I was riding the tram home this evening, sitting and reading, not worrying about the stops that were passing because I knew how long the ride would be, approximately how many pages I would read and the amount of times the tram would bend itself around curves inching closer to my apartment. Sometime in the last few months Zagreb became a familiar place, no longer foreign, no longer somewhere strange and unknown. In many ways it feels comfortable. It happens in pieces-first its knowing the streets, leaving the map behind. Then its having your favorite places to go and some familiar faces behind bars or occupying those cafes and shops. Then its having people to spontaneously meet for coffee, followed by spontaneous-accidental meetings followed by long coffees. Its having places to drop in on. People to have Sunday lunch with. It may have taken some time but I am constructing a life here. People to give chocolates to, drink coffees with, be sad and homesick with, be crude and make inappropriate jokes, talk about academics and maybe a dabbling of theory, to giggle about boys. I am intrigued by the pieces of it, falling together nicely.
Today I ran into an acquaintance and we chatted for a good two hours. He’s Croatian but went to boarding school in the U.S. I got to brag about how awesome my high school life was and how lucky I was to have parents who let me be myself and never, ever, made me feel incapable or stupid. In exchange I heard stories of punches thrown in grade school, the lack of cliques in Croatian childhood, the things our childhoods had in common and the things they didn’t. How communism drills into your head we are all equal. How cheating is “helping” (although this came from another source, I must admit).
The weather today was lovely and the streets were filled with people, all of whom were confused about how to dress. We’ve grown accustomed to our winter coats and hats and its strange to wake up and not put them on, well with the Christmas lights and the ice skating rink in the main square it only seems appropriate, right?
Currently listening: Mirah
Currently reading: The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
Current objectives in research:
· Get a solid interview with an SDP party member.
· Pin down a time with my sports journalist contact.
· Transcribe the two interviews I just put on my computer.
· Read more from “men in the Global World; Integrating Post-Socialist Perspectives”
· rewrite an abstract/outline for directional purposes
Current social life objectives:
· See at least one film from Human Rights film festival
· Mail some x-mas presents to those lovely people in the US
· Plan a Christmas craft party
Current favorite food: organic musli + yogurt or polenta
Current favorite beverage: “Kuhano vino” – cooked wine, eg mulled wine
Current life goals:
· continue to improve my Croatian. Moram govoriti hrvatski svaki dan.
I went to booksa today and there were sparkling Christmas lights, free kuhano vino, AND they were projecting a nightmare before Christmas. I wuv the holidays