Last Bosnian City for now…

May 29, 2010

So after leaving Jajce, the bus ride to Sarajevo was also pretty damn pretty, if I can say it like that, and that continued all the way here to Mostar, really impressive the scenery in this country.

I was met at the Sarajevo bus station by Maja, a friend of a friend of a friend or so, she asked right off the bat if I wanted to have a beer.  I said yes.  We went to the Tito cafe, complete with tanks and artillery near the shaded outside area that was full of students.  A good way to be introduced to a place.  We then took the tram into town, found my hostel rather easily, 12euro a night for a good enough bed in the very center of town so i took it.  We wandered around the main shopping area, up and down and around, looking at mosques, churches and buildings with chunks taken out, the result of 15-year old gunfire.  We walked up the top of the hill for a commanding view of the city and took a little break there.

We started drinking beer again once it was late enough, but not before we had lunch on the 4th floor of a Muslim mall, which means no alcohol, no gambling, etc.  We met a friend of hers and had another drink with her and I ended up having a relatively early night, in bed by 11.30 or so.

The next day we met at 11, went to the National Museum, found out when my bus the next day (today) would be leaving and then tried to avoid the craziness of the kids in the museum, a difficult task to say the least.  Back into the city for a cevapi (doesn’t this country ever eat salads and fruits and vegetable? it’s all meat and bread) which is sausages stuck together in a pita with some chopped onions and some white cream sauce, tasty but very filling.

We took a break for a few hours and met again at 8pm, and after watching the arrivals of prom dance attendees, we went to a place aptly called City Pub.  We met some crazy English people there, all 19 and never knowing when they were telling the truth and bullshitting.  The girl was nothing but trouble, trying to get some Bosnian guy to do 50 pushups in a minute and then something would happen.  What exactly? It’s hard to say, he only spoke german and so I was an intermediary.  Soon seeing that she was more interested in toying with him, I encouraged him to let it go and she was a waste of time.  Then she said, as they were leaving, she didn’t want to get AIDS from a European guy so I gave her a condom.  We also met 2 nice Sarajevans who spoke good English but after awhile were talking about a famous Bosnian singer getting shit on by a woman in a porn video and wanting to know that if that could be considered kinky.  Answer?  yes…

Woke up early this morning, took the bus almost 3 hours to Mostar, got a ride to the hostel which is in a typical block apartment but run by nice people and then I took off to explore the Old Town to take pictures for awhile.  I have some downtime before meeting a couchsurfer tonight.  Travelling is exhausting even though I’m not doing anything…

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The next one

May 20, 2010

I leave tomorrow my first real solo trip since Israel last May.  That was only 8 days with 3-4 days with family so not too long.  Tomorrow I embark on a 17-day adventure, first for two nights in Luxembourg couchsurfing and going to see a small music festival and then flying to bosnia and croatia for two weeks.  12 rolls of film is my goal, also to couchsurf in each of the 3 countries.

I’m really looking forward to this even though I barely feel it.  I have travelled so much and so often the past 6+ years that it’s barely hit me that I’m going to be leaving for 2.5 weeks tomorrow.  It’s going to be an intense trip, with my birthday, a language I don’t speak at all, and it’s a personal statement of where my life is right now.  I can do this and it’s gonna be something I will always remember and it will add to my bag of stories to tell.  I like that. 🙂


Cocooned and then…

May 11, 2010

Tuesday 5.10pm

Just spent the last half hour practicing (2 of) my (3) conga drums that I lugged individually as check-ins for separate intercontinental flights.  My life is not normal.  Practicing to Poncho Sanchez’s epic album “Chile Con Soul”.  It’s a clinic for percussion and quite humbling to say the least, not to mention damn good music too.

I have approximately 3 days and change to turn in two applications for different master’s programs here in my town, both in English (or it wouldn’t be possible) and I’ve met a couple of people who did or are doing one of the programs and it’s been helpful and constructive.  I actually feel like I might have a chance to get into one of the programs but I don’t want to get my hopes up any more than they are.  It’s also been humbling taking a real chance in life, applying for something that not everyone gets accepted into.  We do this less as we get older, or I’ve become so comfortable in my life I felt little need to challenge myself.  I thank F- for getting my soul off its ass and maybe take it to the next level.  Here I am, less than two weeks before my 36th birthday applying for two different master’s programs in the Federal Republic of Germany.  Whocoodanode?

