Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Beginning to get started?

Things are taking forever to start up. We've been here three weeks now, and everyone in my department has been completely swamped with exams from last year. (I don't yet understand how the exam system works.) It's one of those situations where, the more work there is for everyone else, the less there is for me. So Meaghan and I spent most of last week killing time. You know you need a change when you start running your life around when Mythbusters is on. To break out of this funk (and to celebrate our second wedding anniversary), we spent the weekend in Novi Sad, a town in northern Serbia. It's a very different place from Kragujevac, geographically and architecturally closer to Hungary. Where the buildings of Kragujevac look geometric and industrial, Novi Sad's city center features a broad pedestrian avenue that leads you from the Orthodox bishop's house with its well-tended gardens, past shops, cafes, and popcorn vendors, and leaves you facing the grand Classical facade of the town hall. We explored, shopped, visited friends, and listened to music. Back in K. on Tuesday, we spent the morning hanging out, and Meaghan baked some chocolate chip cookies. The ingredients here are a little different - vanilla extract and chocolate chips are not available - but we found passable substitutes, and the final product was almost, but not quite, a taste of home. That afternoon, we had the first official event of my fellowship: an English conversation practice hour at the American Corner. We hadn't done a lot of publicity, so we were surprised and encouraged to see twenty people show up for it! The session went very well, and it was really energizing to do something. We met more young people later in the evening, as our landlady's son, visiting from Belgrade, took us out for drinks with some of his friends. He somehow got us tickets for tonight's World Cup qualifier match between Serbia and Bosnia, in the standing room (i.e. "crazy fans") section of the stadium. I'll be sure to tell you how that goes ..

1 comment:

Dad said...

Can you believe that one of my ong-time patients, who I saw on Monday, was born 3 miles from Novi-Sad. He is Hungarian by heritage, and he said that when he was growing up, in the 1940's, more people were German speakers and most of the geography had German names. He apparently had a very harrowing escape from Hungary in the 1950's and has great difficulty crossing over bridges, even to this day.

I'm glad you had a nice turnout for the English time. Enjoy the work!