Ninety-degrees-step, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three...Ah, if only the rest of my life was as calm and orderly as the steps of the English waltz we learned today in ballroom dance. Alas, the waltz of life is starting to spin out of control! But, as Mr. Museve, my Rwandan Biology professor, says, “We told you it was going to be difficult. Nobody lied to you. So just keep going and keep going and you're going to be alright.” So far so good.
Last Thursday, I went on a little adventure and ended up meeting Matt and Rowan, a couple from the UK who just moved to Mostar! I had seen their blog online (there aren't many blogs about Mostar written in English!) and after emailing them a couple of times, they told me about a youth club called Novi Most where they hang out. I was determined to find it on Thursday, but I got home late, inhaled my supper, and had to find someone to accompany me. The club is about 40 minutes away by foot, and I wasn't too keen on walking it alone and at night. My roommate Isa agreed to come with me, and after 15 minutes of running around the house with Seb and Srdjan (SIR-john) trying to find her a bike, we set out! It wouldn't have been a big deal except that I haven't ridden a bike since I was in grade school, and the traffic is a little scary here in Mostar. We had to stop and ask for directions, but the first woman we asked was a university student who spoke fluent English. She helped us find the club, and we were introduced to more friendly English speakers than I've seen in one place since I came here. :) Matt and Rowan moved to Mostar just a few weeks before I did, and they'll be here for at least three years. They're working with Novi Most, which was started during the war to provide aid and support to children. It's purpose is still to work with youth, and it's “volunteers” are both local and international. It was so great to talk about some of the things we foreigners have to come to terms with upon moving here, and to swap stories about the crazy things we've heard, seen, and done. I love UWCiM, but we can get trapped in the bubble of our own world...it was good for me to break out and meet people who are fully living in Mostar! Matt and Rowan have even found a church, and I can't wait to visit next week! It was a pretty spontaneous and rushed meeting (we had to get back for curfew and homework, of course!), but hopefully it'll be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. If nothing else, I found out I won't kill myself next time I get on a bike...haha!
By the weekend, I was sick of exams and schoolwork and ready to relax. On Saturday I started the day with yoga and then tried the pancake bar with Tanja, Ruth, and Andy...my new favorite place! I got a new scarf, and then spent a couple of hours reading in Spanish square. It's almost impossible to be alone when you live with 120 people, and I needed that time to be introverted and just soak up the sun and the city. On Sunday, I had my third EVER hike, and it was a MUCH better experience than the last one! We actually saw some trees, complete with fall colors, and after about 3 hours we reached a meadow plateau that was just as picturesque as any photo you could imagine! After lunch, the 20 of us somehow got into a hilarious discussion about the different slang terms we have for things in our countries. My favorite is a long Croatian word for toilet that means literally “around-the-butt-crap-swallower.” After that foolishness, we napped in the meadow. We were joined on the hike by some of our teachers as well as Ken, an American who works for an institutional reform organization in Mostar. He was really cool, and even thinks he might be able to get us a turkey for Thanksgiving...how cool would that be? The only catch is that it's handpicked and slaughtered in front of you...that might be fun. :) The scenery was gorgeous, the weather perfect, the company and conversation grand, and we got out of compulsory residence cleaning...a perfect day if you ask me. :)
Now, it's back to the grind, and it was DEFINITELY a Monday. Somehow my brain thought it was still the weekend, so I was terribly disappointed when my alarm clock rang at 7. At least it did go off! In class, we were reminded that we have exams this week as there's a grading session soon, and we had the usual college meetings. Unfortunately, I was locked out of one because I got out of class late and then had to go to the toilet. Half our class didn't make it to the meeting before they shut the doors, and as they took our names down I'm sure there's a lecture coming. Honestly, though, I'm more upset about missing the guest speaker...we're all late sometimes.
On the bright side, I believe I have FINALLY worked my classes out, and they look like this: Higher Level English A1, Economics, and Biology. Standard Level Maths, French ab initio, and Geography. Nina says I must be insane to have changed subjects so many times, but I'll be stuck with them for 2 years so they'd better be ones I enjoy at least a little! With this schedule, my university options are pretty open except that I can't study law or medicine in the UK. But I think I can live with that. :)
Really, it was as close as it gets to a perfect day!
A little glimpse of autumn...the views were so idyllic.
And for your amusement, some random craziness from last week with Ana and Katarina in the Spanish Room. We were "studying."