Sunday, September 14, 2008

Croatian Update #2

September 14th, 2008 - here is me and my new car...nope, i haven't named her yet...but i will soon....below you will find my latest update from croatia...enjoy :)

hey there folks...how are you all doing today??? i have been exploring parts of croatia since i last checked in...and what a cool place it is...its been a busy few weeks...i am still getting used to the school...my apartment is coming together slowly but surely and i bought a car...that's the big purchase of the month...i have been shopping at the open air markets and testing my horrible croatian....its a hard language, but i seem to be improving and can now be polite when i ask for things and use the correct words for numbers....i also now how to ask for things without meat...which has come in handy for a veggie like me in a town that is very meat oriented

school is moving along...we had a picnic this weekend...even though its rainy and chilly....the parents all cooked homemade style foods from around the world....YUMMY!!!!! this week is back to school night...should be interesting....i have almost 80 kids...which is the most people can have....so it should be fun :) my room is coming along and so is my curriculum...although the kids work a bit slower than my last group and the schedule is a bit confusing....1.5 hour long classes for middle schoolers is really long....i have to change what we are doing every 20 minutes or so....its crazy....but i like it so far and the kids seem to like me...we have just started more difficult labs, so we'll see what happens when they have to write their first conclusion....the first bunch of pictures are from zagreb...the first is from this amaizng bakery around the corner from my house...that's a cake of a party animal...too funny and so excellent looking....this bakery has quite possibly the best gelato i have ever had....

the second shot is the house of croatian artists...its a gallery these days, but at one point before the war, it was a mosque...now there aren't many of those in this country, as serbia is where most muslims choose to live in the balklans

the next three shots are of my apartment - the first is the kitchen, the second is of my HUGE tub which would fit 6 comfortably....no, i don't know this for a fact....BUT its HUGE!!!! and the last is of my dining room and living room....i also have a balcony...office...bedroom and spare bedroom so come visit if you wish :)


all around zagreb there is tons of interesting sculpture...so i think i will be including a piece in every update of croatia....this one is of a woman taking her wares to the market and is at the dolac...which is the large outdoor market of zagreb...fun to go shopping there...i have a smaller market closer to me and there is one woman vendor who is a trip...she talks italian/spanish/croatian to me...its hilarious....

the next shot is a popular tourist restaurant in zagreb...called hansel and gretel...in croatian of course...very cute and they have excellent strudel...

last weekend i went out of town to the coast...to a town just above crikvenica (crick-ven-itza)...6 of us headed down to another teacher's place...lots of croatians here have a cottage somewhere...usually along the coast...this place was amazing....we got to go to the beach...although no sand was to be found....plus, we got to experience seeing some of the nude beaches from a distance...you had to climb down rocky paths...but the water was divine as was the view...absolutely amazing!!! the water was REALLY salty...floating was easy and you could see the bottom no matter how far you were out....it was just incredible....we went to an island for dinner one night....the town we went to was vrbnik....very quaint, really tiny cobblestone streets with an excellent view of the kvarner gulf...and had this delicious meal...homemade pasta....everyone in the town spoke croatian and italian....it was incredible....

the next shots are from the coast...the first is the view from the "cottage" stayed at...the second is a shot from the water looking back up the hill where the "cottage" is and the last is the place itself, with my cute car in front of it....i am driving a two door, black renault clio
it gets good gas mileage and moves pretty quick...and its easy to get around the city with it....the last shot in this set is from the town of vrbnik...its a place near the church where people can stop and pray and the building is considered to be a protector of the town itself..




this weekend i was in a small town just outside of zagreb for lunch...called samobor...on sundays its a big deal here to go to relatives or out for dinner around 1 or 2pm....because this country is so religious most places, except restaurants are closed on sundays...even markets are only open until around noon....blue laws are definitely in effect here...the town we were in was really cute...and all of the buildings had lights on them...so we need to go back and see them at night...plus, there was a ruined castle up on the hill overlooking the town, which we want to hike up to...today was too rainy and chilly...so sitting inside, eating a terrific meal and having a belgian beer was perfect...but i know i will get back there soon....

the last three shots are from the town samobor...such a cute centar section of town...cobblestones...pedestrian parts and a beautiful church..there is a stream that runs thru the center with walking bridges over it...there was even one covered bridge you could drive over...very quaint...the stork is a piece of art...i think they consider storks good luck, just
like in romania....so even though this one was fake i think it was good luck anyway :)


the last shot is of me...at my boss's place...she hosted a TGIF for the folks of the school and she has an amazing place with an amazing view of the entire city....we had a blast...
okay...there you have it...a second update...thanks to those who emailed me...if you have any questions, please be sure to send them along...someone asked about food....well, a lot of meat....but along the coast you can get fish and shellfish and i had some of the best calamari i ever tasted...plus, there is a bakery or three in every block of every city i have been in...lots of folks stop and grab a breakfast treat...luckily i don't have any on my route to school...if so, it could be deadly...also there is a dish called struckli which a crew of us are trying everywhere...noodles baked with cheese...its incredible...plus people drink lots of coffee and beer...its a cafe oriented culture....another person asked if zagreb looks ruined in places because of the war...i asked a few croatians about this and they said that zagreb was never really hit hard by the war...they said i can find places that are still in ruins, but that is not zagreb....thanks for the questions....feel free to email and say hi i will try to answer in a timely manner...but seriously...write.... hope all is well and happy fall :) peace out...dani

3 comments:

Rachel said...

Hi Dani,

My name is Rachel, and I was a good friend of Paula Parris's. I was missing her and googled her, just out of curiosity. I read your post about visiting her garden in Seattle and her parents. They look good. The last time I saw them was at her memorial service in Wisconsin. I would love to get their contact information if you still have it. Your blog is great and so interesting!!! Thanks for writing about the wonderful & magical Paula.

Jacquelyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacquelyn said...

Dani,
I'm Candi's sister. I am looking into teaching abroad and I was wondering how you got started.
Jackie