While we were gone dva (2)

My trip home started out with a quick zip down to Florida. My parents and Grandfather were a sight for sore eyes. We even got to visit with some cousins who live near by!

There was a bit of Serbian “flavor” in our trip south as well. We visited with my wonderful friend “S” who now lives a few towns over. I met her and her little lovelies in Novi Sad Serbia for the first time Christmas 2010(?). We had been writing back and forth for some time and skyping…She and her family made my Christmas away from home so special. I now consider them family too.

Patriotic neighbors
I just love these old civil war era homes. I saw Pennsylvania with new eyes and it was beautiful!

For Thanksgiving, I was was with my brother and sister in Pennsylvania about a thousand miles north of Florida eating my face off with turkey and all the fixings.  Oh how I have missed the GMO, preservative ripe, processed to death food of the US. I did not deny myself anything. T25 workouts are now a must for my lard laden body!

A week or so later, I was thrilled to be able to go back to the place I called HOME for the last 20 years. Ocean City, Maryland!

I saw so many of my sorely missed friends and the  Atlantic Ocean. My heart was so happy and sad to see them all knowing is was just for a couple of very short days.

Thanks to my very dear friend MN who I sadly have no pics of. She let me crash at her condo. We are truly grateful for such a wonderful place to stay. We had some hearty talks I wish could have stretched on for days.

Salmon dinner made by my oldest friends, “P&M” in OC made one of my evenings absolutely perfect. My eyes can easily fill with tears just thinking about how happy I was to see them and Mr. L.P. Thank you so much for taking time to see Munchkin and me.

Munchkin had a blast playing with all the Christmas merry making toys and decor.

Reunited with with work buddies and their offspring was the most hilarious fun time. Munchkin was joined by a set of twins a year older than her and a little boy just two months her junior. They had a great time running around together and beating each other with crab mallets.  No permanent damage was done. 😉

Crab buckets are the best protection against crab mallets!

So many good friends and just not enough time!! I love you all so much!

If it wasn’t so cold, cold, Cold and windy or we would have walked down to the ocean for beach pic. Next time…

Then it was back to PA for more time with the siblings and cousins. At the end of the trip I got to pick up some side-work with my brother and we finally had some quality time to chat. He works with a a bunch of Bosnian people in Carlisle, PA. While we waited for work and chatted I met a few of them. They understood my Serbian as crappy as it is. They were patient and happy to talk about life in former Yugoslavia, give advice and discuss the problems in Balkan lands.

Signs are in Bosnian and in English… soon French may also be added!

The funny thing about Serbs and Bosnians and maybe even Croatians. When you are living in country so far from home the ache of recent wars and wounds still healing are less of a problem. The shared language culture are bandages.

They were a joy to chat with. They understand the difficulty of living far from home in a land whose culture is exotic. All of them come home about once a year and one even confessed he cries every time he is leaving his country of birth. This is pretty common for most expats.Land of birth, home of your family and friends, the land of your culture and traditions is a hard thing to leave even for a better life or a loved one.

Sometimes the joys of the adventurous expat life is so far eclipsed by the  loss and distance. The heart breaks over and over.  I miss my friends and family. I didn’t cry until I returned to Serbia.

The Munchkin is just happy to have her Mommy and Daddy back together again. She won’t go to sleep unless we are on either side of her. The joy on her face is priceless! She doesn’t care where she is as long as we are there too.

Photography Friday Road Trip~Крушевац

Every road trip needs some good music!. I love this song.

A few weeks ago we went to the medieval capital of Serbia, Krusevac. This long-standing city is home to about 60,000 people. I was really impressed with it.

I totally wanted to get a pic with this guy, I mean the statue. But I am only knee high and he is the grasshopper.  Jumping up onto his lap like he was Santa was out of the question! 😦 But had I gotten up there, I would have had to ask if it was a sword in his lap or was he just happy to see me!  🙂

Krusevac has been in place since at least 1371, when Emperor Lazar was living. While living, Lazar was something like a Duke or Lord.  He was responsible for gathering the troops to fight the battle against the Turks who later beheaded him. After his death, he was raised to Emperor out of respect. His wife, Milica, went on to be the ruler! Hello forward thinking back in the old days. Now, not so much.

