The odds ‘n’ ends of November

So besides going to Ireland and posting an online memorial to my cat, I haven’t really done too much at the end of November (and let’s face it, I didn’t do too terribly much in Ireland ever. Worst traveler award goes to me.). But in deference to my clamoring readership (aka because I’d rather write a blog post than work), I decided to do a little Potpourri Jeopardy Category for what I’ve been doing in the last few weeks of November, besides work (boooooring). Prepare yourselves for a life of adventure, excitement, and danger.

Or a photo montage depicting how I filled my time.

I watched a LOT of holiday-appropriate TV

My former roommate Kathleen made the fortuitous decision to do a tour around Europe in November, which positively impacted me as A) London was the “bookend” and so I only had to deal with jet-laggy Kathleen or worn-out-from-travel Kathleen, which meant we got to just lounge around together and I felt less pathetic than when I do it alone; and B) She was in my life in the beginning of November and right before Thanksgiving, which means we got to celebrate Halloween, Election Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas together.

Allow me to explain (because I will anyway): my holiday traditions dictate that on Halloween, I watch Hocus Pocus and the scary episode of Boy Meets World, originally with my dear friend Sean and then whoever else was around; on Election Day, we watch West Wing episodes (OBVIOUSLY, like a good DC kid would); on Thanksgiving, all the Friends Thanksgiving episodes; and on Christmas, a mish-mash of Christmas movies that last year included a shared calendar of about 15 movies but always requires a viewing of The Santa Clause while decorating.

Clearly we had to stuff as many holidays into as few days as possible (especially since Kathleen is the holder of the WW and Friends DVDs). Thus resulted in a day where we watched about 4 straight hours of Friends while I made a pummple pie (pumpkin and apple), and then we switched to Christmas while I put on the best onesie the world has ever seen and put up the saddest decorations while watching The Santa Clause (a teeny little USB Christmas tree and one sad tinsel streamer). Perfect.


(And did a pilgrimage to Primark to pick up the most comfortable and attractive PJs known to man)

I put on my tour-guide hat and took the Me in Ireland around my city 

To follow up from my wonderful visit to Dublin, my pal Rachel came over to visit London for the first time! While I realized I am a bit of a nervous tour guide (I kept asking if she was having a good time and at one point got so overwhelmed with emotions and nerves that she had to give me an Underground-turnstile hug – EVERYONE COME VISIT!), I like to think we had a grand time that included NITROGEN ICE CREAM (yum!), huge hunks of cheese (and Scottish hunks as well GOT EM), and the Kristen McCarthy Tour of London.

Most importantly: I had an incredible Thanksgiving meal 

While I’m not the biggest fan of Thanksgiving food, I had a pretty awesome Thanksgiving. We took the students out to a restaurant and served them a “British Thanksgiving meal” (aka the Christmas menu of soup, roasted turkey, and special-ordered pumpkin pie). The staff promptly established the “grown up table.”

You know how sometimes you’re out in a restaurant and you see a table of people having the best time? That was us. It was one of those nights where everything just crackled, everyone was hysterical, and we made everyone else super jealous with how much fun we were having. We did the whole go around the table and say what you’re thankful for, and our British colleague (who was very nervous about this tradition and made us all go before she did) NAILED that tradition so hard with the best little speech that we gave her a round of applause.

Most importantly, I had the best. pumpkin pie. ever. In between the mains and dessert we were taking pictures with our students. When we caught a glimpse of the pie being placed on our table, we literally shoved the students aside to leap back to the table and devour.

Aaaaand that’s about it for November. Besides sharing how on the way over to the restaurant, I said very seriously, “I really want there to be ice cream on the pie. A. LOT.” Imagine my delight when there was! I dug in quickly and didn’t even breathe in between bites – until someone idly said, “This ice cream is good!” I clasped the spoon in my fist, rammed it into the plate, and said passionately, “That’s what I’m TALKING about!!!”

The epitome of November to me — our genial British coworker and friend experiencing turkey belly after her first Thanksgiving meal.

