09 March, 2006

Deep Thoughts

Last Friday morning Michelle and I were on our way to the women’s conference that had really started Thursday night. We were planning to catch the 8:00 am bus, so I stayed up until around 2:00 doing some cleaning, packing, etc. and set my alarm for 6:20. I woke up around 8:05 to Michelle on the phone with Marni. Somehow we both slept through alarms and phone calls… I was pretty frustrated and stressed out, but we pulled ourselves together in time to catch the 9:30 bus. But that bus actually didn’t exist, so we ended up with about 45 minutes of time to kill while waiting for a 10:00 bus. We decided to find some breakfast and get coffee, and Michelle remembered a little bakery about a block away so we headed there first. About 2 weeks ago I discovered my first muffin in Croatia, and here at this bakery they had muffins, too! Delighted to find them again, I proceeded to order in Croatian, confidently repeating the pronunciation of the pastry’s name used by the bakery lady of several weeks past- “moo-fin.” Somehow, it wasn’t working as well this time. I repeated “Chokolada moofin, molim vas” several times and a firm look of consternation was my only reward. Finally, I resorted to a meek combination of pointing and grunting and Bakery Lady exclaimed “Oh, chocolate muffin!” (note the normal, American pronunciation) and placed one in a bag for me.

About 10 minutes later, Michelle and I were sitting in a café with our beverages and muffins when we noticed the music. It was a Croatian rap song, odd enough in itself, but it was even weirder due to the fact that the music in the background was a bizarre concoction of Arab sounding polka-ish music, heavy on the accordion. We discussed this briefly, and after a few more minutes got up to leave. On our way out the door, one of the waitresses called out “kishobran!” and ran over to the table where I had left my umbrella. It was such a tiny thing, but in that moment it was unbelievably gratifying to realize that I had known exactly what she meant and hadn’t needed to consciously translate the word for umbrella. And Michelle and I were going to get on a bus, and we had tickets, and plenty of the local currency (and none of anything else, actually), and this is our city, darn it, and we know our way around, even if I can’t always get a muffin on the first try.


Anonymous said...

and isn't getting the muffin the point, after all? who cares if it requires grunting--sometimes that's how i aquire my muffins stateside as well.

in italy i made friends with this barista, and he would set aside a pastry for me daily... then all i had to do was come in and look cute. you should try it!

hey happy birthday! all day long i sang happy birthday to you in my head. glad to hear it was so fantastic. although i would say that you are a wonderfully well-adjusted person, and trash that ridiculous "for a homeschooler" part. please. these people do not have the experience with maladjusted homeschoolers that we do.

miss you!

Anonymous said...

hi, my name is Emily and I am a teacher in the Czech Republic. I was wondering if you could tell me if Croatia would be a cool place to vacation. Maybe that's a silly question. But I think from your blog that you are there? Anyway, we will be traveling down through germany, switzerland, italy and want to end somewhere realaxing. How is the coast there? If you could just comment back here on your site that'd be super. Thanks so much, sincerely, Emily

Alexis said...

Hello Emily,
I think Croatia would be a fantastic place to vacation- especially the coast. I think it is nicest between Split and Dubrovnik, from what I've heard. There are tons of little islands, and very warm in the summer. Istria (way up north near Italy) is also very nice, and Zagreb and Rijeka are pretty enjoyable cities. I hope you have an awesome vacation!

Anonymous said...

Thank! I just read a little from your profile about what you are doing. Keep it up! I am an English teacher here in the Czech Republic but it is also a ministry to the students and people here. I am also here for just one year. :) Maybe we are in similar positions. It's crazy how I searched croatia and found your blog. :) Anyway, I was also wondering about the safety of traveling there. My dad said it was dangerous...do you feel like it is? ~Emily

Alexis said...

Hi Emily,
That is awesome that we seem to be doing similar things. Honestly, I don't think you have anything to worry about in terms of safety. I think it is the same as, if not safer than, anywhere else in Eastern Europe. Traveling alone anywhere might feel a little sketchy at times, but you should be fine in general here. If you'd like, you can email me at alexisy@gmail.com and I can give you a little more info about where you could stay in Rijeka if you plan to come here. As far as other places, I don't know enough to direct you, but in April I will probably be going to Dubrovnik, so after that I might have more insight.