Sunday, December 28


I'm free. And making travel plans again. I'm here in SJ for New Year's, for sure, but I'm thinking that on about the 2nd, I might head for Montenegro, just to finally collect the last country in this bit of Europe that I haven't yet been to.
And from there, well, there's no reason to rush back, so I might spend a week or so wandering up the Croatian coast, no doubt ending up in Zagreb, hopefully sometime around the weekend of the 10th.
From there, I plan to come back to Sarajevo. I have lined up a place here where I can stay whenever I want (and can leave the stuff I don't need while I'm travelling) and there's a chance of a bit of work from mid or late January, and I'm rather liking SJ, so I should spend some time here! I'm beginning to know people who know other people I know (often quite randomly) and I'm beginning to know the places people talk about, but there's still a lot more to explore!

Friday, December 26

Cake Wreckorating.

I just found a new blog to amuse me, and thought I would share. Here's a seasonal sample:

[This cake] looks like a really well-made Santa suicide scene:
(Yes, of course Santa bleeds sprinkles. Duh.)

Go. Now. Check it out.

Thursday, December 25

Christmas in Sarajevo.

First of all, the day started well, because I got to sleep in, and then walked into town and got paid! Only a day late, due to my silly boss's power games, but whatever. It was relatively stress free getting the money today, so I'm happy enough and I'm free! That was the last dealings I have to have with Bipolar Boss and his crazy school.

So to celebrate I had coffee and cake for breakfast (at only 2pm) and then went Christmas shopping (no time like after the last minute). I finally went out and bought a 500gb external hard drive and a 4gb micro SD card, as christmas/birthday presents from my parents, which adds considerably to my digital storage options, and makes me very happy. Now I can spend the next few days nerding out in backing up, sorting out and reformatting my computer.

I followed this by buying a book that I really want to read (called Sarajevo Malrboro) to give to one of my friends here, and some long stripey socks just like mine for the other (it sort of didn't feel like Christmas unless I gave something to somebody!)

Then as my (now EX-)colleague Napoleon and his friend messaged to say they'd be 10 minutes late to meet me, I popped into what is fast becoming my favourite second-hand shop, and bought two long sleeved t-shirts for a total of 5euro. I realised that in my new life as a Lady of Leisure (yes, that means unemployed) I would need more warm clothes to not go to work in. I was most excited to find an orange shirt much like my old favourite one that I finally decided was dead earlier this year. I'm happy to find a replacement!

Then I met Napoleon for a drink at Cafe Eclectic (which is what we have decided the name of this apparently nameless cafe is, as it is fulled with all sorts of bizarre things like fruit baskets and carved coconuts and old passports and felt hats and bakelite televisions and telephones...)and then we walked over to the Sarajevsko brewery for a couple of pints (the dark beer's the best), which on my empty stomach meant I really appreciated the sobering 20 minute walk in sub-zero temperatures to our next stop, which was Cafe Hot Wok, where we ate asian food! ASIAN food! Or at least something that closely resembled it. There was actual real lemongrass involved! It was very exciting.

We finished with coffee and cakes (yes, twice in one day. But it's Christmas. And they do some pretty amazing cakes here) at a nice cafe type place which was right at the bottom of the stairs that lead here to the place I'm currently staying, which meant it was only a 3 minute stair-master session to get home, which was probably a very good thing after such an indulgent day, but then, what else is Christmas for?

Photos on the left, as per usual!

Wednesday, December 17

Of Shoes and Slights and Russian Tanks.

The throwing of shoes at Bush becomes all the more amusing when you discover that the Iraqis find being hit by a shoe the absolute worst form of insult. Which makes the shoe incident not only hilariously ridiculous, but highly point-ful as well.

My favourite related links so far are the following:

This wonderfully dry and witty piece about insults


This amusing new game called Duck Duck Bush!

