I am overjoyed to be back, I started working in Ocean City two days after returning to my wonderful little town. My joy cannot be expressed on paper.
Truly, I have have never been so grateful for my country, my friends, and family ever in my life! The saying Home Sweet Home is So TRUE!
Our trip home was not without its own excitement.
We booked our tickets through Austrian airways and but our tickets were for a flight on JAT (Jugo Air).
Through no fault of theirs, when we reached the counter to check in for our flight, JAT said they had no record of us. Austrian Airlines had booked us on their flight, but neglected to tell them.
Not so funny.
We sat for a while, waiting for the Austrian Airlines counter to open up so we could straighten things out. I was so grateful I had printed out everything I could, tickets, itinerary, and receipt of payment. When Milan went to the counter, Things were straightened out quickly and we were given tickets on one of their flights that left at just about the same time, and would make our connecting flight in Vienna, Austria.
On our flight from Belgrade to Vienna we were bumped up to business class and were first to be fed! The food was really good and pretty. It was so pretty the even the butter was decorative. After eating his in one gulp, Milan leaned over to inform me that it wasn't cheese. I said, “I know”, and he said, “I didn't.” I couldn't help but laugh.
Tip for those of you flying internationally, make sure you know your baggage weight limits and every thing that is weighed. On this flight they even weighed our carry on luggage. Every airline is different. But not knowing can be costly.
Now we are safe and sound and have found a place to live for the summer. I have started working my breakfast job and will be working my evening job soon.
NOVI SAD (Нови Сад)
I will now give you a little taste of my last adventure in Serbia. We went North to Novi Sad about a week before the bombing in our building. I was going to write about it, but after the bombing, I was not motivated to write and busy preparing to come back to the states.
Novi Sad is in the very north of the country and the literal meaning of the city is New Now. Though, When I looked it up on Wikipedia, it said its meaning was New Plantation. I have no idea why. This northern town was formerly a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The architecture reflects it's roots and is said to be the loveliest part of Serbia. The economic conditions are better there and the overall mood seems more upbeat.
This Serbian region looks similar to Germany, Ausria, and Hungary as a result of it's heritage. Serbia came to have it by moving continually North evading and fighting the Turks. Hungarians allowed the Serbs onto their land literally to save lives and to have more bodies to fight the Turks as they surged North to expand their empire. Eventually there were so many Serbs there, that they outnumbered the Hungarians.
Many of you may be shocked to know we bombed this city and many others in 1999 with NATO's approval as a result of the genocide we believed to be taking place. There are still many reminders of this. In the pictures of the Danube I am enclosing you will find pillars jutting out from the depths of the water. Though our force may be justified by some, the way we went about it was illegal internationally. We used cluster bombs and killed many innocent civilians. Serbians remember this. Though, I have to say. I don't believe either side is blameless. War is never pretty.
If you are interested in more info on this very old city I have provided a link to it's site on wikipedia.
Milan and I stayed in the city, we walked around and enjoyed the different architecture and touristy feel of the town.
We went south to Belgrade the following day, where Milan spent most of the day seeing his very good friends from Knjazevac.
Later that night we met up with a friend of Milan's who had worked with him in OC a few years back. Marko and his girlfriend, Maria had been in Knjazevac a few weeks earlier and meeting up with them again was wonderful. I really enjoyed their company. And they have the most amusing little kitty. Friends like them made my stay in Serbia much more pleasant.
I miss my friends and family there. I am blessed to have the most wonderful family and lovely friends. I just wish I could bring them back with me.
The following day we went to an official army ceremony for new recruits. As we waited in line to enter the army grounds, Milan told me not to speak. It was a good thing, because later, Marko wrote and told me foreigners are not allowed on base. Here I was, an American, On a Serbia Army base. Probably not such a good idea. But, there were no problems.
I have to say it was cool to see the differences between our armies and how proud grandma's are all over the world. There was one who climbed a tree to watch here grandson. (I have pictures of that included.)
Just a few days after arriving home from this trip we had the horrible bombing in our building, so this episode was postponed and I have finally put fingers to the keyboard to send you the last episode.
Thank you for all your letters while I was away. They were priceless.
With lots of love,