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.

Giving Thanks to beat the Expat Blues

In just a couple of weeks, the American Thanksgiving holiday will be here. This post is about giving Thanks for what I have… and to kick my Negative Nancy into a Sunshine Sally.

I know how lucky I am to be living in Europe. The ultimate trip. Living abroad! I am Thankful I do not just dream about going somewhere, I actually have!  Now, I just have to deal with the repercussions of the big move!

I am thankful for this Blog!  It is a place where I can come to say anything. This is my therapists couch and my clay on a wheel. The end product may end up looking like my second grade clay bowl, but it is mine. and I love it!

I noticed today, as I talked with my two closest friends, I was being overly critical, judgmental, and negative. It happens often when I feel myself getting depressed. It is the kind of expat depression that doesn’t last long, but can feel like an eternity at the time.

Expat Blues before a holiday or at anytime is not out the norm. I just Googled “expat depression” and a slew of sites popped up, But first as I was typing in my search words it offered more… expat depression China, Germany, and so on.
I have heard of Beijing Blues, and having a Shanglow day in Shanghai. I would add Balkan Blues or Serbian Sadness. It happens and you just have to find your way out of the jungle and move on, knowing that you do love this place, just not all the time.

I am Thankful that the internet lets us commiserate. Knowing you are not alone is comforting.

I am Thankful that I get to work in Nature! For numerous reasons the great out doors is home. When I am in the fields, I don’t feel judged. I am able to just be me, breathe the fresh air and enjoy God’s creation. Usually, I am getting a great workout at the same time.

Incidentally, getting out of the house and working out are the too many things that kick expat depression in the rear. I am Thankful that I get to do that often!

It is when I come back to town, I feel like an alien. I feel that I just don’t fit in here. And as I just read in Sunny Sanguinity, ” I don’t always want to be different. But I want to be me.”

I don’t always mind being that stranger, sometimes I relish it. I am Thankful that being different isn’t always bad. 

I am Thankful for the internet! I can message people online and skype! Hallelujah! I need to do that!

I am Thankful for my Family. All of them! I am a lucky girl to have so many loved ones.

I am Thankful for Friends! I love you all! Thanks for being there for me.

Ok, I need to go back to bed… T minus three hours till I get up… I am Thankful Munchkin goes to preschool!  

I am Thankful that I get to go cuddle with my hubby and little one in a King size bed!

I am Thankful that writing this post lifted my spirits and I feel at peace! See, being Thankful helps!!!!!!