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.¬† ūüôā¬†¬† 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

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Acorns Serb Style

Not long ago, I was in the field working on cherries. The nature loving tree hugger that I am was thrilled to find a new (to me) kind of acorn.

Check these out. I love the fuzzy hats! They are so fun!

Instantly, I was reminded of the big furry hats traditional Serbian kolo dancers wear in one of the dances I saw. I love the traditional costumes. They are gorgeous.

Life does imitate nature.

I love Serbia.

Foreigner Follies~ Halloween edition

I had a wonderful Halloween this year. I was lucky enough to be invited to help with the local high school celebration. I met with the teacher and kids prior to the party to plan the activities and decor.

After a short day in the village and munchkin interruptions getting ready, I was an hour late to help decorate. I am nothing but impressively punctual. (This should probably be my first folly, but I will let it slide.)

Pumpkins carved and glowing  lit up the cafe. Black cat and skull silhouettes danced to the Halloween beats. People began to file into the party slowly while I had a chance to meet with some of the teachers.

The music was loud like that of a night club. It made conversation was a bit dodgy at times. But we all managed and I met some new peeps. ūüôā

The other foreigner in town was invited as well and we were glad to be reunited. Spelling her name phonetically, Shu Sin Yen, was the bell of the ball. The young high school students (boys) were all about her.

One was very aggressive at asking her to dance, and she obliged the first time. But she is quite shy and was not keen on a repeat. This poor fellow, oozing with¬†beer induced¬† ¬†determination, ¬†wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Enter folly numero UNO!

I can see my friend is not wanting to be rude, but really doesn’t want to dance. She is too shy to tell this guy to bugger off¬†leave her alone and she is also a teacher in town, so she must be polite.

I am just a foreigner who speaks the tongue of the parties origin, so I say to this guy in his native tongue, “Ajde mash bre!”. ¬†Immediately, I got high fives from the other fellows. They were pleased and I started to question my words.

It was the wrong choice. I thought I was telling him just to leave. I have heard my father-in-law  among others and others saying it to hounding animals who keep begging for food and in other similar situations.

About a half an hour later, in a conversation with the doting bartender, I found out I have literally told him to “ef off!” This is not proper behavior for an adult school guest in my culture. (Somehow, I don’t think it is as damning in this culture, but I could be wrong.)

Games were played through the night and when they started bobbing for apples, I wanted my friend Shu to see this typical fall game. On my urging we walked over to watch.  Like with most of the activities, she had never seen it before. We gazed on at the first round of bobbing as two fellas went against the clock and each other to grab apples with their teeth in a bin of water.

Follie Number TWO.  

One guy was up for the next round and no one was going against him. They kept trying to pull some one in and no one would go. So they came to me. I didn’t really want to stick my head in and get soaked, but I also didn’t want to be a bad guest. Plus this was a game from my childhood so why shouldn’t I play. (Oh soo Many Reasons!)

I stand before the tub of bobbing apples and wait for the “GO!” I go all in and realize I am tall enough to practice scuba breathing but little else. I manage to get one apple, and after that, I feel as if I am just trying to drown myself. My height and bust size and stomach keep me from my goal of giving a competitive show… or so I thought.

When the minute is finally up, I feel the upper half of is totally soaked.I don my gnome hat and I look down at myself. The black bodice that I chose purposely to cover up my ample bosom has shimmied down. The shiny WHITE blouse is soaking wet and the leopard and lace print bra I am wearing is blaring through as if there is no shirt at all.

I may have just introduced and won the first wet T-shirt contest in Serbia at a high school event. CLASSY!

Fortunately, I haven’t enough sense to get all embarrassed and leave. I go to the bathroom. I fix the smeared ¬†mascara and dab myself with paper towel.

For the next bit to make sense to Westerners…. FYI In Serbia, the sink and mirror area are often a shared space for men and women.

As I wipe myself off, the bartender comes in and asks if I am O.K. as he heads into a stall. I say I am fine. Just embarrassed. He says something like, “Don’t be, It was great!” with the kind of boyish grin that makes it all the more embarrassing.

I did have some lovely chats post game that made up for all the shameful incidents. I can’t call the entire night a bust, pardon the pun. But part of it was. ūüėČ

Looking back on the evening I realize, I am certainly making a name for myself in this town, just not sure what it is.