I’ve lost about 12 kg in the past 4 months.  It’s been a lot of effort and discipline along with occasionally going past the boundaries because i was going past the boundaries of effort and discipline but then again why am I justifying myself?  I think part of it is that I have become more humble in the past few months.  I have accepted the world more or less as it is without thinking too much about the bad stuff that’s happening everyday.  And I accept the end of my last relationship, I had become complacent or something but it was still a shock to me.  That is humbling.

All this humbling has cocooned me in various ways.  I have been going out a lot the past few months, 3-4 nights/week, meeting people, catching a buzz, causing a small ruckus with friend, but I’ve been cocooned at the same time, having (subconscious) difficulty being a full part of the group, as if looking at myself from the outside, how I must be perceived and how I am fitting in. It’s a weird feeling thinking about fitting in.  I don’t mean it like a teenager but I see it more like suddenly I’m living a faster lifestyle and having trouble keeping up with them, but I’m still making a good effort of it as I was saying.

I’ve literally spent a good portion of my room time in the hammock.  Being suspended in the area and with the hammock going more than half around me like, you guessed it, a cocoon.

I’m cocooned in a situation out of my hands, waiting for reference letters to include in my applications.  One is in the mail, two i have to pick up but cannot confirm they’ve been written yet.  These are delicate situations.

I want to be stressed about it all but I find myself just doing enough plus 5% to keep my life going more or less in a steady direction. I haven’t written the past two weeks but we have to admire my moxie for continuing on. hahahah Seriously, I’ve been spending way more money than I should lately for various reasons, part of which I might/will be tighten my belt this fall whether i’m in school or not and of course going out costs money and i was in California and spent a lot of money having a great 3-week holiday.

My next trip is getting close, 10 days away.  i’ve already packed. I’m concerned about Ryan Air’s carry-on policy and I’m a habitually carrier-on because it’s quicker and with Ryan Air cheaper and I like the convenience of being in control of all my things at all times. I’ve already had the experiences in life watching your bag being shifted onto another bus without absolute clear instructions that’s your bus, it’s good to have it with me.  It reduces me from bringing more stuff which is good and bad, but maybe, because it’s my birthday at midnight and I might be travelling on a bus with some people. I should bring some booze with me possibly…Hmm, it costs 15 euros to check a bag, i’m a little worried about the connection time from the airport in Osijek, Croatia to get to the bus station by 6pm at the latest for a bus to Slavonski Brod where somehow (don’t know yet) am then gonna cross the border into Bosnia and hope/plan there’s a bus there to take me the rest of the way to Banja Luka, Bosnia.  With luck I could get there at 11.15pm, just 45 minutes before my birthday starts.  That’s the best case scenario.  Worst case is getting only to a middle place, staying there for the night and making a big splash in one town as i’m drinking in a bar at midnight telling everyone it’s my birthday.  Wow, that might be a good idea. Hmmm

Congas, writing, photography, travel, these are/were/have been some of the cornerstones of my spiritual life and i’m so glad to see that for the first time in awhile, they’re all there at one time.  I will try and do a Bosnia exhibition in California this summer, that’s a good idea.  But the thing is, I gotta go there, take the pictures, get them back and develop them and get them digitalized and find some money and a place before we can get ahead of ourselves. 🙂

I decided today that the first week of August I was gonna go somewhere new.  Bulgaria perhaps? Malta? Tunisia? Or I’ll do a pauschal reise which means flight, hotel, breakfast and dinner are paid for and there are variations thereof, but that could be fun with a buddy but most of buddies here are in relationships or too crazy to go to like Teneriffe for a week or something. haha

I’ll fill ya in when I know more or rather, my heads fully emerges so you can get pictures of it.


a quick update

May 9, 2010

Long weekend, was out thursday, friday and saturday until like 3 or so, grading exams, going jogging and working out almost everyday, there is a holiday on Thursday with the awesome name of Christi Himmelfahrt which translates to “heaven ride” and I think is for Ascension Day, so the week is shorter than normal.

I am turning in my applications for two master’s programs at the end of the week, and before I know it I’ll be on my way to Luxembourg for a mini two-day trip before flying from Frankfurt-Hahn to Osijek, Croatia, where I hope to catch two buses getting me to my destination of Banja Luka, Bosnia by around 11.30pm if things go well, a mere half hour before my birthday.  It’s conceivable that I will begin my birthday this year on a bus.  I think I’ll buy 4 bottles of wine and some supplies and try and throw a little party with a couple of people on the bus, ooh, that’s a good idea.

