A new year, a new city, and a new home! If you’re thinking “I can’t keep up, you’re always moving…” I know, I feel the same way – my life is characterized by the lack of permanence to a place – but I cannot think of a better life for myself (at this point of my life).
When I first arrived in Ljubljana, at the beginning of February, I was still recovering from my injury so I didn’t get a chance to explore the city. The only place I visited in the first 1.5 weeks were the 3 hospitals. When I was trying to get to somewhere new in the city, I would actually orient myself with the locations of the hospitals, “oh your home is down the street from where I get my rabies vaccination!”
I have to be honest, that when I first arrived I was quite sad. Both physically and mentally, I felt drained and I didn’t feel like I had the capacity to fully process my new environment. The temperature change was also dramatic (almost 40 degrees difference from sunny and hot Thailand to cold and snowy Slovenia). I caught a cold immediately after arriving and all I felt like eating and drinking was porridge and soup. I missed my mango sticky rice pudding and going for swims in the oceans of Maldives.
Well… that was the “sad” first few days when I was alone. But after a week of recovering and healing, my classmates were arriving in Ljubljana from their travels in Europe and abroad. Seeing them was soooooo happy!
It was really hard at first when others began doing sports and other activities and I could barely walk to the end of the street without feeling like my foot was too swollen for my boots. I had to spend my afternoons after class at the hospital every other day. I’m not complaining but I was just beginning to get tired of it all.
But so many things this past several of weeks have reinforced the value and tough lesson of patience. I waited and rested and my leg slowly began to feel better. Now, almost a full month after the accident, I am recovered. With two nicely functioning legs, I embraced the outdoors with open arms! Several of us rented a car and drove to the northwest part of Slovenia. This country is so tiny, you can really get anywhere with a car and two hours of time!
Even though I was a little bit grumpy with the cold weather when I first arrived, I suddenly felt at home in the expansive forest and white covered grounds. For my friend from the Philipines, it was actually her first time seeing snow! It’s such a joy to share this experience with her. To see her child-like wonder for the snow sparks in me a similar fondness for the natural world.
On days that the sun was shining, it was like the city became alive. The whole town was happy. People stepped out of their homes and lingered longer in the streets. The blue skies made the colourful buildings stand out. The river in the middle of the city became a gathering point for locals and tourists alike.
We went on a small hike on the weekend and I felt so much joy! There is something wonderful about breathing in fresh air, listening to birds chirp, saying ‘hello’ to passerby’s, stepping in mud, climbing gradually higher… even the fact you sweat and your face gets flushed is part of the joy of hiking.
And rewarding doughnuts and tea at the top!
I am already so fond of Slovenia. It feels like home!