I finally got to the point where I feel my exploration of Slovenian life has started. Not in the least by enjoying Slovenia’s food culture – and that at a very affordable price. Until now, I had been mostly working during office hours. Recently however, I got down to activating my food coupons at the Student Organization on campus. A sensible thing to do: these government sponsored coupons allow students to have a full meal (three courses and often a drink) in many Ljubljana restaurants, at very low prices (with a maximum of around € 4,50). All you need is a Slovenian mobile number to register. In the restaurant, you simply dial 1808, validate the coupon and… enjoy your meal!
There was but one thing that held me up a little: when on my way to the campus, I was distracted by the looks of a nearby industrial building. It turned out to be the Union beer brewery, one of Slovenia’s biggest brewers (although they also do other beverages like soft drinks and mineral water). They are surely proud of themselves, given the fact that they offer a tour on the history and present of brewing (which I put on my to do-list). A small sip of the tour can be taken here.
Sunday in Ljubljana
In the student’s life, financial restrictions often prevent from going out to dine in style and visit museums. This Sunday however, was an entirely different story. Combining the food coupons and the free entrance that Ljubljana museums offer every first Sunday of the month, allowed some friends and me to have a classy afternoon. Enjoying and sharing the Ljubljana life, we ate out in the Mexican restaurant Joe Peñas and made our way to the Museum of Modern Art.
The atmosphere in the Modern Art Museum can probably be best described as one of crisis and new beginnings. It struck me as pretty symbolic for my own life over the last few years. Walking along the artefacts in the museum I got a mixed feeling. Without being able to pinpoint the exact reason, the exhibition felt oppressive, as if you are trying to breath with your head under a blanket.
I felt the museum needed what I need in my own life: a reorganisation of artworks, to get rid of the forgeries of the past and give the real masterpieces what they deserve: a proper stage. Only when shedding a new light on the past, and seeing its true nature, the scars of the crisis can heal and become victory signs that signal a new beginning.
Three years ago, when I first visited Slovenia and Ljubljana, I was in a time of rethinking my life. That visit became a new beginning, the kick off of my training as a midwife. Now that I am about to complete my training, I feel that this second stay in Ljubljana is the last stage in the transformation of scars into victory signs. Dropping the last few forgeries might prove challenging, but it’s time for the real masterpieces to shine again.
The international students of the Bible Brew group organised a meet-and-greet with food and homemade sweet cookies (thanks to Lucia!) after the International Mass. The meeting also served as a sort of goodbye party for Father Damjan Ristic, who will be staying in London for two months to write his PhD thesis.
Although I only got to know Father Ristic a few weeks ago, I will surely miss the amazing Bible Brew evenings under his guidance, the many good stories and his sense of humour. In the past, Father Ristic has been working in Zambia for some time and the shared passion for Africa gave a lot of added color to our 'brewings'. For that is basically what the Bible Brew group is all about, brewing on the Bible, on life, sharing the journey and trying different brews in bottles ;-).
Last time, I introduced the Belgian beer culture, and with the Lindemans Framboise, I could even trigger the ladies' appetite for beer. Wasn't it me who, at the start of this blog, questioned the pub crawl phenomenon? :D Well, I think we brew in the spirit of Erasmus, with moderation. Or, as Oscar Wilde would have it: "Everything in moderation, including moderation."
As some of you might know, I have a passion for both photography and street art. I cannot go about a city without capturing the other, less official cultural faces that present themselves. I’ll give a sneak preview of this alternative face of Ljubljana, and I hope to be exploring (and showing you!) more of this in the future.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!