Pustolovina: adventure in Serbian

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

blood-sucking fun

I never knew to appreciate all of the cognates in Spanish until I tried to learn relatively cognate-free Arabic. Smart money says I will start appreciating Arabic shortly.

I learned a few days ago that there is only one Serbian-English cognate: vampire. I'm picking up Teach Yourself Serbian tomorrow. I'm feeling daunted.

I may not be able to say much, but at least I'll be able to talk about Dracula.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

book blitz

Half note-to-self, half book report:

As I'm currently working 6 hours days I'm trying (and mostly succeeding) to do Serbia-related things for 2 hours a day. At this point, it means that I am tearing through the Balkans reading list I was sent by the woman in charge of BVS Europe.

Commence Reviews:

My War Gone by, I Miss it So by Anthony Lloyd
Probably the only book on my reading list in which heroin is a main character. This book documents the experience of a British soldier turned sort of photojournalist (he has a camera & a fake credential) in the war in Bosnia. An entertaining read. It reminds me a lot of War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, another book with a complete sentence for a title that is an account of a journalist becoming addicted to the adrenaline rush, excitement & terror that is war.

Blood and Vengeance by Chuck Sudentic
Written by The New York Times' man in the Bosnian war, this is a family history. Sudentic's wife's sister's brother's family are Muslims from a Bosnian mountainside within shouting distance of the Bosnian-Serbian border. The book is a written account of the oral histories of the Cepics & their neighbors. The story starts in Ottoman times & culminates with the killing off of all but one of the adult men in Srebrenica. The Srebrenica massacre is made much more powerful & horrifying after 300 pages have been devoted to people killed there. An especially heartbreaking detail is that one of the women gave birth to a son on the day of the massacre. As his dad was dying, he was being born. Aching.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

admission of lameness

I spent the last night of BVS orientation with my 3 favorite people there. In addition to us all being catty about everyone who was not in the room, N crafted our 'romantic fantasies' for the coming year. Mine involved meeting a linguists professor from American University while I am buying my Serbian language book in DC and his student tutoring me in Serbian before I leave. We maintain a letter correspondence for a few months & then meeting up when he is at a Slavic languages conference in Split next spring. We then fall in love.

About an hour ago, I was searching Powell's & Amazon for Serbian language learning books, tapes, dictionaries. I have opted not to buy them, but to go to the foreign language bookstore here. I am telling myself that it is because I will get the books so much sooner & will be supporting a local small business & BVS is reimbursing me for it so money isn't an issue & it's near the church I am going to tomorrow, so it's not even a special trip.

. . . but at least part of the reason is because there might just be a linguistics professor that I am fated to meet. . .

Saturday, August 13, 2005

initial public offering

And the blog commences. . .

Six week until Serbia. While reading my travel guide in Starbucks this morning, I learned that Serbia experienced the highest inflation ever recorded: 600,000% annually. Instead of having 3% as an annual inflation rate, the Serbs in parts of 1992, had 3% as an hourly inflation rate.

Fortunately, I will be paid in Euros.