Pustolovina: adventure in Serbian

Friday, December 29, 2006

notes on the return

so I'm safely arrived in the states and my family's California Xmas togetherness extravaganza is nearing a close...

The adjustment back has been hard at times, but not as challenging as I was anticipating... I even got to listen in on a Serbian-language conversation two days ago.

On the way home from the airport, my mom and I stopped at a grocery store. My job was to pick out the ice cream. I wandered the ice cream aisle for a good 5 minutes, staring at the hundreds of flavors... I was too overwhelmed to decide. I came back a few days later and successfully picked out fudge brownie.

On Christmas Eve, I was listing to M all of the weirdnesses of the States, and he said to me, 'you know, this place used to be normal for you.' True.

I am missing blueberry juice something fierce...

I have also been watching a lot of TV mostly bowl games as of late, although words cannot describe my love for the Stewart/Colbert hour of hilarity. During this TV watching, I have discovered a product that seems to encapsulate all that is wrong with the States: restaurant-inspired cat food.

I could write essays about the wrongness of this product, but my grandma's left-handed mouse is scaring me-even though I am left-handed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

into the darkness

I have spent the past few days getting progressively more excited about my trip home... and then I recieved this e-mail from my mom:

you probably don't get much weather-related news about the Eastside of King County, and it doesn't usually matter, except this time it does. We have been without power due to a big windstorm that hit last Thursday, and there is a very real possibility we may be without power for another five days. Brrrr!
So bring along a pair of long underwear, think about sleeping in a sleeping bag in front of the wood stove, wearing a hat and sweats. We haven't moved our bed downstairs yet, but we are talking about it. At least we can take warm showers.
Plus it's only light in the house from about 7:30 to 4:00. ... In other words, welcome home!
lovely... just lovely. I am a bit less excited now.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Superstitious Mind

I don’t think of myself as a superstitious person, but I recently realized that I follow superstitions, lots of superstitions. A sampling of my superstitious habits—with my best effort at tracking their source—follows:

I don’t ever put a bag or purse on the floor. If I did so, all of my money would go away. (This is from Serbia.)

For good luck, I try to make ‘rabbit, rabbit’ the first words I say every month. (This is from J, making it an Iowan tradition?)

I generally don’t sit on the corner of a table, as it would be that I never marry (in Serbia) or that I will be infertile (in Romania). Except, with certain friends I fight over the corner seat because none of us are too eager for spouses or babies.

And all of the alcohol-related ones:

I always look into someone’s eyes when I am clinking glasses with them (what is the word for ‘clinking glasses?’ Toasting is the best I can come up with, but it seems like a speech should be involved. Some English speakers I hang out with have coined the term ‘živeliing’ as živeli is what you say in this part of the world when you clink glasses.) My friend M told me that failing to make eye contact will result in 7 years of bad sex. I have no idea where he picked that up, possibly The Netherlands.

I never živeli with something that isn’t alcohol. I can’t remember who told me that or what the threat of noncompliance is, but I stick to it.

I always take a sip from my glass after živeliing before putting the glass back on the table. I have been told that in certain parts of Slovakia and Ukraine one must put one’s glass back on the table before drinking from it.


In sum, I am ridiculous.

Monday, December 11, 2006

crossing my fingers that this post will not spark discussions of my ignorance

I am going to the states next week—my first time back in over a year. In addition to seeing family and friends and being able to effortlessly eavesdrop, I am looking forward to being able to buy well-labeled spices.

In Serbian, cumin and caraway, despite having very different flavors, have the same name, kim. [I have heard that German doesn’t differentiate between them either.] I don’t get it. They taste so different; how can they share a name?

I am running low on cumin & have been trying to unsuccessfully resupply. I have bought a few packets of kim—the same brand that was cumin before—only to end up with caraway. My attempts at Mexican and Indian food are really suffering.

Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.
Maybe I should just make rye bread instead.