Dec 8 – Jan 7 Winter Break: Skiing in Tignes, Belgrade
Hello from London 2018!

After month-long winter break, I’m back in London and have resumed my studies. New courses have started and I’m embarking on my dissertation research.

France: Tignes and Val D’Isere
At the start of the break, my friend Caitlin and I joined the LSE ski trip to Tignes, France! We departed from London for our 16-hour bus ride, escaping the cold and rain for the cold and snow – a much better combo, in my opinion. Despite high avalanche warnings and three days of not-so-fantastic skiing conditions (high winds, low visibility) the trip was an overall success! Besides skiing with Caitlin and exploring Tignes and Val d’Isere, I also took three days of advanced ski lessons to improve my technique. I also joined a backcountry ski trip, where I learned how to use avalanche equipment and properly ski off-piste. The 6 days of skiing left me wanting more, but reality has put me (rightfully) back in London, studying hard!

Home for Christmas
After the week of skiing, I went home to San Marino to celebrate Christmas with my family. During my two weeks at home, I spoke to the Sierra Madre Rotary Club, saw the Nutcracker at the Dolby theatre in Hollywood, and enjoyed beach time down in San Diego.

Serbia: Belgrade, Vrdnik and Novi Sad
For the New Year, I flew to Belgrade, Serbia to visit a friend from Dartmouth. We kicked off 2018 by watching Jelena Karleusac (Serbia’s equivalent of America’s Lady Gaga) and Milica Pavlovic perform and ring in the new year! During my 10-day stay in Serbia, I was taken around Belgrade, the Vrdnik countryside and Novi Sad. In Belgrade, we visited the Belgrade Fortress, St. Sava Temple, the Avala Tower, and visited Serbian Orthodox church on Christmas. We then spent two days in the countryside in Vrdnik before heading to Novi Sad and then back to Belgrade. Particularly interesting was the contrast between Belgrade and Novi Sad – cities formerly ruled by the Ottoman Empire and the Austrian-Hungary Empire, respectively. There are major differences in architecture/city layout and in the overall feel from the cities and the locals.

One of the major reasons I wanted to visit Katya in her hometown was to learn about the Serbian perspective and Serbian history, namely with regards to the Yugoslav wars and the politics of the Balkans. Every night I watched a new documentary on the fall of Yugoslavia. But more importantly, talking to the Nesic family exposed me to the Serbian view of history. Stepping outside the American perspective this week encouraged me to critically assess America’s actions in the Balkans, particularly during the Yugoslav wars and leading up to our recognition of Kosovo as a state. This trip reinforced the importance of learning international perspective and being critical in consumption of media.

Back to London, much to look forward to in the coming months.