Today we really started the program of our academy in Ljubljana and our first step was to get to know each other and later also get better acquainted with our topic. We did not limit ourselves with mere name-games, but we took the next level and got to know much more about the things that connect us. For example: what kind of music do we listen, how many siblings do we have, where we would like to travel (perhaps together), what were the topics of contributions to the national history competitions and with the aim of breaking the ice or possible shyness also sharing our embarrassing stories and experiences.
Our day included a lot of group work, an interesting discussion with the representative of the Office for Slovenians abroad, dr. Zvone Žigon, who presented us the situation of Slovenians living in Cleveland, Argentina, Australia and other parts of the world, and the activities organized in this context – like language classes, concerts and other cultural events. A special mission brought our participants to the city centre of Ljubljana: The mission for five groups was to exchange a box of matches they were given at the beginning of the mission for any other object they consider as better, nicer or more valuable with the people they meet on the streets of Ljubljana. The results and things that passed the hands of our participants were really diverse and interesting: from many pens (pink ones in majority), another pack of matches, lighters, candy, tissues, goji-berries, apples, a salad, condoms and perfume-samples to the torch. Our ‘exchange mission’ turned out to be not only an interesting experience for the participants and an interesting way of getting to know each other, but also to be a symbolic representation of the evolution of the light.* Tired from a long but interesting day we said good night after a very informative lecture about Slovenia in the 20th century delivered by professor Bojan Balkovec.
The first day brought us the evolution of the light and improved knowledge about each other and Slovenian history, but also the very unfortunate and frustrating stealing of lap-tops and cameras from some of our participants. Despite the disappointing event we sincerely hope that the good and enthusiastic spirit of the group will remain on the same level and that we can together overcome the slightly sad mood. Tomorrow we continue with our project and already look forward to see where and what our work and days spent between Slovenia and Italy will bring us at the end.
Photos: Kristi Hodak