I did find a blip from the Halloween festivities. If you want to see the great decorations and some of the great costumes click HERE!

Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

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. ūüėČ

Am I enjoying my time at home, YES! yes I am! ūüėČ 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

 

Things Grandmas say in Serbia~ Foreigner Funnies!

This is a reblog of a post from quite a long time ago on my Blogspot site. It still makes me laugh to think about all the Grandma’s or Baba’s talking about their grandkids in such a way. Here is the link to the old blog. I hope it makes you laugh.

This is Baba and her “little ducky”.

Babino patcheh or Grandma’s little penis

I have been going to my husbands village for 2 years now. Every time we go, Baba and Deda  greet us at the door. Deda shakes our hands. Baba pulls us in for hugs and lots of kisses that are closer to the neck than the face, so I always get a strange vampirish vibe from them, even though she barely has teeth. While she is kissing us, she is always muttering sweet nothings of love to us like we are children. It is very sweet and I feel loved.
This time, while I was there, a cousin translated one of the things she says to my husband…. Babino ¬†malo Patcheh. Please forgive the spelling. I knew when she was saying Babino she was calling us her’s. It’s like saying Grandma’s baby or something. What I didn’t get was the second part. Patcheh is the word for baby duck and this is slang for penis. All along she has been calling my husband, “grandma’s little penis”. And, as odd as it sounds, it is a sweet thing to say. I did laugh my dupe off when I heard this!! (Dupe means butt.)
Bringing this up to date…. Fast forward 2 1/2 years.
And now that I have my own little girl, and my husband’s Mom has her own little lovey sayings for her. Babina mala riba… that is Grandma’s little fish. Even though it is completely rude to call women’s parts fish in my part of the world, it is proper and even common to hear little girls and women called fish. ¬†Live and learn, live ¬† and ¬† ¬†learn!

Link to the original post:

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2011/03/babino-patcheh-or-grandmas-little-penis.html

Serbian Sightings_Ninja Nuns

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store. Everything was business as usual till two Orthodox nuns came in. I have only seen them at a monastery previously. On a day when the weather could melt any normal human, I was shocked to see this couple out and about in their black, almost burka type dress. They must have been sweltering! OR they must have super human properties that shield them from heat. I would like to believe that later. It is more interesting.

I was taking the pics on the sly…. as a result, they are BLURRY!

I was at the counter when I heard the cashier giggling under her breath remarking about the Ninjas. I didn’t understand what she was saying as she was speaking Serbian at the speed of light, but the word Ninja was repeated and I finally got it.¬† OMGosh!! the Nuns did look just like Ninjas!!

I must tell you, that these words are very rude in Serbian orthodox culture. I hope this will not be an offensive, but humorous post. I have nothing but respect for these ladies.

Ninja Nuns sounds really cool too! Imagine the series that could be written about that. In my mind I can see a battle that is a mix of old world orthodox traditions mixed with the interworld battles of¬† Mortal Kombat. I must say, I fancy that idea more than a “Flying Nun”!

My only regret on this post is that I could not share the mental images I have conjured. Maybe this video will do as a substitute.

Ninja Nun video!

In my search for that video, I found that the idea of Ninja nuns is not a new one. There are LOTS of ninja nun videos. But nun are very good.

The only thing that could have made the sighting even better would have been to see those two in this VW hot rod that was sitting outside.

A worthy Nun-mobile if I ever saw one.

It was even sporting a Serbian flag. Now, all it needs is an Orthodox Cross painted on the hood and we are good to go! Oh, that and a Ninja Nun theme song!

On a very serious note:

My hope with this post is not to offend, but to look at nuns in a light that shows the good work they do. They are selfless in their work for God. This demands the respect you would have for a ninja’s training and skill.

I have studied Islam, and I do know the burka well. It is worn by the women for many of the same reasons the nuns wear similar costumes. At the root it is modesty and the desire not to draw attention to themselves. But, when they are out of their natural habitat, so to speak, it does exactly the opposite.

The Lady from Noddy~ Foreigner Funnies?

