Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday Night At the Museum In Split

Sarcophagus of Hippolytus and Phedra

Last night the city of Split hosted the NOC MUZEJA '10, which translates to night at the museum, from 6pm to 1am you could visit any museum in the city free of charge.

We chose to visit the Archaeological Museum only because a friend of my husband invited us a few days earlier saying his band was going to be playing there. At the time, we had no idea that it was Museum Night.

Could this have been a Greek Goddess?

I noticed this was the only sculpture with its head intact.

Oh wait, that's my hubby..

We enjoyed live music by the band Lite Motive. I love their costumes. Don't you?

Unfortunately our time was limited, our babysitter (grandpa) was anxiously awaiting our return home, otherwise we would have visited other museums.

The banner at the entrance of the museum.

Afterwards we joined our friends and walked downtown to the Pizzeria Galija, known as having the best pizza in Split. It was my first visit and I was not disappointed, the pizza was excellent: a crispy crust with the perfect balance of cheese and tomato sauce.

I would recommend you stop by and check it out next time you are in the city.
Address: Tonciceva 12
Phone: +385 21 347 932

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunshine in Split

For the past few days it has been raining in Split. With many hours spent indoors, I had the opportunity to organize some photos I took this summer. I love the vibrant color of the Bugambilia flower.

Did you know that although its name refers to the French region Bouganville it is native to America? Makes me wonder how it made its way to Croatia.

These are photos from around our neighborhood.

This morning instead of rain we saw a beautiful bright Sun. I couldn't help but smile. I think I will go out and capture some more photos.
By the way, I wanted to share that I'm a new auntie! Mi hermana menor tuvo su tercer nino y peso mas de 4 kilos! Felicidades hermanita. How I wished I was in Iowa to meet that little bundle of joy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The 5Rhythms

Thirty- plus students stood in a circle as Dee, the dance instructor, asked us to raise our hand if this was our first time to a 5Rhythms Dance Class. About half of the women plus 2 men raised their hand including myself. I looked around and the age varied from mid twenties to mid 60's. "You brave souls," she said with a smile. "Did she mean that as a compliment", I thought.

Dee spoke in a calm and soft voice, "Now, I want you to start walking around and look down at your feet, they will guide you, and no talking please as your energy should flow to your feet not your head." We walked around and from side to side, like penguins in search of their home, it was astounding we didn't bump into each other. "Stop. Now close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax your head and shoulders. Keep breathing and feel the air travel through your spine."

I thought, "AHA, this is like Yoga!"

She continued with her instructions in Croatian and an occasional translation in English, "Continue taking deep breaths, in, out, now open your eyes, follow your feet and glide as if you were skating on ice". From the stereo we listened to Corinne Bailey singing Like a Star as Dee continued, "Now visually choose a point of reference on the wall or ceiling and start dancing towards it, then away and repeat. "WHAT? How do I do that?" I looked around and everyone around me was gliding across the floor looking well LOST! So I too started gliding and began my courtship with the speaker that was hanging on the wall across the room.
I felt self-conscious of my movements and thought, "Am I dancing correctly, is my lack of coordination obvious?" The music then changed to a fast-paced rhythm and I began moving freely, feeling the rhythm. Meredith Brooks' song played over the speakers, I'm a b****, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a saint, I'm a sinner...So take me as I am. As I looked at the girl next to me, she too looked embarrassed, yet she continued dancing as if her feet were on fire.

Listening to music from around the world, we danced through five different rhythms (Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness) as Dee explained, "this is what 5Rhythms is all about, dancing freestyle with no steps to follow."
We ended the class by forming a circle and we were asked to take a seat and share our thoughts about the class. One girl was in tears as she explained, "I'm a very serious person, but dancing here with you I felt silly and it was so much fun, I need to let go of the seriousness and be more open-minded."

I too shared my thoughts with everyone: "I was clueless as to what I was getting myself into but my friend sent me the web link on Gabrielle Roth, and I was intrigued, curious and I wanted to learn more. I'm glad I was exposed to the 5Rhythms dance: a mixture of yoga, aerobics and a night at the club. It was a fun experience and I plan to return next month for another 3 hours!"

Below is a great story written by a 5Rhythms Teacher -Sylvia Tomcik in Croatia
"The 5Rhythms work is so important because it brings a practice that is not abstract but physical, a practice that doesn’t focus on what we are lacking or need to change, but one that allows us to move as we are and watch change happen.

