In a land far, far away

It snowed in Koper this week. Apparently it hasn’t snowed in Koper in either 15 or 50 years (depending on who you talk to, of course). Not only was it snowing, but the wind was ridiculous. Locals refer to the wind as “The Burja,” and it can blow at rates up to 150 km/h. The Burja caused us to lose all power for an entire morning, stores to close, and buses to stop running. After speaking to my mother on Skype and having her tell me Winnipeg was expecting to have a 10 C weekend, I feel as though I am cursed. I purposely left Winnipeg for the winter semester because of the cold, and now it is colder in the Mediterranean. Cursed, I tell you! Everyone blames the cold on the fact that Canadians are in Koper, and proceeded to exclaim, in a mocking fashion, that it must “feel just like home for us.” We punched them all in the jugular. That was the end of that.
We (the other three Canadian girls and I) had our second lecture this past week. We are paying for all of our time off because it ended up being a four-hour marathon lecture with no break. Apparently, as we found out yesterday, that is quite normal for the particular professor we have. Lucky us. The class is supposed to be a diversity management and ethnic minority protection course, so I became a bit unnerved as he put up the first power point slide and it said “The Beginning of Humanity.” I knew then that this was going to be a long afternoon. Four hours later, we had only made it up to the formation of the first nation-state, which is where I had assumed we would have been starting. Our faces must have given him the hint that we were done for the day, and he set us free promising to finish the 60-slide power point presentation at another time. We will have to make regular trips to the capital city, Ljubljana, to see our professor because he is based there and has a bit of a crazy schedule. This is really not convenient for us at all due to the fact it takes two and a half hours to get there, and will cost us over 20 euros round-trip by bus. My friends would like to try hitchhiking there, which, I am told, is the normal student thing to do, but we will have to wait and see about that one.
One great thing about living in Koper as a student is the meal plans they have set us up with. We buy tickets called “bonds” that are redeemable at certain restaurants all over the town, from basic kebabs or pizza, all the way up to four-course meals, all for about 4 euros a ticket or less. Last night we went out for dinner at a beautiful place right on the seaside and had a dinner of soup, salad, main dish (I had a huge plate of tomato pasta), and a little dessert. It cost us 2.90 euros with a bond, and without one it would have cost upward of 15 euros. It is quite cute actually — every meal has fruit and veggies. We even get an apple with our kebab. Clearly the university wants us to eat well, which is also a very Slovenian thing. Food is a big deal here. Everywhere you go, someone will try and feed you and if you are not hungry, there is something wrong with you. Good thing we walk so much, or I’d be in real trouble. We have had a bit of a hard time finding traditional Slovenian food however. The area we live is so heavily influenced by Italy that most of the food is pizza, pasta or chicken-related. I have enlisted the help of a friend to cook a traditional Slovenian meal for my roommates so they can at least taste something authentic. Cultural beverages are easier to get; Laško is the beer of choice here, and has become my go-to drink (we can get it for 85 cents/750 mL bottle). I drink a lot of ZA flavoured water. It comes in flavours like peach and aloe vera, apple and pear. Also, this region of Slovenia produces a lot of local wines that are fairly inexpensive, and we are lucky enough to have made friends with a student who provides us with homemade wine whenever we should ask — and sometimes when we don’t. It’s all about who you know!
All in all, we get taken pretty good care of food-wise, but a few more four hour lectures and my recently acquired drinking habit may be forced to become full-blown alcoholism before I know it.