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!

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Srecan Uskros~ Happy Easter

I hope y’all have had an awesome Easter like we have.

It started out with Munchkin’s first Easter hunt. I just set Eggs around the house and told her to look for them. The first thing she went for was in the toy box. It was our NFL American football. She calls it jaja or egg. Who can blame her. It is almost the same shape!

Then when she saw the real eggs, she went to town. She was so excited! I forgot how much fun Easter egg hunts were. Next year I must spread the fun around and make it a family and friends event!

We were off to the village right after. It was a gorgeous day to be in the village. This was the first day in 4 days it hadn’t rained. The green  leave and grass were vibrant! The flowers hues were electric.

After some time with the family, a walk was in order. Our plan was to walk up to the Village cross.

Obviously, we eventually made it.

But we made several wonderful stops along the way. The first was to see Baba Ljubinka and her clan. That is always great. We chatted a bit and I got to take a pic of their eggs. They have such a different tradition for eggs here. It will never lose its coolness factor with me.

We rambled up the hill slowly. Every few feet I would have to pick up the Munchkin and carry her. Then she would walk again for a short while. We stumbled upon some grazing sheep, and chatted with the shepherdess.

We made it to the cross and the pavilion was empty.  The cross was beautifully adorned.

When we got home, Munchkin and I had some barn loft play time. She loves jumping around the barn, but is clearly unimpressed with the “selfie” concept.

Upstairs for a diaper change, playing loudly in the bedroom, and all of a sudden the Munchkin says, “deda spava.” Sure enough. I look around the corner and there he is sleeping of domestic wine. Natural Serbian Easter celebrating tradition.

Soon we were all around the table having the most wonderful food. Some of it was even extraordinarily beautiful.

Happy Easter Monday to you all!

 

Munchkin Monday~ Counting and Colors

Munchkin is talking and singing and learning. She watches and copies. Her English is surpassing the Serbian at the moment, but that is because I am her main teacher.

Twinkle Twinkle (little Star is the only real song she sings, and those are the only words to the song she says as well. It is just “Twinkle twinkle” over and over. and I could listen to it forever.

 

Colors have been concurred, though purple remains to be a challenge. It is just another pink to her.  Is that normal?

I love that she points and says, “Lellow car, red car!” She is so excited to learn and colors are fun.

Baba and Daddy are working on her Serbian and she is learning that a little more slowly, she understands but is more likely to be verbal in English. Accept for the words, what’s that? or rather, “Staj je to?” She says it all the time and sometimes just to hear herself talk.

Because of her love of spiders, and the numerous times she has watched “Itsy bitsy Spider” videos on her kindle app and on Youtube, she now has an obsession with water spouts. They seem to be placed every few meters on the downtown streets. She notices all of them!

We are working on numbers now and if she is not yet grasping the concept she is getting that there is a rhythm in counting. I am noticing numbers everywhere and now and eager to show her and get her excited about them.

 

I think about it even when we are in the garden or the barn. Yesterday I saw this thin piece of wood and could help but make a clock for her to see the numbers while she was outside playing. Grandpa added the DOXA. I think it is a Serbian brand clock.

Everyday bring new and exciting adventures. She is more and more aware of her surroundings and I must take what she says to be true more than before. If she says “spider” there probably is one.

Last night as we were driving home she said, “Daddy Whoa!” when we passed a car. The bright lights and fast pace shocked here. It was so funny to see that she notices now. Her exclamations are hilarious. “Uh oh, oh dear, oh no” are quite common.

“Ne”  and “NO NO NO” are the words she will use to stop you if want to interfere in a task that she knows is a no no. And Bezi! is my favorite. She says that when she wants you to go away.

She knows when she is doing things she need to keep quiet about, when you discover her deeds, she will speak with authority and determination.

I found her yesterday in the pigs water dish, elbow deep.. It was just sitting out there soaking in the sun. being cleaned for the next round of pigs we raise. Millie of course can’t resist a “cuddle” (her word for puddle). She was splashing and enjoying til mommy the killjoy came along!

When I inquired what she was doing, she said, “Mommy NO!” I knew I had to stop the fun without even seeing the water dish from behind the make shift recycled skid fence.

