Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ready, set, a week!

I'll be London bound in exactly one week, on a flying bar, i. e. Virgin Atlantic.
I don't think I was ever this excited about an actual flight. And, my friends, I fly a lot, aaaah lot!
So, today, a little bit of anxiety began kicking in, just about all the things I have to do, need to do, must do, in a week, since I'll be away for more than a month.
For example, I have to see a doctor on Friday since I probably need vaccines for Morocco and the last one I  got was in high school. I actually remember it quite vividly. Second floor of my high school in Nis, dark, late afternoon, bad light bulbs, small room with dark brown doors converted into a medical office for one day. Poorly...
I also still have my beloved fiction writing class at George Washington University, and some interpreting work on the day before my trip.
Since I'm planning on writing two articles--one analytical and one travel, I need to make sure I bring everything I need for work. I should actually do at least one interview before I go.
I have already set up most of my interviews in Europe, so that's good.
The act of packing this time will be fun, since I'm visiting five countries and over ten cities in a little over a month. Not to mention the fact that I need clothes for interviews, and casual strolling, as well as for cold Serbia and warm Morocco in April. As I said, fun as euphemism, since I'm allowed only one suitcase. I couldn't bring more than one anyway, considering that I only have two hands, and one back. (Backpack, laptop, purse...)
But despite my whining, I absolutely adore all aspects of traveling, which you will be able to live vicariously through this blog.
The only thing I regret this time is the fact that I will (sigh) miss many of my classes. It truly makes me sad, and reminds me that I cannot have it all despite the fact that I keep trying. Damn, so close!
So stay tuned. Starting next Wednesday-Thursday, I'll be blogging about my days in Europe.
Exciting, right, right? Oh, very!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Half around the world in 40 days

So, my friends, so much has happened since I was here last.
I booked my first two legs of my over-a-month-long-European-and-African-trip.
And I booked one of those on Virgin Atlantic.
I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.
Well, as well traveled as I am, I have never flown Virgin Atlantic before. And I heard that it's decadence in the air.
Imagine my joy this morning when I chose a seat not that far from a bar. Yes, an actual bar. I knew I haven't seen it "all " then. And I want to. (Well, maybe not all.)
So, I'm taking Virgin Atlantic to London, then staying with one my my best friends in the whole wide world, for three days, then flying to Belgrade. I'll be in Belgrade for a few days, then I'm going down to Constantinople, or Nis. (Not Istanbul, the Emperor Constantine was born in the same city as I was, Nis, though it wasn't Nis then, it was Naissus.)
After about two weeks in Nis, I'm going to Skopje to meet my husband.
Then, the two of us are going to Paris. (Yay!) By the way, I have been in love with Paris since my second French class in Fifth grade.
Then, we're going to Morocco, to visit friends.
Then back to Paris for another few days. More croissants and Champs Elysee.
Then back to Skopje.
After that I'm going back to London for another few days. And only then, back to DC on April 11.
I'm leaving on March 7.
But that's not the end. Oh, no. (If you know me, you know it never is.)
On April 15, I'm going to Puerto Rico, on a cruise, as an interpreter, but still, on a week-long Caribbean cruise.
And the bonus is--I'm going to all the islands I still haven't visited, such as British Virgin Islands and French West Indies.
Oh, joy. Does it come across the screen? My face hurts from smiling...
And, I'm guaranteed a very nice, spacious suite on the cruiser, with a window, and everything included! That includes an open bar. AN OPEN BAR!!!
So, I'll be back from that working-heavenly trip on April 22.
There you go, that's why it's 40 days.
I'll be traveling for about 40 days, non-stop.
I have to start travel-writing....
p.s. A disclaimer: The author of this blog is not, I repeat not, an alcoholic. As a matter a fact, she's pretty lame when it comes to alcohol. She sometimes gets tipsy from just looking at it, and definitely from one drink. She could probably not walk after the third one, but she never tried. She, in fact, usually has only one drink, and only on special occasions, like all inclusive cruises, or parties. Or vacations. Or...
p.p.s. Alcohol in general is bad for you. Well, actually, I think one glass of wine or beer a day is good for you. But, still, don't drink! Well, maybe just mojitos and strawberry daiquiris....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gloom Cupboard and Paris under bombs

Today, one of my early non-fictiony pieces was published by a small magazine with great taste :-): Gloom Cupboard:
It's, I believe, the third story from the top. So scroll down. Or read it all, what do I care.
I think I wrote this story in New York City, probably in 2008. But it could have been 2007. or 2009. Either way, it's been a while. I edited it a bit along the way, and submitted months ago. I actually forgot about it until today, I got an e-mail saying that The Gloom Cupboard (I love the title) loves it and will publish it.
It's about NATO bombardment of Serbia and lots more--its effect on people's lives, but also general Serbian traditions, superstitions and the way of life in the 80s and 90s.
It's a bit funny at times. It's actually pretty good. So read it.
What else?
I still haven't decided on a new challenge. I have a trip to Europe up in the air so it's throwing me off a little. It's hard to plan when you can't plan.
I might just look into it tomorrow and jump into it on Monday.
I'm loving my GW fiction class, by the way. It's fun but also very technical and I need that in this stage of my writing career, if you can call it that.
Plus, my teacher is funny. I enjoy funny people.
And my last submitted, discussed story looks like a horror movie now--his comments and scribbles all over. But that's good, right? He's giving me a genuine and extensive feedback. Not like a teacher I had in The Writer's Center in Bethesda--she would not mark up the story, just write down four pathetic comments on a piece of paper and you go, figure out how to become better by yourself.
So, read Paris under bombs and comment, s'il vous plait?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

New challenge, Dolphins and Stingrays

Aaaaaand I'm back.
I'd like to write, "unfortunately," but despite the fact that I had a great time in Grand Cayman, I missed my cats, and civilization as I know it, i.e. my laptop.
I made some amazing memories and lived through some unadulterated moments of happiness, such as swimming with, holding and petting the stingrays, and feeding and belly-riding a dolphin, both must-dos if you are ever on Grand Cayman, but a week was enough. Enough of swimming in the warm Caribbean sea, walking along the white, sandy Seven Mile Beach, eating incredibly tasty sea food (seriously, I don't know how they do it, I didn't have a single bad meal in a week), drinking frozen cocktails and relaxing in the hot tub literary in front of my resort suite's balcony.
But I'm back, having missed one of my fiction writing classes ( now I can say "unfortunately,") and with my inbox full of things to do.
So today, going through my fat e-mail box, I found another challenge I can do. Another book competition ending at the end of March. I'm thinking about it...
Also, I'm planning on going to Serbia and assorted European countries in mid-March. So, it would have to be another short-er challenge. That, and I want to go vegan-ish, at least for a time before I get to Serbia. Because, you can't be vegan in Serbia. At least not in late winter/early spring, whatever March turns out to be.
Considering how snowed down and freezing it is right now (Europe), probably still winter.
Anyway, the point of this post is:
If you can go to Grand Cayman, go, it's worth the trip. It's only three hours direct from DC.
And wait up for another writing challenge, probably.
p.s. If this post isn't coherent, it's probably because I'm writing it while my in-laws are watching SuperBowl. In the same room, yes.