Jonatan from Deutschland is one of my two room-mates in Bovec. When I arrived at the hotel and got the room, neither he nor the other boy, Bernhard (who has not become a friend of mine), had arrived yet and I was worried. What if the other boys speak only Slovene and we cannot communicate?
Well, Jonatan brought a sunshine into our room. As soon as he arrived and shook my hand saying "Hello! I'm Jonatan" (in English, because he didn't suppose I spoke German), I understood we would become friends, which actually happened. His father comes from Slovenija, thus he was there to study Slovene, but he was in the Slovene 1 course, so we weren't in the same class, unfortunately.
I had great moments with him. One evening, after going to the WWI museum of Kobarid (it was the day after the excursion to the Mangartska planina, when Tanja attacked me), he came to bed at around 11 pm, while I was still reading a book. If he hadn't come, I would have slept few minutes later. Instead, we started talking about minorities, foreign communities in Europe, Muslims, in such a deep and passionate way that we really enjoyed it (although I sometimes had to ask him some German words I didn't know). We did agree on most points: he listened to my opinions about those topics with great interest and expressed his views. Well, we talked and talked... until Bernhard also came to bed (we always slept when he came to bed, with the difference I always heard him, while Jonatan never did!). It was already 0.30 am and we went on talking until 1 am or later. That was my first great night in Bovec.
Jonatan left Bovec on Friday, instead of Sunday, as a friend gave him a lift. When we were about to say good-bye, I thought he would be rather distant, instead he shook my hand... - "That's all", I thought - ...,hugged me and invited me again to Frankfurt (he had already invited me after only few days we knew each other)! Now, I don't want to hear any longer that Germans are cold, or I'll get very angry!
I have the impression that Sara was, among my new female friends, the one who grew the most fond of me and I grew the most fond of, for sure.
She comes from Vittorio Veneto, a little town in Veneto, near Treviso and looks much younger than she actually is.
As you have probably already read in the tip about Tanja, I first talked to Sara at the Mangartska planina and I realized immediately we agreed at 100% almost on everything. She was the friend I enjoyed the most to discuss with and worth remembering is the afternoon of Saturday 27th, our last day in Bovec. At around 1 pm, after having lunch, we sat down at the bar of the hotel, where many other students were singing the songs they had learnt at the German course (sic), and we started talking about everything and more, as we say in Italian: about languages, travels, Europe, national identities, muslims, religions... It was so pleasant to stay with a girl who likes talking about intelligent topics, not only about banal ones. We were so happy in our talks that we lost the conception of time. When Tanja and Antoine came back from an excursion at around 4 pm, we were still talking, all the other people had gone away. Then we four went to the Isonzo/Soèa and Sara and I continued talking.
It was nice and unusual for me to see I could have a "friend for talks" like Sara and Georges beside "friends for fun" like Tanja and Antoine.
However, the reason why I will hardly forget Sara is the long, warm, spontaneous hug she gave me when we said good-bye on Sunday 28th. I had almost never received a hug from a girl, even from my so-called female friends at school. Thank you, Sara!
Enrico is another of my new best friends. It was very easy to get in touch with him and it happened on the same day as I got to know Tanja. We talked a lot about national identity, minorities and Europe that day and we agreed on many points, even if I seemed too "Euro-optimist" to him.
However, I discovered later that Enrico was also a very nice guy to stay with. We had a beautiful time together and I must thank him for helping me complete the card that enabled me to get a pizza for free. To be sincere, I should also thank Tanja (I bet she is already exclaiming "Why on earth didn't he thank me in the tip about me?!? Boys are all the same! Blah!"), Pamela and others for the same reason.
Back to Enrico now. He comes from Gorizia, the town that was divided in two sides after WWII. Although his grand-parents are Slovenian, he feels 100% Italian and pronounce his Slovenian family name in the Italian way. He was in Bovec to attend a German course for beginners and it was funny to see him try to speak German with some Austrian girls who also tried to speak Italian but, after realizing that these foreign languages were too difficult for each other, both sides always ended by talking in English!
Enrico was one of the room-mates of Georges and he liked Georges's funny French phrases, although he didn't speak French. Whenever he met our French friend, he said "quel homme!" or something else. I hope I will meet him again soon.
Fondest memory: This is the room where I stayed during my fortnight in Bovec. I shared it with an angel and a devil. The angel was Jonatan from Deutschland, who is now a real friend of mine. The devil was Bernhard from Österreich, who studied Italian at the summer school but almost never talked to me in Italian. He always came to sleep very late and was very noisy and untidy, as you can see from the second photo of this tip.
My two-week stay in Bovec to attend the "Poletna šola" would have been extremely boring, if I hadn't had such special people to spend my time with, as some of the students who were there proved to be.
The following tips and photos show my new friends, my first real friends since a long time. You should check this section from time to time, since it is being constantly updated.
(I have realized that the miniatures of these photos seem uglier than the real photos are, therefore I recommend you'd enlarge photo if you want to have a better idea of what my new friends look like.)
Antoine is the funniest person I met at the "Poletna šola". He comes from the outskirts of Paris and is studying at the language institute INALCO (where I also wanted to study before going to Trieste), but has already got a degree in engineering and one in mathematics.
