expat blogger

living in Serbia

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Back in Serbia, November 7

We have just arrived in Serbia for another 5 month stint. I am hoping to improve my writing skills while maybe entertaining you with stories of my life in this foreign land.

The Slava's start Tomorrow
Tomorrow night begins the seasonal onslaught of saint dinners. The season starts off with a boom of two ont he same evening, we  have one at my Deda Tole's  and one at Milan's friend Mladin's house. I will have to be careful not to eat to much at the first house so I can eat at the second and not offend anyone. There are so many courses that this is hard to do. I will take some pics of the food to share with you.

Yesterday was All Saint's day. In America, this is a mostly forgotten holiday, though still on the calendar. On our calendar it is November 1, the day after All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. We have taken to celebrating with costumes and candy. It is a fun holiday for kids and adults.
Here it is a family holiday too, although altogether different.  Here it is celebrated on the first Saturday in November, so that most people will be off work to return to their families burial grounds. People drive long distances to return to family graves. I saw license plates from Belgrade in our tiny village, a 3 hour drive from BG.  I love this holiday. I think the idea of it is great.I also love the long walk up the dirt road to the grave yard.. though not everyone walks. Some take their cars, and most often you see groups of people in wagons pulled by tractors. It is a big day for all the little villages.

During my time at the graveyard, I finally met a friend I have here on FB that is from Milan's village. Kinda funny.

Family members prepare food, wine, candies to take to the graveyard. They also take flowers to the final resting ground of their loved ones. Candles are lit and food is shared with the dead. Brush is cleared from the graves. People mozy around and mingle with others who have made the pilgrimage.

Just behind my families grave there were two old men chatting. One asked me in Serbian why I was taking pictures. I told him it was for my family in America. Then he started speaking English. Thank GOD!! Getting back into speaking Serbian is so difficult. He wanted me to go back further in the graveyard to see a stone that was older than the USA. It sounded really cool, but then someone else said the stone was gone, it had fallen and was no longer visible. Unfortunate, but true.

On the way back we took an old barely used dirt road. I got lots of burs in my clothes, but it was worth it.This walk was all down hill and it went through some of our family land that was split between my Father-in-law and Uncle Milosh. It was a beautiful day for a walk. Almost 70 degrees in November. I am sure this won't last long. I am eating it up while I can.

Right now I am refusing to answer our house phone. This is not in anger, I just don't feel like getting stressed over what to say to someone I may or may not know. Or play a kinda phone charade game... guessing what they are trying to say without any visual clues. Not a fun game! Honestly, I wish I had done this last time. I am really trying not to do things that will cause too much confusion. People tend to think I understand more than I do. (And then sometimes I just pretend not to understand when it is convenient.)

House Hunters International
We are in the market to possibly buy a house here. Yesterday we looked at a house in Vina. The property included two homes with and one Without a toilet. LOL This is not unusual here. The house without the toilet was bigger and nicer with a lovely landscape painting adorning the upstairs entrance. The one with the toilet was smaller and really smelled of mold and mildew. Terribly unfortunate. The houses had a lovely yard for a garden and across the little street there are out buildings that serve as barn, pigsty, garage, and storage. below those building was more land for gardening and a stream. It was a lovely group of buildings, and the houses were a lovely Easter egg, Pink and Yellow. But too much mold and only one bathroom just isn't what we are looking for... On goes the search.

The Family Reunion
After the trek up to the graveyard and looking at the house we retired to the dining room where Slavica, Milosh, Baba, and Deda had laid out a feast. Slavica did most of the work I think. There was a lovely platter of pickled fruits and veggies, Gibanica, Fresh bread for the first course. Second there was chicken noodle soup. The third course was rimflesh (boiled chicken, carrots, and potatoes, followed by Roasted chicken and potatoes. I was ready to stop after the the soup. but this time, I was prepared. I knew not to get stuffed to quickly!The last course was a lovely home made wafer dessert and Turkish coffee... The coffee served much later. Coffee and dessert are served separately here.

More to come soon. All comments and questions welcome.


Anonymous said...

Lowly story TJJ.I felt like I was there.I miss all this.Pictures are great too keep posting.Talk to u guys soon.

Jay said...

Hi T.

Well I sort of have the same experience here in Thailand in the village I live . Nobody speaks English except for Wat however just 3 miles away is the tourist town of Pai where most people do speak English so it's not so bad . The other day a neighbor lady came by and wanted to buy some papaya fruit that we have growing in our garden We just had to figure out what each of us was trying to say to each other but smiles go a long way . I don't think I will ever be able to speak Thai fluently as the alphabet and pronunciations are so different from anything I'm used to lol !! But it's o.k . I"m here for the same length of time 5 and half months so you just get into the daily routine of things . Of course the weather is alway nice here which makes a difference also . But you have been here so you know what I'm talking about .
But sounds like you have nice family there and the food looks and sounds wonderful and the Christmas holiday is coming up so i know it will be a wonderful time to be there. Anyway I am enjoying your blog and I do have the Internet at my home which makes it nice to connect to the outside World . Take care love you and keep it coming !!