 

The first Vasher of the season was this past week. Munchkin had her first Merry go round ride after a good bounce on the trampoline. She wanted me to join her, and I wanted to too. Sadly, it was not allowed. 😦 

The Merry Go Round was her favorite. When I took her off the ride to head home, she was fine at first and then the crying started. It didn’t end all the way home! What fun pushing a stroller through  hoards of people who keep turning to see why your little one is crying. Glad that is over!

Teaching her has been going really slow lately, because we have been in the field more than anything else.  It is serious labor, but exciting to see the progress a few people can make in the land. Hard work really pays off in the long run. That is really an all around truth.

 

Back to the grind…

Dobar Dan Y’all!

 

 

Serbian Kittehs

During my bike trip to Gornje Zunic I encountered lots of farm kitties! Lots were wondering about and others enjoyed the sun’s rays warming their fur. Cats always make me happy. They are my favorite animals. Next to horses and cows. Farm girl confessions. 🙂

Kitty in the road.

 

He ran away as I approached.

Take some time to enjoy the spring sunshine. Absorb some vitamin D and just enjoy the end of Old man winter!

Gilded

I am excited to introduce you to a book I just read. Gilded!

http://christinafarley.com/books/

The link above takes you to the description of the book. You should check it out! The book is due to be released for sale next month, BUT! if you have a Kindle there is a special offer and it is available to buy now for less!If you have a Kindle, Kindle First is offering it a month early for only $1.99! I got it and read it immediately.

I love it. I found it hard to put down. I didn’t want to go to sleep or stop reading for anything. As a mom, of course I had duties that kept me from reading non-stop, but I finished the book in just a couple days. You don’t have to take my word for it though, feel free to check out the customer reviews! There are a BUNCH! http://www.amazon.com/review/R1GDC0VDK9BG69/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00FN2KR3K&nodeID=283155&store=books

Gilded would not normally be on my radar since it is in the YA or “young adult” section, but it was written by one of my best friends from college, Christina Farley! I am so proud of her as well as awed by what an amazing book it is.After reading it, I was hooked. The only thing I don’t like is having to wait for the rest of the books to be released as it is the first of a trilogy.

Christina lived in Seoul, Korea for seven years. Her life experiences there are what really bring the book to life. She uses real places, people, and practical life experience to breathe life into the characters. Her own personal Tae Kwon Do study and archery schooling make the characters detailed actions so calculated and clear you can imagine doing it yourself.

Having visited Christina there in Korea, was a small bonus. I knew some of the places in the book and ate some of the food the character eats. How cool is that?

If you are looking for a good book, check this out! It is entertaining, educational, and a fast read.

Huge congrats to my very good friend Christina Farley! Bravo! Gilded is amazing.

While we were gone dva (2)

My trip home started out with a quick zip down to Florida. My parents and Grandfather were a sight for sore eyes. We even got to visit with some cousins who live near by!

There was a bit of Serbian “flavor” in our trip south as well. We visited with my wonderful friend “S” who now lives a few towns over. I met her and her little lovelies in Novi Sad Serbia for the first time Christmas 2010(?). We had been writing back and forth for some time and skyping…She and her family made my Christmas away from home so special. I now consider them family too.

Patriotic neighbors
I just love these old civil war era homes. I saw Pennsylvania with new eyes and it was beautiful!

For Thanksgiving, I was was with my brother and sister in Pennsylvania about a thousand miles north of Florida eating my face off with turkey and all the fixings.  Oh how I have missed the GMO, preservative ripe, processed to death food of the US. I did not deny myself anything. T25 workouts are now a must for my lard laden body!

A week or so later, I was thrilled to be able to go back to the place I called HOME for the last 20 years. Ocean City, Maryland!

I saw so many of my sorely missed friends and the  Atlantic Ocean. My heart was so happy and sad to see them all knowing is was just for a couple of very short days.

Thanks to my very dear friend MN who I sadly have no pics of. She let me crash at her condo. We are truly grateful for such a wonderful place to stay. We had some hearty talks I wish could have stretched on for days.

Salmon dinner made by my oldest friends, “P&M” in OC made one of my evenings absolutely perfect. My eyes can easily fill with tears just thinking about how happy I was to see them and Mr. L.P. Thank you so much for taking time to see Munchkin and me.

