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.

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New Year Crafting for my Princesses

I have lots of new crafting ideas. I have more ideas than I have time for, but I am making headway! Munchkin has been talking more and so have her toys. It gave me inspiration for more Barbie dress making.

They only posed a moment for the pic, then continued fighting over the handmade satin rose between them.

 

Then, I have been having some inspiration for creating some little girl joy. I found a large formal skirt at the thrift shop for 100 RSD…  (Republic of Serbia Dinars) about a dollar depending on the exchange rate. I created three dresses from that and one more from scraps. I have one a little more work to do on that one. Excuse the poor quality, but I had to share!

I can’t wait to give them to the little Munchkins I love. It will definitely call for a Princess tea party!!

Ktown Choir an open Letter to my Mom

Mom, I joined the choir.

You know that all the years I was in school and beyond I was in the choir. I really love to sing. I remember singing along to the radio as early as 3 or 4. And of course I was dancing too. I just couldn’t help myself. Really, I am not kidding.

I began singing in church and doing solos when I was really young, now I think about it. I was probably seven or eight when I sang “Away in a Manger” my first solo at church.

Joining the choir here in Ktown was initially an attempt to improve my Serbian. But, I found I am just filled with joy that I can sing again. The people are so helpful, and I am thrilled to meet new people. The whole choir thing has made me feel so much more normal. I do fear my stupidity with the Serbian language will get old and they will soon tire of helping me. Crossing my fingers I am not overly needy.

Here in Serbia, often I feel like only half of me. Slowly, all of me is beginning to show up.

Nerves strike me often, and I make stupid mistakes while I am singing. I think I will feel at home soon. I practice at home with you tube videos when possible. Some of the songs move so fast that it is a bit of a challenge to read the text in Cyrillic and sing along. All this, while reading the music. But it is good for me. It stretches my brain.

Below is one of my favorite songs in Cyrillic… Just so you can see what I am working with. Here is the photo credit: http://vaspitaci.blogspot.com/2014/01/blog-post_8605.html

 

When I first walked into the choir room, they were already singing a song. I must tell you, I was stunned, it was in English. Immediately, I was a bit bummed! I came to the class for Serbian!! But it was only the first page and then it was onto Latin.  🙂   Soon enough we were off to a another song and it was in Serbian.

I am really enjoying the singing as well as learning traditional songs that speak to the soul with their beauty and culture. I can’t help but smile when I hear the music for the first time. It is just gorgeous! Again, I feel like a tourist in an exotic land with so much beauty, and I get to take part in the action!! Freaking cool!!

Me with mascara running! Photo credit: http://bajo-el-mar.tumblr.com/post/17137369879/about-to-spam-you-all-big-time-with-dogs-available

Foreigner Follie Choir edition….I am pretty sure last week, I went to class with mascara all over my eye. The Munchkin (who is almost three now, is obsessed with snow and the idea of snow ball fights!) had thrown some snow at me when we were walking home from helping out at an English class. I though nothing of it and dropped her . Then, I went to choir. No one said anything. So maybe I am wrong…? But when I got home after choir practice and looked in the mirror, I looked like I had a black eye. LOL Munchkin- 1 Mom- 0

Learning songs it is a challenge. I still don’t know what the words mean. That makes memorization a bit more challenging! But I do love a challenge!

I am a little fearful I won’t be good enough. That my mistakes will be too much. Our choir is very good and the director is amazing! I was a bit shocked as this is a small town. But, I hope they keep me. Even if I am not good enough to sing in the upcoming events that would be ok.  This choir is feeding my soul. I really love it.

We are learning old Serbian classics, and they are really really beautiful. Just like the people.  Serbian people are just amazing. Check out the link below to hear one of these great classics. Hymna Sveti Sava

I love you Mom, miss you lots. XOXO

Munchkin Monday~SHHHHHH

The Munchkin is on the downward slope of 2 on her way to 3 years old now. This Christmas  and new years will be a new and exciting experience! She gets the present thing now and is all about birthdays. I have been telling her about Santa and showing her pictures. Not to rush the season, but to teach her.

We have a bedtime ritual. She drinks her milk as I read her a story. Then Tata comes to give us kisses goodnight. As we cuddle in the dark quiet room, I pray aloud so she will hear me talking to God about whatever. It feels like a good ending to any day.

As for our daytime life, We have preschool, so mommy can have some me time… and by that I mean time to study, clean, go to the dentist, etc.She comes home early in the afternoon. And she loves school. She loves playing with the kids and her teachers are warm and kind.

I can’t keep up with the new developments. There are just too many new things she is doing now.

She has developed a love of books, finally. Sitting with one and creating a story to go with the pics is a great new imaginary development.  Or she may just point at the pics and name each object.

Coloring and painting are still passions, but play dough is the main event! I have to keep putting it away and giving it some TLC with a couple drops of water and needing to bring it back from the brink of a dry death.