This town has its own chic feel and flavor. And so much history smack dab next to modern life!

Before a walk about town we opted for a quick alfresco lunch.

I got the Pizza and he got the schnitzel with mash potato, a roll and cabbage salad. In all my time here, I have never seen schnitzel with noodles. Kind of a bummer. Maybe I need to go to Austria? On a side note, the hills are alive here, but with the sound of kolo music! If you don’t get any of these references you must watch “The Sound of Music” once more!

I was pleased to see that lots of old couples walked happily arm in arm in this gorgeous grad. I don’t think I have seen that anywhere else in Serbia so far.

The most astonishing to me in this Balkan city was the dress of the women. Normally, in Eastern European countries, the women are always and I mean always sporting 4 inch+ heels. In this city, women dressed stylishly, and sensibly. Heels were low or non-existent! Holy Cow! I think they must have been breaking some unwritten Eastern European code! Can I get an Amen?

There is a park where the ruins of the old fort stands. Most of it was destroyed during the war with the Turks. Now children play ball with their grandparents watching over them, and others taking a stroll or sit on benches and enjoy that peace that now resides. An old Museum sets just to the side presiding over the history and ghosts.

Imagine you’re the kid who lives in the Green house. You ask your friends to come play in the fort in your backyard! Forget cowboys and Indians! Lets play Serbs and Turks!!

You know the people who built these homes in the wake of ruins must have found some cool stuff in their back yard while digging to create their new homes!! Talk about cool building stories!

That lucky kid’s back yard! Seriously, How freaking COOL!

Within the fort stood the most beautiful old Church.

This impressive structure was a sight to behold.

The amount of detail begs you to look at it for ages to take it all in.

The Celtic style knots that circled the doors and windows were fabulous.The magnificent double headed eagle graced the top and bottom of the window above.

The grounds all around are an ancient battle field. At one entrance there was a painting of Kosavka Devojka. She is the Serbian version of Molly Pitcher during the American Revolution.

Kosavka walked around the battlefield of Krusevac when the Serbs were fighting the Turks in 1389 during the Battle of Kosovo.

This is a print of a famous rendition showing Kosavka watering a fallen soldier. Compare this beauty with the typical image of Molly Pitcher with a cannon.

Molly is just a few thousand miles east and a few hundred years later…

Battle of Kosovo 1389

Battle of Monmouth 1778

Two peas in a pod.

Even thousands of miles away from home you can find similarities in just about everything if you look hard enough!

Krusevac is a great city, lots to see, and some great shops too! If you are in this neck of the woods, you should check it out.

Halloweenish post

I haven’t done anything to celebrate the scary season. Well, that isn’t completely true. I talked about it in my little English class. It is fun to share my cultures fun Halloween traditions with my kids. They knew mostly how it all works. Going to the door and saying “Trick or Treat” and all… but they did ask what we do for tricks.  Nothing.

I was inclined to write something for you, but I really had nothing to share. Or couldn’t think of a single thing.  Then, just a few days ago a friend of mine posted some great pics of a maze on the beach back home in Ocean City, Maryland.

I believe this is the first year they have done this. I know they didn’t do it last year. Hurricane Sandy was screaming up the coast. Me and mine were preparing to fly out of NYC on the 31st of October. What a harrowing adventure!

Great idea for next years costume!

Here in Serbia, they have Masking balls. Kids dress up dress up and have a party. Sounds good to me. but the whole night-time “trick or treat” thing is a good time too! Better in my opinion.

I don’t like clowns. nuf said!

Life guards on the other hand…

I can hear the canned screams and cackles  just looking at this next pick!

First thought here… Medusa got a tongue ring.

Last but not least finally a wicked Jack-O-Lantern. Get your freak on buddy!

This holiday maze seems like a good idea for a nice fall walk on the beach. Maybe someday I will take the munchkin.

