On Wednesday we played the season opening gala concert for the Sarajevo State Theater. The Philharmonic played with the singers from the state opera, as well as a few numbers with the opera chorus. It was a really fun concert, the singers here are incredible. One of the sopranos, Aida (of course... haha) sang some of the most acrobatic arias I've heard in a long time with incredible accuracy. She was my favorite, but the other singers gave great performances too! We've had "slobodan dan" (days off) since the Wednesday concert, which has been awesome. We had time to unpack, get settled in and go grocery shopping. We all have our Bosnian bank accounts and cell phones now, even though we can't speak to anyone about them.. we went to the bank and realized no one knew the word for withdraw! Haha! Luckily most people here that don't speak English can usually find a co-worker who does, and hand gestures are incredibly universal.
Lindsay and Chihiro are excellent cooks, so we've been doing American "Otes family" dinners to save money. We want to travel at the end of the month when we have 9 days off, so it's time to pinch the marks. ;) Chihiro made some Indian curry (despite no coconut milk in this city) and it came out really well. Last night Lindsay made Italian pasta and sauce, and I used my GF spaghetti that I found in the Deutsch Market. She also made me a baked apple with nutmeg and spices for dessert, and everyone else had her apple pie. Everyone's faces assured me the pie was good... It's me and Kent's turn to cook tonight, so hopefully the building is still standing after we're done. I really want to find some corn tortillas to make tacos, not to mention cheddar cheese (I've been without sharp cheddar for almost 2 weeks and I'm still alive.. miraculous) and some avocado. Ana-Maria (Bosnian violinist in our building) says we can find avocado but it's 7 KM per kg, which I think comes out to $4.50 for 2.2 lbs. So not far from America, I suppose! I'm getting better at using the metric system, and I'm trying not to think about our KM as an equivalent in dollars, especially since I'm now living on half the monthly income I got used to! I have 900 KM per month, so I'm trying to think of it as $900 and every time I buy something it's in dollars. A bag of rice is 1,19KM, and I'll think ok, it's a dollar twenty. The Italian horn player in our section, Matia, suggested thinking that way. I've definitely improved my spending habits since then!
The one thing that is cheap and plentiful is Vranac wine. And we have a great little grocery store in our building that keeps running out of our favorite 4 KM beverage!! They probably see us coming and think oh no, the Americans want more wine... Haha!