Throwback to Belgrade and Lauren’s birthday! – lilac university

This week started with the recovery of Kosovo on Sunday and Monday. All in all, it was a very indescribable week, except for the fact that it was Lauren’s birthday on Wednesday! It was a fun excuse for excitement that I really needed. Semester exhaustion is in full swing and I’m looking forward to our mid-semester break in a few weeks! Also, I posted a mini “Day in my life” YouTube video this week, so Click here if you want to watch it 🙂

Sunday October 9

On Sunday, I slept late (until around 1pm!) before getting up and moving back to Belgrade. I did laundry and unpacked from our excursion, then FaceTimed with Mom and Veronica. Right now I’m in chaos trying to plan my mid-semester vacation trip – we have to submit all of our travel plans by next Monday, so I have to make some final decisions this week. I needed a day when I wasn’t doing school work, so Sunday was that day for me. It was relaxing and much needed.

monday october 10

On Monday, I slept again, but not as late, and spent the day relaxing. I finished editing a super short YouTube video that I posted and worked on my presentation on Kosovo that I have to give on Tuesday for class. I also did some planning and mini-tasks that had been piling up for a while, so it was good to get done. I feel like there are always those lulls in motivation where things start to slip before they get back on track, and today was one of those days where I managed to get back on track.

The famous statue in Belgrade – walked past it so thought I’d include it

Then Izzy and I decided to meet at a mall in New Belgrade, so I crossed the river and met her there. We spent four hours wandering around this giant mall (there are three floors) and bought clothes and had boba tea. It was really nice to go there and hang out!

After the mall, I went home to finish my presentation for Tuesday’s class, talked with Dad and Jono, then went to bed.

tuesday october 11

On Tuesday, I gave a presentation on our field trip to Kosovo and was able to listen to everyone, which took up the majority of our class time. For our Serbian lecture, we walked around the city looking at historic Jewish sites. Apparently, before World War II, there was a large Jewish population in Belgrade; unfortunately, most families no longer own their historic homes. Now they’re pretty hidden in the wider city landscape, unless you know where to look!

After the walk, I felt quite tired, so I came home and FaceTimed June before going to bed. Talking with people back home really helps ground me when everything around me is constantly changing and evolving.

Wednesday October 12

Wednesday was Lauren’s birthday, which added a festive energy to the air! I had to get up early to go to the Foreigners Department to take another step in the (multi-step) process of getting my visa. But the visit went well and after our appointment we went to a cafe before our research methods course started. It was really fun just hanging out in the morning, since normally at 10:30am we are in class.

Our Research Methods and Ethics (RME) class went well, and after that we had our group therapy session as we always do on Wednesdays, so it wasn’t until around 3 p.m. we were finally able to go to lunch. We went to a restaurant facing a small park and celebrated by eating the cake Aleks had bought for Lauren’s birthday – it was a surprising chocolate cake. After lunch, it was already around 4:30 p.m. (lunch here is normally between 2 and 4 p.m.), so we all split up to go home. I went to a party store to buy Lauren a birthday crown (it was her 21st birthday) and then drove home before we all went out to dinner to celebrate!

Lauren, Isabel and I at Lauren’s birthday dinner

Went to this beautiful fancy restaurant about a 15 minute walk from my apartment so it was nice to walk. The weather here hasn’t been that cold lately – we had a cold snap about two weeks ago where it was in the 40s but now it’s resting comfortably in the 60s. fun to see everyone in costume and we dined on a cheese platter, salads and Prosecco. Lauren decided on a banana split for dessert, and all the waiters came to deliver it to her, while singing happy birthday and bringing us each another glass of Prosecco! It was such a fun and festive time, and I had a blast getting dressed up and going out.

The rest of the group decided to go out, so I got home around 11 p.m., took a shower and went to bed. I’ve been really tired lately – probably because we’ve been doing so much – and I was completely drained after the day.

Thursday October 13

Today I woke up and went to peace and conflict studies and Serbian. We have a quiz tomorrow, so I’ve been studying for this all week, and man, Serbian is hard learn! It’s unlike any other language I’ve learned or even heard in my everyday life, so it’s definitely a challenge. After class, I met with Professor Lončar to talk about a forthcoming article in Research Methods, which I really enjoyed. Something else I missed but didn’t realize I would have met my Oxy teachers and used the writing center – basically collaborative academics. Even though we’re a very small group, we all do our own stuff, so there’s not as much collaboration as I’m used to at home. Talking to Professor Lončar was a great way to collaborate again.

Now I’m sitting in a cafe just up the street from my apartment writing this update. I worked for Victoria Fleming’s campaign today, and it was nice to know I’m contributing even though I’m 6,000 miles away. After finishing this post, I’m going to study some more for my quiz tomorrow, have a Zoom meeting with Professor Heldman to check and discuss spring internships, then study some more before Veronica and I have our FaceTime scheduled tonight !

It’s been a bit of a weird week — both with Monday off because of our Kosovo trip, and I’ve been generally quite tired and lethargic this week. I look forward to this weekend to relax and recharge while being productive. We are going to Bosnia on Tuesday of next week! Honestly, this semester has gone a long way, and I can’t believe the middle of the semester is just over a week away!

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