Sunday, December 31, 2006

Some pics taken in and around Amman

Amer, you crack me up....

Ok, some might see this as offensive, but it's a joke ok!
These pics represents what you get when you cross an Arab with a Slovene:

A drunk terrorist!
The guy in the pic is my significant other's brother Amer. Dude, you are hilarious!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Never thought I'd have to go to the Middle East to see snow this year...

Back home on the sunny side of the Alps, Christmas was a green one this year. I had been complaining about missing the snow since the beginnning of December. Who would have guessed I would have to go to Jordan to see snow this winter?
Here are some pics:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

On My First Day in Amman and Jordan Planet Quiz Night

I arrived in Amman early yesterday morning, though a couple of hours later than expected. It is wonderful to have a change from my routine and relax a lot more than I'm used to. I feel so much better to be back with Omar after such a long time. Long distance relationships are a pain to say the least.
Roba had invited me to the Jordan Planet blogger meet up. I was not sure exactly what to expect. I didn't really know anyone there. I originally discovered Jordan Planet, right after my bf moved back to Amman and I was going to visit. Since he hadn't lived there in many years, he wasn't up to date with what to do and where to go. I began browsing and found Jordan Planet and wrote an email asking for some info. I immediately received a wonderful and very informative reply from Lina (who I unfortunately did not meet yesterday). Slowly I began to discover other interesting and amusing blogs like Mira's, Khalidah's, Roba's, Hal's (Hal, where the hell were you last night?), Moey's, Qwaider's and many others.
This quiz night was a good time overall. The only complaint I have was the dudes at the table next to us made it hard to hear what was going on. Yeah, you know who you are... I have nothing against you guys otherwise and actually think you're cool, but playing the music on the cell phones and overdoing it with the yelling was a bit much. Smart-ass comments are amusing, but there's a point when it's just not funny anymore.
Our table came in second place, after being asked the tie-breaking question. Turns out we need to brush up on our knowledge of history. Or maybe it's because Roba was cheating (ok, you had to be there for this to make sense).
I'll end this with a few pics I took.

Some more pics from the evening available at Qwaider's and Hala's (plus a very thorough description of the evening -- in Arabic)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pre-holiday Madness...

I'm leaving for Amman tomorrow. Though financially speaking, taking a trip isn't the brightest move I could make, but it's one of those things that has to be done. Today was my last day teaching till I get back; I tried my best to get all of the translation work out of the way, but it seems that I'll be taking some work with me. I am so looking forward to getting away, away from the routine. I also can't wait to get out of this year. Yes, even though it wasn't all bad, most of 2006 did suck for me. I don't remember having such a lousy year in... well, I think 1999 came close...
Anyhow, this week was particularly insane. One incident that particularly pissed me off was getting my visa. I had called the Jordanian consulate last week to schedule an appointment. The consul told me to call the following week. I reminded him that this was the week I'd be travelling, but he assured me not to worry. Ok, fair enough.
So I called back on Monday from work when I had a break. I explained to the guy who I was and that I had called on the previous week and that I'd like to make an appointment. So the guy says: "Come now". I explain to him that I am at work, that I work at a school and that there's a group of kids expecting me to open the door to their English classroom in 5 minutes...short notice to get a substitute... I offer to come after work, when I finish at 2. He explains that he only works till noon (how nice). Luckily on Tuesdays, I have a free period and since the consulate isn't too far from where I work, 10:30 on Tuesday works. I explain to him that I'll only have an hour and will have to get back to work. He assures me not to worry.
Tuesday, right after teaching a class, I rush to the consulate. I arrive there at 10:25. I enter the building, walk upstairs and ring the bell. A woman opens the door and explains to me that the consul hasn't arrived yet. She gives me a form to fill in. I do so and hand it to her along with my passport. She tells me to wait in the hall. After 20 minutes of waiting for him to show up, I was pissed off something fierce. Why the hell even bother to make an appointment then?!! Finally he shows up at 10:55... I was desperately trying to keep my cool, as he took his sweet time... I couldn't help but think to myself: "Nice that you only work till noon....and get to work at 11..." ... He asked me why I was so nervous... I explained that I was late for work...His response? "That's not my problem!" I couldn't believe it! Not my problem? No, idiot! But it's your fault! (Ok, I didn't say that as he still had my passport in his hands)Seriously, though, is this guy for real? On top of everything, he was extremely rude and arrogant the entire time. Not very diplomatic at all.
The guy totally stressed me out!
Ok, enough about that...
On a brighter note, this year I will be spending New Year's in Amman. It'll be my 1st New Year's outside of Slovenia in 10 years. Though I must admit, Ljubljana is beautiful this time of year. Just like something out of a fairy tale. The only thing missing so far is the snow. Here are some pics I managed to take this evening while running some last-minute errands.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

On the fears we face...

