Slovenci v svetu: Lidija, Salvador (Brazilija)

Lidija živi v Braziliji že od februarja 2005.  Od tega je bila 10 let v Salvadorju, v zvezni državi Bahia, na severovzhodu Brazilije. Zadnji 2 leti pa je razpeta med Salvadorjem in São Paulom, med domom in službo. Vsake toliko časa na Facebooku objavi kakšno čudovito fotografijo s plaže in takrat se mi seveda pojavijo skomine. Živeti v Braziliji, še posebej v kakšnem obalnem mestu, se sliši fantastično, a hkrati je znano, da gre za eno najnevarnejših držav na svetu. Lidija pravi, da ji ponuja točno to, kar potrebuje.

Živjo, Lidija. Zakaj Brazilija?

Vedno sem sanjala, da bom živela v Lizboni ali kje na Škotskem. Nato pa sem se nekega meglenega in deževnega jutra odločila, da želim biti tam, kjer je vedno poletje. Med vsemi opcijami se je Salvador zdel kot optimalna izbira. Brazilija je bila mišljena kot enoletna avantura. Da se preizkusim v neznanem, premagam strah, premaknem lastne meje,odprem oči, gledam drugačne zvezde.Sao Paulo Jungle

Najprej Salvador, sedaj pa São Paulo, kaj ne?

Tako je. Salvador – tako eksotičen in drugačen, a hkrati tako domač, od prvega trenutka, ko sem stopila na njegova tla. Sva konstantno v »ljubim-sovražim« odnosu, a ljubezen vedno prevlada. Nudi mi vse, kar rabim, da sem srečna: sonce, morje in 12 mesecev temperature okoli 30 stopinj. Če bi verjela v reinkarnacijo, bi rekla, da sem bila nekoč od tam, »njihova«.

Življenje v več kot 2.000 km oddaljenem São Paulu je trenutni projekt, povezan z delom, ki ga opravljam. Je največje mesto v Južni Ameriki, 20-milijonska metropola, ki živi 24 ur na dan. Fascinantna betonska džungla, kjer se prav tako izjemno dobro počutim. Ima vse, razen plaže. No, in žal tudi temperature pod 10 stopinj, kar me prav tako ne osrečuje.

Je bila odločitev o selitvi težka?

Ker je bila spontana, ni bila težka. Kot rečeno, šla sem za eno leto in sem še kar tu.

Kako so jo sprejeli tvoji najbližji?

Vsak dan čakajo, da jim povem, kdaj se vrnem.

Je bil jezik ovira? Že govoriš tekoče portugalsko?

Na začetku sem imela težave s komunikacijo, saj nihče ne govori angleško. Moje osnovno znanje portugalske portugalščine pa mi ni prav nič pomagalo. A sem premagala svojo sramežljivost in se začela pogovarjati, tako da sem se največ naučila z druženjem z domačini in pa seveda na fakulteti v času podiplomskega študija. Že precej let se ustno in pisno sporazumevam brez težav.Sao-Paulo-bridge

Kaj te je v Braziliji najbolj pozitivno presenetilo?

Brazilska radost in veselje, na severovzhodu pa biti preprosto srečen z malim.

Kakšna negativna izkušnja, ker si tujka, bodisi pri iskanju službe, ali v javnosti?

Predvsem lahko govorim za SV del Brazilije in ta je poln predsodkov. To je zanimivo, saj so najbolj mešana regija (rasno, kulturno in religiozno), a tujce imajo radi samo kot turiste. Negativno me je seveda presenetila visoka stopnja kriminala, predvsem pa nizka stopnja bontona in plehkost ljudi.

Kako je z varnostjo v Braziliji na splošno? Je res tako hudo, kot prikazujejo npr. v filmu Cidade de Deus (Božje mesto)?

Kar kažejo brazilski filmi, je povečini odraz resničnega življenja. Rio se meni zdi zelo nevarno mesto, sploh ker se prepletajo t. i. barakarska naselja (favele), kjer vladajo preprodajalci orožja in drog, s stolpnicami, kjer živijo bogataši. Salvador je, kar se tega tiče, najbolj urejen, saj so velike favele na obrobju mesta, kamor te pot kar tako, slučajno, ne more zanesti. São Paulo se mi zdi od vseh mest, ki jih poznam, še najbolj varen, je pa res, da po večini gibljem v bogataških predelih, ki so dobro varovani.

Slovenci si težko predstavljamo konstanten strah pred zgrešenim nabojem, ropom, napadom s pištolo ali drugim hladnim orožjem, a to je tu vsakdanjost in s tem je treba živeti. Jasno, da se poskušamo izogibati področjem, ki slovijo kot nevarna, biti pazljivi na vsakem koraku, a to ne pomeni, da živimo v večnem strahu in smo zaklenjeni doma.

Kako preživljaš prosti čas?

V Salvadorju sem ga na plaži in v nekomercialnem kinu, kjer sem bila tudi nekaj časa zaposlena. V São Paulu ga nimam veliko, izkoristim pa vsako priložnost, da odletim v Salvador.LL_SSA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaj pa kvaliteta življenja, zdravstvo, socialno okolje, ekonomija?

