Saturday, 27 February 2010

Americans From Over here, part II

Very early in the child's education it becomes clear who is cool and who isn't. This evolves into more specific personal traits and soon you can realize who is the loser, who is the geek and who is the bitch. And there are the weird ones as well. These precious characteristics are well nurtured untill they reach the peak in high school. The most important role of high school (okay, apart from education) is to traumatize the kids so much that they either give up or are prepared for anything that awaits them in their lives. Maybe not the "traumatizers", but even they, some time later on a shrink's couch find out that they were wrong half their life ago and are suddenly not so okay with that any more. Or, some subjects even live high school all their lives and continue their intrigues in everyday routine and (particularly!) at every reunion. College itself could seriously lack this kind of hierarchy, so fraternities were invented. And sororities, of course. You have to be cool enough to get in, besides you have to bare the humiliation of the initiation and finally you earn the right to do the same to others. Wow!

Well, an American can get married in church no matter how many times they have been divorced. Or choose a rabin for the job, whether Jewish or not. AND ... they can pay so much money for the wedding that they could easily buy a house with it. AND they can live with the fact that they have paid so much. And without that house sometimes. And marriage... well marriage is marriage...I've known all sorts of them. But when it comes to

... that's another story. There are RULES. About asking someone out. Not asking them out. Calling, not calling. Calling ... when? The dates are numbered and certain things can be done on the first date, others on the second, and so on. I'll call you - this was a lie even before he said it. How do you know how important the date is to her? How much time has she spent making herself prettier and how far up has she shaved her legs - that says everything.

And meeting people? Just go to a bar and you'll get somebody's phone number. With the right approach, of course. Maybe a good pick-up line. I got some of those in my mailbox years ago, not sure why: Your last name must be Gillette - you're te best that can happen to a man. Does any woman actually fall for that? Or: Did the sun just come out or did you smile at me? Should any of this indicate that this man is charming, witty and intelligent?

Not to mention blind dating. My boyfriend's best friend is such a nice guy why don't we go on a double date? Hallo? And the best is yet to come: Is he tall? What does he do? Is he handsome? asks the same woman that insisted she was by no means shallow only a few minutes ago.

Besides, who can honestly expect to meet someone for a drink or a cup of coffee or even go for a dinner with that someone - and KNOW? Know if they are meant to be together? He's trying to impress her, she's trying to impress him, they say all sorts of things they wouldn't if they weren't so nervous and some of them are obviously not true. How can you tell someone your job is actually quite different from what you said in the beginning - simply because you thought she would like your made up job better? And so on and so on... Dating is also the most regulkar topic of any converstaion among friends, as well as sex... how long has it been now? Over two months? Jeez, we must get you someone! And blind dating it is again whether you want it or not, because your friends want to help you out of such distress, not to mention frustration.

I guess about 90% of adult life revolves around mating, one way or another.

And Americans don't really break up. Sometimes they get dumped or dump the other one, true, but the tendency nowadays is to start seeing other people. Now figure that out if you can!

And when successful dating leads to a proposal, it should be loving, charming and ORIGINAL. Come on! Countless men have proposed to their ladies, what do you think you can think of to be absolutely new? Organize a dinner and a special dessert in the end on which she can break a tooth if something goes wrong? A plane in the sky with a giant flier? And risk she'll by any chance be in the bathroom when it is in the air to be seen? Or asking her on a big screen at the stadium and have her filmed while she says ... what? She said NO?

Jeez... if she loves you, just ask her... If you do it in a public place anywhere in America, you know, you will probably get a standing ovation!

In a marriage, if everything goes well, a baby is brought into this world. The mommy to be is rushed into the hospital and all the relatives are notified that it has started. Half of them come to the hospital. One or two with a camera to film the event, even if they have to shoot some parts that are usually kept private and they would otherwise never get the chance to see. Sometimes the mommy objects to that, successfully... or not.
Or, if it's a false alarm, everybody is sent home and they take it as a drill. For the day when it really happens.

And so we get to the choosing of the name. Hey, we've been there! Let me stop here, then. Till next time.


