Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hello American !


In the weeks since I returned from America, I have been a bit in the doldrums and very discouraged about my life in Slovenia. This is a tough place to be a foreigner and particularly tough for a former New Yorker, who just spent a three-week vacation having a fabulous time in New York.

Today as I walked down the fair streets of Wheelville in the same spot where I met my best friend over two years ago, I saw two men rolling down the street -- one on a bike and one on a skateboard -- and I called out to the skateboarder, "Where are you from?" He immediately hopped off and told me he was from Germany and told me he was here working on a solar plane project but was, alas, leaving tomorrow. I told him I was from America and was married to a Slovenian. He told me that the head of the plane project was the man who'd sped off on the bike, Eric Raymond, and as he hopped onto his skateboard in pursuit of Mr. Raymond he instructed me to Google "solar plane" and I'd find out everything. I bid this friendly German "Schuss" and walked home. As I neared my house, I saw Mr. Raymond and yelled out "Hello American!" but he kept right on riding. I must say I've had little success with Americans in Europe, but I don't mind. They are forgiven.

So, unperturbed, I followed the friendly German's instructions and discovered the link to this fascinating project where these adventurous Americans are putting together planes that run on solar power. It is happening right here in my neighborhood in Radovljica, and I never even knew. That is somewhat encouraging, and I hope there are more things like this for me to discover, more things like this to ease my discouragement and frustration away...

Read about another blogger's visit to the Solar Flight workshop here)

4 comments:

Viajera said...

You called out to him? Really? :) I guess there aren't that many Americans there, huh?

jessivowels said...

I'm an American new to Slovenia, and finding it very hard in a lot of ways myself. It's hard to explain, but this post seems to get at it a bit -- it feels like there might be all these cool things happening, but seeking them out is exceptionally difficult. People seem to be very conservative in their interpersonal relationships, and also very complacent. I was part of an activist community when I was in KY and I'm not seeing the same sort of community here. I'm in LJ and I find myself missing my small town and how much was going on -- I can't imagine transitioning to your area from NYC!

Anyways, just wanted to say I've been reading through your archives off and on and they're making me feel a huge sense of relief. My husband seems to think this country is god's green gift (which is why we're here), so reading your take on this place is very refreshing. You seem realistic; negative when appropriate, but definitely still wanting to like it here.

Anyhow, in short, I'm very glad to have found your blog!

Camille Acey said...

Hey Jessie, Thanks for writing! Always good to hear from another American flailing in this place. Where are you from in Kentucky? I used to know some music people out there....

I'd strongly suggest you head over to Metelkova almost any day of the week to find the sort of people you seek. You can find a wide mix of people there all the time and they are usually much more friendly than the people you meet in other places in Slovenia. My activist days are behind me so I usually scurry through the place, but most of my paths usually do end up leading me back there. I grew up in Berkeley and went to UC Berkeley, so it sometimes like I'm back there. Do check it out and report back.

In the meantime, keep on reading and feel free to be in touch!

Anonymous said...

For Jessie Vowels,
I left a message for you on your blog - if you can, pleae respond.
Will be happy to connect and assist - as we are native Ljubljana people, (with a home in St. Matthews, too.)

Mile and Andreja C.

p.s. Camille - sorry to use your blog for connecting with others ...