Tukaj je vse plačljivo, tako da je življenjski stil posameznika odvisen izključno od njegovega zaslužka. Obstajajo državni socialni programi za ogrožene, a tista podpora ni dovolj za spodobno življenje. Sama sem zelo prilagodljiva in sem povsem zadovoljna s svojim življenjskim standardom tukaj.

Je lahko dobiti službo?

Trenutno je država v gospodarski in politični krizi, tako da res ni lahko. In seveda, nam, tukaj živečim tujcem, je še težje priti do pravično plačanega delovnega mesta.

Se da s povprečno brazilsko plačo dobro živeti?

Odvisno, kako definiraš dobro, a se da. Kot že rečeno, prilagoditi se moraš svojim prejemkom.

Kaj pa v primerjavi s Slovenijo?

Plače v São Paulu so najvišje in bolj kot greš proti severu, nižje so in s tem je slabši tudi življenjski standard. Direktna primerjava s Slovenijo ni mogoča, Brazilija je vseeno dežela tretjega sveta.Savador - Farol da Barra

Brazilija je ogromna, pa vendar, naštej 5 stvari, ki jih mora po tvoje videti vsak turist.

Peščene plaže na SV Brazilije, med njimi tudi rajski Trancoso, naravni park Chapada Diamantina, brazilski arhipelag Fernando de Noronha, slapovi Foz de Iguaçu, sipine v nacionalnem parku Lençóis Maranhenses. Za avanturiste pa močvirje Pantanal in Amazonski pragozd.

Pa v São Paulu?

Restavracije s hrano iz vsega sveta, muzeji, festival Lollapalooza in največji mestni park Ibirapuera.

Tipična brazilska hrana je? Ti je všeč?

Tipična, to je Feijoada, ni zame, ker ne jem mesa. Mi je pa najboljša bahijska, ki je zelo eksotična – vsebuje kokosovo mleko, palmino olje, veliko zelenjave, ribe in morske sadeže.mira 311

Spremljaš dogajanje v Sloveniji?

Nehote. Nemogoče se je izogniti komentarjem, ki jih preberem na socialnem omrežju in ki jih slišim od domačih ali prijateljev. Zdaj, ko delam na slovenskem veleposlaništvu, sem seveda še toliko bolj vpletena v dogajanja v domovini.

Kako pogosto se vračaš domov?

Premalokrat. Želela bi iti 2x letno, največkrat mi uspe enkrat na leto.

Kaj se je po tvojem opažanju spremenilo v Sloveniji, odkar si se odselila?

Da se Slovenci samo pritožujejo. Kot, da bi jim bilo najhuje na svetu.

Kaj najbolj pogrešaš, razen sorodnikov in prijateljev?

Družino in prijatelje. In prav nič drugega.

Je v tvoji bližini še kaj Slovencev, se družite med sabo?

São Paulo je svet v malem in ves svet je tu. Tudi Slovenci. Z njimi se srečujem, večinoma po službeni dolžnosti. Pravi prijatelji so v Sloveniji, nekaj novejših pa v Salvadorju.

Dobivaš veliko obiskov iz Slovenije?

Na začetku jih je bilo veliko, nekateri so prišli celo večkrat. Zdaj se število obiskov prijateljev iz Slovenije zmanjšuje, je pa tudi res, da São Paulo ni neka atraktivna dopustniška destinacija, tukaj je poslovno središče.

Kaj te najpogosteje vprašajo?

Kako lahko živim tukaj.

Se nameravaš kdaj vrniti?

O tem zdaj še ne razmišljam, živim za trenutek in živim tam, kjer mi je lepo. Bi pa seveda šla domov. Mogoče kmalu, nikoli se ne ve.

Kdaj greva torej na kavo?

Upam, da v prihodnjem letu.

14329382_10210222440255492_620431721_o

 

Continue Reading

Slovenes abroad: Lidija, Salvador (Brazil)

Lidija has been living in Brazil since February 2005. The first 10 years she spent in Salvador, federal state of Bahia, on the Atlantic coast. The last 2 years she has been divided between Salvador and São Paulo, due to the nature of her work. Every now and then she posts a beautiful photo from the beach on Facebook, making us jealous, especially in winter time. To live in the coastal part of Brazil sounds fantastic but, on the other hand, the country is known for its very high crime rate. So let’s check Lidia’s story to see how she handles those two extremes.

Hi Lidia, why Brazil?

I have always dreamed of living in Lisbon or somewhere in Scotland. But then I woke up on one cold and rainy day, thinking I want to live in a place with 12 months of summer. I started searching for my options and Salvador seemed the perfect place. So I applied for a post graduate study, quit my job in Slovenia and went there for a “one year” adventure. To taste the unknown, to conquer the fear, to move my own limits, to keep an open mind and to see the world with different eyes.

First Salvador and now São Paulo, right?