When i get back the world cup will start and suddenly things are gonna fly by mid-july when there are exams to grade, and august will be very quiet, and i’m thinking of going away somewhere for a week then, like to Tunisia or Bulgaria or Malta or Morocco and then bam! it will be August 25 and I’ll be getting on a plane to California for 5 weeks.  When I come back, I’ll either be starting a 2-year master’s program or I’ll be teaching and doing some translations possibly and planning an epic trip for summer 2011, like 2 months in Asia through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand or travelling through West Africa, maybe even volunteering somewhere or working on a solar project, something I tried to plan for this summer but it didn’t really work out that way, which is fine because 5 weeks in california is an excellent summer.  Plus I’ve already got plans to go to the 6th Germany California Solar Day in San Francisco in September, so I’m staying involved in the industry a little, we’ll see…


Plan B or…

April 20, 2010

After my meeting last week with the head of the Renewable Energy Management program, it became even more clear to me that I need to come to grips with the fact that I could very well not be accepted to the program.  He said they expect more than 200 applications for 40 positions.  That’s a 20% approval rate or lower.  That’s not good.  I have to accept that I might not get in.  I’ve been thinking and wanting this for the past 6 months but it might not happen.  Accept that.

Ok, so I accept it.  I’m still an optimist and hoping for the best. But what if/when I don’t get in?  What does that mean for me?

I’ll be 36 next month.  So what? Or is that a big deal?  No, not to me.  I love my life.  I love that I’m in the hammock right now, I earn enough money to live my life and travel like a crazy SOB.  I’ve been doing that more or less the past 6+ years.  Am I ready for a change?  I don’t know.  I know that doing this master’s program would be a shock to my lifestyle but that’s okay because I’ve been preparing for it.  What if I don’t get in?  What’s my Plan B?

I guess I have more than a Plan B.  Plan B as it looks now is the status quo.  That type of thing could freak a lot of people out but I would love to think of my life staying just as it is for another 5 years, with barely any changes in it at all.  I have so many opportunities to be artistic, live like I’m 25 (hell more like 21 which is fantastic), travel more than anyone I know and yet enjoy my work.  I like English teaching.  Ok, not all of my jobs, in fact of the 8 or so jobs I have right now, I like half of them.  And the ones I don’t like are just simply work.  It’s painless, though, just my soul dying a little bit more than usual while the others are as invigorating as any work I’ve ever had.  I wouldn’t mind doing those jobs for years to come, namely at the university. It’s a challenge but so much fun.

So Plan B is the status quo.  Teaching English, travelling, doing photo exhibitions, writing books, playing music, going out, doing my thang.

What about Plan C?  It was proposed to me last weekend that translation could be something for me.  It allows me some freedom of location, although I already live in paradise so that’s not necessarily important.  However, it could get me to reduce some of my teaching work and let me do half translation and half english teaching.  Another good thing about that is that income from translation is not subject to 20% tax to the German Social Security so that is certainly a good thing.  I’ve got to learn more about the German language but maybe it’s a possibility.

Plan D?  Plan D is waiting for one year to apply for the REM program again, doing more internships to improve my chances and also to keep in close contact with the head of the program so he knows my intention is serious and he’s going to have to let me in the next year.  Or he won’t.


25.61 euro

April 6, 2010

1)large can of kidney beans

2)large can of lentils

3)fishsticks

4)3 small pork steaks

5)peppercini

6)spaghetti

7)spicy spaghetti sauce

8)some german noodles

9) 200g ham lunchmeat

10)mustard

11)a liter of milk

12)cereal

13)some low fat goat cheese spread

14)a liter of apple juice

15)6 apples

16)a pound of carrots

17)2 lowfat yoghurts

18)10 condoms

That’s about 34 dollars’ worth of food in a german supermarket next to my place.  Is that a good deal or not?


Two itineraries

March 12, 2010

March 28 – Apr 5

28 Zurich to Iasi, Romania

29 Iasi

30 teaching in the afternoon

31 teaching in the afternoon, photo exhibition and central american themed party

1 daytrip to Moldava

2visit a village then drive up to Suceava

3 visit the painted monasteries, attend a midnight Easter service at a monastery

4 travel back to Iasi

5 at the airport at 5am to fly back to Zurich

May 21 – June 4

21 travel to Trier

22 daytrip to Luxembourg

23 fly Frankfurt-Hahn to Osijek, Croatia

24 Banja Luka

25 Banja Luka

26 Jajce

27 Sarajevo

28 Sarajevo

29 Sarajevo

30 Mostar

31 Mostar

1 Split

2 Split

3 Zadar

4 fly home to Germany