My favorite Baba in the village. she is spritely and funny. Not at all as this pic makes her out to be. love her!

The Baba comment

A week ago when we were clearing trees, I have having a hard time with the branches knocking of my hat and glasses. I decided a kerchief wrapped around my head would solve the problem and it did. But, in this culture it is only the Baba’s who wear this. When Munchkin saw me ready to hit the field she said, “You are Grandma!”  And I really did look the part. I think Baba “T” suits me. And one day, I will be a cool Baba, like the one above.

Munchkin is a becoming a bossy girl. She is fighting sleep a lot now, and it doesn’t help the upstairs neighbors are playing WWF games and basket ball when we are trying to get her to sleep. She has tried the water and potty tricks to stay up. Then one night she got up and went to the door. She turned and said, “Mommy, stay here.”  Of course I ask where she is going, knowing she wants to go play… She just repeats herself and then when I insist she comes back to bed turns on the tears as if the world has come to an end.

 She is using toddler trickery to get what she wants. For instance, since she was sick last month, she learned to like medicine. Weird, huh? She asks for it now and even though I give her a placebo of juice in a medicine dispenser, she tells me a few minutes later she feels better.

“Shhhhh!” she says with her finger to her lips when she wants anyone to stop talking and pay her some attention. Sometimes she will also say, “Iva spava.” (Iva is sleeping, and thus we should be quiet.”

Girly Girl She loves having her nails painted and her hair put up in ponytails. The pony tails never last. I can’t wait till I can really work on her hair and she will leave it.

Outsourcing labor Finding things is a difficult task. Even if she just had an item a second ago, she may not know where it is. So she asks the Mommy to find it. She may have learned this from Tata and his remote finding skills…. Asking Mommy is the way to find anything.

Dance Party I have written before about our nightly dance parties, it is a family event if Tata and I are not to tuckered out from a long day. She asks for music, Pink* music to be exact. Tata obliges and we have a family dance party.

Last night, we had guests, and tennis was on the TV. Munchkin asked for Pink music and she got the party started! It became a twirling princess party. A perfect way to end a lovely evening with friends.

Pink is a Serbian TV studio that has LOTS of channels. That includes several music channels.

 

 

 

 

Natural Beauty

We have been working in the fields for the last several days. It is hard labor, but the beauty that surrounds us is so great that the load is lightened. As I sit on the back of the tractor, I gaze up at the blue sky and see planes on their way to somewhere. A hawk glides through the air and then pumps the massive span up and down. I hear the wings in the wind.

Not just this part of my day that is beautiful. I spend so much time with family working as a team. It is really a special opportunity, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. 😉

My day starts getting the munchkin and I ready, gathering all we need for the village. Today there is some old food we can give to the dog, cat, and pigs. There are strips of bright-colored clothe I will tie around the seedlings we need to plant. color camouflage accounts for many left somewhere on the ground. A wasted of time and energy  after caring for them for a year in the nursery.

Our ride to the village has me in the back with the little one and hubby navigating the winding hilly roads. Munchkin likes to tell Daddy to go fast.

Our hound greats us happily as we get out of the car, and we go into the warmth of the wood stove to see what Baba has prepared. She is always crafting something so good. Kurpin Deda is one of my favorite treats.

It is milk, egg, and cheese drizzled over day old bakery bread and baked. She topped it with sesame seeds. YUM!

Munchkin finds her kitty, and Baba dotes on both of them. Here kitty gets to taste the yummy fresh pudding she has just made.

After some prep, the hubby and I make it to the field. Replanting trees and some large-scale pruning is in order. One large forest tree is blocking light from our growing seedlings, and we have to trim and remove the branches.

A pleasant surprise awaits us as we get to the field,  the clanging of sheep bells greets us and just over the hill I find a small flock of nervous sheep.

The call of the cuckoo bird and the sheep bells are the background music to the work. When we finish in one field, we move to another. I look on at the village from the back of the tractor.

 Well planned rows of sprigs turned trees are becoming brawny. Soon we will see the fruits of out labor.

As the sun wanes, we return to the house. I take off my mud caked boots and change out of the field warn clothes. Munchkin greets me with a smile and “MOMMY!”

We all sit down to a well planned feast. Salads, soup, fresh bread and lots of meat. All fresh from the farm.

Dobar dan y’all!

stock foto from last Christmas… I cheated.

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!

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!

 

Thankful in Serbia

Lately, I have been thinking of how Serbia is changing me. I hope in a good way.

I am Thankful to have found a husband who wanted to move to a country where buying land and working it is much easier than my home land.

I am Thankful to have made some awesome friends here.

I will be Thankful when I have time and energy next fall to really study the language. I regret that I am not fluent in Serbian.

I am Thankful to my warm and loving Serbian family. I am blessed to have them.

I am Thankful for the wonderful friends I have here. I wish I had more time to spend with them.

I am Thankful for the friends I have at home. They are a great support.

I am Thankful and overjoyed to be making expat friends online. I feel a lot let lonely having friends in the same time zone.