Salvador was and still is my first choce because it is so exotic and so different but, at the same time, so very comfortable and homey. We are in a constant “love-hate” relationship, however the love part always prevails. It offers me everything I need in order to be happy: sun, sea and 12 months of temperatures around 30ºC. If I believed in reincarnation, I would definitely say that I have been here before. It feels like I belong here, but I cannot really explain why.

São Paolo, on the other hand, is just a current “project”, related to my work. It is the biggest city in South America, a metropolis with a population of 20 million people. A fascinating concrete jungle which breathes 24 hours a day. The only thing I am missing here is the beach. And of course the constant warm temperatures – it can get as low as 10ºC here in São Paolo.

Was the decision about moving to Brazil hard to take?

As I said, the decision was spontaneous and only for one year, so it was not hard. Let’s say I went for a year and I am still here.mira 311

How did your parents accept it?

They are still waiting every day for me to tell them when I am coming back for good.

After 12 years I can imagine you are fluent in Portuguese, but at the beginning it must had been tough?

Sure it was hard, because no one spoke English in Salvador at that time. And my basic Portuguese language spoken in Portugal didn’t help me much. But I decided to conquer my shyness and just started talking with the locals. After that I upgraded my language skills during the study. So yes, I have been fluent in Brazilian Portuguese for some years now.

What was the most positive surprise when you moved to Bahia?

Brazilians’ unique happiness and joy of life. And to be simply happy with little things.Savador - Farol da Barra

Did you face any negative experience, being a foreigner in Brazil?

I can speak for the northeast part of the country, which is surprisingly full of prejudice. Even though the region is a varied mix of races, cultures and religions, they only like foreigners as tourists. High crime rate was also a very negative surprise for me, as well as low manners of the people.

Speaking of the crime rate, how does that look like in the real life? Is it really as bad as they show it in the movies, like Cidade de Deus?

Brazilian movies mostly reflect the real life here. In my opinion, Rio de Janeiro is especially dangerous, because the slums (favelas), wich are mostly ruled by drug and weapon dealers, are so close to the rich parts of the city. Looking from this perspective Salvador is among the safest cities, because the biggest slums are located in the suburban areas, so you cannot just coincidentally wonder there. From what I have experienced, São Paulo seems the safest city, but then again I mostly hang out in highly secured areas.

It is hard to imagine for Slovene people living in constant fear of being robbed, hit by the bullet or attacked with any other cold weapon. But this is a reality here and you have to live with it. Of course we try to stay away from dangerous areas and we are being careful on every step we make, but that doesn’t mean we are living in constant fear, locked in our homes.

How do you spend your free time?

While in Salvador I spend it mostly at the beach and sometimes in a non-commercial cinema where I used to work. In São Paolo I am usually too busy during the week, and I grab every opportunity to fly back “home” to Salvador at the weekends.LL_SSA

How is the quality of life in terms of economic, social and health environment?

Here you have to pay for everything, so it all depends on your income.  There are some kind of social programs for those who are socially endangered, but this is of course not enough to have a decent life. I am very flexible and I am totally comfortable with my walk of life here.

Is it hard to get a job in Brazil?

Currently the country is in big economic and political crisis, so it is not easy. And it is even harder for us expats to get a fair paid job.

Can you have a decent life with an average Brazil salary?

Depends on how you define decent, but if you adapt to your incomes, yes, you can.

What about compared to Slovenia?

The wages in São Paulo are the highest in the country and the further north you go, the lower they get. And so does the living standard. However you can’t compare the countries directly, because Brazil is still considered a developing country.

Brazil is huge, but still, can you name 5 things every wanderlust should see there?

The sandy beaches in the NE of Brazil, especially the heavenly Trancoso, national park Chapada Diamantina, Brazilian archipelago Fernando de Noronha, Iguaçu falls and the dunes in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. Wildlife enthusiasts will probably want to see Pantanal swamp and Amazon forest as well.
Sao Paulo Jungle

And in São Paolo?

Numerous restaurants with cuisines from every corner of the world, museums, music festival Lollapalooza and the biggest city park Ibirapuera.

Do you like typical Brazilian food?

That would be Feijoada and since I am a vegetarian, I don’t eat it at all. I do, however, like the exotic Bahian cuisine with coconut milk, palm oil, lots of vegetables and tropical fruits, fish and seafood.

How often do you return home?

Not as much as I would like to. Usually once per year.

How has Slovenia changed in your eyes since you moved?

I notice that Slovenes constantly complain. Like their life is the most miserable in the world.

What do you miss the most?

Only family and friends. And literally nothing else.

Are there any Slovenes living near you, do you hang out?

São Paulo is its own world and everyone is here, including Slovenes. I usually meet them due to my job. The real friends are still in Slovenia, and some newest ones also in Salvador.

Do you get a lot of visits from Slovenia?

At the beginning there were quite a lot, some even came several times. Lately the number of visits has been declining, probably also due to the fact that São Paulo is not an attractive vacation destination.Sao-Paulo-bridge

What do friends usually ask you?

“How can you live here?”

