Munchkin Monday~ Jumping Doctor

I was strolling along the main street with the mini me the other day and she commented on the “jumping doctor”.

I looked around and noticed the blinking jumping Apoteka (pharmacy) sign.

There is no end to the laughs your little ones bring you.

She has just developed a love of books. I am thrilled about this! She will sit and read them to herself. Every book begins with, “Once a time…” The ‘upon’ is lost, and makes it that much more adorable. I hope she won’t pick that up anytime soon.

I hope this has brought a smile to your day!

Dobar dan y’all!

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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. 🙂

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. 😉

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!

 

 

 

While we were gone Part 1

Little Munchkin learned a ton of new words, and how to interact with other kids of all ages. We stayed at my brother’s house. There were five other kids there. Five cousins to cuddle with, tease, yell at, and mostly learn lots of new things from.

But first, I must say she was a stellar travel buddy, All except for the part when she peed on me on the first flight from Belgrade to Frankfurt. 😉

At an airport somewhere in the U.S.

The entire trip was great. The time with family, especially the cousins was Brilliant for her and them. She learned lots of English, and even taught them a little Serbian too!

We did so much!

She lifted weights with the oldest cousin.

Most of the time she asserted herself and said the  that big N-O word with the youngest cousin “R”. But they learned to get along by the end of our trip.

Like I said she learned a lots of new English words. Her new words are: horse, shy, shoes, up, pucky (belly button), baby, knock knock, done- with and an emphasis on the “n”, stuck,  pee and poop. She also says “go” when when she wants to leave or you to go where she wants you. I can’t remember the rest just now. She also learned new names. Most of the cousins. The cat Kay Kay, and even a family friend. But for her Aunt Lissa she just called her “Mom”. Classic!

Her favorite food was Oscar Meyer’s cheese filled hot dogs. I cannot lie they are good! I gained 5 kilos or 10 lbs eating all the good stuff I can’t get here. I don’t regret that a bit!

One of the biggest changes Munchkin made was going from being absolutely opposed to holding hands to loving it! That is making life a bit easier.

The above pic was taken on our way in to the auditorium where a Christmas music presentation was held. My middle niece “K” sang and we all enjoyed it.

We attended a few wrestling matches and got to see two of my nephews on the mats. That was wonderful.

I got to go to my old church and see several old friends. I also reunited with a very good friend from middle school.  🙂

This little road trip had a diamond in the rough awaiting us….

A patriotic fellow sporting the Confederate and national flag via his shirt and a decorative plate bumper for his bicycle.  When I leaned out of the passenger side window to take a pic of the view from the front he let a rebel yell and flashed all three of his teeth. He is quite a catch ladies, but no word on if he is single or not! 😉

More to come.

Dobar dan Y’all!

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.

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. 😦 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!

I have lost my groove

No, not my dancing groove. In fact, I dance now more than I used too. The Munchkin likes no LOVES to dance and so we do, Daily! IT is my blogging groove that is missing. I have been back and forth so much between the village and town, then with the PMS from hell and trying to balance my new summer life… I am all out of sorts.

This is a big holiday weekend back home, the kick off of summer and the big working season at the beach where I used to live for the last 20 years. (Enter Cha-ching cash register sound here!) I think that has a lot to do with my mental state.  I miss my job, friends and my old life in general.

At the same time, the work on the farm here has picked up. I have written about most of the work I have done, NOT MUCH.  I go with the intention of working. Millie throws a fit and all agree I should stay with her. 😦 It is frustrating. I am used to working for the family, providing, now I just babysit. though I guess it isn’t babysitting when it is your own child. But it leaves me feeling useless. unproductive. confined. IT Sucks!

People here in Serbia say it is the best job there is. I think I have even heard that at home too. but I would agree to disagree. I want a job that makes money.

On the other hand, people here ask me when I will put her in Preschool. and I think, “WHAT?!” she is only 15 months old and I don’t have a job. Why on Earth would I let someone else raise her?  What a juxtaposition of thoughts, huh?

Furthermore, Consternation in my marriage is dismaying. We had agreed we would work on the farm. My lack of work there is the problem for both of us really. and my desire not to go to the village is also a problem. But as I wrote above, often I end up staying with the munchkin in the cold village house. unable to help. This means more time with the blessed in-laws who I don’t dislike. It is just exhausting.. more than most in-laws because we don’t speak the same language. Even though I am not technically working, it is stressful and I get so tired. (So, why bother even going to the village?)

Compounding the difficulty of going to (not) work in the village, we don’t return home when the work is done, we STAY for dinner. The food is getting repetitive and not what I want, in spite of my mother in law trying her hardest to please me… It is also what the hubby has been missing for years. HE is in hog heaven, literally as most of the food is PORK!. for me it is just more time stuck in the cold village house. I think to myself, “What did I get myself into. How long can I do this?”

The time in the village is nice (imagine the italics is a sarcasm font). but when we have a day “off” in town. it is a day to work for me. laundry, cleaning, fitting in coffee with friends if I don’t just sit in the apt recuperating from over stimulation. I think it is all getting a bit too much. it is affecting my desire to write sadly. The writing is my life therapy. my link home. and I am slacking.

Am I complaining? or am I just a complaining? lol Maybe I just need a kick in the @$$. Mea culpa.  Adjusting to a new life takes so much time! Damn this Culture shock.

These are my consolation prizes (for my living here and your reading this rant). The vistas on the way to the village are pricele$$.

Now that spring has turned the hills all green and flowery, the entire drive is eye candy.

Lush greens, purples, and reds so vibrant you can taste them.

And fields of poppies that are like a painting providing the calm of opium.  (strictly metaphorically speaking obviously or I wouldn’t have had to write this post!)

Hopefully this will work as an enema to work all the crap out of my brain and get on with my life. Bring on the sunshine!

Happier posts to come soon.
Dobar Dan

Photography Friday~ Meteora

I went to Greece this week. It is a hop, skip, and a jump from Serbia. Well. Actually, a few hours stretched out to several hours if you are traveling with Serbians who know how to relax, have coffee and smoke like a chimney. 🙂

I was traveling with a bus trip of teachers. I was invited by my very good friend M. I am so happy I went. I made new friends. Enjoyed Greek food. and took 4 GB worth of pictures (That is 800 pics). No doubt, photography Friday will have a long Greek hang over. 😉

Today’s post is all about Meteora. This is directly from wikipedia:

The Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, pronounced [mɛˈtɛoɾɐ], lit. “middle of the sky”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” — etymologically related to “Meteorite“) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos.[1] The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river andPindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on theUNESCO World Heritage List. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora)

I count myself super blessed to have been able to see this natural beauty.Maybe these pics will bring a little more sunshine to your Friday.

The point of vising the Meteora was to visit a monastery atop the jutting rock formations. This is a sacred place for Orthodox people. It was a stronghold kept from the Turks who terrorized the Serbs, the Greeks, and others for centuries.

Back in the day, rope ladders were dropped to allow entrance. Also, basket like nets were let down for someone sit in. Then they were pulled up to the safety of the monastery. Now they have even cooler ways of getting from one place to another.

Seriously, that is better than the pope mobile!!

Only some of the monastery was open to the public, and pictures were prohibited in  much of that area. I am not complaining. I would rather take pics of the rock formations.

These sites don’t get old. I could snap away all day long!

Tourist do not only flock here for the monasteries. many people come from all over the world to climb these magestic monsters.

This is some impressive stuff!

Meteora was a highlight of the the trip. I would go again in a heartbeat!

Happy Friday!

Dobar dan

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. 😉

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!