expat blogger

living in Serbia

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bathtub, Bands (wedding), and Long-tailed Sheep

 Good morning America, Serbia, and the rest of the world. 

~More Random info
Some bath tubs, or Kada, are painted here. I am not sure if this is normal, but ours is. It started peeling, not that I care. But it is just an interesting fact. Paint peels on some old bathtubs.

I finally found a bathtub stopper. It's a big deal. Now I can shave my legs in the tub and just sit and relax a bit. Yesterday was an epic day. I think after getting out of the bathtub I shook some of the paralyzation that takes over me on arrival here. Wahoo! I am breaking out.

This paralysis is real. I remember reading about it in my cross-culture studies class, but never understood it till I came here. There is such a huge difference mentally taking a trip for a few weeks or a month than living somewhere. I know I will only be here for 5 1/2 months, but I still get it. And thinking of living here permanently, makes it more real than I would like it to be sometimes.

Let me explain what I mean by paralysis, it is a mental handicap. Just getting out of bed sometimes is a huge task, and I am always tired, even though I am sleeping 12 hours a night. Trying to get the energy to go to see friends and family I haven't spent time with yet has been more than I can handle. And exercise has been too much to think about.

Strangely enough, I was discussing this with a Serbian I met at the piatz. He works in the US half the year and comes back here in the winter to his family. I thought it would be the same for him when he went to the states, but he said it is when he comes back to Serbia, the lack of opportunities and difficulties to start business or make money from a business does the same to him. 

 I am shaking off the quick sand and moving on. Yesterday was raining, but I still wanted to run a bit so I ran up and down the stairs in my 5 story condo. It was fun listening to my music and kinda dancing along the way. I hope no one was looking through their peepholes at what a dork I am.

Today I have a full day planned to further shatter the mental paralysis that had been making me a prisoner of my condo. I am going to the post office, the cleaners, the hospital to see mama, and the piatz early this morning. Plus I will fit in a visit to a few friends. I think it will be a good day. Later I will skype with a friend up north in NS.

I woke up at the crack of 6, so I am definitely cracking the sleep thing. Out of bed and writing before 7AM or coffee. Oh, that is what I need to get cracking on most. Coffee. Some things never change, here or in the states... Love my coffee. 

~Two Grannies were sitting in the goal area of a soccer field tending their sheep. It's a bummer I didn't get a decent picture of it. :((( It was classic! The above pic is the best one I got. The ladies declined a photo shoot, so I had to sneak some shots.

I am so in love with the shepherds here, usually they are the Babas and Dedas, (grandmas and grandpas) who live in the villages. Youngsters have made a mass exodus out of the villages I am sad to say. So they are only the animals and mainly the older folks. 

I think Monday was our last unseasonably warm day. Milan and I took advantage of it with a road trip to a village not to far away. He wanted to show me  an old traditional weekend house his family had there. This house hasn't been in use for some time and a trees limb has created a leak in the roof that has caused massive damage to the home, but it was still a lovely place to visit.

Living in one of these little villages with all this beauty is such a romantic idea, I though a lot about it in the states, but I think the romance wears off a bit when you live here and see how REAL it is.

~I have started wearing my wedding band on my right hand. Orthodox people wear their rings on this hand. Catholics, Protestants and many other various peoples wear their rings on the left hand. I also have stopped wearing any rings with diamonds with it. Most people here only wear a wedding band, so I decided to do the same. I look less conspicuous or at least less flashy this way. 

~Sheep tails are unusually long here. Milan said the ones we saw are a breed only found in eastern Serbia. After doing research on Sheep tails, there are many more breeds and different kinds of tails than you would even imagine. Most sheep have their tails docked when they are young. That is why is was so shocking for me to see these long tails. Our Sheep just have little nubs to wag. The well endowed sheep tails here could put most any other sheep to shame, especially if they have been docked!
They really do wag their tails behind them, although, I can't imagine these sheep getting lost. They followed their shepherd so closely there was no chance of that. I am sure there is a Biblical lesson in that.

This shepherd was so nice he invited us to his house for coffee, and when we declined he told us where he lived so the next time we came we could stop in for a visit.

On our way back to the car, we past 3 men making Rakjia. That national liquor I've written about in previous Chronicles. One of the men asked me to take a picture of them and them invited us in for a spell. I did take a few pics, but declined the latter offer. The sun was getting low and we had one more stop to make. Bigar falls!

Bigar area has been improved. There are picnic tables, a nice parking area, and debris has been cleared beyond the falls revealing another cave and a little spring within. 


Jay said...

Hi T .

I thought I left a comment but don't know what happened . Let me know if you got it otherwise I will post again :( Hope all is well , love your blog keep it coming , from another expat in Thailand !!
Love , jay

Jen Rosenberry said...

Hey T! Finally got of my lazy butt and read the Chronicles .... wow! What an amazing experience! And I am so glad you are sharing it all with us. I always learn so much.

Len and I have been talking about a lot of things you touched upon here .... the Westerners losing all concept of who they are and where they came from, the loss of our agrarian resources, the idea that urban / western is better, etc. There seems to be a totally different mentality, and I imagine it is refreshing at times. (And frustrating at others!)

Have fun, learn a lot, and be safe, my friend!


Abby said...

OH T, getting caught up here this morning. I was wondering how the culture shock (or paralysis) was this time around. Glad you are shaking it fairly early, and are able to get out and enjoy the life that is around you. People just seem so friendly there! Loved the picture of the soccer field with the grandma's talking (what's the Serbian name again?).
I had been wondering about your wedding band, as that is something I remember about Ukraine, the married women all had their rings on the right hand, and they were never flashy. So neat that you are taking on that Orthodox tradition there. Will you switch back to the "western" or un-orthodox way when you are back in the states? (left hand, sparkly, etc.)?
Love you T and tell Milan HI from me :) Abs