Sunday, January 11, 2009

Croatian Update #5

January 11, 2009 - Okay, here's another late one....this one is from a bit later in November....including the great shots from All Soul's Day....enjoy :)
hey there all...happy thanksgiving to those celebrating it....i am 
actually celebrating..we had a big thanksgiving dinner at school yesterday
and no...i did not have turkey...and no, they did not have tofurkey, but i 
did have some mashed potatoes, stuffing and the families got 
together and made many different desserts...we even had 
pumpkin pie in the
house...many people were very excited :)  today i am headed over to a
friend's place with 12 other folks...everyone is bringing their favorite 
dish from thanksgivings it should be a good time....

before i go any further...some folks have sent me emails asking for my 
mailing address this folks moved so the lancaster avenue address
is no longer available...and i am not headed to the states this year...
so if you are interested in sending a card...which i am very interested in
getting, please mail it to this address in 

American International School of Zagreb
Dani DiPietro
Vocarska 106
10000 Zagreb

if you are sending anything, be sure to take it out of packaging and that
it doesn't look super that possible???  if they think i am 
getting new expensive stuff in customs they charge me for usually
takes a week or so for flat mail to make all of you with kids and 
the traditional xmas/holday card....please send them for me, it
will be an electronic xmas/new years greeting per normal....but i promise
if you send me mail, i'll send you a postcard from my journey...

so on with the update...sorry it has been a while since the last 
many things....just after the last update i sent out it was halloween
and more importantly here all souls day...i have included some pictures
from both....we also had UN day in our school as well....there are  
pictures from that event as well....and i went to budapest with the middle
school speech and debate team...and they did really well :)

the pictures are as follows....the first shot is actually of street 
performer here in zagreb...he is in the main square every saturday and 
sometimes sunday with this musical organ grinder...all he 
needs to make the picture complete is a monkey on his shoulder....he's  
great and always tips his hat to the ladies....
from that picture we go to UN are a few of my fellow teachers, 
who are croats...i thought you might like to see some traditional colors
and costumes of the region i am living in...the first woman is vlatka...
she is my croatian teacher as well...and she is wearing a traditional 
costume for the fall harvest celebrations here...everything she is wearing 
is hers....she has some of the strongest pride in her country of all...she
is a great teacher because of that...the next three folks are also in 
traditional dress and colors...the woman on the left - adrienne is in a 
traditional costume from the island of rab...the man in the middle is in 
a traditional dancing costume from the mountains (josef) and the woman
on the right, deana is in the croat colors for the flag and the national
soccer was cool day where kids dressed in the traditional 
costumes of their native countries...i actually had red, white and blue on
and one little girl from the states came as a cowgirl...cute....

the next five shots are from the big cemetery i sent you pictures of 
before...its the biggest of zagreb and everyone in town comes to it on 
the day of all the night...we went at night so we could see
the thousands of candles in the cemetery....i have actually never seen so
many candles in one place in my life...we were there around 9pm...and the 
place was packed with people, flowers and candles....people go to 
celebrate the lives of dead family and friends...its a very cool thing to 
experience...and its somber...i couldn't get over all of the candles there
and the one section, where there are many around the crucifix, those are
for people not buried in the cemetery...they are in rememberence of people
who have died as well...i added one for my grandmother who passed away 
this past year....a purple one...i think she would have appreciated it...

the next shot is of some of the goofy folks i hang with...this was wasn't really a halloween was a super hero party
and it was crazy to see some of the creative costumes....these folks 
are other teachers...and we had a blast :)

the next few shots are from budapest...and the trip i took with the middle
school debate team...they did awesome...we took 10 kids...eight of them
made it into final rounds of the competitions...out for approx 55 kids 
competing...and we had one team take second for duet acting, one girl 
take 1st for an interpretation of her own speech, another girl take 
second for her interpretation of a published piece and the debate team 
placed first....but the best of all was when the ten kids took the best
sportsmanship exciting....the first shot is of the view from 
my hotel window...pretty spectacular, doncha think :) i also included a 
picture of the kids....then we took a night trip on the danube, and 
even though the pictures are a bit blurry, i think you can see just how
beautiful this city is at night....

the final two shots are back in zagreb...the first is one of my favorite
sculptures in the entire city....i think its of either a famous writer
or a famous politician...but i love that they have him leaning up against
the post...and there were roses on him for some reason this day when i
took the shot...and the final picture is me holding the candle that i 
dedicated for my grandmother on all souls day...

okay...that's all the news fit to print...i will be sending out one more
update before the holidays and am traveling to austria to get some things
and visit a xmas market...should be fun....i hope all is well with you
and drop me a line if you get the chance....

talk soon...happy thanksgiving again....

Croatian Update #4

January 11, 2009 - Hi there folks...well, i have fallen behind on all of my updates here, so I am trying to bring things up to date on my last day of vacation *sniff* below is my update from around voting day in November....enjoy and sorry its so late :)
hey there is everyone doing??? i hope those in the states are 
getting ready to vote for the big election...i am not saying which way you
should go, but i do hope everyone gets out and takes for those
outside of the states, i am sure you can't wait for all of the hulabaloo 
to come to an end....i guess we'll see soon what happens...

here in croatia it has gotten chilly...the leaves are turning colors and
falling off of the trees in bunches....this weekend we "fell back" in time
and now it gets dark around 5pm....which is a bummer when you don't leave 
work before then..recently i have been staying late at school on weekdays
so i have less to do on the weekends...but this week will be a crazy one
as it is the end of the quarter and halloween all rolled into one...i 
found out i am headed to budapest next month with speech and debate (ms), 
so that should be fun...and i am headed back to austria over thanksgiving
as well...stock up on ikea things and shop at the christmas market....
should also be fun...more on my first trip to 
austria was an 
adventure filled with many things....

