expat blogger

living in Serbia

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Post Irene post P.S. I stayed

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed but a bit too warm. We took the AC unit out last night so the "raging" wind and rain would and wouldn't get in through it. I think it would have been ok if we had left it in, but hindsight is 20/20.
Delmarva Power truck out working on the lines.

We lost power last night about 9 PM and it was restored around 6 this morning. I have heard there were worse outages. We were lucky. Also there was no flooding. We took our cars to higher ground as a precautionary measure, but our lot got no more flooded than usual when it rains.

When I went to get my car this morning I took a drive down to "Stinky Beach" to check out the view. Ocean City looks not worse the wear from the other side of the bay, and the beach looked no different. A stray flip flop, and a table top had washed up, but it was otherwise quite the same.

I did have fun chatting up the neighbor yesterday, she got out some Mickey Mouse walkie-talkies in case we lost phone service like we did this past week during the earthquake. We talked a bit on them last night just to see if they worked from her house to ours, but there was never a dire need, and thank God because Mickey's voice got a bit annoying for the short bit we were talking when we finished talking each time, Mikey's voice would come in loud and clear to both sides, "Over".

Thankfully we escaped most of the damage, trees seem to be the most dangerous culprits during this storm. falling branches, and trees killed more people than crashing waves. I am sure they are also the cause of most of the power outages that seem to be plaguing many areas.

A little later I will drive into Ocean City to see what Irene was up the there on our little peninsula. Ocean city opened back up to locals at 9 AM and to all at noon today. People will be flocking back to the beach, tourists and locals alike.
It still looks ominous, but the storm has passed.

International students who were bused out to Baltimore will also be returning soon. There were housed in stadiums, community centers, and and university halls. They will be glad to get back as they have been missing the last few days  available for them to make money in the US, and many had to evacuated before they could pick up last weeks paychecks.

We housed one Bosnian Serb here for the past two days and it has been wonderful. Luka is so polite and nice, he has been a pleasure to have here. I am sure it was nice for my husband to, to be able to speak his native tongue at home for a change.

I got a chance to rest my tired barely pregnant self, and I am refreshed to start back to work tomorrow.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Should I stay of should I go???

Huricane Irene is on its way. We may be batting down the hatches and sticking it our here, or not.
Should I stay or should I go, if I stay there could be trouble.
This is the calm before the storm, and a beautiful sunset.
As some of you may know, I live in Ocean City, Maryland when we are not in Serbia. Right now a massive hurricane larger than Texas (893 miles wide) is spiraling up the east coast of the United States and pretty everyone is a buzz about it. All the barrier islands are being manditorily evacuated, and now they are saying that West Ocean City, the mainland part of OC will be evacuated in the AM. I have heard rumors power will be turned off. BUT Delmarva power is just saying that there will likely be power outages due to the storm. What to do?

This morning, I stocked up on candles, got batteries, we have battery powered lights and radio, lots of food, perishable and non. Now we wait to see what happens down south in the Carolina's to make a decision.

Originally this storm was well over a hundred miles per hour, now it is looking less menacing. I think the rain will be the biggest factor for flooding.

In my opinion, the only reason for the extreme evacuations is the many mistakes made with Katrina. Time will tell and in the morning we will make our decision... Should we stay or should we go.

The "we" is my muz, a Serbian student in town to work for the summer, the cat, and 3 month preggo me.

Someone said today, that this is a story for the baby book. Maybe. I guess I will have to start one.
But that is for another blog.

 We are prepared either way, we will pack things up and move out to the north west in PA to stay with family. I just hate leaving when I am so tired and  would love to stay at home and just relax.  Not having  to work for 3 days is priceless and would only be ruined by traveling. Where is the rest in that?

But, at the same time, Going home to see the fam would be wonderful. I keep leaning one way then the other.

For now, I will eat the gibanica and green bean casserole I just made and enjoy the night of with the little Serbia I have going on in my house.
Good night all. And to any in the storms path, Be safe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Hello friends,

 For my non-Serbian friends, promaja is a draft, air flowing from one place to another. 

I have a questions for my Serbian friends concerning promaja....
is it a breaze only from the out doors that flow through the house of is it also the same if you have a fan pulling air from one room to another?

