Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Carnival of the Balkans izvolite!
Heard the Word of Blog?
An exchange of letters from deep in the Balkans Blogosphere....
OK, I'll announce, but be prepared that many will decide not to respond
to the theme and will send whatever, and then YOU have to figure out
how to make that connection. Heck, if I send you a whole series of food
posts (prscut!), I guess you can find a way to weave "adjustment" into
Dear B...., actually yes, I can make an article about how the
deprivation of REAL prscut can be mind numbing and traumatic, same goes
for the lack of the correct coffee! or the lack of those sugar cubes
which when dunked into the coffee cause that lovely fizzing, or how the
fact that once one gets used to a diet which includes garlic or green
onions even at breakfast the worst thing is going back to the American
way of not haveing garlic on a week day because those petty effete
corporately casual effete delicate Anglo-Americans simply CAN'T TAKE IT!!!
mvxaxaxxaxaxax! it takes little creativity and what the hell it's too
late now, :)
Thanks for all your help technical and otherwise!
Oooooh! I love that! It is sooooooo Correct!
I don't want to trivialize the feelings of that transition by makeing it all about food, but food is a part of matierial culture and a source of comfort as well as nourishment...I am also talking about things like the political atmosphere what people wear, what music they like, the smell of the air, what's it like to go to a party, what's it like to take a walk...
So from Bora over at Science and Politics,a bit about food, and memories it evokes...
Breakfast Chocolate Cream of Wheat
I got sick over there the second trip and the big thing I missed was not Cream of Wheat, it was oatmeal, I longed for a good dish of oatmeal and the oats were whole, and you had to cook them in milk and they burned too easily. I was really frustrated because you don't really have to cook oatmeal.. You put hot water on it, and then do whatever with it, but this burned easily and drove me simply kuku! I like the picture because now I know where to find cream of wheat if I want it! Thanks Bora! Sometimes adjustment is finding the local item closest to what you liked at home. But in America there is no real prscut, that is a skill that must be passed from father to son, and it is some delicious stuff! I miss prscut terribly, and lozo for that matter which is something I didn't really like the first time I had it..I learned to like it later...
The other thing I missed badly was tacos! last time I came back, I was in a bad mood, and then I smelled tacos in a new small restaraunt in downtown Seattle and followed my noes in and ate a big plate of tacos drenched in salsa and washed down with Dos Equis. It definately made being back feel better! And to talk in Spanish with the guy who owned the restaraunt, that was good too.
Food Beautiful Food! from Science and Politics I sat and drooled over the pictures of beef prscut, I have to admit preference for the original variety made from pork! and Ajvar, Bora my introduction to Ajvar was the same brand you have there, from Bulgaria. It's available in Seattle at the Souk, a shop run by tow guys from Pakistan. I get it when I go there. No it's not like salsa it doesn't have the effect on my system that a good chutney or salsa has on my system but it does taste nice with boiled eggs! :)
The East West transition or the West East transition interests me a lot, partly because I have experienced it myself and partly because on compareing notes, i think I have experienced it differently from others.
Actually for me the big adjustment was comeing back here. I have family here, grown childre, grandchildren, and of course I have friends, but it was always really hard to come back all the same.
The usual shock for someone born in the States is on going there..the usual feeling of relief is on going back to the States, for me it was the other way around.
So much is different. and for most Americans going there is harder, physically, culturally, of course linguistically, a difficulty I soon over came, if not perfectly, at least enough to get by
It felt more natural to me there. It's funny how much of what is normal there was pretty much what I did left to myself and how much of what is the normal custom of Americans annoys me or feels wrong, or is something I have to force myself to do or not do...
For some people who'se entries I've included the shock was being from the Balkans and comeing to and trying to understand the West, and for some the shock was going from the West to the Balkans. Either way, there's been some good writeing on the subject in the part of the Blogosphere devoted to the Balkans.
The next two selections, are respectively an American Belgrade, in Serbia and an Englishman in Serbia,
An American in Belgrade
Eddie in Serbia's take on things
Several posts by Micheal Manke, an American who lives in Slovenia.
How to Learn Slovenian
The San Diego Reader Article
Darko V raised mostly in the States but sent home to ensure that he would not lose his culture and language. Here is one of his darker memories...I love how Darko writes.
Warning, bleak descripitons of suicide..
The Deep Fall
New Kids on the Balkans Blogospere Block:
Balkan Baby An English guy in Zagreb, amuseing
article about the British Embassy Christmas party in Zagreb..
IllyrianGazetteIllyrian Gazette,Catherine a Croatian young lady liveing in London
From Halfway Down the Danube, An American noteing differences in how and when respective National Days are celebrated
Halfway Down the Danube
To put it mildly, the fact that one is a member of a terrorist organization of any sort is a sign one has adjusted poorly to a transition,
This article is about Croatian terrorists who lived in New York in the mid 20th century. There is some kind of a thriller type detective book about these guys that I read. A friend wanted me to read it for fact checking purposes, and I could barely get through it. I wish I could have refered her then to this blog, because Slavs of New York has done a very thorough job of research. This blog is overall a very good source for information of interest to Slavic people liveing in New York City.
Croatian Terrorists in New York
The next entry from Slavs of New York shows that traditionally there may have been a different attitude in at least some parts of the Balkans about special parts of one's body. I warn ahead of time that organs which should be covered are bared and that this is a definate Not Safe For Work entry.
I don't know if any of the customs refered to in fact are still part of anyone's life now. Perhaps the value is more in shock than in culture. Some of the images portray men and some portray women. I did not find it especially shocking but some might and the boss will not be amused.
Not Safe For Work.
Balkans Erotic Epic
For someone who has packed up and done the 'Wagons East' act, language could be a problem,
here is an article from Micheal Manske's The Glory of Carniola'Slovenian Language
I had a LOT of fun with some fairly minor language differences between Croatia and BiH, and how people dealt with my efforts in their language were usually kind, and they tried to help. STill mutual understanding wasn't always so easily achieved.
There is also the fun of new swears, agan from The Glory of Carniola Not Safe for Work! :) serously bad language!
this link may work better, thanks whoever on TGC!
Diabtribe that works! NOT SAFE FOR WORK
I still haven't got over the polite, soft spoken 'thanks that's all' at the end, after all the nasty things he wants to do to their mothers!
gleaned from Bora's exhaustive archives, and links,
This article is one of the better summing ups of thoughts I too have had about rual America and the effect of talk radio on people generally. Those little stations like we got here in the Gulag that only have right wing talk radio, who have brainwashed people for better than the last ten years to the point where what Rush says, what Harvey says, what Mike Savage and Sean Hanity have to say is a matter of belief, not argument but belief, and they'll kick your ass over the matter has bothered me a long time. In the Balkans actually this is countered a bit better on the local scale, at least in terms of music available. There was also Radio Blue Sky in Kosovo which dedicated itself to countering that kind of thing. Sometimes for me at least haveing a good look at the East West West East transition has been of use figureing out the United States.
Rush Limbaugh and the Yugoslavization of America
Just for kicks, here's a link to Radio Blue Sky.
Radio Blue Sky
I find it interesting that the U.S. military is aware of the negative effects of 'hate radio'
on people in the Balkans but will not fully face the reality of these effects on the minds of
American soldiers. Believe me guys like Mike Savage are WELL aware of the effect they are
haveing and and they are damned prould of it. What is it going to take for Americans to learn
something from the experience of peace-keeping in Kosovo?