Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.
Yes, the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia, looks like Old World Europe, but the residents look a lot like South Milwaukee neighbors. It's only when they speak and the language isn't English that I'm jarred back to realizing I'm not in a quaint fairytale theme park in the U.S.
The place and people are charming. Like Tirana, Albania, the streets and parks teem with young people, families and babies. Appearances of a comfortable lifestyle abound.
Yes, the country has economic problems, but less so than many other countries in Europe, and tensions between the courts/legal system and the media create problems. But where is that not the case? (That, in fact, is the reason I'm here -- on a court-media consulting project.)
Among the delights of Ljubljana is it's outdoor Saturday market. It's a left turn just across the first of The Three Bridges and in the shadow of the castle on the hill on the edge of town and consists of acres and acres of everything -- mountains of fresh produce, rainbows of fresh-cut flowers, tomato and other starter plants for vegetable gardens, clothes -- including undergarments for men and women, shoes, belts, ladies hand- and shoulderbags, toys, sausages and other meats, cheeses, baked goods, fish and other types of seafood, beverages including the fantastic wines Slovenia is famous for -- at least locally, woven baskets, needleworked and tatted table linens, handicrafts, souvenirs -- and this time (I've been here twice before in the past six years) cavier.
This year as in years past a festival complete with children's theater performances, street musicians magic acts and balloons, filled the town square. On my last visit, I arrived on Dec. 5 so was delighted with a St. Nicholas Eve celebration in the square, which included a parade complete with red devils that jumped out into the crowd and 'frightened' the kids.
After I get home (still have Romania to go on this trip), I'm REALLY going to figure out how to post photos I've taken on this blog so you can see some of the wonderous sights.