We have been using a fan to bring the AC air from the living room into our bedroom all summer long, and now the night air is more friendly. We have started opening the windows to allow the cool natural air in and save on the electric. I proposed to my Serbian muz that we should also use the fan, to aid in circulation and and started flipping out about promaja... something he said he didn't believe in just a month or so ago. but now that the air cooling is coming from out side again... ( mind you, we have been using this method of cooling in the fall and the spring for years. ) What I want to know, is why does it matter if the air comes from out side or the AC unit? The air is cooled either way.

For my non-serb friends:
A fellow blogger has a list of these typical Serbian wives tails.... find them here in his blog They call it promaja . He is a funny blogger, also married to a Serb.  :)

I love my Serb. and the cultural differences just spice things up! ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stop and smell the Lotus

This is my favorite flower. The Water Lilly or the Lotus Blossom are iconic and magical.  I love that you can find them all over the world.

I first saw them on my trip to Thailand and Cambodia. I was thrilled, they were every where, even on the menu in restaurants as the fruit of the flower is edible! The flower was everywhere too! in shrines, on coasters, water bottles and just about anywhere you could imagine!

In Asia, it is symbolic of wisdom or enlightenment, and Buddha is often pictured sitting on a Lotus blossom and sometimes crowned with one as well.
this Loutus sitting Buddha is care of: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautama_Buddha

I am excited to see them in Serbia when we go back, but as we have always been there in winter.... I have not had the chance as of yet.

These Lotus are in a coy pond behind the city hall building in Ocean City, I happened by it one day and admired the fish.
There are two large ones and a school of smaller ones, watching them is so relaxing. I would love to have a coy pond one day, maybe when we find out house in Serbia, we can build one.... Daydreams!
We have been talking about when we will go back, but sadly it won't be this winter. Maybe the following one. Time will tell, work presses on here and when I have time, I enjoy the the lotus on the coy pond.
Don't forget to stop and savor the beautiful things in life that bring you joy! Travel, See the world! It can make your home that more precious!  and you will see it in a different light!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Franco's Pizza Ocean City, MD

Thanks to a fellow blogger Ciao Christy , I have a new way to look at things I love and want to share them with you.
She has inspired me to write about the little things I cherish, and when you are away from them for months at a time, Cherish is something you do with the strangest things.

This and my first "Sweet Life" post are about food. I am completely enjoying eating the foods that I cannot find in my part of Serbia. Those of you who live in cities have more choices.We do have pizza in Serbia, but it is different. That is not to say I do not like it, I love pizza internationally! and trust me, it is different all over the world.

I do love the food in Serbia, Especially my Mother-in-law's cooking, but now that I am "home" I am relishing the flavors I can only find here.
This week, on our day off we got a 1/2 salad pizza and 1/2 peperoni from Franco's Pizzaria located right on the boardwalk. I am not normally a fan of boardwalk food, but there are exceptions to every rule.
I love this place and the view from the outside seating:

is the beach.
Franco's has a bunch of yummy dishes, and I need to branch out and try some of the other super tempting treats!

It is good to be home, but I know when I get back to Serbia, I will have to do some writing about the foods I have missed there. Burek and Jogurt I am talking about you!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Commercial for my friends awesome blog: Chocolate for Inspiration

I know I am slacking in the blogging department, but this summer is full of work and huge surprises that have taken up my time more than you can imagine. In place of writing a blog, this is an advertisement for my friends blog. Christina is an up and coming YA author. I love reading her blog and I think you may as well.

Her current blog is offering a contest/give away! Check it out by clicking here. Don't forget to check out the youtube link for the Nanta show and go see one if you have the chance. It is amazing!

I believe I will be back to writing soon. And update you on my unexpected summer events.

Ciao for now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

La dolce Vita

As a fellow blogger has recommended, (Ciao Christy) I am writing about the sweet life.
Today my joy has been found in Leftover Chinese food. The curry Chicken from last night was even more flavorful this morning and I am loving being home where I can get food from all over the world!

I do miss my Serbian food, and even more my family and friends! but The joy of having Chinese food for breakfast leftovers is one I cannot have in my little town across the water. I must savor this in my homeland. =) and I am!
Sorry no pictures, I ate it too fast!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kayaking on Ayers Creek

A few weeks ago I took a kayak tour, I am just now getting around to posting the blog I wrote about it.
Better late than never!

