In a land far, far away

Since my last article, the heat now works, a cup is catching the hot water heater drippings, and I purchased some bedsheets. Things are looking up! As it turns out, some Polish girls who were using the room before me had taken all of the sheets, pillows and blankets with them when they left — those jerks. But, oddly enough, this problem provides a smooth segue into the first topic of this week’s column.
There will always be Polish girls stealing your sheets.
Figuratively speaking of course (in most cases that is). Stuff is always going to go wrong. No matter how long you spend planning and preparing, it only takes one thing to set off a crap-loaded domino effect of epic proportions. What you have to decide is what kind of person you are. Are you the type of person who: A) calmly pulls yourself together and deals with the situation rationally, or B) implodes at any wisp of trouble? I tend to be more on the A-side of things, with a little of B thrown in (depending on how big the wisp is). The key, I think, is not being afraid to ask for help. It does not make you a weak or terrible person to acknowledge that you know nothing about where you are or what you’re doing. As long as you are polite, look as pathetic as possible and ask someone who isn’t creepy, things will work out well. Contrary to popular belief, very few people are out there to make your life more difficult.
Right now, the biggest asset the other three Canadian girls and I have is our apartment manager David, who will quite literally run around town looking for things such as hangers, tape and Sharpie markers simply because we pay our rent in cash and are nice. David does have an issue with punctuality however, so we have quickly learned that “I’ll be there in 15 minutes” translates to “See you in an hour or two” and that “I will call before I come over to check the heater” means “I won’t call, see you at 8 a.m..” Chalk it up to the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle in Slovenia I suppose — we are not quite used to it yet.
I am also not yet used to living on my own, having to decide what to make for every meal, and then just eating out anyway, having to play music all the time so the room isn’t eerily silent and never quite knowing if that really is a bug on the floor, or if it is just dust shaped like a bug, and not really wanting to go and find out for sure. Although I will admit, I would be contemplating the bug thing if I were home in Winnipeg as well.
This past weekend, it was Masquerade in Koper. It is similar to that of Venice, but on a much smaller scale. The festivities were more family-orientated and included a costume parade (with a pirate ship and confetti cannon) and an open fruit/veggie market. At night, they had the more adult parties in clubs and bars which provided us Winnipegers with a great opportunity to meet some of the other exchange students. Right now there are about 30 exchange students in Koper, but 80 are expected by the time classes are supposed to start.
As you all come back from various reading week shenanigans, I have yet to even begin for the semester. Classes start on Feb. 22, and all I know at the moment is that there is a large chance that I will not have actual lectures — it will be set up more like a directed reading. The only way lectures could happen would be if eight or more people take that particular class, but of course, they have not told us anything about how many people are taking which classes, so we don’t know yet if we will be doing lectures or readings. The only assigned work is one essay in each class, varying from seven to 12 pages, and there is a possibility of an oral exam as well. Hopefully things will be clearer as we get started next week.