The things you miss being abroad, or, the entire post dedicated to my cat

Apparently when you aren’t at “home” (whatever your home may be), things go on without you. I know, I know, it’s hard to imagine. People grow up, get jobs, have babies, and have fun without you. Holidays come and go. Occasions pass you by. There are the benefits of being in an exotic foreign country living the dream, but some days the drawbacks seem insurmountable (not to be hyperbolic or anything…)

Frankly, this is one of those times where things are rough and the short six-hour plane ride seems like the world’s biggest distance. I’m writing this right after receiving the news so I’m admittedly a little raw, but it’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.

Right now, it’s the day before Thanksgiving. I’ve been mulling over the past few days about how I felt missing this quintessential American holiday. At first I wasn’t too bothered: I’m not the biggest fan of Thanksgiving food in general (I’m crazy, get over it). It’s also just not really a huge deal in my family. Typically it just means we eat a fancier dinner early in the day and then don’t know what to do with ourselves for the next 6 hours before bedtime.

I started to realize what I was missing and the sadness crept in. Many of my best friends from home gather back for the holidays; pies galore; and most importantly, a FOUR DAY WEEKEND! (although soon enough I’ll have nothing but weekends).

A little while ago, I decided to give my dad a surprise phone call to wish him a happy birthday but mostly to ask him a question about my tax returns. We exchanged pleasantries and talked about their trip to England in two weeks when he said the dreaded words: “So, we wanted to talk about this over Skype, but I have some pretty terrible news and I think I just need to tell you.”

Stomach drops.

The long and the short of it is that my wonderful cat has passed on. I may seem to be overdramatizing this, but I really don’t care because frankly it’s devastating. She is literally the best cat in the world (all the other cats took a vote and decided). I’ve had her for the last 15 years of my life and delight in everything about her. I even have a special way I call to her: *very high pitched voice* AAAANNNIIEEE! (It’s attractive, I know).

You know her too, because she’s been the star of my blog many a time:

Go ahead and call me a crazy cat lady; I frankly like her better than 95% of my friends. And today is a hard day because today is the day she is no longer in my life… and I’m not there. I told my dad as we cried together that it kills me because literally any Thanksgiving weekend, I would have been at home. Heck, if I were in the U.S. I would get back to Virginia, stat. But I don’t have that luxury.  It’s a crappy place to be in, and I know I’m not alone.
So this might not be the most cheerful of posts and I might not have a snappy resolution. What I can say is that I’m happy that she is out of the immense pain she has been in, and she is able to frolic around with all of our former pets and my friend’s former pets and play with as many toy mice as she wants (her favorite). All I’m asking you is to give your own pet an extra snuggle for me today, and raise a leftover turkey leg in her memory. 

Giving Thanks in Ireland

For someone who has a blog about traveling, it turns out I’m sometimes really bad at it. When I first got my position working in London for the fall, I was super stoked, imagining all the cool places I could travel. Things fall through, but one of the plans that stuck? Ireland. My entire reason for going there? I had become pretty good friends with the person I secretly (or not-so-secretly) call the Me in Ireland – the person with my job at the Ireland site – and I would have a free place to stay.

So what did I get up to in Ireland?

*insert list of all the fun things I saw*

*insert moving, life-altering photos to make everyone else jealous*

*conclude with some moving thing about how travel expands the mind and heart*

Ummm.. MY BAD. I didn’t do any of that. This is literally how my weekend went:

Saturday afternoon: Arrived in Dublin, met up with Rachel. Immediately return to her flat, chatting about life, work, the future, blah blah blah.

At some point we realize we should proooobably leave and do something, you know, Irelandy. So we take a walk outside, continuing to talk, and manage to just meander without any meaningful sightseeing. Eventually that melds into…

Saturday night: Well HEEY I don’t know about you but I’ve had a busy day of sightseeing! Better pull up at a pub and grab a pint. Or three. That’s all I have to say about that. Just kidding. I’m not NEARLY that interesting. After tucking in to a super late dinner, we got immediately tuckered out, returned to hers, watched ten minutes of Love Actually, and fell asleep. Wah waaaah.

Sunday morning… into the afternoon: Continue watching Love Actually, you say? While eating cake for breakfast? OKAY! Oh, but we’re still talking the whole time. SERIOUSLY. WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING DUBLINY. We walk to the nearest museum (the National Museum of Ireland or something). Spend half an hour or so there, realize we’re STILL just spending the entire time talking, and return to hers again.

Sunday evening: That’s a wrap! Back to London!

