The Scamp in Croatia

The start of my Ultimate Balkan adventure was in the beautiful city of Split Croatia. Officially known as the Republic of Croatia, it is home to 4.28 million people, over 1,000 islands and a rich history of war and conflict. I would not be able to do the country justice if I tried to give a condensed version, but for those interested, I encourage you to do your research. On 25 June 1991 Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration.

Image result for croatia map

It was a little known tourist destination until the rise of Game of Thrones, with enthusiasts flocking to Dubrovnik. It has a mostly Mediterranean climate and is the perfect place for a relaxing holiday.  When the heterolifemate and I landed in Split, we knew that the only thing we really wanted to do was lay on a beach and gear up for our trip. It is on the Eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and part of the Dalmatian Coast. We stayed at the Croparadise Hostel, and I cannot say enough good things about this place. It is good value for the money, close to the touristy areas, and the people who work there are really friendly and helpful.

Image result for croparadise hostel

*photo courtesy of Hostelworld.com

There was a really great rooftop patio that Kelsey and sat on and talked to some super naive 19 year old boys from Buffalo. I had had just enough beer to want to educate these young men in the ways of the world. I ended up helping one write an application essay so he could transfer universities.

We spent the first day wandering the open air fruit market for fresh fruit, tasty bread, meats and cheeses and then went on a hike up the Marjan Forest Park and then wandered to the beach for some much needed sunshine.

20170518_11050520170518_133339IMG_1707IMG_1720 - Copy

As you can see, I really needed the sunshine. We ate a lot of ice cream, listened to a lot of tourists and wandered around Dicoletian’s Palace. The palace is more like a fortress, and this was the least researched trip I have ever gone on, so I feel like I missed out on a lot of the history of the place (Thank God for Wikipedia).

Diocletian’s Palace (Croatian: Dioklecijanova palača, pronounced [diɔklɛt͡sijǎːnɔʋa pǎlat͡ʃa]) is an ancient palace built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD, that today forms about half the old town of Split, Croatia. While it is referred to as a “palace” because of its intended use as the retirement residence of Diocletian, the term can be misleading as the structure is massive and more resembles a large fortress: about half of it was for Diocletian’s personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison.

20170518_15384420170518_181545 - Copy20170519_203656

*photo courtesy of http://www.romeacrosseurope.com/?p=6807#sthash.ST9ju68a.dpbs

I loved Split. The people were friendly and the city was very easy to get around. We were able to wind through the palace and sample good food and a lot of good ice cream. I would have happily spent a week there just sitting at the beach everyday and taking trips to the islands. I wish that I would have gone to see the synagogue, but hey, that gives me a reason to go back again!

We met the tour group in Split and it also served as the final destination. The first meeting with out Busabout group was not a good one for me in terms of my judgey ways. I’m really glad Kelsey was there because there were a couple of girls that said some really ignorant shit and really got me in the killing mood.

On the upside, I did get to cross two things off my list. Split offered me the chance for a long hike, and when I get to the Greek part of the adventure I will cross learning to dance off the list (there is a video, but I’m trying to decide if I want that out in the world still).

  • Learn how to drive in the UK.
  • Present at an academic conference
  • Start a new tradition
  • Go back to therapy
  • Visit three new countries (Paris, Malta, Hungary)
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Quit the tutoring centre
  • Volunteer for a literacy programme
  • Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  • Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  • Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  • Master scorpion pose
  • Attend the symphony
  • Learn a rap song from start to finish
  • Host a dinner party
  • Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  • Create something original
  • Create a solid workout regime
  •  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  • Learn to dance
  • Eat an exotic meal
  • Learn to cook a fancy meal
  • Yell at a football match
  • Go horseback riding
  • Master British spelling and punctuation
  • Create a good sleep schedule
  • See my favorite group in concert
  • Fall in love
  • Stop holding grudges
  • Let go of my expectations

 

Advertisements

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 18

I’m a week late. I know. I know.

Same story, different day. I have found myself with a distinct lack of motivation and a profound sense of wanderlust. Thank God by this time next week I will be on an adventure through the Balkans. 7 countries, 5 different currencies, and plenty of sunshine. I’m not taking my laptop with me, but I am going to take my travel journal, so I’ll write it all up when I get back.

The challenge for last week was to look through my couch cushions and find the first coin that I could. I was to then write about what I was doing on the date on the coin. My couch has a lot of strange stains under the cushions, and a lot of crumbs (note to self, hoover the couch), but no coins. Next to my couch though is a little table and on it sat a rogue penny and ten cent euro. The euro was dated 2000 and the penny 2006. I was in the 7th grade in the year 2000, so I decided that 2006 would be more fun to write about.

In 2006 I was in my second year at UC Merced. I was living in my first apartment with two girls I had shared a dorm with, and I was well into my literature degree. I thought I had made friends that would be a part of my life forever.

I spent a lot of time in the sun, and learned the hard way that it is hard to have an odd number of friends, especially girls, and that my low tolerance for drama would leave me feeling isolated and alone. I went to a lot of parties at the start of the year, and then hid away for the second half so that people would stop talking about me. The people I worked with at the library became my really close friends, and the boys often dragged me out for poker nights. I watched the movie Waiting way too many times that year. I didn’t date, but was okay with it, and spent a lot of time watching Grey’s Anatomy in my bed on the weekends. I learned a lot about myself that year.

