Name Change

Today I had my first day of classes. Or rather, class. It’s taught by two American professors, several hours a day for one week, and then we’ll have distance learning for the rest of the term. (My normal slate of classes start next week.) I also met my supervisor here in Slovenia, since he also coordinates the Master’s program that I’m enrolled in. This is going to be a good year. He’s a total blast, in some ways very much an atypical Slovenian. By this I mean that he is loud, places zero value on hierarchy, and is totally unreserved and blatantly enthusiastic about most everything.

For example, he randomly invited me and one of the professors who is teaching my class to a party tonight, as his guests. “You should come, Kai! It’ll be fun!” So I went. We all gorged ourselves on a lovely meal provided by German Embassy and had a fabulous time, meeting interesting people and drinking free Champaign. “Eat and drink all you can now,” the American professor told me, “its a good instinct to have for graduate school.” So I did. Not one to let a chance pass me by, I also enjoyed getting to know some individuals who may be helpful for my research, and putting my Slovenian skills into practice, managing to confuse quite a few people. As I mentioned, nobody bothers learning Slovenian, so by the time you’ve made it past, “Nice to meet you. My name is…” Then, “Sorry, I don’t understand. My Slovenian isn’t very good, I’m American,” all in Slovenian, they are totally mystified.

Also, my name has changed! My supervisor here has only ever had contact with me via email. Hence, my new name, “Kai,” the Slovenian pronunciation of Kaye. I think I’ll yield and just go with it, even if it means almost being called “What” for the whole year. “What” in Slovenian is Kaj, and my name is more like, Kaje, Kaj with an extra “yeh,” on the end, but its so close that its almost unnoticeable.