Yoda Quotes for the Expat Soul

There is so much truth and so much to learn from the great Star wars movies. Just as I was writing another post, I realized just how much I could transfer into my life as an expat. Most of the characters are expats there, and are learning to cope on new planets. (I know we feel that way sometimes.)

Going for the real wisdom, I decided to write a post on the insights of the little green guy we all know and love.  Thank you Yoda for all this goodness.

“You must unlearn what you have learned.” 

Rule number one of expat life! When moving to another culture, almost nothing is the same, the way you think must change to accommodate the new truths.

“Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”

You must acclimate. You came here for change, a new start, a new job, a new life, a great adventure. Do what you meant to do or go home.

“Named must your fear be, banish it if you can.”

Sometimes we are so overwhelmed with all the changes,we cannot name what it is that is overtaking us. Find some quiet time, meditate, and riddle out what that fear is. And do what you can to overcome.

“Already know, that which you need.” 

We know our basic needs, find a way to meet them. That is often a challenge in the expat world. But with perseverance, time, and some help, you can find what you need. Sometimes we even learn to create it ourselves. That inspires more self-confidence. What a Win/Win!!

“Fear is the path to the dark side, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate. Hate is the path to the dark side.”

Fearing the change, the different, the challenges is only going to weaken you. Make you vulnerable. Muster the courage to face your fears or you will be taken by the dark side. Expat depression is the evil we all battle. Becoming bitter and angry as a result is the equivalent of going to the dark side.

“To be a jedi is to face the truth and choose. Give off light or darkness, padawan. Be a candle or the night.” 

This is the fight we all fight. In our times of darkness, we make a choice. Choosing the light may be hard, but it makes a better world for all of us.

“Calm you shall keep, carry on you must.”

Even in trying times, when the rug is pulled out from under you and you don’t know which way is up, keep calm and carry on.

“If no mistake you have made, losing you are. A different game you should play.”

In the expat game, it is inevitable to make mistakes. We learn large lessons from them. We are humbled, and wizened. We become stronger and better for the next lesson. It is just around the corner. If you aren’t making mistakes you need to get out and make some! They make for great stories later in life and great blog posts now! 😉

“Much to learn you still have my old padawan… This is just the beginning.”

The learning curve is constant. Once we overcome one thing, we have not finished. We have never arrived. What would be the fun in that? This is an exciting adventure. When you are tired, get some rest and be ready for the next lesson.

Dobar Dan Y’all! and may the force be with you!

 

 

 

Halloween Obstacles in Serbia

Planning for an English Club Halloween party is proving harder than expected. It will largely end up being just a costume party. That is enough, and most of the fun anyway, right?  Keeping it simple is key.

Let me share the challenges I am up against. The decorations are the main issue.

I found that orange pumpkins aren’t so common. They are grown for feeding pigs. There are so many other options, that is really irrelevant. It is just shocking as massive fields are dedicated to these orange pumpkins in the U.S. for fall decoration and picture-taking purposes only!

The decorative brooms we use to decorate and symbolize a witches broom, is as common as sliced bread here. Here is a bit of irony: sliced bread isn’t so common. LOL Brooms are so different here, I could do a post on them alone!  I guess that will be my blog.

Costume ideas are often culturally different… for instance. In the U.S. twice I have gone as Gypsy because no one knows they exist. To us they are like unicorns. A.k.a. mythical story book creatures. It is a little like this M&M commercial.

 

Yet, the word in Serbian for Gypsy in Serbian is like saying the “N” word in the U.S. Roma is the proper word for these people.

The irony continues… The “N” word in Serbia is common. There are almost no black people here… only in cities. And the kids here that listen to American rap here the word and don’t understand how bad it is.  Who is gonna tell them? Maybe me? in this post. 🙂

Other costume issues are that things that are common costumes are possibly cultural reference that the kids here may not recognize. DIY (do it yourself) or home-made costumes don’t seem so common. But then again, maybe I am wrong. I am kinda new at this.

The food and drinks we would use back home aren’t even sold here. I doubt anyone here knows what candy corn are! In case you don’t, they are a super sweet chewy candy.

In the words of Wayne’s world, “Party on!”

or in the more recent and very popular…

 

Do you have any experience in putting on a Halloween party? Tell me about it!

 

 

 

 

The Healing Power of Nature~in honor of Earth day

I want to urge you to take time to get out and enjoy the feel and smell of the freshness of spring.

Camping in Byron Bay, Austrailia

I have always been in love with the outdoors. I love big water. I was born next to Lake Erie. Later moved to an ocean town.

At the same time I love camping in the wilderness. Walking trails and watching for little critters as I go.

I found the best fit for the two of those loves at Anastasia State park in St. Augustine, FL. I would go there and pitch my little mini tent all alone and just breath for a few days.

Working in the field, Vina, Serbia

At night, on my way to the toilet, I may cross paths with a raccoon or a opossum.Something that people only see on discovery channel or youtube videos. . And there they are in my path.

On our farm here in Serbia, I get my chance for soul breathing every time we go out into the fields. I see birds nests in the trees and on the ground. I see the tracks of wild pigs. I hear the call of birds in the air and the wind in the trees.