While enjoying my Sunday morning coffee and reading blogs and the like, I read a post on Bakkouz's blog about Parthenophobia, the fear virgins or young girls. I have to agree with him. This is a rather strange phobia for a person to have. In my life I have heard of or read about various types of phobias that human beings suffer from. After having done some browsing, and seeing lists of phobias that have been documented throughout the years, I know that many of them are more bizarre than I could have ever imagined.

In my opinion, the weirdest one has got to be:
Arachibutyrophobia - fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.

Here are some others I found rather amusing:
Geniophobia - fear of chins
Peladophobia - fear of bald people (I suppose this makes sense if it's a group of skinheads chasing you with baseball bats)
Consecotaleophobia - fear of chopsticks
Nomatophobia - fear of names (So do these people spend their lives walking around calling others "Hey you!"?)
Bibliophobia - fear of books (I suspect that some of my students suffer from this one)
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia - fear of the number 666 (I'm not even sure how to pronounce that one)
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia - fear of long words (And then they give it a threatening looking name like this?!!)
Barophobia - fear of gravity (Ok, and how are you supposed to deal with that? Go live in space?)
Phronemophobia - fear of thinking (Not quite sure how one would deal with this either...)
Linonophobia- fear of string
Ithyphallophobia - fear of seeing, thinking about or having an erect penis
Xanthophobia - fear of the colour yellow or the word yellow
Lutraphobia - fear of Otters (huh?!!)

Here is a list of phobias that people suffer from. What phobias do you have?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Exploding Phone Charger (enough to ruin my day)

I had never thought about this before. I had never even heard of it happening (though apparently it does).
Had you asked me about mobile phones before I moved to Slovenia 10 years ago, I would have just rolled my eyes at you. My friends and I would actually make fun of people we saw talking on their cells. I suppose th
e fact that phone calls from landlines and pay phones are much cheaper in Canada than they are in Europe had something to do with this. After coming to live here and witnessing the mobile boom in the 90s, I eventually gave in after receiving several complaints that it was impossible to get a hold of me. Since then, using a mobile phone and everything that comes along with it has become daily routine, every day stuff… not really something I think about twice. Well, until now…

I recently purchased a new charger for my mobile. What happened the first time I plugged it in? It exploded! Seriously! There was this loud pop sound and the thing blew up! I couldn’t believe it!

This was on Sunday and unfortunately, the shop where I had purchased the charger was closed. I immediately looked up the manufacturer’s website and wrote them a letter strongly suggesting that they do something about quality control. They still haven’t responded. After taking a more careful look at their packaging, I also noticed that their English and German instructions really don’t make any sense. For example: “Vor dem laden ist die Cebrauchsanweisung zu lessen” Huh? This means absolutley nothing! Millenium, you people suck!

On Monday, I went to the shop with the remnants of the blown up charger. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: I bought this charger here on Friday and when I plugged it in, it exploded.
Guy: That shouldn’t happen.
Me: No shit, Sherlock. Did you accidentally give me a model from the “Suicide Bombers’ Series” or something?
(Guy gives me a perplexed look…)

The guy didn’t give me any hassle to exchange it. I also made him plug the new one in the shop before I agreed to accept it.

Just as a warning to all of you… these things do happen. From now on, I’m always going to have things tested/plugged-in at the shop before I take them home and they blow up in my face!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Autumn View

Kids are off from school this week over here, which means that I also get a vacation by default. If only it were that! My boss at the agency I translate for is on the ball and figured out that I won’t be busy with teaching this week, so my e-mail keeps getting flooded with new documents to be either translated or proofread. Then there’s this freelance job I took on (big mistake) and I have kind of been ignoring it (perhaps hoping that when I wake up in the morning, the work will magically have gotten done). Some vacation!
It’s nice to take a break and enjoy the view…

It was such a beautiful autumn day that Mica had to check it out too!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years ago today…

This post is not about politics. It’s not about conspiracy theories. It’s about what I was going through, 5 years ago on this day, at this time.

