daily practice

I had great intentions of blogging on a daily basis, but I’ve not been as diligent as I’d planned. After spending part of the evening tonight talking about the value and importance of regular creative practice–in words, images, or music–I’m determined to get back to daily posts here.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over two weeks since Alex and I arrived here in Dubrovnik. In some ways, it feels like it’s been much longer than that. In others, it feels as though we just arrived!

I survived my first week of teaching, and am feeling a lot better about both of the classes at this point. They’re coming together in my head, and I have a sense of where I want the students to end up, and how I think I can get them there. The class sizes ended up being 18 in Needs Assessment and 14 in Tech Transfer. That might shift a bit (drop/add ends tomorrow), but I doubt it will change much. The students are bright and interesting and engaged, and that makes teaching so much more fun.

On Thursday, since we were talking about innovation in Tech Transfer, I decided that I wanted to do the Marshmallow Challenge as a class exercise. (Watch the video; it’s only five minutes, and it’s great.) In Rochester, this would have been easy–stop at Wegmans in the morning to pick up some marshmallows and spaghetti, and swing by the IGM office to grab string and masking tape. In Dubrovnik, however, everything except spaghetti was a challenge. I ended up using meringue cookies in lieu of marshmallows, yarn that I’d brought with me instead of string, and scotch tape instead of masking tape. But it was still a success, and great fun to watch!

marshmallowchallenge

On Thursday night, I finally made it to D’Vino, the wine bar in the Old Town that I’ve been wanting to visit. Sebastian and I tried both tasting flights–white and red–and then had a glass each of the one we liked the best (a Postup for me, a Dingac for him; I’m too tired to try to add the correct diacriticals right now!). We also had the cheese plate, which included one of the best goat cheeses I’ve had in a long time, and a sheep cheese that’s apparently Unesco protected. The hostess, Anita, was absolutely charming and delightful. (And the olives on the cheese plate came from the tree in her yard!)

I liked D’Vino so much that after a long day of work on Friday, I coaxed Alex to come meet me at the office, and we picked up sandwiches (at the “Sandvich Shop” near ACMT) and brought them to D’Vino where we each had a glass of the Postup to accompany our sandwiches. Then I came home and did something I haven’t done in *ages*–I watched two hours of web-based television (Downton Abbey) before collapsing into bed.

Today I spent the morning walking around Dubrovnik in the rain, and doing my grocery shopping for tomorrow’s ex-pat dinner (I’m planning to make chicken paprikash…wish me luck, I’ve never done this before!). Then I made blueberry muffins for Alex, and headed down to the Hilton for an hour-long “anti-stress” massage. That was wonderful, made even more so by following it with the steam room, sauna, and a long, luxurious shower. From there, I wandered for a while through the Old Town. I went in the Pile Gate–where I bumped into several colleagues, and out the Ploče Gate–where I got to see the rainy, cloudy skies open up and let the sun through. It was quite spectacular, though the Nexus 4 camera doesn’t really do it justice.

plocegate

From there, I wound my way up to Sebastian’s apartment, which I must say is quite beautiful. It’s lovely inside, and has a view that rivals–if not exceeding–my own!. The sunset photo adorning the top of my post was taken not long after I arrived. He made a delicious dinner–and those who know me well wil be both surprised and delighted to know that I ate a reasonable portion of peas along with my chicken and mushrooms. It was quite delicious. (And he had managed to acquire a bottle of the Postup wine I’d liked so much at D’Vino, which was a particularly nice treat.)

The walk home from dinner was in some ways the high point of my day. It was deserted, and quiet (unusual given the nearly constant construction noise in Dubrovnik at this time of year), save for the church bells that rang at 9:30. It was cool but not freezing, and damp in a quite lovely “misty moisty” kind of way. There was light fog softening the streetlights, and an astounding view of the old town below me. I stopped for a bit at the halfway point, overwhelmed by how perfect it all was, and how grateful I was to be experiencing it.

And now I’m back in my apartment, ready to slip under some warm blankets and drift off to sleep!

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