Dear Serbia

Dear Serbia,
Thank you. 
Thank you for helping me realize who I am and what more I could do and become. I am constantly evolving through the inspiration this new land has given me.  


As I look back, I can see how living in Serbia has changed me. The changes occurred slowly over time, but they are HUGE!


Serbia has inspired me to write. Before I came to Serbia, I was never inclined to record my thoughts or experiences. Now, I am inspired daily by the culture, nature, and my experiences. I could write a book on the inspiration, Serbia has given me. 


It was always on my mind to teach English, and my first attempt was abysmal. After taking a course giving me the tools and education I needed, I began to teach. 


Becoming certified to teach has opened many new doors. I am always using my bachelor’s degree in intercultural studies and social sciences in tandem with my teaching certification. 

Continuing to learn more and expand my teaching abilities with new training is important to me. Thank God for the internet and all the schools online! I want to become a great teacher.


After almost four years and thousands of classes, I am in love with teaching. I have taught children as young as two up to retired folks. My students have come from around the world and I am enjoying every minute. It is thrilling to meet new people and help them reach their goals.


Teaching was always in my heart. I began when I was in elementary school. I was probably eight years old. My little sister was lugging around stacks of books. She was aching to learn to read at the age of 4. I opened my old school books and taught her the alphabet.  Then I taught her to read and write. I also taught her the simple math I knew at the time. 


She was a sponge. She learned everything very quickly. When she began kindergarten, she was immediately bumped up to first grade.


I know that it wasn’t my parents that did the teaching. My mother had a severe learning disability and didn’t learn to read until I finished high school. 

My father worked a lot. On top of that, I would guess he has Asperger’s syndrome from the way he acts socially. He was never diagnosed. Both of my parents loved us all and gave us a great deal of love and care as parents should. As a result, I am without a doubt, I was the educator. 


My teaching didn’t stop there. At about the same time, I was taking gymnastics. I was excelling. I loved it more than anything else! During recess, I would teach the girls in my class the things that I learned in gymnastics class. I would perform the new things I had learned on the grass or on the bars and then have the girls who were interested in learning, line up and I would teach them what I had learned. I had forgotten all of this until just recently when thinking of my teaching journey. 


Serbia has helped me to see the gift and realize my potential. I am energized by helping others learn grammar and improve pronunciation. 


Recently I even tutored a student in China; she went on to pass tests that allowed her to work in the U.S. She has since been offered a position at a firm in New Jersey! My heart bursts with joy because of her success! 


Because of Serbia, I see with new eyes and I hear with new ears. I listen slowly to grasp the meaning of Slavic words. Learning the Serbian language and all the cultural beliefs and traditions have changed my brain to some extent. I have a long way to go with the language, but I am looking forward to becoming fluent.


Living in Serbia has given me the most amazing new friends. The people here are so kind. I was blessed on my first visit to meet a few women who have become the dearest of friends. I cherish their friendship, understanding, and the things they have taught me. I am incredibly grateful for their forgiveness for the mistakes I have made. There have been so many!


Lastly, I am grateful for the inspiration Serbia has given me to begin painting. The barren cinderblock walls of our barn invited me to begin.  One summer day I started with watercolors. Flowers soon were blooming all over one side of the barn. I gathered more courage and began to paint the front of the barn. 


One day I was feeling incredibly alone here in the village.  I wanted to cheer myself up with a bit of sun. I chalked out an outline of a sun. The sun’s rays bolstered my desire to create. My ideas flourished. 


My painting journey has been slow. But now there is a large mural with a sun and moon. I am continuously thinking of new creatures to add. It is my magical wall. It is magical because it inspires me to do more and lifts my spirits. 


While none of these achievements are astronomical, they have helped me to evolve. Without Serbia’s inspiration, prodding, and even the heartbreaking challenges I have faced, I have so much to be grateful for. Thank you for your inspiration and your nurturing environment. I am continuing to grow and learn from you every day.

English Cartoons and Children’s Literature as English Tools

When my daughter was a wee bitty and I was a bit isolated in the winter cartoons gave me the break I needed to get things done. Some were just trash, others were creative and educational. I will share the ones that we loved the most for other mothers of young ones with links for them on youtube.

My absolute favorite was Aquanauts. This is a scientific cartoon about animals from all over the world that live in the sea. The stories teach you and your child about marine life, pollution, geography, and much more. All the while you are listening to many different English accents from many English-speaking countries. This is a fantastic way to learn many new things at once. I HIGHLY recommend it!

The next cartoons are Peppa Pig and its sister show Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. I am sure you have heard of Peppa pig. This is a seriously famous little cartoon with simple amusing art. The sister show is just the same with different characters. Both are fun-loving, puddle jumping, belly laughing, and adventurous. I didn’t mind hearing either one in the background of whatever I was doing.

Beyond cartoons there a MANY children’s books on Youtube that are educational, read by native speakers, and introduce books in a super fun way.

Here are two of my favorites.

Fancy Nancy has many books and adventures. Little girls love ❤❤❤ Fancy Nancy.

Pete the cate is another super fun book series that teaches a myriad of useful things with excellent artwork and EVEN music. I can’t get enough of this crazy cat.

Last but not least is one of my childhood favorites, Sam I am by Dr. Suess. I have read this book until I had each prepositional phrase memorized. It is a great way to learn so many English words and meanings.

I hope you enjoyed this list of goodies.
Please don’t hesitate to like this post if you found it helpful.
If you have Questions or Comments, please leave them below. I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading!

Ted Talks… Learning a language

I haven’t been around enough this year yet in Blog Land to talk about my goals for the year, but I do have a few.

I am serious about getting fluent in Serbian. This Ted Talk Really helped me gain insight and understand a few things AND confirmed a few things I thought I knew. Like learning from your partner on a small scale is good, it is wearing on your relationship if you really lean on them to be your end all teacher!

Maybe this will help you too, if this is an interest for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0yGdNEWdn0

I will share another Ted Talk and goal next week!