This is a great post on Expat life and mental health… plus this is an amazing blog! Italy Gave Me PTSD — Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

Italy gave me PTSD, guys. Just kidding. Mostly. As you know, I’ve been struggling with what can best be described as a total mental breakdown that came out of absolutely nowhere. Or so I thought. Turns out, I’ve had symptoms that Indicated I havent been alright for a while but I didn’t pay much attention […]

via Italy Gave Me PTSD — Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

They played Taps

Eleven months have past. I have just begun to morn. Grief is strange, we all deal with it differently. I just can’t believe how long it has taken me to feel this.  I woke up early this morning from a dream crying. In the dream we found my grandfathers instant camera. I was sobbing quietly as I awoke and continued crying.

I have had this title (They Played Taps) in my head since his death in January. But, no words could make it to the tapping fingertips to a black and white blog. I wrote it in my head lots of times.

Recounting the military funeral. The precision of the  military grave yard soldiers. The shiny bugle playing his last lullaby. It was a warm Florida January day. Spanish moss waved in the trees. Maybe my Grandma was there waiting for him to join her. Maybe they danced and looked on us all with pride and love.

My Grandfather had been in the Air force. He went to Japan during the Korean war. He married my Grandma just before he shipped out and they had a two hour honeymoon that didn’t sound very romantic. Their love lasted longer than the 60+ years they were married.

Now, I miss them both. I am sad my Grandmother’s namesake won’t know them like I did. She was conceived a month after my grandmother’s death.  But, I am so happy her birth gave my grandfather such joy. He danced when she was born. That gives me such joy and heartfelt sorrow.

We were all blessed to know them. We were taught by their love and companionship how to love. Even how to enjoy one another. I loved as a teenager seeing my Grandma blush like a schoolgirl when my Grandfather patted her bum. She smiled and said, “Oh John”, with embarrassment.

We were taught generosity and compassion. Going back to the Late 70’s, I remember getting a haircut at age 5(?) and seeing a Vietnamese father of a refugee family come into the house. Grandpa was giving them beds to settle in their new home.

My Grandparents were the founding members of the church I sat in to many times. The Great Aunts and Uncles were all around the church. Every Sunday there was a family reunion. I never knew how blessed I was to be surrounded by so much love.

I loved sitting in that church, hearing Grandpa sing out the hymns he loved I remember  sitting on Grandma’s lap, playing with her necklace and chewing the gum she gave me. The smell of her Emeraude perfume.  His scent for me was the V05 hair creme he used. Both take me back in a heartbeat.

In the end, Grandpa was sad for a long time. He missed Grandma so much. The loss of independence wore on him. He was not happy. I am glad he passed on to be free from the feeble body and reunited with so many he must have missed from his younger years. Most especially, Grandma.

This is the first Christmas without either of them. It is sad. But It will be joyous to watch the little namesake learn the joys of Christmas, like I did at their house so many Christmas mornings.

My heart is heavy, and I fight back tears thinking of them.  I know I was so lucky to have the most amazing example of a loving relationship.

Merry Christmas to you all. Hug the ones you love.

She likes to cuddle

Every morning, I get up before the family. I get as much done as I can before the cuddle time starts. You see, when the Little gets up, it is time to cuddle. It is my job. She is the Cuddle Monster. A professional cuddler.

I know this won’t last. Some day I will miss the monster cuddles. So I suck it up and enjoy the postponement of my to do list. Even though it is hard sometimes and I am aching to get “things” done. They will get done and I will be the mommy cuddler.

It is a good job to have.

Life from Scratch

Starting over in a new year is like receiving a gift. A new beginning. I have lots of dreams, wishes and hopes for 2016. Getting back to writing is one of them.

I am not making resolutions, but I have lots of goals. Music, health, education. And mostly to be a great mother. All the other skills will help with that goal.

A guitar has magically come into my life, and I am going to learn how to play it. I consider it one of my two great Christmas gifts. The other was an old sewing machine. Both will stretch me and help me to be more creative. They are great gifts for my brain.

Since developing the brain of  my Munchkin is an ongoing goal of mine, I cannot see how I can pass up opportunities to learn. I mean, how can you be a great mother without being a great teacher? Great teachers are also great students. I will be forever a pupil in the school of life.

For my own accountability here is a list of learning goals I have.

Improving myself as a world citizen, wife, mother….

Learning to play guitar.


Improving my language skills in both tongues

Being more creative

Expanding my skills with the sewing machine

And learning how to cook more wonderful HEALTHY foods

Strengthening my relationships

And basically, Learning anything new!

I would love to hear about your goals. Please feel free to tell me in the comments.

I wish you all a wonderful new year! I hope you will take hold of your life and live it fully! May God Bless you my friends!




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!