Do you ever plan to come back?

I am not thinking about it as this point. I am living for the moment and I am right where I want to be. Of course one day I would like to return. Maybe soon, you never know.

Coffee in Slovenia, when?

Hopefully somewhere in 2017.14329382_10210222440255492_620431721_o

 

 

Continue Reading

Day trip to Slovene coast: Piran

If you are visiting Slovenia for only a couple of days, and want to squeeze a coast trip in your tight schedule, you are lucky. First of all, because Slovenia has just 47 km of coastline on the Adriatic Sea and only 3 “major” seaside towns: Koper, Izola, and Piran. And secondly, because the capital Ljubljana is only 100 km away from Koper, so it will take you about one hour to reach your final sea view destination. Day drip to Slovene coast is therefore totally doable, especially if you rent a car and control your own time.

Tip: Try to avoid travelling on weekends in the summer season (late June – August), when the highway gets totally jammed.

While Koper (being one of the most important ports in the region due to its strategic location) is more “industrial” town with some lovely features from the 15th century, Izola and Piran are smaller and much more convenient for taking a stroll through the old town and have lunch in one of the restaurants overlooking the sea.

When visiting Slovene coast on weekends, Piran is always my first choice. The town’s center is closed for general traffic (only residents and local buses have parking permits), which might be a bit inconvenient, but if you take it easy and accept this fact as an opportunity to stretch your legs, you will have the opportunity to see Piran at its best.slovene coast piran wall

I recommend you to park along Belokriška cesta (free if you find a “legal” parking space) or in Arze garage house where they charge 1.20€ per hour. Then turn left and head towards the old fortress called “the walls of Piran” for a breathtaking views of the town and the Adriatic Sea. The entrance is only 2€ per adult and it is definitely a must for all Piran visitors. There are some quite narrow and stiff stairs to climb if you want to reach all the way to the top, so leave your high heels at home. Take your time and enjoy the views – on a clear sunny day you can see Italy: Grado on the north-west and Trieste on north-east side. By the way, did you know there are only 54 nautical miles from Piran to Venice?12

Continue walking down the granite paved road towards St. George’s Parish Church which is located above Piran and stop at the church wall for a nice view of the wild pebbled beach below. Don’t be surprised if you see some naked people there – that is actually a nude beach. Yep, right below the church 😉

The church, which was restored in 1990, is also quite an attraction as it can be seen from most parts of the town. You can access the bell tower for just for €1.slovene coast piran tartini square

Finally you will arrive to the picturesque Tartini square, the largest and main square in Piran. It was named after a famous violinist Giuseppe Tartini, who was born in Piran in 1692 and now has a statue in his honor there.

Have some coffee in the square and then head towards the coast, on Piran’s promenade. In the summer the paved beach is crowded with people, while out of the main season the place is perfect for catching some vitamin D and having lunch in one of the restaurants. Seafood dishes and local wines are a must!slovene coast piran

If you have time and energy, you can walk along the marina towards the other part of the town (Fornače) which is actually Piran’s “main entrance” and continue along Bernardin promenade for a late afternoon coffee. Keep in mind you will be around 2 km away from your car at that point so skip the sunset if you want to find it before it gets dark. Or just relax, enjoy and take a taxi. We do have taxis in Slovenia, you know 😉

Continue Reading

Slovenes abroad: Lea, San Leandro (CA, USA)

29-year old Lea has been living in San Leandro (East Bay, CA) since 2013. She loves to travel and explore the world, she likes music and reads a lot of books. She’d like to have at least 2 dogs but currently neither her time nor the house rules allow that. Obviously we have a lot in common and given the fact that I have visited California a couple of years ago, it was easy for me to blend in this conversation.

Why the United States of America?

Because of my husband’s work.

And why San Leandro? Where the hell is that anyway? 🙂

My husband is a software developer and when he was offered a job in San Francisco, we didn’t hesitate long to take the opportunity. We searched for an affordable apartment and due to very high rents in San Francisco, San Leandro was a logical choice since it is only 30 minutes’ drive away.

Was the decision about moving hard to take?

Not really. I have always wanted to experience living abroad. My first choice was New Zealand because it is similar to Slovenia but my husband got the opportunity first, so we followed his career path.

What were the reactions of your close ones?

The reactions were different. While my friends were mostly happy for me, my parents were not that excited. They knew I would end up moving abroad sooner or later but when the time came, they were not prepared. Like parents are ever prepared for anything, right? 😉

What was the most positive surprise for you after moving to San Leandro?

I have to admit, I took me a while to answer this one 🙂 Actually it is fascinating how easy it is to open your own company – with very little paperwork and minimum costs.

Have you ever encountered any negative experience, being a foreigner in the USA?

Well, for one thing, you are always a stranger. Despite being very open, at least Californians, and making you feel welcome, you don’t actually get a lot of true friends. It rarely happens that they really “accept” you as of their own.