Americans From Over Here

I'm going to write here what Americans look like to us from far away (but hey - what's "far" in the age of the internet?). I will do so after reading a few times that some people like hearing about our (meaning MY) view or learning of another culture (yeah yeah). I DO NOT MEAN TO INSULT ANYONE, but if you feel offended, please say so and we'll discuss the offensive matter. Besides, all we know about the Americans (most of it, anyway) we know from TV. It's like you made tons of films and series about yourselves and sent it to the rest of the world. If you don't like the picture we have - well, don't complain about the eyes that are looking at it - send the complaint to the artist!

An American family had to have a station wagon. The best ones used to have a broad line of a wood imitation of some kind on the sides. And all the men used to have pick-ups. GAS? They measure it in gallons anyway, so that the number is smaller than it would be here, so... who cares? And if not a station wagon, the car still had to be the size of a smaller boat and the gas stations not too far apart.
Things have changed, of course. The station wagons have evolved into big sedans and the pick-ups into SUV-s. And they must all be very efficient (so that the SUV-s are friendlier to nature, LOL). All sorts of other cars have always co-existed, of course, but strictly divided into those for kids, for girls, for single men and so on. You have to have SOME kind of order so that you know who's who, right?

All kinds of it: chicken burger, hamburger, cheeseburger, tunaburger... a boloney sandwich, pizza, spaghetti.... any of these can be a regular dinner. Sure they actually cook as well (I'm sure many of them are much better cooks than I am) but after scrambled eggs or corn flakes for breakfast (or some cereals with plenty of sugar), a sandwich and an apple for lunch, any of the above can be a meal for the evening.

Holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas - that's a different story altogether. All the recipes passed through generations find their way into freedom to celebrate the death of a giant bird (no, no, I know, it's to express gratitude to be able to survive after that first winter), the stuffings are not stuffings any more, each one can be a dish to be served separately, cranberry sauce is also a must... besides eating too much, this is also a perfect occasion for a mother in law - daughter in law competition.

And what do they do with all that food? Eat it for another month?

This brings me to the next point - sport. Football rules. Thanksgiving is the evening when men watch it on TV restlessly, and the women in the house just have to bear it because it's tradition. Football? How can they call THAT football? The ball hardly touches any of the feet in the field. The men are just huge tackling machines, padded in all possible places so that they don't get hurt (but they still do sometimes). Besides, they just stand there, giving each other some funny signs, then one of them runs for a few metres if lucky (okay okay, yards, then) and then - THEY STOP! And they keep stopping ALL THE TIME! They never just play. It's WAIT - ACTION - STOP! Come on!
Or do they watch baseball on Thanksgiving..., no, I don't think so. Baseball... I won't even go there. If I ever grasped the rules, I might even find it interesting.
Anyway, sport is so important that when an American child takes up a sport, it's all about hard work, struggle, beating the opponent, not losing or (God forbid!) quitting. And there is another reason why I couldn't possibly be a part of an American sports team: I can't imagine myself, sitting in the locker room and the coach giving a very inspirational speech - I would probably remember a film or two (or three hundred) and start laughing loudly. But hey, if it works, it works.

Americans don't care about names much. They give their children names, but then they just use the initials. There are plenty of T.C.-s, C.J.-s, J.R.-s and so on. It's only a good thing that they have a mddle name. Can you imagine those kids only being called T or C or J.? The parents who don't like the initials so much, just call their son Junior or Major or Soldier. Girls not so much. Some parents even use the names altogether. Weird, huh?

OKAY, this is getting WAY too long. And there is so much more! Hope it amuses you! As most of my followers fall into this "category", I will be glad of your feedback. How wrong am I? And turn the mirror into my direction, if you like. I can laugh at myself.


Thursday, 25 February 2010

Go Tina!

I'm not writing much these days, lazy me!
I'm on a winter break and, as I said,
I'm being extremely lazy.

Apart from other things (I have actually started writing some plans for school) I watch Vancouver Olympic games.
And this day has not left me indifferent, I expected the second race of giant slalom nervously.
Our great skier Tina Maze ended on the fifth place yesterday.
She had already won one silver. What will she do today?
Sitting on the couch and pacing nervously from time to time brought back many nmemories when of my childhood when skiing was so much more popular here. In the time of Stenmark Slovenia (Yugoslavia in those days, but they were all from Slovenia anyway) had many good skiers and we even watched TV at school sometimes, yelling our good wishes.

