Brace for Re Entry

On the plane, I got a migraine. The kind only a good upchuck will relieve. I was grateful to vomit and then go back and rest my head on the Mr’s shoulder. I was feeling much better by the time we landed. Needless to say it was all from stress of moving back to the homeland. AND holding a heavy tot for hours while she slept.

Before that at the border, they didn’t want to let the Munckin go with out citizenship papers since she didn’t have a visa in her US Passport. It didn’t matter that we had her father with both his Passports giving her auto citizenship standing at the counter explaining. … with a bit stress, prayer, and hard talk with the border chic, we finally were allowed to pass.

Here are a few random re entry observations…

The Munchkin is fun to watch as she quickly acclimates. Still the hubby is pleased. He has his own little Serb to talk to all the time.  :) A new concept.  lol  He (we) made himself his own little national companion! HA!

She rolls her r’s in English. No accent, but still manages to sound like a little Draculaura.  Hello monster high fans!! P.S. she still calls Monster High, “Scary Ups”. We don’t know how she came up with it, but she is three. and it works for her.

I am getting thrown for a loop by the normal things, like “Where do you live?” Hmm,  “No where yet!” People are confused buy how I get flustered with that easy inquiry.

Family reunions are great and ease the stress. But little things like food from a “new”country are trying for a small person.

Munchkin doesn’t like cheese that isn’t white… a total foreign concept. No sharp orange colored cheddar for her! But, ice cream is the international language of love.

I am spelling things oddly. My brain is lost some where in Europe. I just spelled Kindergarden > kindergarten.. that is the German spelling. I never lived in Germany, just saw lots of German stuff in Serbia.

Maybe it is just the change from Turkish coffee to drip coffee that is affecting the brain?

Needless to say, my head is a mess.  I was so sad to leave Serbia, and happy too. and now it is all a mess in my head. Sometimes, I just barely manage to hold back tears of confusion and so much emotion at returning home and leaving the other one.

Now, it is a challenge to find housing. I have been gone for years. No present address to list for rental applications. We are staying with friends. our former address was out of country, and the one before was from ages ago.

Thank God I have great employers who will have me back.  And a long work record with them.

I can’t remember my phone number by heart yet. But will have that down soon.

We have bought a car, now we need another one.. but a house would be great first. All in due time. What I mean by that is, NOW! I want a house now!!

5 days and counting. Jet lag fading, new life on the horizon.

Final thought, HOME is a complicated word.

Drive by Shooting

A nice spring drive….

Lots of tractors were on the road and in the fields.

Babas were everywhere, like this one on the side of the road with a full wheel barrow. Nothing shocks me here!

One more Baba, all of them in the socially acceptable Baba uniform. skirt, kerchief, sweater, Vest, dark stockings, and opanci (plastic flat ballet flats). Serbian Fashion for all the Babas!

One more for the road… A Deda and his tractor.

What a great day to be outside!

Sometimes when I see these beautiful houses, it isn’t hard to imagine Heidi from the classic old story living in them.

Happy Saturday everyone!! Thanks for stopping by.

Dobar Dan

Stork Smiles

Twice this week I saw a stork flying over head with twigs in it’s mouth flying to a rooftop nest somewhere. We are all about fixing up our homes and taking care of our families.

This stork is probably the offspring of the famous stork family that has annually returned to the residence high atop the old Town T.V. station/theatre. You can watch them roost. and sometimes catch a glimpse of stork hatch-lings. They are only small from a distance.

It is believed in Serbia, that if a stork makes a town home that places is very healthy. Storks are thought to be particular about where they nest. I think that is a sweet thought that can make you hometown proud. Not sure of the truth of it. They have few natural predators.

Photo link address Taken by Djoka listed on June 2007 Listed on All

The local storks always make me smile and I feel blessed to watch them soar overhead. Once I watched one glide just about the Timok River and then stand on the banks watching for a fresh froggy or fish to gulp down.

With a wingspan of over 6 feet (from Wiki: wingspan is 155–215 cm or 61–85 in) seeing one seeming hover over the water is a sight you don’t soon forget.

They really are majestic.

In other bird news, I saw this tiny prefab home on a house last week and loved it! I doubt a storks big toe talon would fit inside.

Not a stork nest.

Thank God spring has arrived and our eyes can feast on natures goodness. Blue skies, puffy white clouds, sunny days, and lots of gorgeous creatures!