September 11th 2001 began as any other workday had for me. I woke up, went to the primary school I teach at, taught my classes… It was the beginning of the school year and early on that particular evening, there were going to be the first parent-teacher meetings. After my last class had ended, I had a couple of hours to kill before the meetings. Three coworkers and I decided to go get a coffee and snack at a nearby café to pass the time. It was 3:20pm when one of my colleague’s mobiles rang. It was her daughter, freaking out: “I don’t believe it! America is under attack!”. My first reaction was to look at my co-worker and say “Umm… your daughter has obviously been smoking some strong shit again… She’s probably watching some freaky movie…”
Well, I decided to give my mother a call; I assumed she’d know what was going on since Montreal isn’t that far away from NYC. My mother confirmed the story we had heard and I was suddenly overcome with horror! Julie! Oh my God! Julie! She only lives a few blocks away from the WTC! She works there!
Julie was my classmate and best friend all through high-school. We stuck by each other through everything and anything, shared many fun times, many tears.
After university, I moved to Europe. Julie moved to NYC to attend law school. She had been working as a corporate lawyer for less than a year; it had been her first job. I couldn’t believe what was happening.
Julie’s parents still live in Montreal. I immediately told my mom to call her mom to see if everything was ok.
It was time for the meetings. I didn’t know whether my friend was alive or dead and I was shaking.
I was like a zombie during the entire meeting. I can’t remember a damn thing I said to those parents. I don’t even remember which road I took to get home. I remember going into my room, turning on the TV and staring at the images on the screen as tears streamed down my cheeks. Until came the call of relief…
My mother called me back. She had spoken to Julie’s mom. Julie had called her parents to let them know she was still alive. It turns out she had pressed the snooze button a couple of extra times and was running late. So rather than already being at work, she was just leaving her apartment when the first plane hit, and that was what saved her.
She would have to evacuate her apartment, she was covered in soot and was having trouble breathing, but she was still alive!
I am and always will be thankful that Julie was spared.
To all of those who have suffered because of what happened on that day, my thoughts are with you.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Pictures from Plitvička jezera (Plitvice Lakes), Croatia

On Wednesday my coworkers and I took a day trip to these beautiful lakes to officially end our vacation.

Friday, August 25, 2006

And a few more random scenes in Montréal

St-Joseph's Oratory

View of Montréal at night from 26th floor at La Cité

View from Mount-Royal

A bunny-rabbit I saw in a park in St-Henri

And this is the front wondow of a wonderful little Turkish restaurant called Avesta (on rue Ste-Catherine, just east of Atwater) . What you can see here is a woman making bread. Quite charming. Their spinach börek is quite tasty!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

More Scenes and Fun Memories from Summer in Montréal

Back in Ljubljana and I've taken the time to get back into sync with things. It was an enjoyable summer which passed by so fast (as they always do). I am already back to my translation work and I get back to work at the school on Wednesday.

The jet-lag took a while to wear off this time. The trip back was extremely annoying due to the supposed terrorism plot... The line-ups at security checks were insane and as careful as I was with packing, I still managed to completely forget about my lighter and get it confiscated. Obviously the same thing had happened to everyone else as well. Upon arriving at the Zürich airport, the first thing you saw was a huge crowd of people from various flights run to the nearest bar and begin asking each other for a light..And nobody had one! (annoying while it was going on, but now seems like something out of a Seinfeld episode). My flight had been delayed, but luckily so had my connecting one, so I had time for coffee. My friend Marie-Claire had taken the same flight to Zürich and had missed her connecting flight to Rome, so I had some company to go with that coffee.

What a summer! Wonderful moments spent with family and old friends after so many years, while turning on the news, I was constantly reminded that things were not so wonderful everywhere else.

Back to reality.

I'm glad to be back in Ljubljana, though there are so many things I miss about Montréal, but I'll write all about that in another post. Till then, here are some recorded moments from the summer that I haven't written about till now:

Olivia had a get-together at the Copacabana on St-Laurent before going on vacation, so I at least got to see her once while I was there.

Tara & Olivia

Olivia, David, Sam & Dan
Dan & Me

On 27th July, Carole had a get-together at Shaika Café to celebrate the one year anniversary of her editing, writing, design business : Silvertree Media

Carole & her mom
Carole & Me

Rok & Karl

Pietro & Marie-Claire


Marie-Claire & Danny

The Cake: notice the single green leaf, representing one year. Baked by Carole's mom & it was simply delicious!

On Mondays and weekends I got to hang out with my four-year-old nephew André, who is just the sweetest boy you could ever imagine!

More pics of this fine visit to come soon... I have to clean the flat up and other boring stuff like that...Back to reality indeed...