I am the lady from Noddy. I relish this. probably too much. But I do. ¬†I mean, who wouldn’t want to be from a place called Toyland where the bad guys always lose. Sounds perfect to me.

Last week, I visited a friend who has three little girls. Later the oldest asked her mother when the lady was coming back. She asked what lady and her daughter replied, “The lady from Noddy.”

Children here in my little Serbian town are always interested at first and then later often annoyed at my speaking English. It is new and different. If I am a friend of their parents, they often get frustrated that they cannot understand what we are saying. This is the case even if we are attempting to speak Serbian, as my Serbian is like that of a cow.

They are much more honest about how bad it is as they just tend to ignore my attempts as if I didn’t even say a word. Grown-ups attempt to understand an even humor me by telling me how good my Serbian is… but, I know it is NOT GOOD!

So, I am the Lady from Noddy, speaking English most of the time.

I imagine myself as Tessie the bear.

She is described as clever and kind. I would love for those to be my adjectives! I must admit, at first I fancied myself as Miss Harriet, the pink cat!

Apparently she is fussy and neat. I am fussy, but not neat. Then, I read she speaks with a french accent. Not it! lol

Tessie the bear from Noddy is also a bit naughty… but then frolicking topless is much less of a big deal here in Europe is much less of a big deal in the States! I haven’t indulged in that yet. ūüôā Since I am still nursing, that would be a real milkshake. But I doubt it would bring all the boys to the yard. Na na ¬† na na naa.

In case you didn’t get that reference…

Milkshake http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CIUkmERKA4

The Bear Naked Lady from Noddy wishes you all a Happy Sunday!

 

Foreigner Follies~ I have great neighbors

A few days ago…

Munchkin and I are sick. We took a nap to escape the crap we are feeling and woke up to find daddy had gone out for a bit.

When we awoke (she woke me up!) from the wonderful nap. Reluctantly. ¬†I crawled out of bed. I need to pee like a race horse and to change the munchkin’s diaper that was threatening to seep out onto the sheets and eventually my lap. In the living room beginning the unending diaper duty, I heard a ticking or tapping? I left the grouchy little one to investigate and found a long crack in the ceiling in the foyer dripping water from the apt above. Instant stress!

Then the phone rings. I hope it is the hubby so I can ask him to come home. It wasn’t him.

Elevating Stress.

Making things a bit more difficult, it was Deda Tole asking if we would like a visit. Baby is crying. I am freaking out inside about the leaking and speaking to him in Serbian on the phone becomes almost impossible. I tell him water is falling but I don’t¬†know the word for ceiling… I end up telling him to call back or something. I am not even sure.? I step outside into the hall way to get help. I don’t know what to do and I need some advice ASAP! oh, and I need to call the hubby. But first help from the neighbors! any neighbors!

I open my apt door. There is a man ascending the stairs and someone who has just gone down. My brain blanks on all Serbian and Finally after what is only a second or so but feels so much longer, I manage to say I NEED HELP. ¬†Please. The gentleman turns and descends the stairs. The lady who cleans the stairwell came up the stairs to my rescue as well. I told them what was happening and showed them the leak. The gentleman went up immediately to see if anyone was home. No one was there. He asked if I had their phone number… I did not. ūüė¶ He left, and my hustling continued.

The lady told me to get something to catch the H20 dripping freely from above. Scrambling to stand on the edge or the tub (It is about 2 and a half feet high), I transform my short self in to a monkey to reach the basins perched high atop the bathroom cabinet.  After a little maneuvering with a chair the basins are aptly placed under the drips.

This elementary bit of work was something I would have done on my own, but  I am daft as a doughnut with this head cold.  Plus, I was fearful of how the ceilings here handle flooding. would large bits of it crumble and fall on our heads? I was freaking out. Here is why:
Long ago, in the U.S. I lived in a condo and my upstairs neighbors pipes broke. My entire apartment was filled with drips and eventually a section of ceiling 3 feet wide,  6 feet long and about a foot thick and so heavy with water fell.  I was standing a foot behind it. I had just walked under it.

Now I was fearful for my self and my child. Though, I was mostly sure the concrete would hold… still? Sadly, I haven’t the capability of asking this sort of thing from the neighbors.

So many words yet to memorize! Ceiling= Blafon sounds like blahphone. I think I got that one now.

