1. An update on Belgrade: I spoke to my Professor I had run into-she apologized for the situation, for not having the ability to offer me company to enter the parade, she explained that i had interrupted a conversation in which she wanted to enter and her companion did not. Then it got a bit crazy. I realized my concerns about going as a spectator, as a colonisist are mostly unfounded... afterall I just spent a over year writing and thinking about public acts of protest, art, and re-imagining public spaces for political purposes in Belgrade-this was basically the realization of the written materials I had been pouring over for months. When I think about in that framework, I must admitt, I regret not going. C'est la vie.
2. I finally feel like I am living here, not just a zombie here. I have friends, I have things to do, I have people invested in me being here. There are familiar faces in the cafes. This is in part due to a new endevor: hanging out with Mare and Marko, two kids who spent a year in the US two years ago when their father was on a fulbright. They live in a lovely light and airey apartment and Ive been there twice now, each time we speak in english, about life at Notre Dame and drink turkish coffee followed by something sweet, the first of which is a crotatian speciality: crumbled chestnuts with chocolate pudding and a dallop of whipped cream. mmm.
Marko and Mare and I played headbanz, a game we sold at the toy store and make believe and a funny easy version of banangrams. I gave some silly bandz and I told them all about Walt Disney and his boyhood home. They were impressed, I think we really hit it off. I am going to be spending a couple hours with them every saturday morning to practice their english and hopefully to continue to eat snacks and drink turkish coffee. It was nice to be in a home, not an apartment or a place where students sleep but someone's real home that they have invested in making it feel cozy cozy.
3. Amela and Masa moved into their apartment! Congrats! Their first grocery trip involed making a new friend, who invited us to tea at a nearby cafe. We agreed but said we wanted to go eat dinner first, so we headed back to the apartment to whip up simple pasta and head back down the street for warm cups of tea only to find ourselves literally trapped in their apartment building...maybe we didn't get the key?...but the front front door is supposed to never be locked?..lets go knock on grandpas door, the grandpa of the people who own the apartment... never! never in 20 years! he said, this door has NEVER been locked....and people were trying to get in and we were trying to get out and grandpa said its like a prison! eventually somewhere in the building the key was found but the mystery was never solved.
We were free but a half hour late to meet our new friend, who luckily was still waiting. We went to a near by cafe, ordered our teas and dove into a full frontal assualt of a complicated conversation in mostly croatian. I caught bits and pieces and masa and amela translated, I interjected though when he mentioned Italo Calvino (who I already mentioned earlier I am curently reading). We spoke of how Invisible cities is a perfect book to read when travelling, then of the former yugoslavia, then of love, and always of runing. He was interesting and if i had more time I would dive into the interesting things i caught, about traveling through region, being yugoslavian, nationalism, manipulation, all things that always floating around in the air here somewhere, sometimes hiding, sometimes not.
In general, the conversation only spurred by desire to really imerse myself in the language, I feel like my inability to speak is always a massive brick wall, I can only hear the murmers on the other side and sometimes people dig holes underneath or pass notes on paper airplanes over the top.
4. Sunday mornings, herlic again and rain and clouds. Too icky to really dig through the rummage piles, instead we ate greasy cevapi and beans baked in clay bowls, sitting admist some middle men smoking (whom which i imagine talking over the buisness details of a cars sale, for there are many cars forsale at herlic)
5. Now I am booksa, looking forward to dinner at a prof. house, thinking about all the work I should be doing, so many emails! So many articles! Or maybe too few?
Well, time to get working.