So the last post saw me in Zagreb with my friend Lou, and since then there has been a sad lack of Contrary bloggage, though I have managed some arty stuff. As a friend reminded me yesterday I've already been here nearly three weeks and I'm stunned at where the time has gone and just how unproductive I've been. Today I've read What Victoria Did Next from Friday, as well as speaking with her over Skype, and both provided a fresh avalanche of feelings.
It was strange. This morning I finally beat Skype over the head and managed to both see, hear and speak over the interwebz successfully. Don't ask me what my username is, I find the system utterly incomprehensible and I don't even know my log in details. Anyway, even my tech numptery was familiar ground earlier, as we sat gassing over a cup of tea at our respective dinner tables. We've shared so many morning giggles and bizarre conversations and it wasn't much different today. I hooted out loud at Hamish Hamface sending peemails to other dogs, we discussed the new art work on the walls, and I told her that we had an invite to my lovely Split family's confirmation party in April. So usual stuff.
So much changes and yet, nothing really does.
This week has been difficult. There is no denying that I'm in the middle of a transition of sorts, and contrary to popular belief, I'm not stupid so this current challenge is something that I was already anticipating in the weeks before I left. The frenetic period of parties and saying goodbye to people has certainly thrown what is happening now in to stark relief, and again, I was prepared for difficulties around the lack of real life friends.
I was discussing this week with a wise person, the advent of modern technology is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it connects me with lovely friends and family, and I can meet people here via various sites - that's probably an entirely different post! - and when I feel really pfffft, I can get straight on the phone via messenger or whatsapp and speak to a friendly voice. But what it doesn't do, is allow me to disconnect from my previous life and focus on building something 'real' or 'physical' here. I'm not sure what the answer is but I think turning off the technology occasionally might be a good thing.
This last week or so has coincided with a request for me to do some paid work. Frankly it couldn't have come at a worse time because of this skittishness of mind. If there is a distraction around, then I'm going to be following it. For instance;
My landlord has provided a bike which I can take out any time. So I've been out and about in the local forest park and watching the sun go down through the trees, and over the islands, disappearing orangily into the sea. Not only that, but I want to be out running in the scented pines all the time though this scares me a bit because of the tendon issues I had late last year. Perhaps pushing myself too hard on hilly terrain is a bad idea!
Going to the supermarket was an exciting adventure of novelty and new cooking ideas, and my aunty has suggested that I'm becoming food obsessed. This love of cooking malarkey is nothing new but when you are living alone, you can go one of two ways. Either subsist on instant meals for one, or make it a real event - I'm choosing the latter because the ingredients here are incredible. I haven't really eaten out here, apart from when I've had friends stay. I'm really not sure why - I'm not fussed about dining out alone - but I'm happy making something for myself because it also passes the time creatively.
Tidying my lovely place is a real distraction; this was a problem when I was at home doing my MA dissertation. I couldn't settle to work when the floor was dirty, my bedding not fresh, there was washing up to do, the balcony to sweep...so I am currently living in a show home. It's also encouraging when Ivana, my landlady lives downstairs! She is such a sweetheart and brought me chocolate pancakes when I was feeling low on Wednesday, and she took me to the police station on Friday.
Perhaps I should copy the ditzy-yet-organised one and give you a day by day overview, but where is the fun in that? When I came back from Zagreb I'd been reminded about the need for my registration in the country, so I checked with Ivana. Apparently I'd not been officially recorded in Split, and there was also an issue with their 6 monthly rental licence. Me being here for so long was a breach of those conditions. My lack of official status may have become a slight issue, so we went en famille to the main police station on Friday morning. After convincing the nice officer that I was a friend of the family, they don't need to redo the licence for the flat rental, and I am now officially here until 15 June 2016. After that I will need to visit them again for a renewal. All good fun.
After the official business was sorted, we went to buy me a calendar. I have no idea what is happening when...again, what is new?!
University update: classes have been challenging - oscillating between having no clue what is going on, and going over old ground. We are also dotting around subjects using quite terrible texts, lacking in any coherency. I find it really hard to learn without valid connections, so very little is sticking, which is irritating. I can't go from learning about the types of presents that I like to give and receive, to sending telegraphs and buying stamps in the same class. So that is mildly concerning. Still, some enterprising student has started up yoga classes so I'm looking forward to those.
And the rest of the time I'm either in pretty little bars testing the kava s mlijekom, or happily wandering around tiny streets that I'm sure I've never seen before, or even randomly jumping on pleasure boats. The timing of the trip today was perfect. I was planning to walk down to the bar which I visited on St Patrick's night for live Irish music, because I wanted to see the beach in daylight. As I was walking down the Riva, I noticed the times on the boat and the next tour would be in 5 mins. Completely ill-prepared for a windy boat ride, I clambered aboard and thoroughly enjoyed a quiet and cool 90 mins of seeing my favourite forest-park from the sea, as well as the beach I'd originally been aiming for.
Tonight has been full of lovely distractions. A conversation with the distant one reminded me that I needed to look up the times of Split seaplanes. Anyway, a long story short, but I am off to Lastovo on Thursday morning for a 'nature retreat' for Easter; Split is just too exhausting! The weather is still changeable so I'm taking the sunny forecast with a pinch of salt. I don't mind what it does, apparently this island is renowned for its peace and tranquillity. Already my host there is looking forward to a natter, and I can't wait to cycle around some more wonders of nature. And just watch the time set over the sea.