Friday, September 30, 2011

"...all these places have their moments..."

The now defunct school where Zok's Mom, Aunts and Uncles went.

View from the garden

I did take advantage of the home grown food. Sweden's imported 'fresh' foods don't agree with me. This photo is just the 'starter' of (each!) meal. It also tends to be vegetarian so that works well for me.

Zok's mother Mara was born in a village near Skopje.
Six children of twelve lived into adulthood, Mara is the only one that moved out of Macedonia. Her brothers and sisters moved to Prilip, with the exception of one, who moved to and still lives in Skopje. The cities are about two hours (and three toll payments) apart by car. One sister moved back to the village. The village actually was moved over by about say two miles or so, after cholera made many sick, everyone (forty or so families) re-settled.
The village only has about nine occupied houses now.
I thought that it was interesting that now there is both water and power people moved on to the city-but then I only have small bits of stories.
I find that the more I am surrounded by foreign language the less I try to understand. Well, I am trying, but sometimes my mind just drifts into white noise and minutes pass and I've lost even gist of the conversation. I find that as I am always trying to translate, as opposed to just understanding that I find myself doing just that- translating and filling in the deeper meaning- which doesn't work, of course if the conversation is actually deep.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Јас цха одом Маседониа

I have not been writing much, well I have been writing a lot, in Swedish, and for my University classes, and writing up drills for Roller Derby practice.  But for the blog- not so much.
I can't tell when my friends are checking in here, so sometimes I just see that there are no comments and I take a week or two off from putting anything up.  I would hate to be extremely boring.

But, in case I eaten by a goat, I will put this post up so you have a clue to my last whereabouts.
Zok and I are going to Macedonia early Tuesday morning.
We have not been there for years as you may be able to tell from the photos.
The bridge you see was built in the 1400s.
As you may know, Macedonia's high times were somewhere around the medieval era.  Mostly the country has been conquered and divided-again and again.  Actually one can view the country as quite tenacious, and marvel at their ability to keep both culture and language alive.
I want to go to this Monastery but Zok is already saying "No".
The last time we were there, the country had high hopes of becoming part of the EU, but this has not happened.
I doubt I will have any access to the Internet, and frankly I will settle for power that equals hot water for bathing.

Remember if I am eaten by a goat or fall from a mountain or both; I still want the rumor to be that I was 'swept out to sea'. 


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"I miss you now, like I guess I should have missed you then..."

I had a long weekend of derby in the city of Malmö, about a five hour drive from Stockholm.  I went with a Referee and three skaters.  Our hotel was filled with skaters from Finland.  The other Swedish team, Crime City, live in Malmö, and the last league came from nearby Copenhagen.  Talking to the skaters from Denmark was a pleasure, because since they love Princess Mary, they all know about Tasmania and there is much less confusion while talking over a beer.
They had an amazing speed skater on their team Martattack, she doesn't use toestops and controls her speed mostly by lifting her front wheels, she was amazing to watch.  I felt proud however that my derby tactics to stop her worked enough that the team won against them, in what I am told was the most exciting game of the six that were played over the weekend.  Bench coaching was sort of cool and less stressful than reffing but not quite as fun.
There were not as many fans as I would have expected- the skating ability so far outstrips the public interest.  However as you can see, by the face painting the ones that were there were quite enthusiastic.
Much singing and chanting...
I definitely take a longer time to recover from cramped spaces, long days, and longer nights.  We have an extra night off training though as I am not the only one suffering from the long weekend.
Next up- Macedonia.

Friday, September 2, 2011

"...on stranger waves, the lows and highs..."

I have had a lot of school, derby, and Swedish lessons taking up all my time.  I left on Friday afternoon to attend a Roller Derby 'advanced' bootcamp in Berlin.   I knew that I did not technically qualify as 'advanced' and I certainly felt that way when the coaches kept stating "I am sure your leagues do they types of drills all the time".  Each time this was stated I thought to myself, "The girls in Tasmania would think I was trying to kill them if I made them do this drill"!
I also had to pull myself off to the side to do some of the drills that I had never seen before and was slow to enact.  Also I have come to realize the level of 'aggressive skating' here is much higher than I am used too.  

I have had two days to recover but I am still tired.  I am going to Mälmo tomorrow for two days and six bouts.  I am going to bench coach the Stockholm games, which is something I have never done before.
Perhaps all the 'new' is what is causing my exhaustion.

Both coaches in Berlin were inspiring.  Although I think that for me the point is not to strive to be them, but to hold them up as a standard so that I can better myself.
Derby is growing fast, on a professional level as well as the level of athleticism.  Yet each week I think there are more 'small' places starting a roller derby league.  There is a large gap between them.
But this seems to be normal for sport.  There are junior leagues, professional leagues, b-leagues, pick up games, sport clubs- in each level and in each place people make the sport their own.

My excuse for having barely any photos and not even getting postcards in Berlin is due less to time constraints and more to the hazards of traveling in a group.