University has started, which means I’m back to a something like a normal schedule. I’m taking four classes, three as part of the Geodesy and Geoinformation program and the Slovene language course. The first day of university I was in a bit of a panic as I realized that I truly am the only international student in my classes, and most everyone in the program has studied together for the past three years. My Slovene certainly isn’t at the point where I can jump into conversations, which made it all the more difficult to walk into a classroom full of classmates who hadn’t seen each other all summer. By the second day I’d found some girls in class to sit with though, and classes have been alright since then. Of course, I don’t normally know what the professors are saying since they’re taught in Slovene, but constantly hearing the language will definitely help me pick it up faster. In the meantime, my roommate and I talk together (although the conversation is at about 30% speed of normal talking) and I’m constantly on the lookout for places to hear and use the language.
Just because class has started doesn’t mean the adventures have to stop, however. In fact, yesterday was one of my favorite days here. On Sunday afternoon, a friend asked if anyone wanted to help pick cabbage on his family’s farm. I’ve been wanting to get to the countryside ever since I got here, and have actually been looking for farms that take volunteers, so of course I said yes as soon as he asked. It turns out he was pretty shocked to hear that though, since he only ever mentions it as a joke and no one has taken him seriously about it! A day outside is always a day well spent for me though, and this was no exception. After pulling on a pair of boots much too big for my feet, we hopped in the car and drove a couple of kilometers to the cabbage plot, where we met with Tadej’s mom, dad, and great-uncle. Conversations were short, but we found other ways to entertain ourselves, like seeing who could drop their knife into the center of the stem of a cabbage plant, and Tadej’s mom started humming Jingle Bells, which was of course stuck in my head for the rest of the day! Cabbage picking went on for a few hours before we headed back home to have goulash for lunch. In the afternoon after cleaning cabbage, we went out to the garden to grab some chinese cabbage, broccoli, leeks, and cauliflower, which Tadej’s mom stuffed into a bag with fresh eggs and a homemade pretzel as a thank you for helping out for the day. Then it was back to Ljubljana for the language course.
I also went hiking on Sunday with a group of girls from Czech Republic, Poland, and France to Kamnisko Sedlo, a mountain in the north near Austria. It was actually less than an hour’s drive from Ljubljana! That mountain really kicked my butt though, it was a steep incline from the very first step all the way up the 1000m we ascended (the peak was at 1900 meters). We spent most of the time walking through a mist, as the fog had beat us to the mountain and only once in a while decided to clear into a panoramic of staggering mountain tops. Once we reached the top we immediately went to the hut serving hot tea, and took a seat for a while to warm up again. I’m not sure how much longer I can head to the mountains after this weekend, as I’m sure the snow will start to settle soon on the peaks. The path to the top was all loose rock, and I would be wary of ascending that when it’s wet or covered in snow. Although apparently it’s a thing here to run down the straight an incredibly steep part of the mountain, which I would describe more as the perfect spot to roll down with a barrel rather than run!
On Saturday I went out with some Erasmus students to Rog, an old bicycle factory which as been converted into a sort of community and arts center and, at nighttime, an interesting spot for nightlife. The mysterious nature of Rog starts as soon as your walk through the main doors to the compound, as you can hear music pulsing in the distance but you’re not exactly sure where it’s coming from. Walking a bit down the street, you eventually find giant plastic industrial curtains hanging over the entrance to what turns out to the be the nightclub. The theme of the night was Kung Fu Techno, and the only light inside the factory seemed to come from the kaleidoscopic music videos dancing across the projector behind the DJ. I didn’t stay too long since I was hiking the next morning, but I’ll definitely have to go back to see who Rog changes depending on the theme.