In 2006 I didn’t have Lupus, didn’t have chronic depression, and didn’t have trouble sleeping. My self esteem had taken a bit of a hit, but I still went on conquering academia. I took a literature class that year with a well respected professor of Spanish literature who told me he was impressed with me because I made a connection between the visual image presented in a play with the actual image of the dialogue. The fundamentals of literature I learned in that class would later help me with my MA at SDSU. I was still driving the Tugboat, and only had 1 tattoo (I know, I don’t even remember me with only one tattoo).

In 2006 I hadn’t figured out how to quell my wanderlust. I had no idea how much fun I’d have with my passport, and how much better life would get once I figured out that not everyone sucked and that it was okay to not want to immediately go back to the place I grew up and become an ‘adult’. I grew a thicker skin, got ready to leave my teen years behind me, and started doing yoga. All in all, not a bad year for me.

I have no forgotten that I still have activities to cross off my list of things to do before I turn 30. I’ve made tentative plans to ride a horse and I am hoping that I can go on a hike while in Croatia, learn to dance in Greece and continue to work on Scorpion pose.

 

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries (1/3 done with my trip to Malta, next up, France in November and Hungary in December)
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

The Scamp’s Last Day of Her 20s

Tomorrow I will enter the next decade of my life. I’m currently horribly ill complete with fever, cough, sore throat and snot.

But I’m happy. While I was unable to cross all 30 things off the list, I did manage to do 21 of the 30 adventures, and I am just going to keep going until I can cross them all off (I really want to make a good budget so I can pay off my student loans). Today, on the eve of my 30th, I am able to cross two more off the list.

The first one that is coming off the list is number 29: Stop holding grudges. This one was a really difficult one because I love holding grudges. For the last few years I have been holding some serious grudges. I decided to let them go. I was able to mend some friendships, and I was able to walk away from one and I no longer miss the friendship or hate her for being so selfish and stupid. Letting go of those grudges has allowed me to make room for some new and amazing friendships (I’m looking at you Flamingos) and allowed me to really focus on the friendships and the people around me that keep me out of the dark and twisty. I also feel a lot better about the way I handle most situations because I am not as angry as usual and not as consumed with my grudges and perceived personal slights.

The second thing I get to cross off the list is number 28: Fall in Love. Now, before you get too excited, no, I did not fall in love with a boy. When I added this to the list a year ago, I was hoping that I would fall in love with the boy and move into a different phase of my disastrous relationships. But alas, that was a dud. The person that I fell in love with is way more important though. I fell in love with me. I’ve spent the last year working hard in therapy to sort through all the weird things that go on in my head. I’m learning how to take care of myself, how to find the balance between work and fun, and how to manage my expectations (That is number 30 on the list, but I am nowhere near ready to cross that one off the list, so it is staying unchecked for the moment). There was a moment earlier in the week that I was a little sad about not completing the list before my birthday, but then I realized everything that I was able to do, and how far I came in the last year. Really starting to love myself is a big thing though, and I think it is one of the things that is going to help make my 30s be just as great as I have been picturing them in my mind. Because, as RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?”

Can I get an amen?

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries (Paris, Malta, Hungary)
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 9

Greeting from California!

The writing challenge for this week is to make a playlist of five songs to describe my week. I like this. I like music, and I often create a soundtrack for my life. I’m just warning you now that there is going to be more than five songs because I’m just having way too much fun with this. I’m going to start with Tuesday. Up first, a little 2pac

Every time I come to visit my heart space I hear this song in my head. I know that my travel day is going to be busy, but I usually get excited and can’t sleep the night before, and I never sleep on the plane, but by the time I land I have my third wind and swear I can smell real Mexican food, which makes it all worth it. I was very very very lucky and had two really easy flights with no one sitting in the seat next to me.

Song two: Estelle: American Boy

I sing this song when I land in London. It’s catchy and it makes me laugh.

Song three, Wednesday: The 1975: Chocolate

Hi my name is Kim and I am addicted to chocolate. I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be and there was sunshine, so I was able to sit in the backyard and enjoy some vitamin D. I also went shopping with my mom and resisted the urge to buy all things chocolate. It worked…until I walked outside the store and the Girl Scouts got me with the cookies (and I already ate them while I checked my mail and had a Skype session).

Song four, Thursday: Best Friend

I spent Thursday hanging out with the little muffin and had some adventures in the neighborhood. He chats a lot more than the last time I was here, and we had a great day in the sunshine.

Song five, Friday: The Working Song

Friday was another day with the Muffin running errands and getting ready for a mega birthday bash. I picked up one of the best from the airport, another drove 5 hours to be here and I had myself a nice little reunion with the boys from Merced. I was surprised that they would come down for the party. I had a lot of fun with the Muffin going shopping for food, drinks, and party decorations. He is a good partner in crime.