So there you go. The entire sum of my time in a whole other country was spent catching up with a friend and eating cake. I didn’t even take a single picture – heck, I didn’t even turn my camera on. This is the only photo I have of us – taken over the summer because all the student staff thought we were sisters. YEAH YEAH?

I could beat myself up for paying $$$ for a flight and then spending the weekend basically on a 10th grade sleepover, but you know what? Travel and life aren’t just about expanding your mind and heart. The biggest thing I felt upon leaving Dublin was not disappointment with myself for not “taking advantage ” but gratitude (in this month of thanks giving, how appropriate!).

I am grateful that I still have “friend soulmates” out there. I am grateful that the time for making new friends isn’t over after grade school, and that instead of only having a finite number of people in my life to love I can keep expanding it out further. I am grateful knowing that I have people in my life – new and old – who care about me and about whom I care in return.

Basically, I am grateful to you (especially if you read this far). I’m nervous as anything about what comes next, but it’s a genuine blessing to have you lot in my life.

(Oh, and I’m also thankful for this little nugget of love)

Very Factual Information About Edinburgh

One of the best parts about working in international education is that any time I travel, I’m honestly expanding my resume (you can bet that I have a section on “international travel and work experience”). The bonus of working on a study abroad program? Excursions with the students! I’ve already been on a few (notably to Bath & Stonehenge and Dover), but the first weekend in November took me on my first overnight excursion with this group, and my first time to our neighbor to the north: Edinburgh, Scotland!

Aside from the complete stress leading up to and encompassing the weekend, what with planning the logistics for 60+ students and then ensuring their health and safety the entire weekend, I ADORED Edinburgh! I was even bold enough to declare that I like it more than London. My flabbergasted students pointed out, reasonably, that I had only been in the city for 36 hours compared to an overall total of about a year in London (taking every trip into account). Sure, sure, go ahead and use logic. I maintain that I prefer exciting, mid-sized cities to the super-large cities: see my love of DC and Boston, compared to NYC. Still a great place, but not necessarily perfect for me. And so, Boston:NYC::Edinburgh:London. (Yep, I just went there).

My weekend in Edinburgh was largely spent wandering around and soaking in the gorgeous weather (so lucky!) while keeping my heart rate under control wondering what the students were currently doing. I did a lovely hike to Arthur’s Seat and a visit to Edinburgh Castle, but besides that I was mostly compiling a complete dossier on Edinburgh. You’re welcome.

My conclusions:

Scottish accents sounds fake

Every single time I heard someone speaking in a Scottish accent, I scoffed and thought confidently, “All right, buddy. Who do you think you are, Shrek?”

Haggis doesn’t taste badly, but it’s not the MOST delicious thing in the world

I can hear you already: “Whaaaaaaa?? Kristen tried HAGGIS?”

Yes, friends, she did. For the less-informed-about-random-Scottish-foods, the interwebs defines haggis as such:

Haggis [contains] sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for approximately three hours

I know. YUM!

I was determined to be adventurous and give it a go. When in Scotland, amirite?

However, I am a bit of a squeamish eater – I’m the girl who has a well defined “food face.” See below for an example memorably captured by Jenny. Note I am eating a delicious piece of pasta and am not actually repulsed by it – for some reason any time I eat anything, I look inexplicably sad.

In deference to the Face, I decided to do the baby version of haggis in the form of haggis quesadillas! Armed with the knowledge of a well-reviewed place, I journeyed out Saturday night with some pals and dove in to a sheep’s stomach in the best way possible: covered with melted cheese.

The product:

Essentially, the haggis quesadilla was like any generic minced meat (it thankfully did not come in a sheep’s stomach), but it tastes… different.

Now that I think about it, this is fairly similar to my Food Face, only the “THIS IS REALLY HOT” version.

Verdict: It tasted okay – I got through most of my meal – but it wasn’t the best. It tasted very spicy (flavorful, not necessarily hot, minus the initial temperature). But something about it was a little off… it was also a bit gritty to the taste.

No need to worry – we had ordered enough other food items to feed, well, four hungry people.

As previously discussed: If you do a hike with me, I WILL suggest turning back 200m from the end

And the most important thing to know about Edinburgh:

Any city that welcomes me with blue skies, beautiful views, and great pubs is good in my books

Good weather aside, this is simply a gorgeous and brilliant city and I pray to the spirit of William Wallace that I will be back!