Tina is not only a good athlete, she is also a very nice girl with one of the cutest smiles and we all crossed our fingers for her. If she doesn't win another medal, that's okay, she already has one, she's been "a good girl" already. Half of her hometown is cheering by the slope (well, maybe not half.. but a LOT) and whatever happens, happens.

When it's her turn I don't know whether I should watch or go away. I remember my mum always going to the kitchen when our skiers started. I stay. I watch. She's good. The next few competitors show how good she really was...

Another silver for Tina!
(3rd medal for Slovenia)

Congratulations, you deserve it!

(Click on the photo for the source)

Sunday, 21 February 2010

First Candle

It's time for the first candle on my blog's birthday cake. Worth lighting? You be the judge to that.

First I had to choose a name for it. I had a blog in Slovene, called "Out of my head", but that seemed taken already in English. I tried a few possibilities, and quite liked this one. I still think it's quite appropriate.

First I thought I'd write a little something more or less every day. As a writing exercise, sort of, as I'm saying in my profile. But also to somehow process the things that provoke me and make me think. The things that make me happy or worried. Or to tell things I just think would be interestig to others.

Since February 2009 I have also had some lazy periods when I simply didn't write much. Just how it is. But lately, I have been so busy and tired that I can easily say it was the reason why there are so few posts. I have finished some work now and loooking ahead for a one week break (Yaaay!) and hoping to write a little bit more.

Anyway, this is just a regular me, sitting here and typing (or not). If you feel like it, just stir some more thoughts with me.

A nice day and happy blogging to everyone!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Freaking Crazy Olympics!

ACCIDENT seems to be the main theme of this year's olympics... sad, isn't it?

The luge athlete flew out of the track hitting his head so badly hat he died.

(not my photo, click to get to the original page)

The fact that everything was unprotected - no padding, nothing - couldn't play any role there - or could it? True, the speed was enormous and it might not have helped... but in fact, we will never know.

Anja Pearson, a great athlete everyone even slightly interested in skiing knows hit a lump of snow in the middle of the slope where everythig should be smooth and flew into the air, landed hard and got away with only a bruise.

(not my photo, click to get to the original page)

Glad to hear she is not seriously injured. Was that her own fault as well? You should have watched out, Anja!

A terrific cross country skier Petra Majdic who came to these Olympics with hopes for a medal,went to warm up, fell into a hole on an unprotected part of the track (why protect anything, who cares...), three metres deep, onto rocks, broke her skis, but wanted to start the race anyway.

(not my photo, click to get to the original page)

Want to see it on video? Click here.
Or rather here (+ click "play" of course) since it has been removed from that first link due to a copyright claim by International Olympic Committee.

A turning like this + world's best nordic skiers - WHAT DID THEY EXPECT??!

She did, she won a bronze medal and is everybody here is thinking of her today: she competed with four broken ribs and has punctured lungs now and cannot enter any other events.

(again, not my photos - click)

CONGRATULAIONS, Petra - and get well soon!

I know this post is badly put together - I'm just p....d off with the terrific Vancouver organizers of whom we expected better.

Best of luck, dear athletes and TAKE CARE...

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Random Stirrings of My Thoughts

Can I say "random stirrings"? Who cares, I just have.

I remained speechless yesterday. Literally. I had a very sore throat the day before and yesterday I hardly had any voice. My son found that very amusing. I didn't. My MS said the kids at school would like it a lot. No such luck! My voice is back, at least most of it. The rest will be back before tomorrow morning. That's how teachers are sick, you know - during holidays and weekends! Even my kids did that when they were little!

After being careful not to fry food too often we've had fried steaks (Wienerschnitzl) for the third Sunday in a row... I have a week now to think of something else. Not that we don't like them - it's one of the few foods I know for sure I won't be throwing away afterwards.
And about ten minutes after lunch the dishes were washed, dried and put away. Yay for me!

I don't spend much time on Facebook. I just check it very now and then - can be twice in a day or a few dozen times, doesn't matter, it really doesn't take much of my time. But I found a new use for it! Its functionality can be unbelievable! A twelve-year-old can actually ask you about schoolwork after a day of absence! Can you believe it? Of course I was more than glad to tell him what we did at English that morning!