Searching for job isn’t easy and it depends on the type of visa you have. I was lucky to get a working visa on behalf of my husband’s contract. If you are willing to work for a minimum wage, you can get a job very fast in coffee shops or restaurants, they are always looking for staff. But if you want to earn the big bucks, it is much harder. I have to admit that being a white female I didn’t have any trouble finding a job in a rather sexist country like the USA.

What do you do in your free time?

Free time, what is that? Working culture in the States promotes spending as much time at work as possible. So during the week I spend most of my “free time” at work – luckily my work (CrossFit) is also my hobby. Weekends we spend mostly outside in local parks, or we go to the movies, visit a concert… you know, the usual stuff 🙂Big Sur

What about the quality of life in general – health, social environment, economy?

Living in America often means 2 extremes: either you are doing great with a well-paid job, nice house, excellent health insurance and high standard of living, or it can be totally the opposite. If you end up in the street, it is very hard to get back on your feet. The streets of San Francisco, where you can meet a lot of homeless people every day, keep reminding us of that. Unfortunately there is no social security here.

Is it easy to get a job?

It depends on your degree and the type of work. If you are an informatics scientist or engineer you can get a job in Frisco very fast. But if you don’t want to work over 10 hours behind a computer, the story is of course completely different.

Can you have a good life with an average American salary?

Definitely not in the center of San Francisco. Actually you can’t even survive there with an average salary due to very high costs of living. The situation becomes quite different 30 minutes’ drive away. Not only the rents get lower – everything else gets cheaper, like everyday grocery shopping. You can always find cheaper and more suburban locations to live in but on the other hand you also get lower paid jobs there, unless you are willing to commute.

What about compared to Slovenia?

Everything in the USA is more expensive. You spend almost twice as much for food, which is usually of poorer quality, if I compare for example Trader Joe’s with Slovene Mercator. Not to mention the prices in Whole Foods, which is worlds apart. Rents are higher but on the other hand the apartments are bigger (but again poorer quality of construction). Slovenia has free basic health insurance and some kind of social security for all citizens, while in the USA the story is totally different. Here you have to pay for everything.

The States are huge but still, can you name 5 places any tourist should visit?

I didn’t have much opportunity to travel around the States in the last 3 years. Since we are living in the West, I will focus on the main national parks here: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Hawaii, and if I had to pick one city, it would be Seattle.Twin Peaks

What about in San Francisco?

Golden Gate, Golden Gate Park, Pier 39, Cable car museum, the view from Twin Peaks.

As far as I know, healthy food is very expensive in the USA. What do you usually eat?

Typical Californian food is mostly Mexican – burritos, tacos, churros,…  Californians also love to eat waffles, bacon, eggs and French toast for breakfast. I try to live and eat healthy so I buy similar products as in Slovenia (mostly fresh, raw, not ready-made food), but like you said, those are much more expensive than back home.

Do you follow the news about Slovenia?

I am mostly updated about the important events by my friends and family. Of course I also follow social media for more “independent” views 🙂

How often do you go home?

Only once in the last 3 years. The flight tickets are not cheap and the journey takes over 20 hours. Last time I was in Slovenia in 2014.

What do you miss the most, besides your family and friends?

Healthier food. Green environment. Rain. Less fake and more honest relationships.

Are there any other Slovenes living near you? Do you socialize?

My husband has a few colleagues at work but we rarely hang out with each other.

Do you get a lot of visits from Slovenia?

No. Unfortunately the flight tickets are too expensive for most of my friends.

What do friends usually ask you about the States?

If the gas is really that cheap. If everything is really like in the movies. Yep, it’s all true 🙂

Do you plan to come back to Slovenia?

Actually we are just moving to the UK because of my husband’s work. Returning to Slovenia is not something we are considering right now.

Lea Profile

 

Continue Reading

Slovenci v svetu: Lea, Kalifornija (ZDA)

Simpatična 29-letna Lea živi v San Leandru (East Bay, CA) od leta 2013. V prostem času izredno rada potuje in odkriva njej še neznane kotičke sveta, posluša glasbo in veliko bere. Želi si vsaj 2 psa, a ji čas in pravila najemodajalca tega zaenkrat žal ne dopuščajo. Imava torej veliko skupnega in glede na to, da sem sama že obiskala San Francisco, sem se z lahkoto vživela v njene odgovore.

Zakaj ZDA?

Zaradi moževe službe.

In zakaj San Leandro? Kje za vraga je sploh to? 🙂Lea Profile

Mož je že v Sloveniji delal kot razvijalec software programov in ko so mu ponudili službo v San Franciscu, nisva dolgo razmišljala, ponudbo sva kar hitro sprejela. Stanovanje sva iskala v okviru najinih finančnih zmožnosti in glede na visoke najemnine v San Franciscu, je bil San Leandro, ki je od San Francisca oddaljen 30 minut vožnje z BART-om (vlak), logična izbira.

Je bila odločitev o selitvi težka?

Niti ne. Vedno sem si želela izkusiti življenje v tujini. Moja prvotna želja je bila sicer Nova Zelandija, ker je precej podobna Sloveniji, a me je mož prehitel in sva šla po poteh njegove službe.