Today was  blissfully peaceful, and I continue to be completely at ease through the evening. I believe this is largely due to the paddling around I did today in a kayak. Two friends and I went to celebrate a birthday while having a good time on the water.

Ayers Creek tours did not disappoint. Our Guide, Steven and his wife have a eco-touring business that not only relaxes it's clientele, but educates and provides the kind of mental refreshment that only nature can.

They provide all the needed accessories, life jacket, paddle, kayak, and instruction. The rest is up to you.

I recommend taking a guided tour instead of just renting a kayak. I learned so much about the birds we were seeing and and the plant life as well. The great outdoors is a wonderful classroom. There are over 250 bird species in this area and we saw quite a few of them.
A cormorant that was spooked by us, flapped it's waterlogged wings and ran across the water  to she the water weight till it could take flight. Our kayaks and presence scared it as we approached,

In the distance we saw a great big eagles nest just off the marshes nestled in the pines. Steven said these regal birds usually have one to two young a year. It lightened my heart to be so close to these animals.
We also saw snowy egrets, heron, turns and even vultures. 

We saw and heard a few eagles and birds who wanted to run them off to save their own nests. Having a guide to explain the behaviors we were seeing was really great! A well as to tell us what birds we were hearing on our peaceful paddle down the creek.

I also found it fun to check out a bridge from another angle.  This isn't something you see everyday.

Steven and his lovely wife, Suzy have a special job and opportunity to share with the community. Taking a kayak with them is a wonderful vacation idea for anyone (local or not). Getting back to nature and learning about the wildlife is a bonus.

If you are interested in checking out their site or taking a tour click here.
All the pictures posted are from a previous kayak trip near Assateague  Island. Regretfully, I forgot my camera on that day, and wanted to give you more of a visual. Please get out and take advantage the rivers, lakes and streams around you! it is good for you!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer time :)

The rafts at Seacrets Jamaica U.S.A. are the right place to go to feel like you are on vacation, even if you are just enjoying a day off with visiting friends.
A friend of mine came to visit and we made a trip their straight away to enjoy some frozen drinks while catching up on each other's lives.  And my friend has some really good stories.
We were both cracking up over our adventures, totally thrilled to have some time together, this doesn't happen often enough.

Over dinner that night I told her the "Babino Mali Pace" story story. She just laughed and our Serbian waiter heard us, and said his Baba called him that too. "All the Baba's do" he said.

After our dinner we walked out on the beach and took pictures of the peach colored moon.
I had to balance the camera on my head to get the shot. The waves were quite big and crashing at our feet as we tried to get the night pics of the unusual moon.

The next day we layed on the beach, walked the boardwalk, and played tourist. I get to do it again this week with another friend who is visiting.
Happy first day of Summer!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Jones'

In the United States today is Father's Day. Happy Father's day to My Wonderful Father!
As luck would have it, it is also my Mother's birthday. Happy Birthday Mom!

I love you both and hope you enjoy spending the day together.
Love, me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Baby Racoons and sunset pics

After a leisurely coffee break with a single cinnamon pop tart enjoying the beginnings of a new book, "The Secret Scripture", I went out to begin the laundry.
The neighbor cat, Isabella and I visited, then I chatted with my neighbor Millie. This is the start of a beautiful day off!
Out of the corner of my eye I caught some movement in the bushes. THREE baby racoons were taking a walk as we chatted. I ran up to the third floor to get the good camera, but the battery had died. I only found this out after descending the steps and had to ascend them again to get the Iphone, my back up camera.
These are the pics I snapped.

 By the time I got back downstairs they were retreating.
I hurried over to get some closer shots.

The were making little clicking noises so I backed off a bit to watch them.
I believe these are the same little siblings that were under our home last week. The parents probably abandoned them, and now they are scavenging for food. The lady next door feeds all the stray cats and probably these little ring-tailed bandits too!
One of the little rascals got caught in a vine, and as he was passed up by the others,
he freed himself without much fuss.
Soon they were on their way again.
The runt tailing behind.
And I got to get one cute shot in before it was over.
The littlest one seemed to be curious about me as well, and came around the little bush as I was peeking from the other side.
He didn't seem to care the others were well on the way to the neighbors,
he only wanted a quick peek.
I wish them all luck.

