Cabbage Patch Kids

It’s harvest time! This week we were getting down and dirty in the garden. The only things that were naughty were the phallic looking or overly suggestive carrots. Shocking really how pornographic they can be.  Sorry no pics… I was afraid I may be reported for vegetable porn.

First, we conquered the cabbage patch. Profitable work, and fun ta boot! The hubby picked and peeled the balls of leaves. Cleaning off the layers of snail eaten bits and then passed me the heads to stack in the wheel barrel.

We filled three or four barrels. I toyed with calling this post “catching cabbage”. Rain has soaked the cabbage heads and made them heavy. As I caught them, they smacked hard against my fingers and palms and a spray of water would fly past.

After so much rain we were lucky to have a good harvest, but still we lost some of them to rotten soaking messes that stank of gooey, slimy leaves. Yum!

The next day it was celery root, beets, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. To be sure, my hands are dry and rough after digging in the clay for soil that is is our garden. It sucks the moisture right out of the fingers. I will digging dirt out from under my nails for some time.

The smell of  the pigs premium export filled our nostrils. We listened to them serenade us with their grunts and squeals from inside the adjacent pen inside the barn. It’s amazing how the smell of pigs and cows are the same the world over.That scent takes me back to childhood. It is strange, how it makes me feel at home.

Serbs always ask me how I like going to work in the village. I guess they assume it is foreign to me. But it is the place I feel most at home. My days of walking the streets of NYC have not spoiled me for life on the farm. I love the country life.

Our village kitty especially brings me joy. Lenka the kitten was our shadow, meowing time to time for attention and cuddles. At 3 months, she is already earning her keep catching mice! What a great little cat!

 

This is the kind of sweet sweaty labor that makes coming home at the end of the day, and taking a shower feel so good.

Dobar Dan Y’all!

Kick Start Your Good Health!

Today, I am excited to introduce you to some friends of mine who have the most amazing app created that can simplify your struggle in having a healthy lifestyle.

But, first let me tell you how I met these motivated peeps.

I was working in the U.S. and they were over on a summer work program. They were working two jobs and still managed to come to work smiling, even though they were burning the candle at both ends.

Both Evelina and Pavel worked their way up from busing and expo kitchen work to serving.  Not an easy task for non native English speaker who do not live full-time in the U.S., but they managed! It shows how motivated they are.

Later, I found out they were working to pay for the highly expensive American University in Sofia, Bulgaria. The cost of the tuition is the same as a public university in the U.S. That kind of tuition is outrageous in Eastern Europe. But they managed with some scholarships and very hard work.

Presently, they are working to make eating healthy easier for everyone with an app. Let me introduce you to my friends and their endeavor.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1313992172/eatwell-app-eating-healthy-made-easy

If you can help get them closer to the goal of meeting the goal that would be awesome.  And remember, the money is only taken from your account if the project meets its goal. Thanks for reading!

Here’s to your health!

 

Munckin Monday 10-13-2014

Good Morning Monday.

I am doing a little catch up. Here are some pics of the Munchkin. She LOVES kitties.
We found two tiny kittens beside a dumpster. Eyes still closed meowing like crazy. She insisted we take them. I insisted we take a walk and see if the Mommy Kitty came back.

We went for a walk and they were still there when we came back. Both were cold, stinky and hungry. We took them home, gave them a bath and fed them with a medicine dropper.

FYI, Baby shampoo and dish detergent is a great flea bath! It rendered them flea less!

One one managed to live two days, but the other one was strong and I was able to give him meds from a vet. I named him Fork.

After three weeks, he also passed away. I was devastated. This was the first time, I had to explain death to the munchkin. She doesn’t really get it yet. And I never let her see them after they passed. She still asked a few times where “Sister” was. She called them both “Sister”.

I think at this age it is easier just to say, Kitty went away.

Munchkin is doing well, and I know we will have more kitties to save in the future. :)

At the moment, Munchkin and I are nursing colds. Who knew we would be struck down so soon after starting preschool. The sound of dueling nose blowing abounds. A few coughs thrown in for good measure.

On a positive note, I have had time for studying Serbian thanks to Preschool! Hooray!

Dobar Dan Y’all!

 

Halloween Obstacles in Serbia

Planning for an English Club Halloween party is proving harder than expected. It will largely end up being just a costume party. That is enough, and most of the fun anyway, right?  Keeping it simple is key.

Let me share the challenges I am up against. The decorations are the main issue.

I found that orange pumpkins aren’t so common. They are grown for feeding pigs. There are so many other options, that is really irrelevant. It is just shocking as massive fields are dedicated to these orange pumpkins in the U.S. for fall decoration and picture-taking purposes only!

The decorative brooms we use to decorate and symbolize a witches broom, is as common as sliced bread here. Here is a bit of irony: sliced bread isn’t so common. LOL Brooms are so different here, I could do a post on them alone!  I guess that will be my blog.

Costume ideas are often culturally different… for instance. In the U.S. twice I have gone as Gypsy because no one knows they exist. To us they are like unicorns. A.k.a. mythical story book creatures. It is a little like this M&M commercial.

 

Yet, the word in Serbian for Gypsy in Serbian is like saying the “N” word in the U.S. Roma is the proper word for these people.

The irony continues… The “N” word in Serbia is common. There are almost no black people here… only in cities. And the kids here that listen to American rap here the word and don’t understand how bad it is.  Who is gonna tell them? Maybe me? in this post. :)

Other costume issues are that things that are common costumes are possibly cultural reference that the kids here may not recognize. DIY (do it yourself) or home-made costumes don’t seem so common. But then again, maybe I am wrong. I am kinda new at this.

