Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nota bene

There are many things I want to write about and I will get to them, but for the next two weeks (March 13th-27th) I not be with my laptop which might stall the posting process. I believe I will be able to access the internet throughout in which case I will post thoughts and adventures as they come but in case it's more limited than I'm currently imagining, please know I have not left you in the dust, I will return with much to share from those two weeks!

Where will I be? For the first week, Macedonia. My group will be venturing around Skopje (the capital) and a beautiful lakeside town called Ohrid. More details to come of what we do and see and my take on it all. Serbs have told us we'll be able to understand most of the language, Macedonian, since it's very similar to Serbian. I'll let you know the truth of that when we return! We leave tomorrow morning for Macedonia and return next Sunday in the afternoon. It takes between four and five hours by bus to get to Skopje from Nis.

From the 20th to the 25th I will most likely be on Kopaonik, a mountain range in Central Serbia, or Uža Srbija (Serbia Proper) as referred to once by my host father. Upon inquiring I learned that it was deemed this in the 40s after the Axis occupation ended and Vojvodina (Northern Serbia) and Kosovo (what used to be/most Serbs still consider Southern Serbia) declared that they were "autonomous provinces" within Serbia. The part in between the two became known as Uža Srbija to illustrate it was the only truly Serbian precinct. My host father is the only person I've heard refer to it as such so I suspect it's an antiquated term. Back to Kopaonik, my host family has planned to take a zimovanje (winter break) since February and they are planning on going to Kopaonik to ski for a few days. It is one of the most popular arenas for winter sports and they are all seasoned skiers. I couldn't be less of that since I had never lived through snow let alone been on a ski slope before but I have wanted to ski since I was nine so this is really exciting for me and very generous of my host family.

And then from the 26th to the 27th my group has an overnight excursion to Vranje, a town in southern Serbia. I know little about this town but my supervisor at work said we'll have a better time understanding Macedonian than the Serbian spoke in this town because it's very close to the border so they have a different accent or dialect. I will let you know the truth to that claim as well.

My group is so pumped to go to Macedonia and then the following weekend be together again in a quaint Serbian country town. And we're also pumped because of my last post about wonderful spring arriving just in time for all this excitement!

1 comment:

  1. Katherine,

    I know that you're already in Macedonia, but I wanted to tell you that I've always found bus trips to be an awesome way to see real life. Whenever I travel, people want to whisk me away by cab or other transport to the shiny center of city, where tourist traps attempt to separate me from my money. (They all tend to look the same form city to city anyhow.)

    But buses--good old gigantic, uncomfortable, lumbering buses--can't shield its riders from the real areas where the locals live and shop. And if you really want to learn about an area and its people, this is where you look.

    I hope the bus trip was an education in itself, and was a vehicle (literal and figurative) leading to greater experiences!