I’m not sure why I waited so long, but I’m finally watching Good Omens. What a production! I’m so enjoying it, so much so that I broke my rule of “only 1 hour per day of English-language TV while in Slovenia” rule. I will make up for it over the next week. 😬🇸🇮

City soundscape: the bells with a view of Prešeren Square, the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, and the Ljubljanica River.

It’s karaoke night In Ljubljana for the summer students of the Slovene As A Foreign Language course. If I had a transporter, I’d zip @verso over here quick because I’m getting a lot of blank stares when I tell people it will be fun. 🎤😳

Lunch with @anzet. Yes, I am drinking a beer. I spent 3 hrs. learning about Slovene’s extra pronoun category for groups of two. Ex. “I/jaz” (sing.), “we/mi” (plural), and “midva” (me + one other). Or “medve,” depending on the binary gender of who the 2nd person is. 🤯🍺

Anze and Jean in Ljubljana

1 in 20 Slovenians are beekeepers. Yesterday we had a tour led by the director of urban beekeeping. I learned a ton of interesting facts, but did not have the nerve to hold a frame like my classmate Mark. 🐝

Mark holds a frame from an urban beehive in Ljubljana

I had to take a break from publishing a new episode of Micro Monday this week. Pre-Slovenia trip preparation sunk my good intentions. I plan to resume next week.

In honor of Canada Day 🇨🇦🎉, check out episodes with @vasta (#27), @bitdepth (#38), and @mikehendley (#55).

Apparently I am in the right place. 🎤🇸🇮

Prvi dan šole = first day of school. I have all the relevant jitters. 🇸🇮

(What should I wear? Will I like the teacher? Will the other kids like me? What will a beginner like me be doing for an hourlong placement test?)

Dinner companions. 🇸🇮

After translating a bit of the Bosch manual (it offers Slovene, Croatian, Servian, Macedonian, Albanian and Bulgarian versions), and not being able to find a credible manual online), I decided to turn off the machine and open it. The spin cycle was done. Still a mystery… 🧺

Bosch Washer Micro.blog Hive Mind, new question: The spin light is blinking. (See video.) I could swear I didn’t overfill the machine with clothes but could it be out-of-balance? What should I do next?

I’m using Boomerang iOS App Store to translate words and phrases. It’s the best kind of simple app, and so low-priced: free w/ads, $1.99/year subscription with no ads. (I just sent @ishabazz and @heidi_helen a tip because I get WAY more value than that from their work.) 🇸🇮

First Slovenian microbrew with first Slovenian friend Anže Tomič (@anzet). IPA of course!

anže and jean and beer in Ljubljana.

I’m on an old compartment train, very reminiscent of my student days. And I reached Slovenia! And remembered how to say “thank you” to the Slovenian conductor when he took my ticket. (“Hvala!”) The adventure begins.

The view at the Lesce-Bled train station.

Goal #3 achieved: overnight stay at the Munich Airport Hotel. I did this in 2011–such a treat. Instead of navigating into the city jet-lagged and wilted, I just walked from the gate to the hotel to rest and regroup. Ready for travel adventure now. Jetzt geht’s los! 🚃 🇩🇪

Everyone at British Airways has been so nice. The flight attendant gave me a delightful lesson in proper scone prep, with jam and clotted cream. Then I overtiredly left my Kindle on the plane, didn’t realize until after customs, and the check-in guy is retrieving it for me. 🇬🇧

Goal #2 achieved: flying to London on a 747 from Seattle. And watching the planes from the British Airways lounge at Heathrow, taking off one per minute! 🛫🇸🇮

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Goal #1 achieved. Checked in at PDX, at the gate early, with just one carry-on, one backpack, and a purse. Compare to 22 y.o. me, going to Europe for the first time with two large checked suitcases with no wheels. 🛫🇸🇮

New rule: when making big crazy plans for the future, write a blog post about why I made the plans. It was a big help to reread my six-month-old post about the plan for an extended stay in Slovenia two days before I leave.

It answers the question, “WTH was Past Me thinking?”

Three sleeps until my Slovenia adventure begins. If only I could get to sleep… ✈️🇸🇮💃

In all the stressing about WWDC June 3, I overlooked the fact that in one month I am leaving to spend a whole month in Slovenia. 😱🇸🇮

A Month In Slovenia

A few months ago, one of my podcaster comrades from The Incomparable, Anže Tomić, posted a link to a YouTube video that completely captivated me… which was surprising because the video featured people in Slovenia speaking Slovene. But once I started, I found that it was weirdly entertaining to watch people speaking a language that I didn’t know.

“I could learn that language,” I thought. “I could do an extended stay there, and take a course.”

I’ve done this before, but it’s been a very long time. I’ve studied French in France and German in Germany. I even studied Russian in Vermont. I love learning languages, and it’s been a long time since I learned a new one. I started looking into the options in Slovenia. Everything I learned about this small country located between Italy and Croatia got me more interested, and a plan started to form.

In the past, when I decided on learning a language, it was always with an eye to its utility, i.e. will this language help me get a job someday? For Slovene, I’m pretty sure the answer is “Not at all.” And the sheer lack of practicality made the choice more compelling. It’s also the chance to immerse myself in a Slavic language again. I love the Russian language. It’s beautiful and challenging.

And so, the vaguest outline of a plan was taking shape. But I wasn’t listening to my heart, or at least not taking it seriously. Who in their right mind goes to Slovenia to learn Slovene for fun?

In early November, Cate posted a tweet that caught my attention:

Everything is terrible lately? Let’s find something to be cheerful about… suggestions:
1) something you accomplished
2) a thoughtful thing someone did because they care about you
3) something you are looking forward to
If you have an answer for all three, your prize is hope 💜

That particular day, I was feeling hugely unproductive, bordering on useless. At first glance, I could think of NOTHING that I had accomplished in 2018. But I forced myself to give it some thought, and realized, “Wait a minute, I’ve been producing three podcasts every week. That is not nothing.” And a little dam broke, and suddenly I felt capable and even hopeful again.

I replied:

1) I hosted/produced over 100 podcast episodes.
2) People sent me nice tweets when I missed a conference due to illness.
3) Planning travel to somewhere I’ve never been. I have a cool idea.
You’re right! I do have hope.

Number 3 was the Slovenia plan. I hadn’t realized that I was quite looking forward to it. It had been a long while since I had a concrete plan for extended travel, my favorite kind of travel where I rent a flat and get to know a place, the people and the language.

So, big thanks to Anže and to Cate, who helped me reconnect with a passion I nearly forgot about. I’ll be flying in and out of Munich, and spending the month of July in Ljubljana, studying at the Centre for Slovene As A Foreign Language. The most important details (flights, flat, course, pet sitters) are sorted. I’ll be learning as much Slovene as I can in the meantime with the goal of placing out of the beginners’ level, starting with important vocabulary such as “morski prašički”, i.e. guinea pigs.