the only other big news i have is that i am headed to africa over xmas 
this year to visit my friends greg, di, kelsey and alicia....they started 
living in 
ghana this i figured it would be the perfect time 
to visit....getting my visa has been a struggle and now i have my yellow
fever vaccine up to date again....gotta love that....but everything seems 
to be coming together....wish me luck with the finalization of the visa
and my passport's safe return back to me....yep, i had to send it away to
be taken care of....a bit stressful, let me tell you...but hopefully all 
will go fine....

onto the pictures...this week i have included some shots from croatia and
some shots from my trip to was a fast five hours up to vienna
and i know i will go back and see what i missed the first time around....

the shots from croatia include another sculpture shot, as promised....this
one is about a folk singer and is located just above the main market in
the centar of town....he was persecuted for what he sang about....imagine
that... the next shot is from a cool museum i visited recently...the 
mimara....this is shot out of one of its windows...nice groundswork...
they actually had a 
rembrandt, 2 degas, 2 botticellis, and a few other 
amazing pieces....with very few was they had a 
great photography exhibit and a modern art room....there was also some
book signing thing going on and we got to see traditional folk dancers
and singers....very cool....

the next three shots come from the main zagreb cemetery....i went to visit
on a beautiful sunday when the leaves were changing was crazy
busy...but i have been told next weekend...nov. of the dead here
is when the cemetery will be insane...this is a very catholic country...
and everyone goes to the cemetery to visit their deceased....i hope to get
there to see all of the flowers and should be pretty is a gorgeous area and very well kept up...the second
shot is a memorial to the fallen of one of the wars here....but the reason
i have included this shot is because of the cross of chestnuts in front 
of the memorial..these nuts have shown up everywhere here in zagreb, every
street corner...they even had a festival for these nuts in the past three
weeks as well...who knew....anyway....loved this cemetery...can't wait to
wander around in it again....if i make next week i will be sure to send 
out some more pictures from that visit....

onto a place...its is a beautiful city...a bit stuffy 
for me at times...and i definitely was not dressed
shown to me by viennese looking me up and down and shaking their heads... was pretty and i will go back...very clean...and very easy
to get around....its a classy place....the first shot in vienna is of the
fountain in front of the opera this point we had been there 
overnight and i had already left my passport in the first restaurant we
ate at....stoooooooopid....but the owners held onto the passport/bag and
we had stolen a menu for our german teacher to use in it was
very easy for me to get back an retreive it....also by this point, another 
one of the traveling crew realized she had left very important medicine
in croatia...and we had to get some for her that morning....did i tell you
it was an adventure of a trip????  we had five independent, traveling-
oriented women together...and we made some real stupid was
amazing....we stayed with friends of my that was free...
which is good because vienna is expensive...although we thought we lost
one of the dogs of the houses...nope...another goofy move....anyway...

we wandered around the city center...visited two art museums...the 
albertina and the belvedere...and my director had her purse stolen, right
outside the romanian embassy...ironic doncha think....she was not feeling
well and stayed in the car outside the belvedere...and two guys pulled a 
scam on her to get her out of the car checking her tire...they grabbed her
purse, which had her passport in it....which meant she couldn't come back
with us over the border...this did mean i got to drive a very nice audi
back to croatia....very quickly....what a i said it was
an interesting trip....

the second vienna shot (hahahaha) is of st stephens....wowowowow...what 
a beatuiful was very crowded i was inside of it
for a very short period of time....the third shot is of the brahms hall
where we saw the vienna boys choir perform...a dream of was a 
small version of the boys...but very impressive none-the-less...the next 
shot is of the center of town as night is starting to was 

the next shot was taken outside of the city....we went to this cute town
where we could go to a flea market and buy polish pottery...many of our
crew spent some dough....then it was back into town to have hot chocolate 
at demels and wander past the hapsburg....okay....if you haven't heard
there are these two places that fight over who invented the sacher torte,
a dry, tasteless chocolate cake in my opinion...we had it at both places
and i have to say i didn't like it....i also tried the hot chocolate in 
both places...much better...although demels beat out the sacher hotel by a 
landslide....demels also had amazing ice cream....demels won in my opinion
but as for the sacher can keep it :)

from demels we headed to the belvedere to see the exhibit on klimt...yep, 
i have now seen the original of the kiss....wowowowowow....simply amazing!
this palace is now an art museum...and as you can see from the shots....
this art museum is stunning...from the grounds, to the statues, to the 
smaller and larger buildings....just incredible...although this is where
my director's purse was outside of it leaves a bad taste in 
my mouth....but inside is amazing....the exhibit was very impressive as 
well...loved his style and the style of the 
time in austria....

the last shot of this series is of me....having a glass of sturm...which
is red sweet wine...the first picking of the grapes....they were selling
it outside that evening and we had to try was quite tasty, but
also a bit sweet....needless to say...i had a fun is a 
beautiful city that i will visit is pricy, but doable....

okay...enough rambling...hope everyone is well and has a fun halloween...
drop a line and say hi....and don't for get to vote stateside folks....
talk soon.....

peace out...dani

ps....i dedicate this update to my dad's friend mr. melle who passed away 
this past week....he loved reading these missives and especially loved
the sympathy to those who knew him....