The last couple weeks have been pretty busy considering I didn't work much. We did a performance of Peter and the Wolf (Peca i Vuk) on the 21st for orphans and disabled kids sponsored by USAID. The kids were so excited about the different characters, and apparently the narrator was well-known on Bosnian children's television. It was a great concert, the kids really loved it and I've never played a concert with such audible response! I posted a video of the performance on YouTube, it was interesting to hear the narration in Bosnian:
Christmas was bittersweet, I couldn't really write about it for a while. I miss home, but I haven't been letting myself think about it too much. This was my first Christmas away from home, Christmas has always been one constant in my otherwise changing existence.
We had a little celebration in Otes, the girls bought a tree at Mercator and we wrapped everything up for Christmas morning. We had drawn Secret Santas with the rest of the Otes family, and had our party on Christmas Eve to exchange those gifts. Christmas morning we had stockings and opened our presents one by one. I got some really thoughtful and awesome gifts from everyone; Chihiro got me the best scarf I've ever seen plus a rainbow umbrella to replace the one I left on the bus. Rebecca got me more yarn to feed the crochet addiction, and GF chocolate tea biscuits to feed a different (cough, chocolate) addiction. Kent melted my pasta strainer a couple weeks ago, so he bought me a melt-proof metal colander. And last but certainly not least, Lindsey made me a "Sarajevo Survival Kit" complete with written descriptions attached to each part of the kit! There was a can of Glade spray labeled "For a More Pleasant Tram Experience," a jar of Nutella "For After A Bad Rehearsal," a mini-bottle of Jägermeister "For After A REALLY Bad Rehearsal," and a few other creative and thoughtful items to make life here a bit easier.
The day after Christmas, we were invited to go skiing with Colin, Dee and their daughter Alice who was home for break. Alice goes to the university in Vienna, and studies social anthropology. She's very intelligent and a ton of fun to hang out with, so we're looking forward to staying with her in Vienna when we go!
We went skiing at Jahorina, the same ski trails that were used for the 1984 Olympics. Needless to say, I wasn't too thrilled when we chose a red trail. (Blue is easy, red is intermediate and black is terrifying.) I had seen the kiddie slope and thought it looked like fun but everyone else, including Kent who had never been skiing at all, wanted to try the red trail. I went skiing once in Las Vegas on the bunny hill at Mount Charleston, and had a lot of fun practicing pizza and french fries, but that was around 2009-2010 so it had been awhile. Considering that these were Olympic slopes, I was a total chicken and imagined broken bones and utter disaster in my future. Luckily it was only the latter.
I went down the slope four times total, twice in the morning and twice more after 2 hours of recovering (i.e. eating french fries and drinking hot chocolate) in the lodge. I think the best run was the last, I only had to fall 3 times on that one. I got too good at going fast without learning proper braking, so I would pick up a lot of speed and lose control of my trajectory. This is not good when you have other people, rocky areas and trees nearby. So I had to fall on purpose a lot to prevent from reaching bone-breaking speed. I kept falling on the same side, so my right hip had a grapefruit-sized bruise on it before the day was over... But all the pain and terror aside, skiing is actually really fun. We only paid about 55 KM ($32) for the whole thing; lift tickets and rentals. If we had taken a cab out there instead of being driven by the generous Colin and Dee it would have been an extra 17 KM each, still a pretty good deal for skiing!
Rebecca got a great picture of me nose-diving into the snow... and it apparently illustrates my mother's idea of me "going skiing":