On Wednesday, I bumped into the Croatian high school student tradition marking the end of studies –Norijada – thousands on students from all the schools congregate in Zagreb city centre to party, throw eggs and flour and blow whistles until the police escort them to the river to sleep it off . https://youtu.be/lbyQ3jrrIjg?t=61

To avoid the flour (very cheap as opposed to expensive milkshakes) I took refuge with my Law Periodical Library colleagues in their beautiful building in Croatian Republic Square.

They have been superb hosts and our interviews have been jam-packed in both directions- exchanging experiences and musings – aside from learning about the typical library, student and professorial concerns, I have picked up on two Croatian concepts which I thought were really interesting. The first is ‘Kafensati’ – literally ‘to drink coffee’ – but in the academic environment here this represents a precious workplace glue. Croatians love their coffee and can always find time for a cup – to some, it might look like they are skiving from work but in the time spent nursing their favourite beverage to the dregs, workplace efficiency and future planning can be improved and thorny problems resolved. Working relationships are nourished here and suggestions on how to better do things may arise. Its importance as a social convention cannot be overestimated

Here are my new ‘kolege’ doing just that.

Left to right ‘Dragutin , Slavica, Vlado, Petra, Donna, Maja

The other concept is Kampanjski –which the dictionary translates as unsystematic, last-minute, sporadic, corporate, off-and-on, in spurts – but which here means almost like a constant form of intense Blitzkrieg working – working shorter hours but intensely; to get the job done. In that way, they may have more time to enjoy their wonderful museums, parks and cuisine and of course coffee!

 

 

May 23rd, 2019

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