Kako so jo sprejeli tvoji najbližji?

Odzivi so bili zelo različni. Prijatelji so bili večinoma iskreno veseli, družina malo manj. Vsi so sicer vedeli, da rada potujem in da bom verjetno slej ko prej pristala v tujini. A saj veš, kako je s tem – dokler se zares ne zgodi, nismo pretirano zaskrbljeni 🙂

Kaj te je v ZDA najbolj pozitivno presenetilo?

Priznam, zelo dolgo sem razmišljala, kaj naj tu odgovorim 🙂 V bistvu je fascinantno to, kako lahko je v ZDA odpreti lastno podjetje – zelo malo papirologije in minimalni stroški.

Kakšna negativna izkušnja, ker si tujka, bodisi pri iskanju službe, ali v javnosti?

V tujini si vedno tujec. Kljub temu, da so Američani, vsaj v Kaliforniji, precej odprti ljudje in te navidezno sprejmejo, pravih prijateljev ne dobiš zlahka. Zelo redko se zgodi, da te res »sprejmejo«.

Iskanje službe ni lahko, veliko je odvisno tudi od tipa vize, ki jo imaš. Moja mi je zaradi moževe službe na srečo omogočala delo v ZDA. Če si pripravljen na minimalno plačilo, lahko delo dobiš zelo hitro, v raznih Starbucksih, restavracijah, ipd. Za tiste, ki želijo dejansko nekaj zaslužiti, je to že težje. Moram pa priznati, da kot belka težav v sicer precej seksistični Ameriki, nisem imela.

Kako preživljaš prosti čas?

Delovna kultura v ZDA na splošno vzpodbuja preživljanje časa v službi in ne doma, zato med tednom večino časa preživim ob delu, ki je hkrati tudi moj hobi (CrossFit), ali če hočeš, prosti čas. Vikende preživljava bodisi v lokalnem parku, na kakšnem sprehodu, ali pa greva v kino, na kak koncert… saj veš, običajne stvari 🙂Big Sur

Kaj pa kvaliteta življenja, zdravstvo, socialno okolje, ekonomija?

Življenje v Ameriki po navadi pomeni dve skrajnosti. Lahko ti gre super, imaš visoko plačo, s katero si lahko privoščiš stanovanje v centru mesta ali hišo na obrobju, odlično zdravstveno zavarovanje (brez večjih dodatnih doplačil), kupuješ zdrave (a precenjene) izdelke … Lahko pa je ravno obratno. Ko se enkrat znajdeš na cesti, se je iz te situacije skoraj nemogoče pobrati. Na to te v San Franciscu na skoraj vsakem koraku opomnijo brezdomci. Socialne varnosti v ZDA na žalost ni.

Je lahko dobiti službo?

Vse je odvisno od tvojega profila in tipa dela. Če si informatik, se lahko v San Franciscu hitro zaposliš. Če pa ne želiš delati več kot 10 ur za računalnikom, je zgodba seveda precej drugačna.

Se da s povprečno ameriško plačo dobro živeti?

V centru San Francisca se s povprečno plačo v bistvu sploh ne da preživeti, saj so najemnine vrtoglave. 30 minut ven iz mesta je situacija že nekoliko drugačna. Temu primerne so tudi cene v trgovinah, ki se spreminjajo iz občine v občino. Vedno se da najti cenejše in bolj odročne kraje, a žal s tem tudi slabše plačane službe.

Kaj pa v primerjavi s Slovenijo?

Vse je precej dražje. Za hrano slabše kvalitete daš v povprečju še enkrat več denarja, kot v Sloveniji, če primerjam npr. cene v Trader Joe’s in Mercatorju. Whole Foods, ki je višjega cenovnega ranga, pa je sploh razred zase. Najemnine so višje, a so tudi stanovanja načeloma večja. Kvaliteta stanovanj je slabša kot v Sloveniji. V Sloveniji imamo splošno osnovno zdravstveno zavarovanje, ki pripada vsem, v ZDA temu žal ni tako – zavarovanje si mora vsak plačati sam.

ZDA so ogromne, pa vendar, naštej 5 stvari, ki jih mora po tvoje videti vsak turist.

V treh letih ni bilo priložnosti, da bi veliko potovala. Poleg tega živiva na skrajnem zahodu, zato se bom osredotočila predvsem na večje nacionalne parke na tem območju: Yellowstone, Yosemitee in Grand Canyon, ter Seattle in Hawaii.

Pa v SF?

Golden Gate, Golden Gate park, Pier 39, Cable car museum, razgled s Twin Peaksa.Twin Peaks

Kolikor poznam ZDA, je zdrava hrana precej draga. Kako se ti prehranjuješ?

V Kaliforniji je tipična bolj mehiška hrana – burritos, tacos, churros,… Zelo radi za zajtrke jedo tudi vaflje, jajca, slanino, french toast in podobno. Osebno kupujem podobne izdelke kot v Sloveniji – zdrave, surove, nepripravljene, srednje do višje kvalitete – ki so žal precej dražji kot pri nas.

