Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Brighter Days!

Shortest Day of the Year
On the Solstice I took advantage of the rare sunny day to run up Smarna Gora (676m).  I had to stop and walk from time to time, but still made it from the trailhead to the bell in 25 minutes - not lightning speed, but my new personal best.   The views at the top were amazing!

Change is good... eventually
We've been in Slovenia a little over 4 months now.  It's been a positive, but very challenging, experience.  I've been overwhelmed by all the new stuff - new language, new job, new city, new culture.  I miss blue skies and really miss our friends and family.   But there have been moments when the sense of adventure eclipsed the stress, and those precious moments are getting more and more frequent.

This week two great things happened.  First, school is out for 3 weeks!  We had a good semester, but everyone was ready for a break.  Second, we have family in town to spend Christmas with us.  Yay!

We showed the cousins how we get milk from the Meklomat.  Yum!

Of course we brought everyone to one of our favorite sweet shops, Zvezda.

Later we visited the impressive Postojna Caves.  You take a train into the caves, then there's a 45-minute walk once inside.  They are truly the biggest caves I've ever seen.  But this time of year, they're even more special because every time you turn a corner, there's a live nativity scene, with music, dozens of actors, elaborate costumes, lights, sound effects, burning incense, Angels floating through the air and even an aerial silk performer.  Bizarre and amazing all at once.


Minor Frustrations
These happy things help me deal with the trivial frustrations of living abroad.  Like not being able to read any signs or understand the radio.  Like no postage stamp machines. Like trying to get a mattress delivered by Rutar.  

"Why do you keep postponing delivery?  

"We are so busy."

"Why don't you hire more people this busy time of year?" 

"This isn't America."   

Luckily, with help from some very nice Slovene customers, we stuffed both mattresses into the back of our small car.  Problem solved!

Efficient Ljubljana
Tonight we had a lovely leisurely dinner at one of our favorite Slovene restaurants, Spajza.  After dinner, the car nowhere to be found.  Turns out I had parked in a resident-permit only spot, ambiguously marked by yellow, not white, stripes.  Very hard to discern in the dark!
One taxi ride later, and 100 Euros poorer, I've learned another lesson.  

Exhilarated and Exhausted
So it's been 4 months of a steep learning curve, but I'm started to get the hang of things, starting to feel more comfortable, more competent - at work, at home, running errands.  

Georgia and Dahlia are great role models for living in the moment.  For 2015 I resolve to be more like them!

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