecture is sadly mediocre - as I walk around my neighbourhood.

So, a great big thank you to our Slovenian friends for guiding us through their culture and making our time there memorable and enriching. We'll be back!

I (Lisa) would just like to add that we'll be posting a few more things here once we're settled in to our new place in Vancouver. We have pictures and trip reports we'd like to post, and I've been asked for updates on what we're doing now. Soon!

6.01.2008

Another postcard from Slovenia.

We have been busy, and we like busy.

First, in light of Liberation Day, which occurred not too long ago, we made a day trip to visit Baza 20 (Base 20). Once a major nerve center for the partisan forces during the Second World War, it stands now as a museum. Baza 20 is one of the (or is the) last remaining partisan bases in Europe. The buildings are crumbling from time and the elements, surrounded by a dense, leafy forest that is eerily quiet. I did discover that the partisans operated under their own economy and issued their own money. They also established facilities to repair vehicles and electronics, built shops for cobblers, gunsmiths and other trades, and even had a hospital. And all of this was done out in the sticks, during a brutal war. I was amazed at the tenacity and endurance of our species, despite the overwhelming odds.

We had the privilege of attending Vinska Vigred in Metlika, an annual wine festival celebrating the local vineyards. We stayed with a friend who hails from this lovely town, and we were treated to Slovenian hospitality. Our hosts were very sweet and friendly, and made our brief visit a pleasant one. To properly visualize Vinska Vigred, imagine three stages blaring music at the same time, copius amounts of local wine and crowded streets.

We sampled the muskat, a very sweet variety. None of them lacked the complexity often associated with tart wines. Each glass contained a depth of fruit that I would not forget anytime soon.

In other news, the amount of schoolwork I have to complete has decreased significantly. We took advantage of the time afforded to us so we rented a car and had a three-day road trip. Hopefully, we can get the photos up before we leave.

5.25.2008

The Tito-Canada Connection

Today is Dan Mladih, or Day of Youth, in the former Yugoslavia. Dan Mladih marks Josip Broz Tito's "birthday". Actually he was born on May 7th, but the 25th is the anniversary of an attempt on his life, and was enshrined as his official birthday. Every year a "relay of youth" across Yugoslavia would culminate at a Belgrade stadium with a hand-off of a baton and symbolic message from the youth of the country to Tito.

Just in time for the big day, I thought I'd post some pictures I found on Titoville a few weeks ago. It would seem that a certain young man had a forged Canadian passport in the name of Spiridon Mekas, as a British subject of Yugoslav origin. When he wasn't masquerading as the Canadian Spiridon, the young man was better known by his other name, Josip Broz.

5.10.2008

Liberation Day.

On Friday, Ljubljana locals commemorated the liberation of their city during the Second World War by partisan fighters. Every year people walk the 35 kilometer trail that circumvents the city, exactly where a massive fence was erected to contain the populace.

I did the walk last year (I'll find the post about it later) but I can't this year, unfortunately. Dr. Filomena is liveblogging the event even as I write this post. You can follow along here. Pengovsky's post on the subject is here.

5.08.2008

This might of interest to my Slovenian friends.

Today I'm meeting my professor for a consultation. He's teaching three of the three classes I'm taking this term, so I suppose I'll be meeting frequently with him for the duration of my stay.

For one of my classes, Social Ideologies and Modern Literature, I decided to focus on Slovenia. Most international students write about their home or the European Union. That's acceptable, but I want to try my hand at writing about my temporary home.

My paper will compare poetry written by women in Communist and post-Communist Slovenia. Some of the poets I'm focusing on are Maja Vidmar, Barbara Korun, Taja Kramberger and Svetlana Makarovič. I'm still looking for women who wrote during World War Two and prior to the Tito-Stalin split around 1948. I have two books in my possession that have some excellent examples from that era.

So it goes. I'll update more if anything interesting happens. Today the sky is bright blue and the sun is fat and proud. I'd like to venture out there and soak it up.