All Quiet on the Eastern Front

The weather has still been blissful. I am happy, and well-reminded of the ups of living in Southern California. There is something to said for consistently above freezing temperatures! I am trying to think about something to tell you, but honestly, same old, same old. I adore my EU/US policy class, I’m still plugging away reading about Slovenia’s transition to democracy, and I’m running a bit more than I was. It’s amazing how much more motivated I am to go outside when it’s not 16F. Right now I’m also working on applications to various organizations, well aware that my time here is limited.

So, do you have any questions for me? I’m seeking topics for future blog posts, having come to a point of a lack of creativity. I’ve settled in fairly well by now, so the weird things about living here are no longer as striking as they once were, and I’m not sure what you want to hear about. Would you rather me take more photos and post those? Talk about cultural differences? Current events in Europe? Slovenian politics? American politics? Slovenian perceptions of American Politics? Food? Any feedback would be most appreciated!

p.s. I bought new boots. They are wildly different from my old ones, and I love them. Alas, I gave into my vanity, and they are very sleek and tall with bit of a heel…About all they have in common with my old boots is that they are brown. See? This will be what happens if you don’t give me ideas of topics to write about. I’ll just start going on about my shoes. You have been warned. Or threatened, I should say. I really like my new boots, you see. I bet I could talk about them for ages.


3 thoughts on “All Quiet on the Eastern Front

  1. Well, there’s the ever-popular “what did you learn at the school today?”

    Seriously – what are you writing about for your thesis? How is it more than a book report on contemporary affairs or the structure of Slovenia’s government? What _is_ interesting about the differences in the structure of their government – what did they chose given the range of principalled constitutional possibilities, and why? Occasionally scanning the Slovenia Times, I gather that they are still sorting out the role of the judiciary, and church and state – what else is on the table? Some of us actually know and care about this stuff. Is there a uniform fiscal year pubic and private? Is it different than calendar year? Is a balanced budget required? Nationally? Locally? What is the primary source of tax revenues national and local? What is the primary unit of local government and how does it relate to the national government…. What track are you in among the different political economy majors at the U?

    I’m forwarding select Economist blog posts to Josh, who hasn’t time to read the mag for recreation. So, hey – given that the debt ‘crisis’ is not by any means solved and OTOH that the EU (or EZ) is unlikely to entirely collapse anytime soon, whatcha know or think? [Recognizing that those “organizations” may well read blog posts…] How does the Slovene polity feel about having their debt downgraded? Is there any actual effect on government borrowing?

    What is it – food, behavior, culture, politics, ethnicity – that makes Slovenes more European than Balkan? If this is actually true? What is it that allows(ed) them to sustain an identity through centuries of being a crossroads? Language? How did they feel with the nation-states imposed post wwI and wwII?

    What are your friends like? you’ve mentioned both Slovenes and FSOs, and you have Fulbright roomies – it sounds like there are students from all over. What are your roommates like that you can say on a blog?

    Details of daily life are good. What is a day in the life like, of a nut who is living abroad for the third (fourth?) time, and trying simultaneously to do an independent study project and a masters degree [the former does not make you a nut, the latter does…] To what extent do you get to double count the various studies (should you wish to disclose this…)?

    Are groceries sold in bakeries, greengrocers, patisseries, butchers and the like or in something more like a market? Is there such a thing as a farmers’ market or other ways of disintermediating food?

    Where does the power come from? Where does the water come from? Where does the trash go? Is there recycling? (On the German model, or the US?) Where is the sewage treated and to what extent and what does it empty in to?

    How is the Slovene going? What is distinctive about Slovene as a language – you touched on this once earlier – say more.

    Having met a lot of different people, why on earth would a yank family stationed in N Italy buy string cheese at the post exchange when they can buy mozzarella fresca on the local economy? What _is_ it with Americans?

    A sociology professor told me once that the critical elements to look at were how a society educated its young, what their burial customs were, and how they managed deviance. So where are the hookers and the crazy people? Are there street people?

    A few ideas.



  2. My mind won’t shut up…

    Are queers out?

    Is there wine on the table? How are utensils held?

    Kielbasa or chorizo? What is the local sausage? the local dry-cured ham? The usual cheese?

    Sauerkraut or kim chee, is there a traditional picked vegetable?

    Is bread white, tan, rye? What is the dominant grain? Bread, buns, pasta, grain or?

    What is the national bean soup – and with what bean?

    When is the primary meal?

    OK; no more.


  3. Excellent, Paul! Thank you. This should keep me fairly busy, I’d say. If something else comes to your mind, please let me know!

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