He used to get dressed in T-shirt and shorts and to wear flip-flops, even when it was raining. He likes drinking a lot of wine and to get drunk (in familiar French "se bourrer la gueule", as he taught me).
If you stopped reading this tip here, you would imagine Antoine as a dissolute guy like many other. That's false. Apart from these particular tastes, he has a very deep culture in some domains, such as mathematics, (some periods of) French history and literature, classic and lyrical music. On the other hand, he knows absolutely nothing about pop music and painting.
But what made him worthy of admiration to my eyes was his excellent knowledge of the Slovenian grammar: he was in the same course as Georges and I (Slovene 2) and he could sometimes explain us what our teacher didn't know, e.g. the difference between perfective and imperfective verbs.
I keep a wonderful memory of him and we are already looking forward to meet again, maybe in Paris.
This photo was taken at the last party before the end of the courses and here you see all the attributes of Antoine I have written about (I don't know to whom the other foot belongs).
Ian is another guy I met in Bovec. He comes from Salzburg (Österreich) but his mother is French, if I remember well. That's why he can speak French almost as well as his mother tongue.
Actually, the reason why I got to know Ian is that he was the room-mate of my class-mate and good friend Antoine (see above), but I hadn't got the chance to talk to him a lot. Therefore, Ian and I didn't become close friends; however, I have a good memory of him and I would like to meet him again in the future.
Georges from Paris is certainly the most important person I met in Bovec.
He is already 34 years old but looks much younger, both phisically and spiritually. Moreover, he shares most of my interests and opinions. Therefore, it was very easy and natural for us to become close friends.
Georges's family comes from Magyarország (Hungary) and from Vojvodina (an autonomous region of Srbija), however he feels French at 100%. He can speak Serbo-Croatian very well and Slovenian quite well; he knows a lot about the Balkans and he loves Italia. He already speaks Italian but wants to improve it a lot before we meet again.
He was in my class at the summer school and he always praised me for everything. He often said phrases like "le meilleur!" ("the best!"), "quel homme!" ("what a man!"), etc., which made us laugh.
He got on well with everybody thank to his sunny character but he told me I was one of the best people he had met there.
We were quite sad the last evening when we said good-bye (he gave me one of the few, and maybe the most beautiful hug I have ever received from a friend) but we both look forward to meet again, hopefully very soon!
Giorgia is another nice person I have met in Bovec. She comes from the province of Udine and is a very sunny girl. She likes laughing, even loud, and talking a lot. She was in Bovec to learn writing Friulan, the language of Friùli, and I liked listening her and her mates speak Furlàn (that's the official name of the language), that is such a rich and colourful language, like the dialects of Veneto.
Moreover, every student could appreciate Giorgia's culinary skills on the last day, when we ate the tiramisù (more about it can be read here) she had prepared.
I haven't got to know Giorgia in Bovec so much as I would have liked to, but I hope we will meet again. After coming back from Bovec, we have begun exchanging e-mails that let me appreciate this girl more than I could do during the Bovec fortnight.
It was Giorgia who sent me this photo, which is better than the previous one. Thanks a lot, my friend!
Tanja was the surprise of my fortnight in Bovec and I'm not sure of what I should (or could) write about her in this tip. If you knew her, you would understand why. So, I guess I'd better describe her from the beginning.
Tanja is a girl belonging to the Slovenian community of Trieste and she doesn't like Italia very much. I first talked to her, as well as to other new friends, on Thursday 18th August at the Mangartska planina (Mangart "malga"). I was talking to her friend Sara, who is now also a friend of mine, about national identities and minorities. Sara totally agreed with my views, Tanja not at all and, while we were returning to the bus who would take us back to Bovec, she started speaking about this issue in such an aggressive tone that I, the European, felt highly humiliated in the evening and didn't want to speak to her any more (TIP: if you ever had the great chance to meet her, try to avoid dealing with such topics, otherwise you will be attacked. It sounds like a warning against a wild beast, doesn't it? Well, that's what Tanja can become when she disagrees on something). On Friday evening, I was waiting for a table at the restaurant, when Giorgia (see below) invited me to eat with her and the other Italian girls. Guess who I happened to sit in face of? Right! In face of that odious Tanja! Well, it is said that "Fortune is blind"; it is true, you know! That evening we talked to each other as if nothing had ever happened (she didn't even imagine she had offensed me) and our wonderful relation started.
Since then, Tanja let me enjoy the most wonderful moments in Bovec and my character changed a lot: I learnt to laugh, to take life less seriously. I have learnt much more from Tanja than from the Slovene course that was the main purpose of my stay in Bovec. I prefer having improved my character more than my Slovene, rather than the contrary.
Chiara is one of the most fun people I met in Bovec. She comes from Napoli but attends the University for Interpreters and Translators in Trieste, as I do. She studies Slovene at university and she attended the Slovene 1 course at the "Poletna šola" but she didn't like it very much because the teacher always used to repeat the same words and taught them many songs that they performed also in my course, Slovene 2, for her and our great joy, before singing at the final presentation, where she refused to sing.
Chiara is a traditional Italian girl, which is something rare to be found today, and she doesn't like some modern trends of our society that go against nature according to her (and to me!).
Unfortunately I haven't got a photo of Chiara alone, so I have to put one where she is portrayed with Tanja!