I finally call my man and ask him to come home after rambling about the disaster.  I am so nervous and anxious not knowing how bad the leak is and what may happen to the cracking ceiling. At this point the crack in the ceiling gets longer and more water is dripping above the light fixture and beyond. The crack is 3 feet long and growing. And I still need to pee really bad!

All the while, my sick little love is intermittently crying out of frustration and coming to the hall to see what is going on with the mum who has abandoned her. I return her to the couch and out of my way as I fumble around the drips nimbly jumping the water basins… going to get the baby tub to catch the growing steady trickle and turn of the light to keep from having some water induced electrical problems. The newly stretched ceiling crack goes directly over top the light fixture.

The kind neighbor man returns after looking for the tenants from above and he had luck! The water is switched off. My upstairs English-speaking neighbor/friend comes up the stairs. I start to explain. and the missing husband (Superman) arrives just after this. The  situation is instantly over. Relief

After Dobrila (sounds like Godzilla), the upstairs neighbor comes to apologize and our door is shut. The leaks have diminished. calm descends.

Thank God for Good Great neighbors!

Now, all we need to do is patch the ceiling and repaint!

Holy hallelujah¬† I can pee now. I leave the bathroom door open as there is no point in closing it with a persistent toddler who insists on entry. I am mentally (and physically) relieved. Out of the blue the hubby comes to infringe on my well deserved “break-time”. He only wants to inform me he shut the door to the back room to starve a fly. What? Bwahah haha! The comedic relief I need to recover from the stressful situation I just experienced. I love my honey.

Side note, if the hubby¬†wrote this blog it would be MUCH funnier! I am much more of a “just the facts” type. Such a pity. I would so love to make people laugh, like some of my favorite bloggers. I am talking about you ¬† Multifarious Meanderings and ¬†Englishman in Italy, you never disappoint!

Happy Sunday fun day y’all!

Foreigner follies Sunday~ Greece

This is a flashback to another only slightly embarrassing moment in my cross cultural life.

The hubby and I took a bus trip to Greece back in 2010. Crossing the border on a bus seems less harrowing. No international paper work for the car needs to be taken car of a month in advance with all the fees involved, not to mention getting international insurance, etc, etc. Not having to drive, and pay an arm and a leg for gas and a hotel made this trip priceless.

The White Tower in Thesalonika

 

At each border, the patrol officers came onto the bus and collect the passports and took them back to stamp them. This was a Serbian bus tour, my American passport was a bit of a shock to the border patrol guards, after gathering the burgundy Serbian passports, at the last seat collecting my navy blue American one. I can tell you, I got a few surprised looks.

Thesaloniki was the main city we visited as well as touring the mountainous region covered in oranges, lemons, and olive trees. What an awesome getaway!

Birth place of Aristotle, Stagira Greece

After a long bus ride up a mountain with serpentine curves and the look of the pacific Northwest, we arrived at our next destination. At the birthplace of Aristotle, there was a big gate to the ” fresh air museum”. It¬† was suppose to be closed, but they weren’t trying hard to keep people out, and it was next to impossible to steel anything. The objects were much to large and made of cement.

Everyone began to make their way in. They climbed, scaled, and hopped the fence. But, when I saw how small the fence was, I decided to get a running start and vault over it just placing my hands on top and throwing my legs over. An easy enough task for a person who had been a gymnast in her previous life.

What I didn’t know was the gate was broken and it just fell over bruising the inside of my right thigh. I should say the entire inside of my right leg. It was a monstrous bruise. The sweet darling of a husband wanted to take a picture it was so magnificent. How romantic. What a great memorial of our trip to Greece that could have been if I had let him. ūüėČ

I don’t know how my fellow bus mates kept a straight face. I wouldn’t have been able to keep from laughing. I am sure it was like watching a comedy. Even funnier because it was a middle aged foreign lady. But they only seemed concerned. I would say it was well hidden mirth! The Tom-boy in me lives, and so does the accident prone nerd!

Aristotle and I

As the gate and I fell clumsily together and just after, I felt like I was in a bad travel comedy movie about the ridiculous American… National Lampoons vacation to Greece.

Happy Sunday Y’all

Dobar Dan!