Autumn in Ljubljana: A Short Photo Essay.

On the way to Tivoli Park.

Having a post-walk coffee. Note the specks of mud on my boots.

After finishing my school projects I decided to award myself with a lengthy stroll in Tivoli Park. The colours were outstanding, and when I walked under the trees with their swaying orange leaves, the sunlight pouring through the canopy shone with a warm golden radiance. This, my dear friends, is the reason why we were put on this Earth: to enjoy its beauty.

Tonight I'm visiting a cemetery for Day of the Dead (not the movie) then off to the clubs for some dancing. Halloween is not really celebrated in Slovenia, although it's slowly getting recognized by the younger folks. People here do celebrate Day of the Dead (as I just mentioned) which involves having a huge meal with the family then heading out to a cemetery to light candles and leave flowers for the departed, much like how it's celebrated in Mexico and other Latin American countries.

Happy Halloween!


Autumn in Ljubljana.

The problem with "assignment week" (or just how I manage my time during this sordid period) is that I hardly go out and isolate myself from everyone and everything. Which is irritating, because the leaves are starting to turn orange and yellow and red, and I really want to take a long walk in Tivoli Park and maybe play some football.

Did I mention that autumn is my favourite season? And all through summer I hide in my house, silently praying for fall to sweep in and save me from the sun's lashing rays?



As I sit firmly adhered to my desk trying to finish an essay there is a Presidential election raging on in my adopted (and unfortunately temporary) home. Of course, I'm unable to vote and I'm woefully uninformed about the issues and candidates, but still, it doesn't mean Ljubljana won't be any less exciting for the next little while.

I'm still hunting for a Slovenian news service in English . . .


On commuter mugs and how to quit smoking.

One small yet significant cultural difference between Slovenia and Canada is the presence of the commuter mug, often referred to as the travel mug. I prefer the term "commuter mug" because it contains more syllables and when I use words like that they make me appear intelligent and worldly (which I am).

Anyway, in Canada, if you were to take public transit, peek into cars stuck in traffic (I do it all the time) or note what your co-workers carry with them you will notice that a large segment has a commuter mug. Either clutched in a hand or buried in a backpack's exterior pocket, these vacuum-sealed wonders are common sights among workers and students. Furthermore, there are many cafes that offer the "to-go" option, giving customers a disposable cardboard mug or, if you bring your own commuter mug, the folks behind the counter will fill it up for you.

Now, in Slovenia, I hardly see anyone with one. There's the occasional sighting, but they're rare. Also, to my knowledge, I only know of two places that offer "take-away" coffee. There may be more, and I encourage folks to let me know, but so far that's two compared to Vancouver's bajillion. I heard a Starbucks did open in Ljubljana, but was shut down after a month. And why not? Why buy overpriced novelty coffees when you can get a tastier and affordable coffee already?

I should probably state at this point that I'm not complaining about the absence of commuter mugs or Starbucks. In fact, it's incredibly refreshing.

So what does this all entail? I can't speak for Slovenia, but I can say that Canada, particularly in large urban areas, tend to favour a commuter-friendly environment. That, and carrying around a massive coffee in portable form does have a performative function. I mean, one could say the commuter mug says to others: "I don't have time to drink my coffee / tea / hot chocolate / human blood at home since I have to go somewhere very important."

In other news, I've decided to quit smoking. The reasons are kind of obvious, so I won't bother you with them. Starting today I'm not smoking, but holy cats am I ever paying for my decision. I have this chill that seems to have nestled deep in my chest, and despite my efforts to smother it with warmth it continues to desperately cling to my bones. At the moment I have two heaters cranked up and I'm wearing a couple of layers and that seems to keep the little ice demon at bay.


Memo from management.

Posting will be infrequent for the next week or so until I finish my essays and sort out my troubles with the foreigners' office.


Vancouver Night

Last night was strange. We got to Metelkova at around ten, and we wandered around nursing our beer. In one bar we checked out, they were blaring Nomeansno (a punk band from Vancouver) from the speakers. We finally found the venue where the City of Women show was being held, and lo and behold the act coming on the stage was none other than StinkMitt, who are from Vancouver!

Saturday night is offically Vancouver Night in Ljubjlana. Mark your calenders.

I did buy their latest CD and chatted with them a bit - charming ladies, they are.


My wonderful landlord gave me two bottles of wine.

In the left hand corner is a sirov burek, which went remarkably well with the white.