Dobar Dan!

PMS post on the In-laws

I should be censored. I should not even post when I am PMS-ing… A mental and physical muzzle for all conversations during this delicate psychotic period should be administered. But there is no warden for my words and thoughts spilling out in black and white.

Here I go typing away about my bad behavior last night.

In any marriage “the in-laws are a touchy thing. Different parenting customs and family dynamics make for um”… shall we say interesting discussion.

Cross-cultural marriages multiply the dynamics. Customs are far more “exotic” and sometimes scary. Including giving raw eggs to infant. Yep! seen that with my own eyes.

When you add hormonal imbalance and anger…with a Capital “A” it becomes out of control.

Lets make it a little bit more interesting by throwing in a little home remodeling and a bonafide, certified, gets shots once a month at a looney bin,  schizophrenic Aunt!! Yep! all that!

Honestly, when I put it all in perspective, I was quite polite.

Let me set the stage a little more. It was a cold rainy day. We, my husband and I went to the village to work on Baba and Deda’s house. Munchkin in the care of the in-laws at house not far away.

When we arrive at the house being renovated, I am left with a bare minimum of work. Work I try to accomplish is stopped and I realized in this cold, damp house there is nothing for me to do but watch. I am not a voyeur! Soon, I head back to the house.

At the front entrance, I see the Sister-in- Law’s shoes in the shoe pile at the front door.  (Because, Serbia is much more like Asia than Western Europe thanks to the Turks.) No one told me she was coming. I hate that. And Munchkin’s Aunt is one of my least fav people in the world. The kind that thinks everyone should buy her whatever she wants,,, and I mean like Uggs, Burberry, etc. While she goes to college in a city for Over 10 years!! No job and doesn’t help with the family farm. AT ALL! But she will take everything she can from the family. I am not exaggerating!

She is thirty, and her parents are still paring for her to live away. That is mostly, because she is horrible and they don’t want her near. Sadly, that is not PMS mean-ness. it is the reality. They have called the cops on her for harassment. Last time she came for Christmas, Papa tried to move home to his parents. They wouldn’t have him. And there are two free bedrooms.

When the Aunt appears and I become a fire breathing dragon. and it happened. I kept the flames in. Smoke curled from my nostrils… but, a dragon can’t help that. She was cuddling with my sleeping munchkin. And, her arrival had put the munchkins nap off two hours. GRRR!

I sit on the chair by the fire warming up, Baba goes to take a nap. Begins snoring quickly. I don’t blame her. She does the lions share of the work, and is no doubt exhausted!

Papa, fat and lazy, has his chair pulled to the center of the room watching T.V., volume all the way up like a king. Munchkin plays with the crazy aunt. I am thankful for my book.

It is not long before King Grandpa begins to incite munchkin to wake Baba…. I stop her. He does it again louder. and I stop her. Then he is doing it himself. He succeeds. I say quietly, but loud enough, “Glupino”… it means stupid, and I am sure he heard. Soon after, I am sure he was steaming that someone dared call the king stupid in his own home. He left his throne to go out into the cold for quite sometime.

His crazy daughter says nothing. She could care less if the women who makes her life of unrealistic luxury sleeps. In fact, I have seen her hit her mother repeatedly when she was sleeping so she could talk to her. Yep, She is that sweet to her mother. This is the kind of stuff that makes me smolder!

You see, I do love my Mother-in-law, and I would love to protect her. But she can’t stand up for  herself. And she works like a team of oxen for her family. and they don’t appreciate it. Actually, they abuse her. It kills me!  And like a truly delusional person, she makes excuses for their bad behavior!  When I talked to Mama about Papa waking her, she said he was just playing. When I related the story later to the hubby, he said the same thing. When I asked him how he would like that… the excuse became clearly an excuse for bad behavior.

Three hours after I arrived at Baba and Deda’s, the husband returned. he ate, and asked if I was ready to go. I was!

Then, Munchkin, didn’t want to come home! She wanted to stay with the insane aunt, emotionally blind Baba, and the constantly abusive Father-in-Law. Of course. I can’t imagine why the sweet little tot wouldn’t want to come home with a fire breathing dragon… lol. And. to be fair, she was being spoiled like a pig being fattened like no other!! who wouldn’t stay in a place you get coddled, tons of presents and can do ANYTHING you want and never hear the word “no”.  Seriously. I would chose the crazies too!

