Some comments about daily life:
I do not have a car and have no plans to buy one, although I will rent one when my family comes over in the summer. My walk to the university takes 15-20 minutes, depending on my energy level. It's not bad--unless it's raining or my briefcase (slung over my shoulder) is particularly heavy that day. I walked with a colleague to dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant a few nights ago—it took us 30 minutes to get there—but we had a great conversation and there's no better way to see a place than by walking. When we left, at midnight, the people we met for dinner gave us a lift home.
My apartment has a washing machine and solar clothes dryer. For those of you who have forgotten what this means: I hang my wash out on a clothes line on one of the two balconies of my apartment. They are just now starting to sell dryers but they cost about 400 Euros. The washer seems to do a good job but the wash cycle is very long.
Things are done on a smaller scale in Montenegro. Cars are smaller. Offices are smaller--or if not, more people occupy the office space. Interpersonal space is generally less, both when someone is standing near you, you are sitting on a bus, or when you are walking down the street with someone you know.The bathtub is narrower--which means it takes less water to fill it when you want a soak in the tub. But it's a challenge to stand and shower. My refrigerator and stove are smaller but so is my kitchen. Still, the frig is large enough to hold all I need and I can do all the cookig I aspire to do. I find great reason to wonder why Americans let everything get so big? (Including people, who eat more than they should and rarely walk anywhere. And yes....I am guilty of this when I am back in the U.S.)
A friend recently asked in an email whether the living circumstances were like Western Europe or a more transitional place. Clearly, there are parts of life that are similar to Western Europe or the U.S. but there's a much more casual approach to life. Deadlines are arbitrary, or seem to be. Meals are consumed at a leisurely pace. And hours are spent in the coffee bars. For an uptight American%2