The food and drinks we would use back home aren’t even sold here. I doubt anyone here knows what candy corn are! In case you don’t, they are a super sweet chewy candy.

In the words of Wayne’s world, “Party on!”

or in the more recent and very popular…

 

Do you have any experience in putting on a Halloween party? Tell me about it!

 

 

 

 

Knjazevac Charming Beauty

My town is exceptional in its beauty. So much so, that it won an award this year. It will be will be listed in the network of “European Destinations of Excellence” Here are the pics to prove it!
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Above is the Main Street bridge.

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The view of a locals enjoying drinks at Casa Dolce cafe and beyond to St. Georges Church in the distance.

And below a boy casts his fishing line into the Timok River.
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Then there is the iconic opposite side of the Timok. Post card material.

One of my town favorites is the old arch rimmed pavilion. A brilliant place to sit and watch the world go by.

The town is filled with beauty everywhere, sometimes it sneaks up on me.

cool and old

cool and old

See, even the ruins are lovely! And if you look up above the door, you will see it used to be an arched doorway.

Bright colors, painstaking iron work and carved wood doors create the kind of eye candy that decorates the town.
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This is my town, and it is stunning no matter what the season.
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Even the people are gorgeous and their traditional costumes are fantastic, not to mention the dancing! Anyone for the Kolo? OPA!
Yellow scarves ans red socksIf you are thinking of making the trip to visit us contact one of these agencies, They have English speakers who can help you.

Come visit!  We can chat over coffee, or even better,  Rakija!

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https://www.facebook.com/turistickaorganizacija.opstineknjazevac?fref=nf

https://www.facebook.com/groups/knjazevacinfo/

Dobar Dan Y’all!

 

 

No Longer Incognito~ Stranac in Knjazevac

The Munchkin has started preschool. She is talking in both languages. I am proud.

At the same time, I am leery. I can no longer hide my foreign self. If I don’t speak, I may pass as a local. Maybe. But now, the little one speaks to me only in English. I’m outed! No blending. I am as foreign as my Chinese counterparts.

On the upside, I am excited to report I have a Chinese friend here!! Hooray for company of another foreigner!

I have met quite a few people over the last year, and I think my foreigner status in a small town is no longer a secret to many.

Of course this is good and bad. I long for it to be more good than bad. Concerns about what I post plaque me. The luxury of being a foreign blogger in a large city is not mine. My words may seem critical even if well intentioned.

I know that I make mistakes all the time, with my friends and strangers I meet. Such is life!
My stranac/foreigner status is opening doors. I have conversations with moms and dads on the playground. For a while it was just Munchkin and me. How lonely. Slowly, that is changing. For the social butterfly in me, that is priceless.

About a week ago, I was asked to speak at a school for the European day of Languages. I was thrilled to go. Although, in the end, my nerves got the better of me. I was sweating like a sow and all the ideas I had to share became as illusive as a unicorn. I am sure I made a fool of myself. I know know I don’t do well in front of crowds.

I was on one the local news and got to meet a few new people. It was fun. I am looking forward to more fun events where I can be part of the community.

Off now to the Vasher (Market Fair) and to a Great Britain Event later today!! I am so excited!! Pics to come!

Easy! Munckin Monday

“Easy”, says the munchkin, waking from a dead sleep.Daddy was struggling kindly to wake up and use the nasha (potty). Of course the Hubby and I burst out laughing at her word choice at 2AM! Out of no where she comes up with the most adult yet comical things to say.

Today, while watching an Xgame worthy wheel chair bound stunt guy speed down a ramp and then flip, she shocked me! She blurts out, “Mommy, That’s awesome!” We proceed to watch it over and over as Munchkin also loves to dance to the music in the video.

In case you are interested here is that same video. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152559293686083&set=vb.215052536082&type=2&theater

Her verbal expressions aren’t limited to English. This summer as Baba was going on and on and on…..To infinite, Munch had clearly gotten sick of listening and let Baba know. She said in Serbian, “Dosta!” That means, enough. She is one smart cookie!

She is already teaching me new words. I am so proud of her!

She demonstrates language discernment as well. She will be speaking to Daddy in Serbian, turn to me and speak in English. I just don’t have enough words to describe how happy that makes me.

I can’t believe only three months have passed by, she has grown years worth of Monday writings. Language is the biggest growth spurt she has had, although the mark on the wall had jumped up more than an inch.

She is still taking afternoon naps and cuddles like its her job. I love that the most.

Her coordination and dancing has improved. She jumps and spins like a top. One of the cafes pipes music onto the walkway. She dances and puts on a show every time we walk past.

Potty training was completed at the beginning of the summer. Now, Daddy has her trained to go and fetch her nasha when she needs to use it. He is no dummy. ;)

This is my favorite stage so far! What an amazing little ball of energy! My little Dancing Queen!

Back to the Balkans


Hey all! Three months have passed in a flash. Back to the norm and back to blogging.
Writing has become kind of an addiction. I really missed writing and reading others posts.

Summer was a crazy, visiting family, and working hard.

Now, There are large lists of things to do. Soon, Munchkin should begin preschool. I can spend time really studying Serbian.

Our biggest new adventure is fixing up the family home that we will moved to eventually.
Now that it is empty we can begin to fix it up! :) New windows, a heating system, and some interior changes will be made. My Pinterest pinning frenzy has begun!
For now I will leave you with some pics of our future home. I am so excited!!

The terrace view. Not grand, but a great place for coffee or tea!

The downstairs entrance… I am crazy for the doors!

I will give you a tour of the inside soon. Hope you all had an amazing summer! Happy Fall!
Dobar Dan Y’all