It was a real breakthrough 11 years ago when the 5Rhythms method was introduced here in Croatia. It was almost impossible to be able to teach the Rhythms at all. Under Communism, it was illegal to gather in a group larger than 5 people anywhere -- you needed to register it with the police, describe the activities, etc. There were no spiritual practices; there was religion (which was forbidden during Communism and then very intently promoted when Croatia separated from Yugoslavia) and a deep fear of cults. So anything presented as a spiritual practice or self-growth was looked upon with suspicion.

And now, after teaching for 5 years, I am getting clear that what was and is still missing is a sense of self in each of us, the part of us that needs more than food and housing, a part that stays hungry after buying an expensive car or designer clothes, a part that seems invisible, but lives in our body, beats in our hearts. I witness this especially in the rhythms of Flowing and Stillness. When the instruction is to dance alone, when things slow down, often people get lost; they are afraid to close their eyes and be by themselves in silence.

The 5Rhythms practice renewed a sense of community in this country that is so wounded by war and separations. Sitting in a circle was weird, holding hands was uncomfortable, trusting your own body was unfamiliar, being able and open to say your own opinion, even when asked to do it, was a big thing. We are healing together, all of us."

Monday, January 25, 2010

My haircut at Filomena Spa

I finally had enough of my long hair so I called and made the appointment at Filomena Spa, conveniently located a few minutes from our apartment in Znjan. I was quoted the price of 40 kunas (8 dollars).

"A special price for the month of January," the lady on the phone informed me. I thought, "for that price why didn't I call sooner?"

I wanted a new style. Short. Very short. I asked my sister for her opinion and she told me over email, "Mochatelo cut-it off, New year, new hair-cut!" I showed up at the hair salon with my digital camera on hand, to show the lady how short I wanted it. I said, "I want it short, but long enough for a ponytail." In Croatian it went something like this, kratka, ali dug rep. She smiled and nodded. "Did that mean she understood my broken Croatian?" I hope so!

She shampooed my hair and massaged it, then conditioned it. Heavily. Did I mention my hair is super-dry? Reason #2 for wanting to cut it off. Reason #1, I tend to always style my hair in a ponytail and I wanted something different. She sniped here and there and vola all done! I looked and yes my hair was shorter but not as short as the girl in my picture. At that moment I said "OK, I like it." But I felt disappointed and angry because I didn't have the guts to try something totally different. I played it safe. Not too long but not too short.

Oh well. Next time.

After the haircut I walked downstairs to the first floor where my friend worked. She told me she was on break so I invited her to have coffee. We talked about motherhood, careers and adjusting to a new culture. She missed New York, and while adjusting has been difficult she wouldn't have any other way. Her break was over and she returned to work. I stayed behind and finished my coffee and just then the waiter brought some edible flowers!

Sugar-glazed edible pansies! I tried one. I was curious.

The texture was crispy like a Pringles potato chip without the saltiness of course, and quickly melted in your mouth. And eating one did something strange to the palate. Remember the Frito-lay Commercial, "Bet You Can't Eat Just One!"? It's true. I ate 4 or 5, maybe 6 if you asked the waiter. I left feeling happy and content. I hopped on bus #8 and went downtown to have more coffee with @pondjumpers. My new friend from Twitterworld!

And as soon as I figure out how to style my new haircut, I promise to post a picture.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Baby escapes from her crib

A faint sound came from the radio in the adjacent room where Beli slept...Hmmm, I thought, "I didn't leave the stereo on". Startled I opened the door to the room only to find her playing on the floor with the stereo knobs. But wait, I had put her in the crib for her afternoon nap. I didn't even hear a thump. "Beli, how did you get out?" I asked. As if she could answer me right? I become frightened, she could have injured herself.

I called my husband into the room, and said, "let's see how she managed to jump out of the crib." And as I took pictures of her escape, he stood right next to the crib. We didn't want any accidents.

As if saying, "see that's how I did it!"

I had been worried that this could happen and I am just relieved that she didn't injure herself. Well now we have a reason to go shopping.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Walking on the beach with my daughter

View of Znjan from behind our building.

This morning was windy but sunny and warm enough to take Beli to the beach. I guess this is not a popular time to be going to the beach as it was deserted, but for us, it's just minutes away from home.

I brought along a book and some crayons to keep her busy. She has really taken a liking for drawing.

Collecting sticks.

Oh boy, this will be a challenge! To convince her to give me the sticks before we head back home. It's going to involve lots of kicking and screaming. Wish me luck it's not easy reasoning with a toddler!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Frog Curses

I had not planned on teaching my 21-month old daughter how to curse. What kind of role model would I be? I don't even curse! Blame the frog, it only wanted to be heard. REE-BIT.

