Saturday, June 23, 2007

The past week....

So as I mentioned before, I laid low for a few days this week.... got lots of rest and fluids, and tried to stay out of the heat. It's been really hot here every day (above 30 degress C, whatever that means) and I've decided there's just no point in being out between about 1-4 pm. The group and I did volunteer every day from about 9-1, but after that, it was time to head home for naps. The volunteering went really well - the organization brought in groups of kids for us to practice teaching English to, and they were so cute!! One of them spoke with this little British accent, which she learned from watching too much TV. They really loved having us there, and I now feel much better about the rest of the summer. Next Thursday we head up to the little town where we'll meet the students we'll teach for the next four weeks, and I'm a lot less nervous now.

Other than that, I have been venturing out and being a little more social this week. Met a random American staying at a nearby hostel on Wednesday, and ended up going out for drinks with him, some Irish girls, some of our group and the hostel managers. We went to a bar that had 70 & 80s night - can't say I thought I'd come to Bosnia to hear Gloria Gaynor, Flashdance and Ghostbusters! The next night I went to the local hot spot Hacienda with the Bosnians and this British guy for this Beach Dance Party. It was a ton of fun, and we danced til like 3 in the morning. The music was much better, and they were tossing around beach balls and sombreros, and it was definitely more of a local place. Went to an amazing dinner with some of the girls last night and then went and saw Oceans 13 - nice little date night. Too bad it was all American girls. Pretty funny seeing the movie here (for only like $3.33). Tonight me, the Bosnians (Haris & Sharif) and some of the girls are heading to this huge concert here in Sarajevo, which should be.... interesting. I'm off of work until next Thursday, and just heard the Chili Peppers are playing in nearby Belgrade on Tuesday, so I might head over to that to redeem my musical sensabilities!

It's way too hot to be in the internet cafe anymore, so I'll post more later......

Monday, June 18, 2007

Busy, busy, week....

This past week has been busy (but fun), but I'll try picking up where I left off.

We had Wednesday morning to ourselves, and a few of the girls and I wandered around the open air fruit market. I had coffee by myself, then discovered this wonderful meat & cheese market, where they let you try everything - most of which is delicious. I think everyone reading this knows how I feel about cheese....

In the afternoon, we went to visit the US Embassy, which was pretty neat. We met with the second-in-command, and talked about his opinions on what is currently going in Bosnia. He was very honest with us, which is rare to find in someone talking about such complicated politics. Wednesday night we had dinner at the Sarajevo Pivarsca - the Rock Bottom of Bosnia. Amazing food.

Thursday we went to meet the organization we'll be volunteering for, Wings of Hope. They are also organizing a camp this summer for children affected by war. We met our boss, Maya, who loves to talk politics, philosophy, and drink coffee. I'm in love. After leaving work, we wandered the city for the afternoon, shopping, stopping for capppuccino, and more shopping.

Because we had a 3 day weekend, 4 of us decided to head to Dubrovnik, in Croatia on the coast. The drive was beautful, if bumpy, and we headed down to the beach as soon as we got in and found the apartment we rented for the weekend. It was a great time, and it was really amazing for me to be back there, where I doubted I would ever see again. I was really glad I got to share it with the other DU folks, and show them around to my favorite spots. Saturday night I ended up meeting the RIT kids that are on the same trip I was 4 years ago, and hung out with them until 4 AM. We met some guys who brought us to their cousins wedding..... good to know wedding crashing is universal!!

Had a slightly scary experience Sunday morning.... was about 100 m from the bus station, ready to head home, when I started to feel dizzy and nauseaus. Ended up having a heat-stroke induced seizure (I think) and being swooped away to the hospital in an ambulance. There, they hooked me up to an IV and let me sleep and cool down for a few hours, so it wasn't a horrible experience over all. But, can't say I would want to do it again. Moral of the story kids, drink lots of water at the beach!!

So now we're back in Sarajevo, and starting our volunteer positions for the week. Should be a pretty low key time, as I'm on strict doctors orders to stay in the shade. After volunteering this week, we head up to Vares next week to beign working on the children's school, which I'm very excited about.

Hope it's not as hot back in the states!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

First few days....

Well, I made it here safely and have now been in Bosnia for two full days. The flight(s) weren´t too bad and I made it with all my luggage, which is more than some of the students I am with. Our apartments are absolutely amaying, and are about 2 min walking distance from the Bascarcija, which is the Turkish market with tons of shops, restaurants, cafes. Think the Bosnian version of the 16th St. Mall. We have 3 apts total, and the one I´m staying in is huge, with two bedrooms, bath and a half, and tons of closets. There is only two full size beds, but there is also a pull out couch which I basically claimed. The picture to the left is three of the other students outside of our apartment door.
The first day we were here we went to a couple of sights around the city, then took a walking tour of our neighborhood. We visited the war tunnel museum where they snuck supplies into the city during the siege. The tunnel was so small, and I cannot even imaging crawling /walking half a mile through it carrying food, or weapons, or other supplies. After we left, we went to one of Bosnias national forests and saw the water source for the River Bosna, which flows through the city. Absolutely amazing. That is me on the right on a little bridge over the river. We then had a fabulous lunch, full of cheese, dried meat, stuffed peppers, goulash, and lots of bread. Good think our apartment is at the top of the hill, cause this place is super carb friendlz. Did lots more walking around in the city centre, and took a trip out to the Mercator, which is basically the Bosnian wal-mart. Had a lot of fun wandering around trying to interpret the labels and deciding what everything was. Also had my first (for this trip) Bosnian beer and wine last night!

Todaz (sorrz, but the z and y are interchanged on their kezboards and I am getting tired of fixing it) we took a bus tour up to Lukomir, which is the last European village still living in the old traditional wazs. Thez just got running water in 2002, and are shut off from the rest of the countrz during the winter since there is onlz one long, winding road into town. We went on a hike (zou read that right - I hiked todaz) to this beautiful waterfall. We had a tour guide, Demir (or as I like to call him, Bosnian Tom Bradz) who is currentlz in grad school at Harvard but organiyes hiking excursions of his home countrz in the summer. He was absolutelz fascinating, and made me feel like I had no education or sense of purpose. He just seemed to know everzthing. This is our group, including Demir (in the orange) standing on this cliff with the waterfall in the background. Then we ate in one of the little villagers house and bought these homemade goods from them. These little old ladies apparantlz spend 5 dazs knitting a pair of socks, which I then purchased for about 12 bucks. Not sure I could handle that waz of life.
Have figured out our schedule for the rest of the summer, and it looks like we´re spending a little more time than I had thought doing language classes and ˝reflection time˝ as a group. I personallz feel I will learn more and experience more bz being out and about in Sarajevo as opposed to sitting in the apartment with the other Americans, but for now I am just going with it. I feel verz fortunate to be here, and am really looking forward to traveling on the weekends, especially back to Dubrovnik (where I lived before.)
Hope everyone is doing well back in the states, and I hope to hear from all of you soon!