A Night at the Slovenian Embassy!

Y’all.  Amid my craziness, I totally forgot to tell you about my journey to the Slovenian embassy about a month ago.  One of the coolest things about living in, near, within a 50-mile radius of D.C. is the plethora of opportunities, at hand.  Want to visit the monuments on any given day?  Done.  Want to spend the night at an embassy?  Coming up.  Want to meet and be kissed by the Prime Minister of Ireland?  Roger that.  Seriously, it happened to a friend, recently.

So, when the opportunity arose to visit the Slovenian embassy (I’m a quarter Yugoslavian/Slovenian y’all), I jumped on the chance!  As expected, I had no idea what was going to happen once we arrived at the door.  So, in case you’re thinking about crossing the United States borders for the evening, here’s a sneak peek into a night at a foreign embassy…

The night started with a little happy hour while they were getting things ready for us.  I believe the beer was actually from Bulgaria, but the wine was Slovenian!

The main event of the evening started with a little speech from the Slovenian ambassador followed by a short video of the country.  This was cool for me since I don’t come across too many pictures or videos of Slovenia.  It’s such a beautiful country, and I think, if I ever make it there some day, this will definitely be one of my destinations.  I mean… right?!!! The video was followed by a little concert by a Slovenian opera singer.  For future reference, I think this part of the event varies depending on which embassy and/or which organization is hosting, so expect it to change depending on the country!

Finally, we embarked on my favorite part of the evening.  FOOD!  And, there was lots of it.  I honestly couldn’t tell you the names of all these dishes, but it centered around my favorite type of cuisine: comfort food.  Seriously, I think I’m destined to live in this country.  Additionally, we tried something I was quite familiar with: potica!  That’s pronounced POH-TEET-ZAH.  It’s this bread (dessert?) that my great-grandmother used to make for us by scratch – over the course of two days, by the way.  We were some lucky great-grandchildren.

potica!

And, of course, it never hurts to have a great date. ;)

 MAN!

Ps. Did you know that Slovenia actually, really, kinda won the 2014 Olympics?

Pps. Are you joining us in the Book Challenge?  The reading/chapter guide went out to email participants a few days ago – but it’s never too late to join in!  Sign up here!

*Have you been to an event like this before?? Tell me, tell me!

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Guest Post: “A cup of coffee turned my life around”

Y’all – today, I’m so excited to share with you some words from my cousin, Megan.  You may remember her from the last time she posted on the blog a couple years ago.  She was the recipient of a RAK the other day!  And, to spread the word, she decided to write-up a little something to share with y’all.  How awesome is that?!  It’s also kind of ironic that, on the same day, I also witnessed a RAK in the form of people passing around peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to homeless folks.  Two random acts in one day?!  I think it was one of the best days of my life. *Cue tunes*

Before we get on to the story, if you are interested in participating in 31 Random Acts this year (yes – we’re doing it, again!), please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter!  Or, just email me to tell me that you’re in! [Caitlin dot parke at Gmail dot com] <– to thwart spammers

Ok, back to the action.  Want to know what happened to Megan?  Read on, y’all!

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(Originally written: Saturday March 22, 2014.)

Today, a cup of coffee turned my life around. To some, this may sound crazy. To coffee addicts, like my father, this is probably a statement made every morning when he pours a whole pot of coffee into an oversized cup before he scoots off to work prior to the arrival of the sun.

It’s not what you think, though. I was draggin’ today so I decided to go to the local Starbuck’s drive-thru to get some coffee to pick-me-up before I drowned myself in school studies. I ordered my coffee and proceeded to the window where another car was waiting. I was distracted by my phone and wasn’t paying much attention. When the car pulled away, I crawled up to the window where the woman informed me that the car ahead of me had paid for my coffee. I was so caught off guard that I couldn’t even remember what the car looked like! Who was this mystery person? Was it a fellow Purdue fan that approved of my “Boiler Up” license plate?  Was it a former high-school classmate? Does it matter?

In the end, I drove away with a coffee and a smile. This is where I started thinking…

My cousin Caitlin posted blogs on RAKs before. She sent flowers to someone who needed them, donated clothes, brought in candy for her coworkers, and other kind acts. I always thought, “This is a great idea, but do I have time to actually go out and do these things?”  It is easy to allow the daily grind make you rush through your day and… life. Sometimes, we need to be reminded to slow down and see the beauty that is in this world. All it took for me was a $3 coffee. Lately, I have found myself moody and stressed with my crazy nursing school schedule. That person brought me back to my more care-free and kind hearted days, and urged me to work on being more like my old self.

That coffee and, more importantly, the random kindness of that driver, caused a ripple effect.  After Starbucks, I proceeded to TJMAXX (where I did not need to buy anything—for the love of God, stop going in there, Megan!). While there, I found myself giving everyone a kind smile and just being a little nicer to everyone I encountered, hoping that my kindness would affect them the same way the coffee affected me.  Besides, any one of these strangers could have paid for my coffee!

I decided to try on a few things then talked myself out of them. Instead of loading down the dressing room attendant with more things to return to the racks, I told her I would take care of it myself. She said that she would do it, but I insisted. As I pulled out of the busy parking lot, I let an elderly man in a van pull in front of me. He gave me a friendly wave and was on his way.

This coffee not only encouraged me to spread a little more love and joy, but created a domino effect with others around me. Will the dressing room attendant and the man in the van pay it forward in some way?  Or, just feel a little happier?

Here is the secret. RAKs have the power to not only bring joy to the person affected, but it brings you joy as well. Let’s try to be more caring to our fellow man. No one knows what people are going through, and sometimes all it takes is a coffee or a smile to turn their day around.

**

Thanks for the sweet post, Megan!  And, remember everyone, if you want to participate in 31 Random Acts in October 2014, please join the Facebook Page and/or follow us on Twitter!

Ps. Are you joining in on the 2014 Book Challenge?