Kristen’s Exercise Series: Hiking in the UK

I readily admit I am not the world’s most outdoorsy person. I keep convincing myself I enjoy hiking (although I mostly enjoy it when it is called “a long ramble outside in nature”), but then I am completely unprepared for what is before me.

The benefit of so many comical mistakes? I’ve realized exactly what kind of hiking partner I am. And now, for those looking to get as little meaningful exercise as possible while feeling lost 67% of the time – but damn well fed – look no further than the next edition in my exercise series, describing what to expect when hiking with me!

What to Expect #1: I will walk confidently along, convincing you I have a “pretty good” idea of what I am doing, and end up on the completely wrong path.

This was painfully evident a few years ago when I hiked the “Bronte moors” in Yorkshire with my partners-in-crime, Jenny and Molly. I had procured a map from the visitor’s center and was positive we were on the right path. Sure, it described it was a “well-defined” path, but what we were following was reasonably well defined. That’s such an iffy statement anyway.

Fast forward half an hour, and we’re fording creeks (honestly – my friend slipped and got her whole right shoes covered in mud) and literally cutting through private property. 


It’s about when we have to clamber over a wall using a fairly unsafe ladder than I reluctantly agree that something doesn’t feel right. Turns out when they say “well-defined,” they MEAN well-defined. Also turns out we had been walking approximately 50 feet to the right of the correct path the entire time. Whoops.

Along those lines…

What to Expect #2: You will probably have to ford a couple of creeks, scramble up some rocks, and hoist yourself up a hill using the grass – and prayer – as handholds.

After the comedy of errors in Yorkshire a few years ago, I thought I had learned my lesson. Turns out that wasn’t so – when I decided to go on a hike to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh with literally no knowledge besides the vague understanding that the “easier path is around the back of the hill and the hard one in the middle,” I thought it would be fine. Of course this was assuming I was someone else, because I ended up taking a few of my students on a complete wild goose chase that had us tromping through ankle-high grass, scaling a 90 degree grassy inclined using grass as a handhold, and – I’m not lying about this – bouldering up the side of a cliff. Thank god I made them sign a liability waiver. (As a side note, I was the one who had to put it together and think about what dangers lie in wait in Edinburgh, and I settled on, “Danger from slipping on historical cobblestone.” Who needs a lawyer when you have me?!).

Even though I was the one setting the ridiculous path, I usually lagged behind everyone else, resulting in a lot of unattractive pictures of me trying to catch up. I feebly protested it was because I have “older legs” than the rest of them, but the Cadbury Creme Eggs probably have more to do with it.

What to Expect #3: I will want to turn back 200m from the end, suggesting, “We’ve seen it, do we really need to climb it?”

I like to think this is now a fun tradition with me. It started in Haworth (the Yorkshire moors). After a grueling 8 mile hike (half of which was on the wrong path) in the fog and rain, my friends and I were within site of the pinnacle of the hike – “Heathcliff’s House,” or Emily Bronte’s inspiration for it in Wuthering Heights. Noting it was at the top of the hill – but very much within a 3 minute walk – I immediately suggest, “Well, I’m good. Shall we go back?”

Thankfully I have friends who push me along and force me to go to iconic sites I will probably never see again… and I get the chance to do the fistpump of victory. Or the “praise Jesus face” of victory.

Obviously I didn’t learn my lesson, because I did the same thing in Dover, and obviously the same again in Edinburgh. I think I waited until around 10.45am to start suggesting, “Shall we go to lunch?” I almost didn’t make it to the very peak of Arthur’s Seat – I had JUST slumped down on the grassy hilltop next to it and started to gnaw into my apple when those pesky students peer pressured me. Hence the face.

But, I grudgingly stood up, shoved the apple in my mouth to hold while I rock-climbed up the side of a cliff (clearly the most safe route) and made it to the top of that city. By god, I did!

In all of these difficulties, the most important thing to know about me as a hiking buddy:

What to Expect #4: I will have snacks.
It’s a fairly well-known fact amongst my friends that without constant feedings I tend to get… challenging. Some say cranky. Some may even say harsher words than that. I just like to think that I am a grazer and do best with constant food intake throughout the day. With that knowledge, I tend to pack my pockets like I am about to be donating food to the food kitchen. My pockets prior to Yorkshire looked like I had a baby.

Obviously nothing changed for Edinburgh. Early in the hike one of my students asked what was in my surprisingly heavy tote bag I was carrying. My response: “Oh, you know, a notebook, a book (just in case I get bored in the middle of the hike, apparently), a water bottle, an apple, a granola bar, another type of granola bar…” Apparently they don’t think ahead like I do, because they were flabbergasted at the amount I was packin’ for an hour-long hike. I do have a Master’s degree, though, so clearly I am smarter than they are.

So what have we learned? As a hiker, I’m not the greatest. I complain, I get lost, I peer-pressure you into giving up.

But what is the benefit? The simple views of nature. The beautiful expanses over the town.

And more importantly, the food.

Hostility in a Hostel

So I recently went to Ljubljana, on my first-ever solo trip. I had a challenging but beautiful weekend, with one good story: my hostel roommate. In my four-bed dorm, the only other person (on the bottom bunk to my top bunk, as it were) was an older European gentleman. How old, you ask? Well, I answer… I have no idea. I’m terrible at telling ages. I’ve best described it as, “If we were dating, he’s the older than me that people would say ‘Whooaaa,’ but not SO old that they would be like ‘WHOAAA!” Make sense?

On the second night, I come bustling in at 9.45 and Grandpa is already asleep. I am initially psyched that he is asleep because a) I feel SO COOL being the last one (of two) in the hostel room, and b) now I can go to bed and not worry about when he is going to roll in and wake me up!

…And then I realize. My locker is a lockable drawer on the bottom of the bunk. All of my clothes and toiletries are in it. And the drawer is DIRECTLY – and I mean DIRECTLY, like three inches – below his sleeping head. If I were to crouch down at the drawer and slightly lean forward on the balls of my feet, we would be making out.

Next image: I’m awkwardly two feet away from my drawer, stretching my arm out and rummaging through blindly, just to avoid the awkward moment of him waking up to find my wonderful face literally three inches from his eyeballs. Thank you and goodnight.

This experience brought to mind some of my more interesting hostelmates throughout the years. And now, a compendium of some of the delights:

The Super Snorer: Oh, this one is commonplace but just fantastic. In the first hostel experience I share with Jenny and Molly, we discover that one of our roommates in Brussels was a strange recluse who spent the ENTIRE day on his bed looking at his phone, and the ENTIRE night snoring loudly. Come on, dude. If you know you’re a snorer, get a single room.

My delightful traveling partners

The Weird Couple: At our next hostel in Bruges, J, M, and I had three beds in a four bed hostel. We’re giggling away about something when our roommate comes in with his girlfriend. They are incredibly affronted to realize that they have apparently been put in two separate rooms and keep staring at us for an explanation. Sorry, dudes. There’s one twin bed left. Looks like you’re gonna have to keep it separate for a night since you get to bunk with the three best people you’ve ever met.

When we returned from dinner, it was to discover that he had constructed a little fort around his bed, where he and his girlfriend were sharing a twin bed… in the same room as three other girls. Uhhh whatever dude. Looks like you and your girlfriend BOTH get to enjoy the story about the time Molly lost all her teeth.

The Storer: Someone in Munich stored cheese in her locker. Overnight. That’s all, but isn’t it enough?

The Overly Familiar French Lady: The coup de grace of my strange hostel experiences. J, M, and I were at a hostel in Lyon with one of the least pleasant people on the planet. She was a weirdly old snorer who STILL insisted on staying in a hostel room, went to bed at 8.30pm and got VERY angry when others came in later (seriously – she pulled me aside in the common room to demand to know our schedule because we were being too noisy when we came in at 9.30 and, for some reason, needed the lights on), and was the NOISIEST PERSON in the morning. You know the type. OH and she also accused us of spilling liquid on her sweater. The scene: the window is open on a windy April day. A cup was on the windowsill. Her sweater was directly below that. What do YOU think happened? Yeah.

We finally prepare to roll out of town; after my morning ablutions, I swing by the room to pick up my bag, and she is standing there. Directly in the doorway. I politely try to slip past her, but she grabs my shoulder and says menacingly, ‘Ca va?’ in a very low, almost growling voice. (Now, she really just said it normally, but my friends and I have exaggerated the story so much in the succeeding days that it’s like the devil himself saying it.) I weakly smile in response, but she’s not done. She reaches over and kisses my cheek. I meekly accept it …. but she’s not done. She’s still holding on to me while she exposes her cheek to me and pats it, making it quite clear what she wants (even though I am not that kind of girl). I see no recourse but to kiss her back. It got weird.

Unfortunately for her, I had just rinsed my mouth so my chin was really wet. That’s what you get, lady.*

Lord only knows what kind of people I will come up against in Asia… at least it’s good blog fodder, eh?

The man’s fort in Bruges, the construction of which upset
Molly very much. You can’t make this stuff up.

*Yep, I stole this almost verbatim from my old blog. I just described it so amusingly the first time around!

Finding Solitude in Slovenia

As you are probably well aware (since I won’t stop talking about it), I consider myself an introvert. I’m not shy or weird around people but I simply enjoy my alone time and am perfectly fine with being by myself.

I’ve long known but am constantly reminded how being an introvert is both a blessing and a curse. I love that I love going to restaurants or shows by myself, but it also means that I prefer flying solo rather than seeking the company of others – which is pretty snotty of me and can get mighty lonely.

This was very much challenged on my first holiday away since I arrived in London: a weekend mini-break to Ljubljana! (Before you ask: yes, I know going to the capital of Slovenia is a random choice. I’d heard great things about it, didn’t really have any ‘conventional’ quick getaways left, and it was cheap to fly to.)

My holiday came after a particularly long couple of weeks and I was eagerly looking forward to going somewhere that I could explore without running into any of those pesky students and just be with my thoughts. It was also my very first time traveling solo, and while I was nervous I was excited to step out of my comfort zone.

So what did I learn on this miraculous trip?

Baby steps out of the comfort zone are okay as long as you keep on walking

I was a terrible solo traveler on this trip. I literally didn’t engage in conversations with people for a 48 hour period. I can honestly say I probably spoke about 20 words per day. That was due to a number of factors: my aforementioned weariness and desire to get some alone time; the fact that the hostel was pretty quiet and didn’t really have a giant vibe of hanging out; and mostly because I was just stubbornly laconic. That was fine for the first day and a half, but by the final stretch I was pretty bored with reading and bored with myself.

I’m telling myself that this first solo trip was my first trip out of the comfort zone, so just doing it was an okay first step. But I need to make sure I don’t have three months of silence in Asia – and so I need to actually, you know, talk to other people.

How to pronounce Ljubljana – and other fun bits about it

For the record, it’s Luh-blee-ahn-ah. It came highly recommended to me via travel blogs I enjoy, and for good reason. It’s basically a cute little European capital city, highly reminiscent of Prague or Budapest, but with approximately 10% of the people. The Old Town is cut in half by a wonderful flowing river, and as recently as a few years ago a mayor closed the Old Town to vehicles, making it a pedestrian’s paradise. It’s incredibly walkable, tourist-friendly but not tourist-accommodating (which is nice), and just a lovely place to wander.

The downside? There’s not a tooon to do there. There’s a great castle up on a hill overlooking the city, a couple of museums, some churches… and that’s about it. Most of the value comes from taking in the scene from a river-side cafe, restaurant, or bar, people-watching and watching the world go by. That’s nice and all… but mostly if you’re with someone else. I did finish two books in two days, but by the end of the second day I was itching to get back to London. I think two days in Ljubljana for a solo traveler is a bit too much – day and a half would have been perfect. Again, if I had actually, you know, spoken to other people I may have had a different experience, but that’s how the cookie crumbled.

Being alone is not always lonely 

Despite having a bit too much solitude, I still had wonderful moments of stillness and serenity… most notably on the first night. I was doing an evening walk and moseying across a bridge when I caught a glimpse of the Famous Ljubljana site of the Triple Bridge. I was so struck I immediately pulled out my journal to record the emotion I was feeling: incredible gratitude and disbelief that I had gotten to that point. Who would have thought I would have been spending a beautiful October evening wandering the streets of Slovenia, soaking in a beautiful site? Not this guy.

So despite the lazy and lonely way I may have seen Ljubljana… moments like that make it all worth it.