Spremljaš dogajanje v Sloveniji?

Malo preko novic na internetu, večinoma pa preko poročanj domačih.

Kako pogosto se vračaš domov?

Bolj redko. Letalske karte niso ravno poceni in potovanje je precej dolgo (ca. 20 ur). Nazadnje sem bila v Sloveniji leta 2014.

Kaj najbolj pogrešaš, razen sorodnikov in prijateljev?

Zdravo hrano. Bolj zeleno okolje. Dež. Bolj iskrene odnose.

Je v tvoji bližini še kaj Slovencev, se družite med sabo?

Mož ima v službi kar nekaj sodelavcev iz Slovenije, a se redko družimo.

Dobivaš veliko obiskov iz Slovenije?

Ne. Žal je za večino že sama letalska karta predraga.

Kaj te najpogosteje vprašajo?

Če je gorivo za avto res tako poceni. Če so stvari, ki jih vidijo v filmih, res takšne, kot so. Ja, vse je res. 🙂

Se nameravaš kdaj vrniti?

V Slovenijo zaenkrat ne, se pa zaradi narave moževega dela seliva v mnogo bolj zeleno in deževno Anglijo. 🙂

Odlično, te »dregnem« čez kakšno leto, da primerjava odgovore. Čim manj stresno selitev ti želim in hvala za čvek 🙂

 

Continue Reading

Charming Barcelona

Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe, taking each other’s hands and reaching for the sky in the open air concert back in 1988. Barcelona – Such a beautiful horizon. Barcelona – Like a jewel in the sun. The song gives me the shiver every time I hear it. And I just can’t keep my mouth shut. Can anyone?

I have visited Barcelona three times. First back in the 90’s when I was a student on a budget. The only thing I remember from the trip was sangria and a blur of Sagrada Familia. Second time was some kind of a team building trip with a company I used to work in. My memories from that visit upgrade to sangria on a lovely sandy beach. The third and I certainly hope not the last time was this October when I actually walked around the city with open eyes for a couple of days. And finally now I feel qualified to say Barcelona is absolutely gorgeous, with lots of things to see and do for anyone. I do have to warn you here, not to be misled by my itinerary. Two days are just not enough. Neither are three. Make it at least 5 and enjoy the city to the fullest.P1150949

Transport

Unfortunately there are no direct flights from Ljubljana to Barcelona so travelers from Slovenia can either take a connection flight through one of the major European airports or drive to Bergamo (Italy) to catch a cheaper direct flight with Ryan air. You can reach Barcelona city center with Airport Express shuttle bus called Aerobus, which goes to and from the airport every 5-10 minutes (until 1 a.m.) and costs 6€ one way and 10.20€ for a return ticket. It stops at 4 locations and you can take a metro or taxi from there to your hotel. There are some other cheap options which you can check here. The most comfortable option is by taxi which takes around 20 minutes (make sure you add around 10 minutes when returning because traffic can be heavy throughout the city). It will cost you around 30-35€ plus a couple of surprises in the end: 3.10€ airport fee (no matter which direction) and 1€ per each piece of luggage. Unfortunately Uber hasn’t reached Barcelona yet so do your own math, depending on how many people you are traveling with.

Accommodation

There is no mild way of putting it, so I’ll just shoot: hotels in Barcelona are expensive. I thought I would catch some good deal in October since the summer season was over but it turned out that there is always some trade show or big event going on to fill in the gap. So unless you are ok with staying in hostels (the ones with private bathrooms vanish in a blink of an eye) be prepared to pay at least 150€ per night for a descent 2 star hotel. I stayed in Ibis Sagrada Familia which is located less than 500 meters from the famous Gaudi masterpiece and the metro station so I can say I made a good choice.

The masterplan

This time I was in Barcelona on business and since I only had 2 days to explore the city, I did some quick research at home to make the most of my short visit. A big help here was Barcelona Turisme which offers plenty of useful information on their web page. I usually don’t use official tourist information when I travel (I am kind of a spontaneous wanderlust rebel) but I can say that this site was very helpful and it’s one of the best I’ve seen.

My plan was to see Sagrada Familia once again, feel the pulse of La Rambla Street, peak into Picasso museum, see some Gaudi’s artwork, catch some vitamin D on the beach and take a selfie at Camp Nou just so I could annoy my Barca friends who know I am actually a Real Madrid fan. I had no idea how much time I would need for all of that so I decided to take the Big Bus Barcelona (hop on hop off bus) to see if anything else would catch my attention. As many times before this proved to be a very good decision.P1160047
I decided to see Sagrada Familia first, since it was only a short walk away from my hotel. The Basílica de la Sagrada Família as it is officially called, is more than a piece of art. You can almost get scared of the “stone mountain” for a moment, if you don’t know what to expect behind the corner when the giant suddenly appears in front of you. Its creator, the famous architect Antonio Gaudi took over the constructions in 1883 and his successors have been building it ever since. If you look carefully at the details of the exterior you will soon get the idea why the construction is taking so long. Make sure you walk round and round as the façade is very different from both sides. I haven’t seen it from the inside because the waiting time was too long, but judging from the photos I can easily imagine this could be a never ending story (although the anticipated completion is in 2026). The entrance fee to basilica is 14.30€ (or 18.30€ with audio guide). There is however one option to see some of it for free if you enter the underground crypt left from the main entrance at the time of mass. I was surprised to see that Gaudi himself is buried there. Indeed a nice way to remember and honor the Master.Camp Nou Travel with Anda