Thank you LP for letting me use your pics! They are excellent!

Happy Halloween all!

Whatever Wednesday~ Assateague Love

 

I took these pics a few years ago. I will dedicate this post to my LOVE. 🙂 I love you, or in Serbian, Volim Te!

I took these pics a few years ago when I was childless and had sooo much free time! lol    I used to love to take long walks on the beach alone (only because the muz hates sand). And I love to get creative with the shells, driftwood, and other sea stuff that washed up.

September was my favorite month to do this. There are no crowds, great weather, and more cool shells, ship wreck pottery or sea glass for me, with bonus of maybe seeing dolphins occasionally playing in the surf.

While it was a great place to call home, I wouldn’t have been able to have the adventures in Serbia if I hadn’t left. Hooray for travel!

It doesn’t mean I don’t miss seeing these vistas.

Maryland Seafood is the best! I do miss that too!

On really hot days the horses hang out near the ocean for the cool breezes, just like us!

 

If you want to see more of my favorite island, click any of these links below:

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2010/09/september-at-assateague-island.html  (This one is my favorite… with a crappy youtube video made during mating season. RISQUE! Hello sex ed for horses!)

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2010/10/just-another-day-in-paradise-assateague.html

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2012/06/trip-to-island.html

 

 

 

Expat Life Hacks~ Ironing

So being an expat is really cool at times. I love biking around my town and seeing things I never thought I would see up close and personal. While I do enjoy being in a foreign land, there are things I miss. A Lot!

Take for instance, a dryer. Not only does it do the job of drying fast, but it also practically irons your clothes. Like everyone else in the world, I hate ironing, I will do it if I have to, but only for myself or my child. If you are a capable adult, you are out of luck.  Yes, I am talking to you honey. 😉

Now, I have come to the entire point of this post! Not having to iron! Back home in the States, we also have Wrinkle Releaser. It is a miraculous spray that takes wrinkles out of clothing.

Enter my expat lifesaver, Pinterest! Since moving here and even before, I have found some marvelous recipes, organization ideas, and so much more on there. But, most recently, I have found the recipe for happiness…. so to speak. I found a way to MAKE wrinkle releaser. and it works!

After hearing my husband complain about his wrinkly shirts for the second time, I went to my DIY (do it yourself) haven of inspiration, Pinterest. Sure enough there were answers to my problem!

Before

After

Before

After

 

 

I love this stuff!

The magical recipe:

  • 1 cup or 250 ml water
  • 1 tsp. (the small spoon) liquid fabric softener
  • 1 tsp. rubbing alcohol (optional, helps the spray evaporate quicker) Put this all on a spray bottle and shake! Now you’re ready to go!
  • Spray a clean, wrinkled garment.  Dampen it, but you don’t need to soak it.
  • Tug on the garment or give it a good shake to loosen the wrinkles.
  • You can also lay the garment on a flat surface (like a bed), and do a quick “iron” with your hands.  I found that this worked well on wrinkly shirt sleeves: just spray, smooth from the middle of the sleeve out to the ends with your hands, and the wrinkles go away.
  • Hang the garment to dry, and more wrinkles will disappear as it dries. Brilliant! Problem solved. I am hooked!!

Photography Friday~ Soko Shadows and Reflections

Shady Bales

The fields above were a last minute shot I got on our way home from Sokobanja. It is just about my favorite pic!

The steps to the Soko banja Museum. Closed on a busy summer Saturday afternoon.  Only in the Balkans! lol

Looking into the door of the museum, I found the perfect self portrait for the two of us. 🙂

One last shot taken on the way to the Sokos where a gorgeous mountain spring cooled the visitors.

 Dobar Dan !

Soko Slike

Hello Friends! This post is not about the mixed drink, Soco (Southern Comfort) and lime it is about an adventurous day with the Hubby.

Saturday, we had a little break from the norm in the form of a Road trip!! We went to Sokobanja and Sokograd. Sokobanja is a little tourist trap town with lots of shops to spend your hard earned cash.There is quite a large play area for kids with rides and even trampolines! We were without child for the first trip ever since her conception. 🙂 It was refreshing! Thus no Munchkin Monday.