A group of eighth-graders can be annoying, noisy, lazy and more than typical teenagers and still have great ideas and give some initiative for more work! Paradox? May be, but I'll try it out anyway... They suggested we should put on a school play. Okaaay... let's give it a try! Almost all the roles are assigned, the text is being written, will there actually be a final result? I'll keep you posted on that.

I'm enjoying the break that university studens have. I actually see my daughter much more than usually. Awww... so nice!

My mum had my sister at the age of twenty-two, my sister had her first daughter when she was twenty, I had mine at the age of twenty, today... they have more common sense, I guess! Anyway, my mum is quite a young great-grandma to be. My niece is having a baby in April and my mum is 70. As a part of this wheel of life going round and round, we had lunch with my mum yesterday - she made it for us - my son, my daughter, my daughter's boyfriend and me. My mum invited us in order to meet this young man. Lunch was nice, the talking was nice (without me, more or less), the day was nice...

I have to complete and submit the application for a project - the funding, I mean - will you keep your fingers crossed for it? I learned not so many applicattions were successful as I thought. But ours is good! Right?

For the project we had a visit from Spain. I hadn't googled the town and region well enough before the visit andf it surprised me a little that the ladies were not actually Spanish, but Catalan. Don't go studying at the Barcelona university to learn Spanish! It's not really their language! The teachers? So so nice and open. We spent wonderful time together and we had a farewell party n the night before they left and it was like only old friends were there - the food, the singing, the whole atmosphere....

It's Sunday and after posting this I will still be sitting at this PC of mine (I feel like I should give it a name) and do some work for school. How did that happen? Have no idea. At least I hope I will feel well prepared tomorrow morning.

Make the best of the rest of the weekend!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Culture Day

It's so nice when the weekend becomes a little longer than usual. I love it. It's only one day, but still. And why is that?

See, it's all about this man:


Show this picture to any school kid in Slovenia, they will know who this is. Our greatest poet. Has any of your poets given you a day off from work? Does that exist in any other country?

Okay, it's not only about him. It is Culture Day on 8th February. There are celebrations, cultural events, free entrance to galleries and so, and - we don't go to work or school. That's it! A national holiday.

We're a small nation, we sometimes say. And soon someone will correct that statement, saying we are not small, but there are really few of us. The population of Slovenia is about 2 000 000. Quite a few cities have higher populaton than that, right? And we live on a not too large teritory. As you can imagine, our nation and language have been influenced by all our neighbours. The Italians - they occupied a great part of our land for almost thirty years. My dad was in an Italian school at the age of six. When he spoke the only language he could speak, his teacher took his cane and slapped his fingers. He was supposed to be quiet untill he learned some Italian. In other parts and other times Slovenes were supposed to use German in public life.

Well, the man in the picture above had a rich uncle who helped him get his education. His family were hoping for a priest, but he somehow became a lawyer. But he didn't want to practice in German, so he coludn't get a government job.

Apart from that, he was a poet.

He showed the Germans that our language was perfectly suitable for high poetry, just like any other. Not just the peasants' language as they named it. He wrote a lot of poetry, most of it sonnets. I like them. And even if someone says that they prefer another poet, his value was in that (at least as I see it) that he wrote all that without having seen anything like it ever written in our language before.

Among other things, he wrote a toast. Titled "A Toast". Okay, so he liked to drink. But this poem was a real poem, not just some drinking verses.

I'll just ut the eighth verse here, the one that we proclaimed our antheme:

Živé naj vsi naródi, God's blessing on all nations,
ki hrepené dočakat dan, Who long and work for that bright day,
da, koder sonce hodi, When o'er earth's habitations
prepir iz svéta bo pregnan, No war, no strife shall hold its sway;
da rojak Who long to see
prost bo vsak, That all men free,
ne vrag, le sosed bo mejak! No more shall foes, but neighbours be.

Like it? I do. And I think it's right that we celebrate the Culture Day. Because culture is, in a way, what has kept this nation through history. And I think it's right that we celebrate it on a day, connected with this man.

The only thing that puzzles me is: why didn't they choose his birthday? Why do we celebrate it on the day he died?