The blue line of Barcelona Big Bus stops right in front of Sagrada Familia so I took it from there to Camp Nou, the European biggest football stadium. Oh my. Even if you are not a football fan, do stop there. At least to see the giant from the outside and peak into their official store. You will probably walk out with at least a small ball. The entrance fee to the stadium and museum is 23€ per adult, which is quite a lot, especially if you have a large family of Barca fans with you. The experience is very unique though and I can only imagine how it must feel like if you are a true Culé. To walk through the same gate Messi walks in. To see the locker room where Neymar gets naked. To sit in the broadcast booth where the reporters scream like they are fighting for their lives when Messi scores. To see the huge green playground and imagine how Christiano hits for the victory. Oh sorry, I got a bit carried away. Have I mentioned I was Real Madrid fan? 😛

Those who are more into art and architecture will probably hop off 2 stops after Sagrada Familia to see Park Güell, Barcelona’s second largest park, designed by Gaudi. I vaguely remember seeing this wonderful park during one of my previous visits and since I didn’t have time to do it all I decided to skip it this time. It was actually a smart decision because I almost ran out of time to see everything in my schedule. Plus you can see Gaudi’s work all over Barcelona if you do some homework and open your eyes.Venetian Towers Travel with Anda

I switched from blue to red line of Big Bus Barcelona at Plaça de Francesc Macià, one of the most transited points of Barcelona, crossed by Avinguda Diagonal. If the blue line seems a bit long and not so eye catching, I believe the red one is something everyone should experience. Be sure to hop off at Plaça d’Espanya, make a selfie in front of the majestic Venetian towers and walk up towards the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya for breathtaking views of the city. At first I thought I would take the funicular towards Montjuïc but after having such luck to see the Barcelona from MNAC on a clear sunny day I decided to skip the ride and rather enjoy the moment up there. Just sit, relax and watch the city.P1150947

From there you can walk (or hop on the bus) all the way to the Olympic stadium which was built for 1992 Summer Olympic Games. The red route which continues towards Barcelona port becomes even more spectacular from there on. On one side you can see the city from above, while suddenly the sea view opens on the other one. If you are with kids you will probably want to visit the Aquarium, which is also a good starting point to walk around Maremagnum center to have some sea food in one of the numerous restaurants nearby.P1160010

I saved the beach part for the next day. The green line of Barcelona Big Bus looks relatively short on the map so I hopped off at Parc de Diagonal Mar, just before the bus would turn back, and decided to walk along the beach towards the famous sail shaped W hotel which seemed to be the end of something. Oh boy what a walk that was. The coastal area of Barcelona is simply beautiful. The sandy beach is wide and very long with hardly any natural shade, however it is full of bars and umbrella spots to rest under. Make sure you grab one of the delicious natural freshly squeezed juices and enjoy them while watching the sea.P1160020

At first I thought I was just walking along famous Barceloneta beach and only later when I checked the map I realized I had passed at least 7 beaches. Yep, I walked them ALL, but it was really worth it. There is also a very nice part in modern architecture style and fancy bars around Port Olimpic. So it just doesn’t get boring at any point. I was too tired to walk so I took the red line again towards the Gothic Quarter to see Picasso Museum. The entrance fee is 11 € per adult (or reduced 7€). I wonder what the Master would say if he heard that people pay twice as much to see the “grass” in Camp Nou 😛 You can crucify me as much as you want but after seeing the Picasso’s collection, all I can say is: what a waste of great talent.Barcelona Casa Batllo

I am not sure where the Gothic Quarter ends but if you head north towards Placa de Catalunya (one of the main squares) you will soon spot the top of the magnificent Barcelona Cathedral, which was built around 15th century. The building is simply brilliant. As is the rest of the city all the way from famous La Rambla Street, the magnet for all tourists, to Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, another 2 Gaudi’s masterpieces. Just make sure you take a map because you can easily get lost in those narrow streets of the old city center.

So there you go, I hope you got an idea what Barcelona is all about. You can check the rest of the photos in my Facebook album. As far as the food is concerned, you have to try the paella (some kind of risotto with chicken and seafood, spiced with yellow…) and tapas, small snack bites which you can grab on any corner. Oh and Spanish olives are great as well. And have I mentioned sangria, the sweet red wine with chopped fruit and a sip of brandy? If you like these kind of drinks and can’t say no to “just one more”, I suggest you wait with them until the evening, when the streets of Barcelona cool off. And start the night tour which I will leave to your imagination.Barcelona Venetian towers handstand

Continue Reading