Sokograd, an old 6th century fort that spans a mountain ridge. Construction of the fort last from the fourth to the Seventh centuries. It was occupied and finally destroyed by the Turks in the 14th century. This was the highlight of our trip for me. I love hiking, and I am so happy the hubby didn’t know how difficult it would be or he wouldn’t have done it! The heat make the somewhat treacherous trek more challenging.But, I would have loved to hike all day!

Most of the hike was through the woods along a river.  This was much like the place my family went camping as a kid. I felt at home. 

The most impressive thing about the Sokos is the cleanliness. There was hardly any trash scattered about. It is obvious the towns work hard to keep it clean. It was refreshing to see a place so clean!

The steps here were not very steep, but hey were frightenly narrow. I climbed them with extreme caution. The view was brilliant from the top of the tower.

We didn’t spend much time  here. I would love to go again in the fall when the leaves are changing. I would take a picnic lunch and spend the day exploring.

We went to dinner at a little restaurant with Great reviews. Marco Polo was the name of this rustic little joint. The only bad reviews were by people who weren’t allowed to sit for just coffee. You must order food. We had succulent lamb, fries, salad, with fresh yummy bread and we split a very big beer.

This was the view from my seat.  It kinda made me want to go craw fishing.

The other side of the eatery is situated under and beside a cave.

After dinner we went to the Sokobanja for people watching. Never a dull sport! Coffee and “American Doughnuts” we the side dish.

My intent was to show how Small the doughnuts were in comparison to my hand, but I think I have only succeeded in flashing my manicure needing nails. In spite of their Miniature status, the taste was massively delicious.

I liked this place, but the hubby really likes it here. It is a childhood haunt for him and brings him good vibes.  After so many years working in the U.S. I can only imagine how it made him feel.

I would like to leave you with some eye candy and maybe a laugh.  This special treat was found along the pathway in Sokobanja.

I would love to read your captions for this in the comments!

Looks to me like this bad boy is getting help up for his chain link necklace or his bright white boots? Please just leave him the speedo!

Dobar dan!

Photography Friday Paralia, Greece

The little seas side town of Paralia, Greece was a pleasure to visit. Cafes lined the beach and sidewalks. Touristy shops selling trinkets and clothes were plentiful. But the most eye catching thing I saw was this car!

The exterior was less decadent than the interior.

Hello excess!

I think one might need a bath or cleansing ritual to ride in that bling mobile!

A less assuming vehicle with more curb appeal in my opinion is the cute little Fica turned convertible. This rolling reklama (commercial) is evidence how popular Serbian visitors are in this town.

Traveling in a Serbian pack, I shocked a few people there. I would speak partially in Serbian but mostly in English to my travel buddy. More than once I was asked why I was speaking English.  The border crossings were a bit amusing too. The only U.S. Passports in a bus of Serbs was an oddity. Though, most border guards acted like it was natural.

Speaking of Border crossings… I love seeing all the different flags! The Serbian one:

The writing at the bottom says I love Serbia

The Macedonian one:

The Greek flags colors are my favorite. I love blue and white.

A tourist ship with two Greek Flags!

End rabbit trail. OK, back to the Paralia pics.

I prefer the natural beauty of an every day occurrence. The serenity of sunrise is never less then Blissful.

Mornings stillness and lack of distraction is just what this girl loves.

Simplicity in the quiet morning hours without the noise and excitement of the rest of the world. It is like having  the town to yourself.

Mount Olympus peeks from behind the sleepy hotels. not creature stirs on the beach.

The sea side church watches over the town.

The Church is very impressive. The steps are marble. I would be afraid of them in the rain. Very slippery.

I love the reflection of the church next door in the cafe windows.

Have a great weekend!

Traveling Tuesday… Walking through Paralia, Greece

It has been a month now since my Greece trip. I was thinking about it today as I thought about home and the fisherman’s harbor that was across the street from the place I use to literally dump crabs on the the tables of tourists. (They paid me to do it.)

