Sentate Giving $100 to US Taxpayers

The Senate is looking to give US taxpayers a $100 rebate check to help offset the cost of high gas prices. Sure it’s nice to get “free” money, but giving each taxpayer a $100 isn’t going to solve anything. Just like the supposed great tax refund that George Bush gave most taxpayers in his first term. Just hush money if you tell me.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/04/27/gas.rebate/index.html

How is it that the government can even afford to give away this money? Aren’t we in serious debt?

Journal Writing and Blog Writing

I haven’t been posting lately, and this is one reason why. I’ve been writing in a journal. I tried this when I was younger, but it never really stuck. I find it to be a really freeing experience. It’s a great way to self reflect without the worry of people reading or the ideas being stale.

I don’t know how many people out there are similar to me, in that I am much better at writing than I am at speaking. I like having the top to think about an issue, consider options, and identify solutions.

Journal writing fills one need for me, while blogging fills another. I’m having a hard time writing in this blog though. I literally have 12 started posts related to personal and professional concepts that I have been unable to complete and post for you all to read. Some of it’s related to time, some of it’s related to my own inability to post something with real substance without making it perfect.

So, I hope to share with you more in this blog. Don’t be surprised if you find 6 postings in 1 day 🙂

Pula and Istria

Dinko and I spent Easter weekend in Pula with our friends. It was a weekend of walking and eating. The food was fantastic and by the end of the weekend, I couldn’t eat anymore. I don’t think I’ve managed to walk off all the food I’ve eaten yet 😉

Pula is a great city. It’s smaller than I thought though, which was nice because we could then walk almost the entire city and see everything while we were there.

We saw a lot of interesting sites.

– Arena (Roman amphitheater from the 1st – 5th centuries)
– Gates (3 remaining roman gates to the center of the city)
– The Forum (main square, currently under construction)
– Temple of Augustus (ancient Roman temple to Augustus)
– Roman Theater Ruins
– Fortress (atop the hill in the center of Pula)
– Fort San Giorgio (from the Austro-Hungarian Empire)

and we spent a few hours in a few other places as well

Rovinj
A beautiful and well-kept costal town. The surroundings and entire coastline are protected.

Hum
Officially the smallest “city” in the world.

Ucka
For the ride back, we decided to save a few bucks by not taking the tunnel and instead driving up Ucka for the fantastic view of the Adriatic coast, Rijeka, Krk, and Cres.

This post was delayed because I wanted to add it when the pictures were available on Dinko.net. Check out all the great pictures.

Venice

This past weekend Dinko and I were in Venice with some friends. It is a fantastic city. It’s so strange to be in a city where the streets are so narrow and all transportation is on foot or by water. There are no cars anywhere. There are also no large stores or restaurants and bars. Everything is rather small scale and shops are specialized. I’m not quite sure how large items are purchased and delivered.

I really liked the narrow streets and the relatively cool temperatures. The further away form San Marco’s square the less people there were and the better time we had.

Back to English

Well, that was quick. Needless to say I only lasted a few hours before I completely broke down by the inability to communicate effectively. So much for the 3 day experiment.

I am just not at a stage where I can nearly cut out all English. My vocabulary isn’t high enough and my ability to create more complicated sentences with the right cases and word order is just not there yet.

Continued Language Struggles

It is close to 3 months since I moved to Zagreb and I am still not doing as well as I (and others) would like with the language. Sure, I know more words now than when I started. And, I know more grammar, but holding conversations is where I need the most practice and what I do the least.

I realized this soon after I began my Croatian lessons. Five lessons in I asked my teacher to change her format so that we could hold more conversations instead of me doing homework, trying to memorize word combinations and reading my homework aloud. She agreed, and we hold more conversations, but they are very basic and poor.

A few weeks ago I was doing some research online around linguistics, origin and roots of languages, and learning languages (particularly Croatian). I found a lot of great stuff, but the one revelation was this…

“People will not speak a new language if they don’t HAVE to.”

People will always find the easiest way to converse because speaking in a new language is difficult. I’ve realized that I can get by pretty well with mostly just English here. My boyfriend and I, despite several attempts, always end up speaking only in English. Mostly because of habit, but also because speaking in Croatian is frustrating for both of us and why would anyone want to voluntarily and continuously put themselves in a frustrating situation?

Speaking Croatian requires a whole different way of thinking and constructing sentences (at least for the beginners). For example, take the following relatively common English sentence,

“It’s so good to see you.”

and translate the concept into Croatian…

“Tako mi je drago sto te vidim.”

The literal translation back to English is…

“So to me it is dear that you I see.”

Oh my goodness. Since I don’t think “in Croatian,” I somehow need to come up with these kinds of things if I want to say anything more than “where’s the bathroom?”

Well, at my friend’s request, I am spending the next 3 days without speaking any English beyond what I need for my job. I hope it’s not a total disaster and that I’m not completely miserable with the frustration 🙂