A monarch on Milkweed Assateague, Maryland

Soul breathing is something I came up with as I wrote this. It just seems about right. We are animals. Mammals. Our souls know where we belong. And when we are in natural surroundings, it is a bit of good medicine for the soul. Not to mention the vitamin D we get from the sun!

A wild horse that crossed out path. Assateague Island

If you are keen on being inspired by nature or downsizing for super sizing your life, one of these two Ted Talk videos may be the ticket. I enjoyed then both.

The first video inspires humility, gratitude, and grace. All good things. I could use more of that in myself.

Next up is the not unattractive scientist who loves turtles. I loved a turtle once til it bit me. I may or may not have been petting its head at the age of 4. Mr. Turtle didn’t like being pet like a cat. Lesson learned!

I digress. This is an inspiring nature video. If you are interested, click the link below!

Dobar Dan Y’all!

 

 

 

Life hacks… How to make Coconut oil, Coconut Milk, and Coconut Butter!!

You put the lime it the coconut and drink ’em both up. Ah, I love that song, it makes me want to dance. My love for coconut is just as strong… and it doesn’t have to be in a Pina Colada for me to enjoy it! But that is one of my fav ways! 😉

Just yesterday I found a video that will give me an even greater love for this sweet treat! I am seriously giddy and I can not wait to go out and buy a coconut or two!!

What is stopping me you ask? Well, for the third, or maybe the fourth day in a row is raining cats and dogs and I am feeling a bit achy with a sore throat.  Who knows. Maybe I will venture out in just a bit when the rain lets up.

Oil pulling the strong come of an ancient Ayurvedic practice is all the rage right now. I admit I have become a follower. The Hindu people are really savvy, what proof do I have of that? The Kama Sutra is actually a part of their Bible! HELLLOOO!

I have made oil pulling a part of my morning routine for over a month. My teeth are slightly and I mean just slightly whiter. But I continue to do it because it is improving my gum health.  My gums used to bleed every time I brushed. I noticed a few days ago, they hadn’t been bleeding at all for a week or more.

For the last six months or more I have been reading about the benefits of coconut oil on hair and skin, and of course in food! While I was home at Christmas, I bought a large jar of it. It is impossible to find here in Serbia as far as I have heard. It is an hours drive to find coconut milk, and I had never even heard of coconut butter before. But!!! I just found a video on how to make it. I am thrilled.

I can’t wait to buy a coconut and give it a go. Especially since the oil I  have been using is really poor quality. There is no coconut aroma or taste, and I wonder what process it went through to lose all that yumminess. I am sure it wasn’t the healthiest way to go. But it was my first time buying it.

Now, I can do it all myself and I know it will be healthy!

If you can find a coconut you can make the oil or butter or milk! Get to it. No more excuses friends!

Bonus Classic Coconutty Music!

Ah, a slumber party like that would be awesome! Of course a long lie in the next day would be key as well. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Crafty Crowns Photography Friday

Normally I post pics on Fridays. Today I am having some technical difficulties and have decided to post a craft that I just made.

I am a fan of Pinterest for cool gift ideas and this is one of the many pins I have tried and achieved!

I went to a Thrift shop and found this ornate pillow. Dismantled it, and up-cycled the lace!

The crowns were relatively easy once I found some wired ribbon and the no sew heat bonding strips that made this project a snap! With an iron, adhere the lace to the ribbon. Then, just a hem them in the back to close the crown and Wa La!

Presto!! Kiddie crowns. I am tickled with the way they turned out. I am only leery of giving them as a gift in Serbia. I know back home my nieces would love them… Wish me luck. One will be a birthday gift today.

Another Pinterest idea turned gift.

Permanent marker on a plate… baked at 400 Fahrenheit ror 205 Celsius for 30 minutes. Buying cute things with names is not a big here as it is in the U.S. So, I am making my own. The project worked so long as you don’t scrub really hard the marker stays put! Hooray for my new name plate craft!

Happy Friday everyone!

Dobar Dan!

Photography Friday~ Thessalonika

my first (not really) jumping pic

Thanks to my awesome travel buddy who thought of the idea!

She looks really graceful!

No time to day for writing much so here are some fun pics of the city.

The White Tower

Random folks family time in Aristotle Square

yummy Easter bread and other scrumptious baked treats.

The sign on the red canopy below says, “pop corn”.

One guy holding at least three lamb carcasses. Ya don’t see that everyday… well, I don’t.

One more pic for the road. Happy Weekend.

A beautiful Easter display with lots of eggs colored red. The most common color for eggs in this part of the world.

Hope to be writing again in a day or two. Busy time of year here.
Dobar Dan!

Photography Friday

Gallery

This gallery contains 8 photos.

A small trip to the village this week for a final birthday dinner gave me the chance to take some new village new photos. The stairs up to the barn loft. Kindling piled under make a lovely bouquet of wood. … Continue reading

Happy Birthday Munchkin

this was just the tip of the iceberg!

This is a continuation of the Blog Yesterday that began the epic story of the Birthday party.