I'm doing homework this afternoon, and this evening I'll be visiting Metelkova to attend the closing event for the City of Women festival.


And by the way . . .

I should mention I had some friends over Tuesday night! I rarely have guests, so I took the opportunity to play host. I picked up some food, and we ate and drank until we decided to check out KMS, a student bar situated in the old tobacco factory in Vič. That's right, the same factory complex that houses the immigration office. I liked KMS. There was a line-up, which sometimes bothers me, but the club was packed. They played some vintage Slovenian pop then reverted to a house set.

By the way, we drank mošt at my place, which is wine before it turns into wine, basically. It can be terrible, but this stuff was outstanding. While still retaining a fruitful flavour, mošt does pack a whallop when it hits your head.


I went to the graduate seminar yesterday. As I was waiting for the prof to arrive, I noticed everyone was speaking Slovene. That was my first clue. My second clue was the class readings some people had in front of them: it did not have the title Theoretical Sociology on the cover. My third, and final, clue came through the door. Instead of the male professor who was supposed to teach the class, a female professor entered the classroom.

I left shortly after that.

So, um, what the hell is going on here FDV? In less than two weeks I've been shortchanged three times. I'm a pretty tolerant guy, almost to the point of passivity, but I'm reaching the threshold of my patience. My home university, which has a larger student population, has not made a clerical error in the two years I've been there. That's two years!

I have to go in today (I really don't want to - I'd much rather stay at home and read) and I'm going to have to mention the mixed-up seminar. I still haven't completely figured out my conflicting course schedule either.



The rain started coming down last night, accompanied by Ljubljana's trademark lightning storms. It's still raining.

So far, Ljubljana has had one flood warning and two towns in Slovenia were overwhelmed by the rising waters. Last night my internet connection mysteriously died, then returned after I rebooted everything. Man, that would be a nightmare: trapped in a flooded city without internet.

I turned up the heaters, a pot of coffee is brewing and I have enough work to do at home. So c'mon you bloody rain clouds, show me your worst.

Now if only the contractors would quit with the boom boom pound slam rattle rattle boom boom whirl all damn day and I'll be fine.


What to do here.

I could some advice.

The international office at my host university sent out an email this morning. Three graduate courses are being offered this semester, and one of them is entitled Theoretical Sociology. The class is being taught by a professor I had last semester, and we got along well.

My concern is that I'm already taking six classes, three of which are distance education courses. I'm already behind on them, unfortunately. Should I bite the bullet and take this graduate class?

Double trouble.

I just received some wonderful news! As some of you might know, I'm currently a sociology major. However, my goal is to be a double major, adding English Literature as my second degree. Today I got an email from the Majors Committee welcoming me into the English department! I am now offically an English and sociology major!

I am very happy. Time for a drink.

A big thanks to Lisa for sending out my application! You're the best.


The first day of school, and other tales.

Well, the first day of school was interesting. I was told by the international office that I didn't need to attend the orientation session on Monday, since I already have one semester firmly tucked under my belt. I was to expect a schedule of the courses in the post by the end of next week. Of course, no such schedule appeared in my mailbox. So, on the first day of school, I dashed to the international office, asked what was going on with my classes, and I was directed back to the orientation session. Which was almost over by the time I got to school.

Luckily, I caught the tail-end of it and got my schedule. I'm good now. Two of my classes conflict with one another, but that's just a matter of making an arrangement with the profs.

On Sunday I climbed abroad one of the boats that take tourists up and down the Ljubjlanica River. I actually enjoyed the trip - you get to view the old part of town from a different perspective. However, the boat was a little grimy. I could overlook that, though, because passing under the bridges at night as bats flutter overhead is genuinely cool.

On Saturday night, Iva and I checked out a couple of DJs from Bosnia playing at Metelkova. Imagine traditional Bosnian folk music mixed with minimalist beats, and you get the idea. They played an excellent set and the dance floor slowly became crowded as the evening wore on. I really do enjoy spending time at Metelkova. Although some folks find it strange or they feel they are not "cool enough" to hang out there, I find the atmosphere to be quite friendly and open, and the crowd is always an eclectic mix. Besides, the beer is cheap.

My first classes are tomorrow morning. I'm meeting some former classmates to celebrate a birthday (not mine) this afternoon. Wish me luck.

As some of you might know, I'm deleting my Facebook account. I want to divert my energies into something more productive, like this blog. If I friended you there, send me your contact info so we can keep in touch.