Munchkin insisted on staying, Hubby and the family backed her and I was beaten… I hugged the munchkin and said goodbye to the crazy aunt with eyes that really said. I HATE YOU! If looks could kill, she would have been flat-lined instantly.

The entire drive home and all night long, I wanted to go back for her. Still, she stayed… This morning I am still frustrated that she is in that environment.  And she will stay til tomorrow.  WTFrench toast!

Also, ee will probably have to return Friday and Sunday.. It is Orthodox Easter.  FUN!

Friday we are supposed to decorate eggs… Not like you do in the States. Dipping them for a second. and adding colors like paint. No,, this means boiling them for hours. The dye is poor and the eggs are dark. So, that really means spending needless time in the village that can’t be spent on home renovation. UGH!  And eating not Fast food, but food of fasting. YUK to both!

No one knows that the fasting talked about in the Bible wasn’t beans, it was the yummy vegetation of the Mediterranean! (The hate comments for talking bad about the “Blessed” magic fasting beans that produce gas and painful constipation rather than a bean stalk to the sky are coming… I can tell.) In fact, here they don’t know much, more than that the calendar says it is Easter. That does make me a bit more mad.  Tradition, rather than knowledge. The tip of the iceberg.

I realize the irony. The angry, hateful person who is supposed to be a sweet loving Christian. I know, I am no perfect. Never will be. Right now I am over all of this! Going out for a walk to improve my mood.

End rant.

Spring Forward into Life

Last weekend the time changed in Europe. That fact is irrelevant to this blurb. Almost.

Trouble on two continents, family issues, and work that had to be done worked in tandem with germs from the little miss. A cold stopped me in my tracks. One whole day, I was down for the count. A day later, I was not fully recovered. but mentally, I was renewed.

The physical rest gave my mind the break it needed! Now, I am back in Black and White!! and Technicolor! Alive again after a long cold winter of cabin fever.

Joyful Yellow Flowers!! Happy Spring!

I am about ready to get back to work on Baba and Deda’s house renovations. Spring house cleaning has begun!! Putting winter away and bringing out new seasons things! Just like the Trees! Hip Hip Horrah!

The celebration of spring has begun in Serbia and all over the northern sphere!! There is a new energy! Longer days and a new mindset! My brain, like the trees is blooming with new ideas!  Get out and enjoy the green sprouting from the formerly drab brown ground and feast your eyes on the fresh sprigs!   It will make you feel alive!

Pops of color are everywhere. Even the street cracks are bursting with dandelions that are growing under water spouts.

The idea of renewal is one that suits the story of Uskurs or Easter. Easter weekend has hit the Western world, We have a week yet for it to hit the Eastern Orthodox part of the world. Preparations are in progress. I think nature does the best part of the prep work!

Christ is Risen!!

Happy Easter to my friends and family!

I am Expat Blog of the Month!!

I regret not being very active in blogging lately. There is just too much going on … preparing to move, working on the place before we leave, etc!

I was thinking about what to write next and then I was asked to be the blog of the month over at expat blog!! I accepted and now my interview is up and ready to view!! You can check it out here!

I love that site, and joined almost as soon as I became an expat!! I have found other bloggers I love reading, through them. Expat Blog makes it easy to find expat bloggers all over the world!! You should check them out!!

Will blog again soon!! I miss writing, but I have been just too tired to think!

Water Works Serbia Vs. U.S.

Traveling between the U.S. and Serbia always brings to light the subtle and sometimes not at all subtle differences. The pros and cons are a mixed bag as they are with all countries.

Toilet water level is lower in Serbia. I have written about this before. It is different. nothing more. Less splash when you pinch off a loaf. But also, it makes cleaning more often more imperative and often. The toilet seems taller but it may just be the shape?.

While we are on the potty topic, the actual toilet seat and lid is often a light plastic material. I was fearful of breaking it when I came to Serbia the first time. But it is surprisingly sturdy… at least for a little while.

W.C. is the normal sign across much of Europe for toilet or bathroom. It stands for Water Closet, an old term I remember only hearing in old Western movies with John Wayne.

The washing machine is often in the W.C.with the toilet tub and sink. It makes sense as the clothes are washed on HIGH temps. The close proximity is logical for cost saving on space and length of pipes. I wrote about that here.

In our bathroom, the sink only has cold water… I guess they figure, if you need hot you can just use the tub faucet. In one village house I have seen there isn’t a sink! They decided to be really thrifty and space efficient using the tub faucet as the sink!!! Extreme Thrifting Home Edition!!

