A friend of ours was appointed a minister of state yesterday. His name is Milan Parivodic, and he's a lawyer in Belgrade. We met three and a half years ago when I came to Belgrade for the first time. I was giving technical advice to the Serbian government on a proposed new law for secured transactions, and Milan was the first Serbian lawyer I met to talk about it, and, well, we just hit it off. We spent an afternoon geeking out on the details of secured transactions ("...but then, you may have a third party who takes the collateral...") and we've been friends ever since. The fact that he has an adorable baby girl who's the same age as Alan may have helped. When we moved away from Belgrade, we lost touch with a lot of acquaintances. But some have stayed with us. We haven't seen Milan face-to-face in months, but we've been in regular e-mail and phone contact. And then, yesterday: Prime Minister Kostunica has asked him to be the Minister for International Economic Relations. He may (should) be confirmed next week. It's a small Ministry, but it has a lot of interesting work to do: commercial treaties (which Serbia, not being part of the EU, has a lot of), encouraging foreign investment, pre-EU-accession matters, all sorts of stuff. Maybe I'll blog a little bit about Serbia's commercial relations in a bit. For now, though, we're just very happy for our friend.