I have now spent a full week in Slovenia, and despite the mostly rainy and dismal weather, I am loving living here!
When we arrived on Friday, after a rather quick 2 hour flight from London, we were driven to the house that we will be staying in during our time here. It is situated in a rather quiet part of Ljubljana, but a very short distance to the centre (and a 1 minute walk to a very nice pub!).
Myself and the 2 boys from my course are sharing the house with 5 other people from the University of Minnesota. It has been great getting to know them and spend time with them, and realising how they are just as crazy as us Scots. What I find hilarious is the fact that half of the time they do not have a clue what we are saying. On the other hand, I myself feel like I am in an american TV show when listening to their amazing accents.
We did not have much time to unpack on Friday as we quickly had to head in to the centre to sort out some documents. We had to walk to the centre, and whilst the walk was longer than I anticipated it to be, it was nice to be able to see the city of Ljubljana, and learn about the city from the teacher who was showing us around. We had to collect our bus passes which we needed in order to get to and from places and also collect our meal vouchers.
An amazing scheme Slovenia has is that they pay certain restaurants to allow students to have money of their meal prices. This will come very handy when it comes to eating out, and already I have managed to get a pizza for 5 euro and a giant tub of noodles for only 2.50 euro!
I have noticed quite a lot of difference between Slovenia and Scotland already having only lived here a week. Firstly, they drive on the right side of the road. This took some time to get used to the first few days, as myself and the boys would find ourselves looking the wrong way down the road to look for traffic. Another thing that is different is the custom of greeting people. We were told by the headteacher at DKIS that, in the country, people always greet each other when entering a room. I found this very interesting and, whilst I found it strange to begin with, I have grown to like this idea and has made me feel more welcomed into the community of Ljubljana.
The final difference I noticed from home is what Slovenia define as ‘hot chocolate’. Now, in Scotland, hot chocolate is a hot drink with cocoa powder and milk. In Slovenia however, I can only describe as a chocolate pudding type consistency. I was quite shocked when I tried it for the first time but I love it indeed!
I have been researching and talking to people whilst I have been in Slovenia about all the places and activities we need to do whilst we are here. I plan on visiting the caves, other towns in Slovenia, the museums, Lake Bled and I even fancy venturing out to a neighbouring country.
The group of 8 of us decided on Wednesday that we would try out one of the suggestions and so we ventured out on a day trip to Lake Bohinj. It was beautiful!. We had picked a lovely day to go and were able to spend time walking around the lake, taking in the gorgeous sights and we even got to have a look in local church which was being refurbished. The place was so peaceful and I could have spent even more time there. I would love to be able to visit it again in the Summer time and go canoeing on the stunning water. The lake can also rise to a comfortable temperature in the summer so it would be a perfect place to have a swim.
The real reason I came to Slovenia was to teach at Danila Kumar International School. I have been loving this so much! To get the school everyday, we have to take 2 buses. I was very shocked at the size of these buses, as they are pretty much two regular sized buses connected together! I can only describe the journey on the first bus as a cattle market. You are squashed up against strangers and it can get very stuffy. Luckily, a lot of people get off before we do so we can actually breath near the end of it. I will still have to get used to the bus journeys!
I have had an amazing first week, and look forward to what the next seven weeks bring. I have lots of plans to visit different places both within and outwith Slovenia.