Tuesday, December 16

A Night at the Ballet

This evening my friend Anne and I went to the National Theatre to see Cinderella, the Ballet. We were accompanied by what appeared to be Sarajevo's entire population of 13 year olds, apparently on a school trip. This did not improve the experience.
Overall, it was quite an entertaining evening: the music (what I could hear of it over the kids) was good; the costuming was edgy and modern (I could tell because there were random bits of non-matching fabric sewn on some of the costumes in odd asymetrical places), and the choreography appeared to borrow somewhat heavily from such modern classics as the chicken dance, and often seemed to employ non-synchronised group movement and the occasional wobble motif.
And there were children dancers dressed as flowers.

So I'm being a bit mean. And I am by no means an expert in dance (I think that was only the second full length ballet I can remember seeing in my life.) But all in all, it reminded me of going to the opera in Istanbul, where I saw an oddly re-configured West Side Story, and The Magic Flute with a Queen of the Night who couldn't, quite. Dirt cheap, but a bit of a gamble. However, I also saw some good productions in Istanbul, so I will persevere and happily spend the few euro on the cheap seats to whatever is on next!

Sunday, December 14

Status Update

Kat has just realised that she has recently been using facebook status updates as a blog substitute, compulsively changing it several times a day, and often thinks in the third person about what the next update will say about whatever is happening right now.

This is disturbing.

So I'll make an effort.

I've been in Sarajevo now for one month (is that really all?) and have pretty much been going non-stop. Which seems to be normal in my life, I'm realising. Here's some of what I've been doing.

First, the work thing. This hasn't exactly worked out. I realised in week 2 that I was not going to have any control or authority for anything in the school, despite my role as DoS. No one will ever run that school except the control freak who owns it. And his tendency to dismiss things I said (Women!) and to never let me finish a sentence really got to me. But I couldn't quit, due to a little clause in my contract about being responsible for a whole bunch of expenses. I did, however, get the feeling that the boss was regretting hiring two expensive native speakers at the same time (he was only really looking for one) and was thinking about firing someone. I quietly dropped hints that I wouldn't be distressed if it were me. It only took me 4 days from making the decision that I needed to get fired to actually being fired, and I did nothing in that time but attempt to actually do my job, so I can also lodge an official complaint for being fired without good reason. So it's all worked out for the best!
Unfortunately, I have to work out my notice, but, as of Christmas Day, I will once again be officially homeless and unemployed (I also have to leave the school-provided flat). I am looking into jobs both here and in Zagreb, or I might just be a Lady of Leisure for a while again.

I had a long weekend last week - 4 days that I spent in Zagreb again. I'm rather liking that city, and the people I've met there, which is why I'm seriously considering relocating in January. Bosnia is cheaper, but Zagreb is just more fun, I think. And a little easier. You can buy exciting things like curry paste, and garam masala (as long as you know where to look).

I've also been doing a lot of couchsurfing hosting. After a year of being a CS member and surfing many many couches, I am finally in a position to give a little back, as I have a great sofa bed here. I've hosted 3 sets of people in the last few weeks, and will have more this week. It's great, because it keeps me entertained in a place where I know few people, and is also a bit like continuing to travel, vicariously.

My German friend Anne, whom I met in my first week here and who arrived here a few days after me, and is thus just as new to the city, is wonderful at seeking out things for us to explore. We've been to cafes and restaurants, the National Art Gallery (the works are organised by colour!) and tomorrow, we're going to the Ballet to see Cinderella (for the grand sum of 4euro!).

Tomorrow is also pay day. This will be appreciated (assuming he actually bloody pays me).

Christmas and New Year's plans are beginning to take shape. I am planning to stay here, as I am not stuck working again in January, and it seems like quite a few people I know are thinking of heading this way anyway.

So that's the majority of what I've been doing in the last month. Mostly working. But now that I have internet at home (finally!), and have actually caught up on the 3 months of blogs and columns I had missed(I was really behind), I might actually be able to write a little more often. At least in theory. And if not, well, you'll just have to be content with facebook status updates and the pictures I'm still uploading regularly!

A Complete Cop Out Tumblr Post

If I don't write something soon, by Christmas I will have been silent for a whole month!

Via Language Log

And if you think that's funny, you should have heard what the ghost of future perfect passive continuous said!