Song six, Saturday:  LMFAO: Party Rock Anthem

40 people later. We partied. I got overwhelmed, got to see a lot of people that I have not seen in years, and missed out on having some tasty cake.

If I had a song for today it would be one of those sound machine recording of soothing sleep sounds. This week has worn me out. I’m almost out of the waiting room of my 20s. Who knows what will happen? I’m sad to say that I am not going to complete my list of 30 things to do before I am 30. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I really wanted to complete that list. It looks like it is now going to be 30 things to do before I’m 30 and a half.

 

 

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 5

I’m a week late. I have not been motivated to write lately. I’m tired and have been running around for data collection, meetings with students and teaching in the evening. All of this is good though. Things are progressing nicely in all of those areas, and I am feeling much better about where I am in terms of my work compared to last year at this time, and I think I am finally on a steady path. I didn’t like the writing challenge for last week, and today marks my 30 day countdown to turning 30, so I thought it was time to update the list.

16. Create a budget to pay down my student loans. Unfortunately this one involves my mom helping me out for right now. There was no way I could afford to pay that and go to therapy, so I am burdening her for a bit longer. The loan is getting paid though, and I am a couple months away from being under $10,000. I’m really excited about that.

18. Create a solid workout routine. Even though the sleep doc couldn’t really help me with my sleep issues, she did give me some ways to help my joints during the day that forces me up and around, and I found a couple of yoga classes to do before bed. My phone also has a help app that guilts me into walking around more during the day. It works, as I try to get at least an hour of walking in a day.

22. Learn to cook a fancy meal. I made my own Chinese food! Orange chicken, chow mein, and egg fried rice. The rice I cheated on, but I made everything else.

The chow mein was a little bland, so I will have to keep working on that, but it wasn’t bad for my first attempt.

With 30 days left, I still have some big things to cross off the list. I’m working on the rap song, but finding a horse and hot air balloon here is super difficult. I’ve managed to get 20 things crossed off and still have some time to work on the rest. There is one thing on the list that I realize might be hard to cross off, but I am going to remain hopeful.

20 days until sunshine.

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries (1/3 done with my trip to Malta, next up, France in November and Hungary in December)
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

The Scamp Crosses One off the List

I have now crossed number 11 off my list! Yesterday I emailed a draft of my methodology chapter to my supervisors. I think it is pretty solid for a first draft, and I know that there are a lot of drafts to come before it is done, but I am pretty happy with how it came out. It also means that I have some words on the page in time for the halfway point of my programme. I’m going to celebrate this moment with a cookie.

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries (Paris, Malta, Hungary)
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

The Scamp in Budapest: Day 5

Okay, so day five was a couple of days ago, but I was too busy moping about having to go home and face the real world to sit down and write. I’m also overcoming traveling without the use of steroids in my system, and that is a bit of an adjustment process. I’m feeling more pain then I have in the last 8 years, so that takes a little getting used to….or maybe it is because I am about to turn 30 and I’m just getting old.

Day 5 in Budapest was a really important one for me. I was staying in the Jewish Quarter, and had already wandered around the district, but on day 5 I got to visit the Great Synagogue. I was hoping that I would get the chance to go in since I tried to see it the day before Christmas and it was closed. It was a lot of fun to be there during Hanukkah and seeing Jews from all over the world come to sit in the pews and admire the place. the synagogue was built in the 1850s, and was modeled on Moorish architecture with influences from Islamic culture in North Africa. When I first arrived in the city and saw the building, I thought it was a mosque. Inside it is fairly simple and unpretentious, but there is a lot history in it. Within the gated walls of the synagogue is a cemetery. While that is not usually done, an exception was made for the people that died in the ghetto during WWII. The synagogue was behind the ghetto wall, and acted as a sancuatary for many of the Jews. The bodies of about 10,000 Jews were found in the area. Many of them were moved to a cemetery, but 2,000 were buried in the garden. There are tombstones for those who were able to be identified, but there are plenty buried there that were never identified.

While I could go on and on about the synagogue, what really struck me was some of the people visiting. While I was on my way out I heard a guy complaining because, “once you’ve seen one synagogue, you’ve seen them all.” He was American. Go figure.

This made me angry. I don’t say that when I am dragged through churches on guided tours, or have to listen to how amazing and great they are. I’m respectful and make sure my shoulders are covered, that I do not taken chicken out and that I do not do anything that would be offensive. I wish that people had that same respect for my culture and religion.

I bought a new Hamsa necklace and then spent the rest of the day walking through the Christmas markets one last time with the express intent to eat my way through them. I was able to cross another things off my list by eating an exotic meal. I sampled a Romanian Kürtőskalács, a circular cake that is warm, large and tastes like a churro. There are different coatings you can get, but I opted for Cinnamon and was not disappointed. I also had a Hungarian version of a gyro which was perfect. It was tasty, warm, and the size of my head.

I had to roll myself back to the hotel. It was worth it though.

But now I am in Scotland and having to face the reality of going back to work and being a student again. I don’t really want to. I have zero motivation. I’m just wishing I could fast forward through the next two years and be done with the thesis. Of course, then I would have to find a job, and who knows what or where that will be. I’m more than a little terrified of the future.

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations