Hanging with Lucio

The week was pretty tame. My supervisor was out this last week, so I did a good deal of reading, and trying to glean some questions that can be used to assess and track the state of Civil Society here. I am looking forward to his return, so I can start working in earnest.

The big visit this last week was to the Banja Luka Annex. It is the field office for this area. Nice folks. So far, the field offices have the feel of converted houses, with a micro-cosm of the regional centre working away. Human Rights, Democ, etc.

Friday night I went out though! I went home with Lucio, rather than take the shuttle. Lucio has been here for about 3years, and works in the Human Rights office, as a Rule of Law Adviser. He, Dragana (from Hum.R) and I had a beer. I got a good overview of the human rights work that is being done. What is more, I learned about the way the education system here works, and how some “old” attitudes prevail. Interestingly, many of the critiques I hold for the US are true here, if not to a greater degree. Lucio started playing in earnest about 6 mos ago, I found out as we set the board at his place. It was a good time, and I am not just saying that because I won. =-P It seems I recall more than I thought I did about the game. I am sure I am still going to be stomped pretty regular, but was pretty please that I could still play. The joy is being rekindled. I will probably seek to practise on the laptop if ever I get an adapter. (Notice a theme? Adapter=perfect life.)

Lucio is somewhat (Ok,ok. A LOT) better traveled than I am, and its reflected in his conversation, and tastes. Not for the first time since I have been here have I felt out of place, not because I don’t understand, but because I don’t have much comparable experience to offer. As we agreed, though, with fine games as chess, who needs language?

Lucio’s flat is much bigger than the one I am staying in, and he is about 40 minutes walk. Not surpisingly, there are stacks of books about, and we had our choice between 2 chess sets. Ahh, isn’t that as life should be?

Saturday, I learned to count to 10 in local language, and headed back to Lucio’s. He hosted a small wine and poetry party. A couple works friend’s and a couple others who may or may not be work friends were there.

It was a good time. We got to sample “Italy’s best wine” from the year of Lucio’s birth, 1973. (Guess where he is from.) It was very good. If nothing else, my world is expanding someway.

It was somewhat daunting to be there. As we know, my non-English skills are pretty low. Along with English, conversation happened in local language, a touch of Italian, and some in Spanish. A lot of things that were talked about, I again don’t have a comparable experience to offer up. It was great to hear the stories, though. I just couldn’t help but to feel a little self-consious though! Aside from the language, it is an extremely well read bunch. lol. Authors being tossed back and forth like mad as Lucio read us some of his favorite selections.

It was a good deal of fun, as well. I got there early, as I didnt know how long it would take to walk. So, I got to play chess, have some good wine, eat a few munchies, had some good conversation, learned about a number of things, and had quite a wild ride home.

A good full night, and good to have something to do on the weekend. =-)

Posted by Andrew     

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