Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Croatia --- Week 1

We have had an amazing first week here! (and thanks to the dorm room electrical engineering student we finally have some form of internet!)

Our hosts, the University of Zagreb Department of Agriculture, have been treating us incredibly well.
We have already seen so much of the country and have met so many wonderful people.
Ivana has made sure that everything we need is taken care of.

A major highlight was visiting a farmer who raises pasture-based pigs and cows and sheep --- at the end of the day we sat down with him and ate fresh cheese, salami, pršut (prosciutto), sausage, and ajvar (eggplant/pepper spread) all from his farm.

The War almost always comes up in conversation. Younger people are willing to talk about it ---
They are nervous about the new nationalist president of Serbia; They are frustrated by the reconciliation demands the European Union is making in exchange for membership; The war depopulated many of the rural areas in Croatia, leaving few people to farm the land.
But the older generation is less willing to talk about it. As one professor said, when we were driving through a rural area where Serbs used to live, "That is a very sad hard story. I do not like to talk about it."

The weirdest lost in translation moment was at the grocery store this weekend when we were trying to get some things to settle in
Aaron: Dobar dan [good afternoon]
Check-out Lady: Dobar dan plus lots of Croatian I did not understand
Aaron: I am from America
Check-out Lady: Nods her  head  and says "Ah"... then continues to talk to me in Croatian
            While she is chatting away she begins to pick at some stray hairs on my shirt
            I smile; she smiles back and continues to talk to me in Croatian

After this I learned to say "Govorite li engleski?" [Do you speak English]






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