I am Thankful for the new Chinese girl I met the last week. Finally, there is another expat for me to talk to. I hope that I am helpful to her.

I am Thankful that she likes my little one and the little one likes her as well.

I am Thankful for the little girl  who teaches me how to be patient and kind.

I am Thankful that I have been able to spend so much time with my little Munchkin. Watching her grow is really amazing.

I am Thankful I have a husband who understands how hard it is to live outside his home country. It is truly challenging at times.

I am Thankful for those challenges. They make me stronger.  Hopefully I will also be come wiser and kinder as a result.

I am Thankful I live in a beautiful little town.

I am Thankful I get to work outside. The great wide open is really inspiring.

 

I am really Thankful my iPhone has a notepad for me to record ideas and thought out in the great wide open.

I am even more Thankful for the camera it has so I can share photos of the places that inspire me.

I am Thankful to God for giving me these great opportunities, challenges, and blessings. God is good.

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!

 

Life lessons learned on the farm

I mentioned in my last post we have a new (used) toy on the farm, our Italian tiller. I will call this “toy”  Pecky because it expands and retracts like a pecker. And because there is a rooster on the sticker.

 

Pecky the tiller is a dynamo, it chews up  the ground like cookie monster does cookies. The tilling arm extends until the sensor pushes it back from a tree like we would step to the side to avoid a pole in our path. This machines work hard so we don’t have to hoe the field all up to stop the weeds. Like the rest of us it isn’t perfect. If the machine is tilling without guidance from a human, it can easily chew up baby trees because the sensor is only going to notice the big ones.

Like most farm machines, it is big, and heavy. It has to be. This makes it hard for little people like me to control it. You need a strong arm. Mine is not that strong.

Another downfall of the machine is the jostled while not in use, or it isn’t on level ground, the tilling teeth will slowly extend. *Spoiler alert* Our fields aren’t all that flat, so my job was very difficult.

I learned this all the hard way on the first day. I was the one sitting on the back of the tractor holding our little work horse rooster by the reins.

This is where the lessons began, but they didn’t end there.

As I was struggling with Pecky, I began to explain the problems I was having to the Muz. I guess he thought I was just being lazy or I just didn’t know what I was talking about, because he didn’t believe me.

How could his wonderful new toy be extending on its own, Of course it wouldn’t. I had to be the operator. His mule like wit made me want to quit, but this is my land too. Quitting isn’t much of an option for me. I like to see a job completed.

I worked on noticing one issue after another and tried to tell the Muz, but he wasn’t hearing it. I started to hate the machine by the end of that day.

The next day we were at it again and again he didn’t believe me. At the end of the day he wanted to go to a field of seedlings, and take the sensor off. That means it would be all my arm strength in pulling the tiller to keep the baby seedlings safe as Pecky rolled by with an insatiable appetite.

My arms were both sore and tired. I knew that I wasn’t capable of keeping our new baby trees from the spiraling teeth, so I refused to do it. He would have to drive the tractor and pull the rope himself.

After one row he stopped, he wanted to know if I was really going to make him plow an acre of our seedling sour cherries himself. I prayed for wisdom and the right words as I walked down the field to speak with him. Speaking simply and calmly, I told him, I wasn’t strong enough, I just couldn’t do it.

He pressed on and tilled up the field as I walked around removing large stones from the field that would harm Pecky’s teeth.

I was relieved to go home at the end of the day, and an even better surprise awaited me. We would have no baby sitter the next day as Baba had to go out of town. I was relieved that the Muz and Papa had to be the tilling team.  I knew by the end of the next day, the Muz would see I was right. Thankfully he did. He admitted it immediately upon his return home the following evening.

Even after he worked out some of the bugs he would still complain about how sore his arm and hand were from pulling on Pecky’s cord to make it retract all day. All I could say was, “I told you!”

I am not writing this for him to read and see the” I told you so” thing. I am writing this for me.

Experiences like these are good for all of us. They are painful to go through. But I learned several lessons. Some were reruns or reminders of truths previously learned.

Relationship lessons

1. Sometimes no matter how much you explain something, a person must learn by experiencing it themselves.

2. We need to be patient with our loved ones.

3. Quitting may not be a bad thing sometimes.

4. Trust yourself. Only you know how strong you are. Don’t let others tell you that you are strong enough when you know you aren’t. And don’t let them stop you when you are!

5. Tomorrow is a new day, with more to learn.

6. Perspective is everything. Sometimes getting a new one is the only option.

Pecky lessons

1. Don’t be too cocky, no one is perfect.

2.  If we get too shaken up sometimes we bare our teeth.

3. Gravity can get to us all. We just need to know we can pull ourselves back up, even if it takes a little time and lots of effort.

4. Be sensitive to the big ones and the little ones.

5. Get rid of the weeds in your life. Weeds consume the life-giving water and nutrients.  Without them you to grow stronger and bare more fruit.