ABC (and Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Realizing that Mike and I were more than a casual fling, his former roommate handed him a cup of coffee. Why? Coffee is for closers. A reference from Glengarry Glen Ross.


The lesson in this real estate/business drama – ABC. Always Be Closing.


Now while I have worked in this business for the past 20 years, that’s not what this post is about; rather, this post is about food. In particular, our sabbatical mealtimes.


When Mike and I were first dating, I was a one dish girl. I ordered what I wanted and I didn’t share. Mike, however, came from a sharing background. He offers his, then expects a taste in return. Admittedly, this horrified me early on. I was not prepared to give up my meal. I came from a long line of women that had to protect their meals from the other men in the family, “Are you done with that?” “Are you going to eat that?” (This was typically asked while the food was already leaving our plates on their forks.)


So when Mike first offered me a bite of his food, I was greatly uncomfortable. Of course I wanted a taste, but did that mean I had to offer one in return? It was a serious conflict.


Fortunately, I got over that and I learned to swap bites with him, sampling a variety of foods I had never tried before. Now, fast-forward a decade and he and I usually share entire plates. He picks a dish. I pick a dish. We swap halfway through. It’s a great way to try a couple items you might find interesting on a menu. It’s been this way for years now.


But what I wasn’t expecting, least of all on this sabbatical, was the outright, cutthroat negotiating that has since insued. And it’s not between Mike and I. Our kids, Mr. N and Miss A are now fully involved in the negotiations; and it’s turned into Wall-Street-esque deal making.


It started innocently enough. One day, Mr. N offered to split a dish with his dad. No problem. I wasn’t interested in the options. But the next time…a deal had already been cut between Mike and I, when Mr. N popped in and tried to win Mike over to his side. And he won.


I was shocked. Just like that I had lost my deal and Miss A had no interest in my two options. But three could play at this game. So at the next meal, Mike and I both battled for Mr. N. Miss A was still a lone hold out for her own dish at this point (however, this was not to last for long).


Table discussions were fast-paced, heated – bribery and under the table dealing might have been involved. It was a no-hold-bar negotiation; and one had to Always Be Closing to hope to make the deal.


Then, not wanting to be left out, and seeing the benefits of trying different meals, Miss A decided to join the melee. Now the games were on.


The kids quickly learned how to assuage me – truffles did you say? And their father as well, sausage? Red meat?


Negotiations became intense and fast. There’s no time to dilly dally. In Europe we find the waiters are quick to take your order, but then leave you to enjoy the meal. (A much preferred alternative to the states where they give you time to order, but then rush you out of the restaurant after finishing your meal.) In all seriousness, it’s almost impossible to find a waiter to get your check upon finishing here. They want you to linger. I love it! But that means we order fast and sometimes alliances are made on the fly. “Wait – you two are going in together?!” And like that it’s done.


You snooze, you lose. You have to be fast. You have to make your point quickly and effectively. It’s your 30-second elevator pitch and you must Always Be Closing.


Fortunately we’re only dealing with food here and no one really ends up unhappy; eventually we all end up with a sample of something we want. But man is it fun! Who knew picking from a menu could be so entertaining. And this is just the main course round – we haven’t even started on dessert!


This is one of my favorite developments on sabbatical. Perhaps it’s all the training they had at home, sampling foods from around the world. Or maybe it’s genetic, passed down from Mike’s ability to share food (it certainly doesn’t come from me). That being said, once a deal is cut, don’t try to take food off of Miss A’s plate that you haven’t negotiated for…(that definitely comes from me). Whatever the case, it’s a blast! Sure it’s cut-throat, but it’s all in good fun. And like I said, no one leaves unhappy  – it’s food after all and who doesn’t love food!


And speaking of food and love – the photos from this post were snapped in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It’s a gem of a city! We stopped in on a recommendation from friends on our way to Italy, and what a treat. Not only did we negotiate for great food, sip some pretty fantastic wine and have some fun shopping; we also had the opportunity to wander the streets of this delightful city. It’s similar to the cities we discovered in Czech, but less touristy and not even that crowded. It was quaint. It was beautiful and it was an easy city to stroll about. I only wish we had more time. It’s definitely a place we hope to come back and explore in more depth.


And it wraps up our sabbatcial journey. Thank you for coming along with us. We’re now off to Italy, where we’ll spend the last of our sabbatical days, hoping to draw out the pause a bit longer. It’s been quite the ride…10 countries, 31 cities (to-date) and countless memories. Thanks for coming along. Cheers!


12 thoughts on “ABC (and Ljubljana, Slovenia)

  1. ChgoJohn says:

    Gosh, Kristy, the time has flown! I’ve just read 12 of your posts in a row and your sabbatical has really flown by for me. I’m feeling a bit of motion sickness. Love the negotiations at the dinner table. I’m typically not a sharer. I don’t mind sharing food.I just don’t want to taste yours and discover that you have the better dish.I chose this one and I’m sticking with it!
    I hope you enjoy Italy as much as I did – well make that more than I. You see, I did have a broken ankle the entire time but we’ll talk about that at another time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kristy says:

      We saw the bridge but missed the milk dispenser. But now that you mention I remember reading about it on your blog. Wish I would have remembered. Mr.N would have loved that!


  2. Eva Taylor says:

    I can’t believe your journey is almost over, it’s been a blast following along. Even JT has taken to reading your blog to see which city you’re in. Can’t wait for the final power rankings.
    JT and I typically share a dish to save on calories but on occasion, we choose two totally separate meals (like last Thusday, I had an open face smoked salmon sandwich with salad and he had a Reuben with fries and we traded 1/2 our sandwiches and 1/2 our salads and fries. It was still a lot of food). Love the photos. Hope you have a wonderful finale of your sabbatical. 31 cities? So awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debra says:

    I have never really learned the art of sharing my food, and clearly I’m the loser! Maybe I need to rethink that. Mr. N and Miss A are so much more sophisticated in their tastes and culinary knowledge than most children I know–make that adults that I know–and clearly you’ve done something right. 🙂 Enjoy the last sips of this delicious sabbatical. I can’t believe it’s coming to an end!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eha says:

    Well, surely have had to negotiate with myself during the last five minutes: the beautiful photo essay or the really fun family story . . . . love the photos and shall go back, but the ABC won out 🙂 ! Perhaps Down Under this is easier: as we eat so much Asian – this mostly comes to the centre of the table and everyone [well, the ones fast enough!!] has a go at everything ordered . . . tho’ the negotiations sound like fun!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dawn says:

    I can’t believe it has already come to an end!! I can’t wait to hear all about Italy, so I hope you will post some pictures. I have definitely been enjoying them over Instagram!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Neidotta says:

    I loved this! Good idea and sounds fun. In my family we usually just end up ordering similar dishes because we all like similar tastes 😀 But maybe I will try to negotiate them to do this on our next travel 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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