Yesterday was like any other morning, I woke up early and made coffee while Beli and my husband slept. Caught up on some reading, blogs, etc. Then Beli woke up and wanted to draw, one of her favorite activities, so I sat next to her and drew a frog and said, "See, this is zaba (frog in Croatian) and it says , ree-bit-ree-bit. She looked at me and smiled. A few minutes later my husband woke up and walked into the living room just as Beli screamed, "JEBE, JEBE."

He looked at me and said, "You know she just cursed?" Surprised, I asked, "Why do you say that?" I mean, all I taught her was the sound a frog makes. Right? "Beli, tell daddy how a frog goes ree-bit-ree-bit, and she repeated, "Jebe, jebe." Here's the thing, she's only 21 months old and can't pronounce the R sound just yet.

My husband leaned in and whispered, "She said the words. f-*-*-k. f-*-*-k." I burst out laughing. "REALLY?! You mean I just taught my daughter how to curse in Croatian?" It was hilarious, I guess that's what happens when your child is learning 3 languages at once; Spanish, English and Croatian.

Thinking this through, I quickly made a minor adjustment to the frog and I'm confident frogs everywhere will forgive me, but I now told her frogs went, "Kreek-Kreek." And she repeated right after me, "Kee-kee," but then followed up with, "Jebe, jebe." Maybe we should all just forget about frogs and focus on another animal, how about a rooster?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Visiting Croatia

These are pictures I took on my second visit to Croatia a couple of years ago. We drove south to Dubrovnik from Split and although not far in distance it took us several hours to arrive since we traveled during the summer and the highway was congested with tourists. When we arrived we soon forgot the long hours of driving. Because as we approached the city, Dubrovnik welcomed us with its picturesque panorama.

We stopped somewhere along the highway to capture the islands in the background.

We next drove North to the Plitvice National Park located in the eastern part of the mountainous region of Lika-Seni county.

Now you can see why the choice was not difficult to make when we decided to move overseas from Colorado with our daughter. Croatia has many other cities and parks that I hope to visit this summer. Pula comes to mind.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Charity, Act of Kindness or Insult?

Several days ago I returned from the playground with Beli and remembered we needed a few things from the market. I crossed the street and made my way to the grocery store.

On my way in, I saw him, a thin frail man in his 70s. He collects bottles from garbage cans in exchange for money. I don't really know if he is homeless but one thing I do know for certain is that everyday he's in front of our building rummaging through the garbage; I see him as part of the neighborhood. I even worry if it's raining out and find him outside with no umbrella. But today when I saw him, I wanted to do something nice.

As I made my purchases, I wondered what he'd like to eat. Some bread? Cheese? Bananas? So I made two separate bags, one for him and the rest were my groceries.

I walked outside and he was talking with another man and in my best Croatian I tried saying, "For you, please accept it" as I handed him the bag. The other man spoke on his behalf, "No, No," He said. But I insisted, I said "please?" Then I realized he could translate for me, he spoke English. "Please tell him I see him around here because I live in this building", I said as I pointed to the building to the side of us. "Here?" The man questioned. "Yes," then I went on to explain, "I wanted to do something nice for him...please just a little something."

The translator went on, "No,no it's fine he doesn't need anything, he wants you to take it with you and give it your daughter". But no matter how many times I insisted, he denied my help.

I walked away feeling embarrassed. Did I offend him? Did he misinterpret my intent of kindness for charity? I only wanted to offer some of what I had. Was this selfish of me? Or was he simply holding on to his dignity? Have you ever offered help only to be told, "No?"

How did you respond?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Puppet Show For Kids

We woke up to Beli screaming GOOD MORNING everyone! Ok not exactly those words but you get the idea. We looked out the window and yes it is another sunny and beautiful day. And Beli is 21 months old today!

We had breakfast then headed out into the city. I think everyone had the same idea because it appeared the whole city of Split was HERE on Riva.

Soaking in the sun!

I saw women washing their laundry (do you see them, the blue towels on the upper right corner?) also men chatting over coffee, and Children playing UP DOWN UP DOWN.

One of the galleries. Free of charge!!

PIPO! PIPO! the kids were chanting at the puppets.

Beli enjoyed the full 40 minutes. It was a new and wonderful experience and stimulating without a doubt. I don't think she blinked once!

After the show.

Having lunch at Grandma and Grandpas. Hugging Grandma for her Birthday surprise gift.

Who said Girls couldn't play with dinosaurs?

Having some chocolate cake!

After lunch as we where walking to our car we saw this adorable puppy! Isn't he cute? Only 2 months old!
We had a nap and woke up energized to meet some friends over coffee!
I do hope tomorrow is another sunny and warm day. I can only hope.

How did you spend your day? Did you enjoy time outside? I am curious to know how it was on your side of the globe!
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