In Serbia, your kitchen may or may not have hot water… I know this is common in the village. Keeping a bit of water on the wood stove in the winter is a common practice.

Still getting grease off of dishes is a challenge. Enter Fairy dish detergent! This stuff cuts the grease and takes the skin off of your hands. I would rather employ a gentler soap and hot water to save my hands. Man, that Fairy is strong and painful stuff! But, if you aren’t using hot water, I would say it is necessary after adding so much pig fat (lard) to the dishes eaten!

If you have hot water in the kitchen, a tiny water heater will be located above the sink. It is so  tiny unit that fits in your kitchen cabinet taking up space. :P

The proximity to the faucet creates a certain shock of scalding suds Immediately! Ouch

In the bathroom the same issue is to be expected. The hot water heater is above the tub. HOT!!! Getting burned by the tub faucet happens rarely but sometimes I reach for the safe plastic lever and miss. I touch the  metal part of the faucet outer element that has been heated quickly and efficiently. With soap in my face and a fresh burn I find the lever.   Vowing to be more mindful of the Serbian standard, I rinse myself.

The upside of the difference is no one gets a flash of All cold/hot in the shower if someone  flushes! If you have ever had that happen, you can appreciate that plus. ;)

The things I find strangely different are the focus on what would be cleaned with super hot water. Clothes are scalded with 90 degrees Celsius. Contrast that with all the eating utensils that contain food… quite a switch in priorities. These are the things that culture shock on both sides of the fence.

What differences have you noticed in your travels?

17 #ForeignPeopleProblems Every Expat Understands All Too Well


Ahh, This is so true!

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

Eat Pray LoveEat Pray Love

1. People saying your name. Now you might not have a name that is unique to the place you’ve moved to. But then again you might. And good freaking luck trying to get people to get it right.

2. Speaking the language in that country perfectly prior to moving there, explaining this to people, and still being “complimented” for it.

3. Using the “wrong” names for things and people not understanding you. Whether it’s being called out for saying, “cinema” instead of “the movies,” or saying “dustbin” instead of “trash can,” expect all the laughs.

4. Constantly playing the “conversion game.” You know, the game where you convert the prices of things to how much they cost you in other currencies and usually feel cheated. Except in the moments where you feel like you’re winning!

5. Some of your pronunciations, or your entire accent in general will…

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Sve za Beba~All for Baby Traditions in Serbia 1

When I came to Serbia so many years ago,  I was in awe of the different traditions. Having wet hair and going out in any weather is inviting death as well as opening two windows at once that will bring the dreaded draft or promaja.

Enter the Bumbo Seat (Used worldwide…. but probably not in the Balkans) An infant seat that looks like it should be used in Bars from drunks who tend to fall off their stools.    But then, babies are like little drunks. Think about it!  They pee themselves, spill their drinks, vomit without warning, and there is no reasoning with them.

A month or so after my entrance to the Balkans I was taken by surprise. Visiting a friend who is a nurse in Serbia she fretted a bit when I sat her infant on my lap. She told me, Babies must not sit up or their hips can be damaged. I was so shocked. I had never heard this before. Not to mention, I had lots of experience in caring for infants from birth and none of them had ever had hip problems.

I questioned myself for a while wondering if I had lost my marbles and maybe this was a thing in the west and I was just unaware. But no, that wasn’t the case.  And in fact, they have seats called Bumbo made specifically for babies to sit in. !!! For real! Here is proof!

The hip problem is such a worry that mothers put a clothe wrap around the diaper that serves as a little brace to keep the babies hips secure.  That is worn til they are 6 months old.

NEW INFO!!! added 3/10/15 a day after the initial posting.

Here is the reason for the care of Serbian baby hips, and it is all in regional genetics. I had pondered this so many times.Finally answer that makes sense!

A kind reader was generous to share this info with me!

Former Yugoslavia had the second highest incidence of dysplasia of the hip in the world. It’s most probably genetic. Almost 10% of all babies in the 1970’s had hip dysplasia, mostly girls, so people are quite freaked out about it. It was not until the mandatory sonograms were introduced that this number was reduced.

Here is an online bit of research I found after having that helpful comment.

That was probably my first shock concerning what is thought  to keep babies healthy here in Serbia. The next one came along not too long after.

I will write about that one soon!