This was the view from my “office” on a good evening back in the U.S.

No fisherman action in the evening here. but truth be told, it isn’t to far off the action I saw at dawn in Paralia at the local fisherman’s marina. Accept of course they use smaller nets than the big ships back home use and no rods to be seen. Like anyone working on a boat, there is lots of prep work for the trip out on the water.

All along the docks on this early April morning, the local fishermen and women are mending and straightening their nets. In the distance, Mt. Olympus looms.  A friendly bunch at such an early hour. They didn’t even mind when I asked to take their pictures, or more accurately lifted my camera and gave them an imploring look. It worked. A smile and a nod gave me the green light.

I could have stayed at the marina all day long, I felt at home there, even if I can’t speak a lick of Greek!. Holy hard language! Pardon the New Testament pun. 😉

One fellow sipped his coffee as he worked on his nets.

This side of Paralia or (Paralija if you are Serbian) was less touristy and filled with lots of stray dogs. restaurants closed til the start of summer lined the area. An old  amusement park and cart race sat on the out skirts of town.

This way to the cart racing facility The faded sign would keep better if it was taken down in the off season…

The mountains framed by the rides makes a great pic, but I was a bit shocked to see the rides all sitting out waiting for summer to start. The salt air is not so good for the mechanics… I would have reservations about getting any of these rides. 😦

Lots of doggies like this one were walking the streets. Some traveled in packs that were quite intimidating. One such pack escorted me for a short while as I strolled with trepidation.

The large dogs who were my short term companions.

They were all larger and could do some damage. Soon they ran off chasing a poor littler dog who was in their territory. This is a dog eat dog world for sure!

Canals intruded on the north side of town. This lazy little turtle sunned himself til I came alone and interrupted him.

More on Greece later. Happy Tuesday! Travel when you can!

Dobar Dan!

Alternate Reality 365-13

Somethings are different here in Serbia. Little things, like basic beliefs are very different. This works for them and us. I try not to be critical, because I know our cultures provide the outline for our beliefs. I think this will be interesting to my Western readers. Personally, I find it fascinating because it is such a foreign thought. I am sure the opposite thinking is just as strange to Serbs.

For sometime, I have known that it is believed here in Serbia, that cold drinks or cold air can give you a sore throat. The muz has even said he didn’t want to drink something cold when he had a sore throat.

This counter intuitive to me. When I was three and went to the hospital for a tonsillectomy  I remember vividly getting as much ice cream and icy pops as I wanted, because it can help the pain. Even when I had a sore throat, icy cold drinks always made me feel better.

I know some of my western friends may not believe this so I am including a link for a commercial that I am seeing almost daily here.

What you are about to watch is a guy and a crazy looking gentleman in a lab coat. They do an experiment. The younger guy sticks his head out of a car, mouth wide open. It is snowy cold out. The next frame shows the young guy needing medicine for a sore throat…Enter the product, Septolete.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X_CkwaOZfw

I am sure the product would help a sore throat.

For my sister and anyone who likes really cold drinks, the next one is for you. I was in the village not long ago. Mind you it is winter, and the water comes from a well. When I asked for a glass of water, my sweet aunt was worried the water was too cold to drink. I assured her it was fine. 😉

The thought the water would be too cold would never have come into my mind. I grew up in the country and our water came from a well too. I never wanted to drink it if it wasn’t freezing cold. Funny what a few thousand miles does to your perspective.
Different strokes for different folks!

My fine Serbian friends, I assure you, I am not alone in my joy of COLD drinks. One of the best places to get a beer in my town back home has mugs chilled to the extreme. And the beer is the coldest you will find anywhere. It is so cold when you pour a beer into the cup, that the beer freezes at the top of the glass. The miniature skating rink doesn’t last long, but it is one of the simple pleasure in life I truly enjoy!

You may ask the last time I had a really sore throat, It was years ago. I don’t even remember it. The muz on the other hand, he gets them a few times a year.