Munchkin had a blast playing with all the Christmas merry making toys and decor.

Reunited with with work buddies and their offspring was the most hilarious fun time. Munchkin was joined by a set of twins a year older than her and a little boy just two months her junior. They had a great time running around together and beating each other with crab mallets.  No permanent damage was done. 😉

Crab buckets are the best protection against crab mallets!

So many good friends and just not enough time!! I love you all so much!

If it wasn’t so cold, cold, Cold and windy or we would have walked down to the ocean for beach pic. Next time…

Then it was back to PA for more time with the siblings and cousins. At the end of the trip I got to pick up some side-work with my brother and we finally had some quality time to chat. He works with a a bunch of Bosnian people in Carlisle, PA. While we waited for work and chatted I met a few of them. They understood my Serbian as crappy as it is. They were patient and happy to talk about life in former Yugoslavia, give advice and discuss the problems in Balkan lands.

Signs are in Bosnian and in English… soon French may also be added!

The funny thing about Serbs and Bosnians and maybe even Croatians. When you are living in country so far from home the ache of recent wars and wounds still healing are less of a problem. The shared language culture are bandages.

They were a joy to chat with. They understand the difficulty of living far from home in a land whose culture is exotic. All of them come home about once a year and one even confessed he cries every time he is leaving his country of birth. This is pretty common for most expats.Land of birth, home of your family and friends, the land of your culture and traditions is a hard thing to leave even for a better life or a loved one.

Sometimes the joys of the adventurous expat life is so far eclipsed by the  loss and distance. The heart breaks over and over.  I miss my friends and family. I didn’t cry until I returned to Serbia.

The Munchkin is just happy to have her Mommy and Daddy back together again. She won’t go to sleep unless we are on either side of her. The joy on her face is priceless! She doesn’t care where she is as long as we are there too.

Built Like a Ken Doll

Black Friday shopping was just what the Doctor ordered just a week after my arrival. Sure the lines stretched around the store, but if at the end of the line you have a pair of Nike kicks for $30 and this kind of comedic relief, it is worth it!

So, being the “Ham” that I am, I had to get up close and personal with the guy.

While he is not my “type”,had a nice firm bum,, but the front was lacking the proper “accessories” plus his arm was on the floor, AND he had no head. Lots left to be desired in a man. LOL But I have been away from the hubby now for two weeks and I am getting lonely. 😉

Am I enjoying my time at home, YES! yes I am! 😉 Along with this great timeless pic, I got me a pair of footy full body PJ’s! I am wearing them right now. I know what you are thinking. This girl is an absolute vixen. What? no? but they are they are animal print. JK! Ha ha ha. I must say they are keeping me warm while I am away from the hubby. Hats off to Multifarious Meandering for the idea!

Dobar Dan Y’all

and To my sweet Muz…. Miss you Honey! xoxo

 

Munchkin Monday~ new words

Progress is being made, Munchkin is getting smarter and learning new words. Nema, meaning empty or I don’t have any is her new favorite. Pet is the number 5 in Serbian. She says that too, but not only for counting.  I am not sure she knows what it means, but she will!

Ironically, pet is the name for our well-loved animals in English. and she certainly loves all the animals she comes in contact with!

She knows all our animals names, and even calls for the neighbors dog, Nina! Yep, another animal lover no doubt! Even our grouchier cat has warmed up to her. And she sorta knows to be careful with him.

He was hit my a car twice before he moved to the village.  I think the injuries sustained leave him with a lot of aches and pains that make playing with a one and a half year old child a bit uncomfortable.

One of her favorite things to do in the village is visit the chickens and pigs. Her newest word is jaja. It means egg. She loves to collect them from the chickens.

I can tell a door has opened in her brain and her verbal skills are moving very quickly. now. She repeats words and understands so much in Serbian and English, I will have to start spelling things soon.

Potty training went nowhere before, I am not even going to try before out US holiday. I will work on that when we return in Jan. I don’t think it will take her long then. She understands so much more now than just 2 months ago… in a few months she will be even more aware! Knowing when to go potty will be that much easier, I think.?

Twenty-one Months and counting!……. What a sweet little blessing.