No babies drank any alcohol in the making of this photo

There was a ton of food to be had. The men wasted no time beginning to partake. The girls took their time but eventually caved. Thank God, because I wanted to eat and didn’t want to look like the pig I am. No time for that anyway. Little Munchkin duties call way to often for  a real binge to take place.

I can’t get over how cute these little piglet breads are!

I finally made a Ginger Bread Train for the Munchkin to enjoy looking at. She hasn’t got enough teeth yet to munch on the candy. Thank you, Nicole for sending it! It was a hit. Not something you see here in Serbia! Great gift!

The Ginger Bread Train

Just as I was about to snap the picture, the Munchkin reached for the train. She’s a quick one!

The traditional Birthday song was sang with a lit candle. I don’t know it yet, but give me time. Here is a link to the song on youtube.

The party moved from the kitchen to the living room and then to our bedroom. I missed the photo-op, but at one point a bunch of kids were jumping on our bed. I would call the party a success since the kids felt so at home.

The Big Cousin fishing of the bed with a jump rope and Munchkin looking for the fish.

I think everyone had a great time. I am super glad it is over, now I can sit back and relax a bit. Though today is the actual BDay, so I will light the candle again on top of a cupcake and sing Happy Birthday in English this time. And skype with family at home. 🙂

Tomorrow the festivities will be concluded with the last birthday hurrah. We will go to the village for a small family celebration. There is still that roasted piglet Papa wanted to bring to the party that needs to be eaten. I am not a fan, but it will be a good opportunity to get some fun cultural pics! The Munchkin’s first roasted pig will be about the same size as her! LOL

I can’t believe one year ago today I was in the hospital “enjoying” the effects of an epidural as I pushed the Munchkin out. If you are interested in that story you can click on the link below. The U.S. experience is far different from the Serbian one. And for those of you who think you cannot feel the contractions during an epidural, I could. I just didn’t have pain. No brainer there! Thank you Epidural! Hello Munchkin. 🙂 There are no gory pics. and I think it is a rather tame account if you are wondering.

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2012/03/millies-labor-and-birth.html

If you are curious what it is like to stay in a Hospital in the U.S. you can check out my blog post about that here:

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2012/03/american-hospital-stay.html

Thanks for stopping by.

Dobar Dan

The Munchkin turns One!

Last night, We had a wonderful group of close friends come to celebrate the first year of the munchkin’s life.

Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candle

All three the January, February, and March 2012 babies got to play together.   They are all walking now, and have less than 10 teeth between them. 😉

Jan, Feb, March girls

Jan, Feb, March girls

 

We still have some more celebrating yet, but this was the big shebang! It is a tradition here to celebrate the First birthday before the actual date. But we chose Saturday, because most people don’t work, not for the sake of tradition.

There are lots of traditions here for the first birthday, mostly revolving around a child being Christened in the church. They baptize the child, and cut locks of hair from the child. Then when you return home from the church there are still more of they traditions to follow. The Kum (pronouned KOOM) or Best man from the wedding has to cut another lock of hair and maybe give a speech.

All the traditions are very nice. But this was stressful enough for me. I am glad we did not have to do all the regularly scheduled Serbian traditions on this day as well.

Trying to plan a birthday party when only one person in the house speaks both languages and the other two women try to understand each other it is a bit more hectic. Throw in some PMS and different cultural ideas and it can turn ugly. It didn’t though. It only got a little harried when The muz (husband) heard his father planned to bring a roasted suckling pig. (That was  a jolt of Culture shock!) This was the day before the party and after all the food prep and planning had been done.

The only little piggies at the party. Yummy bread Piglets. With Pepper seeds for eyes and Rye for the nostrils.

The only little piggies at the party. Yummy bread piglets. With pepper seeds for eyes and Rye for the nostrils.

I will admit I was a bit miffed that mama was making my little one’s first cake. I had planned for the cup cakes I was making to be her cake. But that was lost on the mama and I was too tired of trying to explain. In the end it turned out better that way. The recipe I tried for the frosting was horrid. It was better to use her cake.

I did get lucky with the cup cakes frosting. At the last-minute there was some pudding left over that make a nice topping for the cup cakes.

International baking is much more difficult than one would imagine. The flour around the world is NOT the same. It tastes different so do some of the other ingredients. Making the finish product taste different from it does in your home country.

Our flour comes from our families fields. After the harvest, they take it to a mill where it is ground. It is not processed and bleached like the flour you buy at the store. You can imagine how that can change things.

The Munchkin is awake now. Must go carry on with the day. More about the party tomorrow.

Dobar Dan

 

Goldilocks and the three bears meets super mom 365-50

Faster than a Speeding baby

More powerful than a stinky diaper.

Able to jump over a bunch of toys in a single bound.

It’s Super Mom!

I try to be creative with my pics and I have been thinking about nursery rhymes and kids stories for inspiration. This is my first attempt. I will do better next time. 😉 Getting outside in the spring will make a huge difference! Bring on the green grass! It snowed a little today so I guess it will be a little while yet. 😦 (big frown)

SONY DSC

Goldilocks and the 3 bears

Goldilocks and the 3 bears

Dobro Veče

Good Evening