Here is one more picture for you to enjoy. I took it from work last night as the sun was about to set and casting the most glorious glow on the harbor.
 Have a great day y'all!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Credit Cards in Europe

The use of credit cards in Europe is different than that in America.

While we are in Serbia, we don't use them. We change money to use it while we are there. But, if we did, many places don't even accept credit cards. When I go to the pijatz or the farmers market, they don't accept anything but cash. Grocery stores accept them, but I am not sure if our credit cards would work after reading the article posted here.

In 2007, while on a trip to the UK I used my visa everywhere and I am wondering if things have changed so much that they would not work like they used to. ?

In Thailand in 2003, I simply went to the bank, gave them my Credit card and had they charged money to it and I didn't have to change money, simple and easy!

Any info you have to share on this subject. I would love to hear them. My experiences and are limited and dated. I am curious how time is changing the process. Please reply. :))

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

If you are a Serb or a citizen of Montenegro, Bosnia, etc.

I have been emailed because of my blog a few times, this week by Ariel Zellman. Ariel is a student of Northwestern  University in Chicago. I was emailed and asked to post an Anketa regarding Serbian political speeches. If you are interested please click on the link below. It is all in Serbian, and my Srpski is not so good. I cannot understand much of what is said, and apologize for anything that may be offensive.

I am only posting this, as I know how difficult research in University can be, and this is a tough subject to research.

This is a copy of the bulk of the letter he sent to me, it may answer questions you may have about the survey.

My name is Ariel Zellman and I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University in Chicago. Much of my research centers around the politics of identity and territory in the Balkans, particularly Serbia. I post much of my research on the Balkans on my personal research blog at http://arielzellman.wordpress.com.

At present, I am running an online research survey (in Serbian) which examines the impact of different kinds of political speech on people's policy preferences. The survey is targeted at Serbs particularly in Serbia but can also include those in Montenegro, Bosnia, etc. You can find it at http://arielzellman.wordpress.com/anketa.

Unfortunately I have had a bit of a difficult time disseminating the survey beyond my immediate friends and colleagues. I realize that yours is an English-content site, but would it be possible (or efficacious) for you to publicize my survey in some form? Or perhaps to tell your Serbian friends and colleagues about it? The work is purely academic, has no corresponding financial or political agenda, and participants can choose to enter a drawing for a free iPod Touch.

Any and all assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Ariel Zellman
You can click on the links about or:
To see his blog please click here

If you wish to go the the Anketa click here

To my Serbian friends and family, thanks for your help and any comment you may have on the anketa. I am interested in what you think.
And best of luck to Ariel on your PHD.

Random Musing with Ecclectic Pics

This morning my day began before Six AM. On my way to work, as I crossed the route 50, I spotted the most beautiful, huge red sun hovering over the city. I parked when I got into town to get a picture of the wonder over the ocean. The red sun was gone and what looked like a small white moon was in it's place.

 Slain swordfish
Last night at work, I happened to see the remains of one of the fasted fish in the ocean, the Sword fish.The Sail fish is the fastest. But we don't ever have that on the menu.
Our manager was just finishing and all that was left was the spine, tail, and dorsal fin.
Fresh off the boat, and onto your plate. Bet that fish wished it was a bit faster!

Creature of the "New World"
Our home has had some interesting visitors lately. Our neighbor caught the baby of a raccoon family that managed to make it's way under the house. Not sure if the rest of the family got caught or they escaped during the night. The little one is on it's way to a raccoon rescue home.

This bitty little thing is the size of a kitten, so small that the cat carrier looks like a cathedral ceiling room.

Drumming up some Business
Today one of my co-workers had to don the Cheeseburger outfit. He was a little less than thrilled, it must have been so hot on this super hot and humid day. He still managed to point out a "Bird".

Today is a brand new day, the sun is shining and our day off! Off to the vet to get Kiger spayed, and the rest of the day  is ours.
Have a great one!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Peddling around OC

I saw a pod of dolphin swimming close to the shore at 15th St. yesterday. I was so excited I forgot to pull out my phone to get a shot til they were almost to far away.
This is the only blurry shot I snapped that captured a dorsal fin.
I am really enjoying my biking. Summer has come and the weather has been brilliant! Peddling into OC is a 10 minute ride that is never dull. I have to cross the Rt. 50 bridge, and I always enjoy the view.
Mostly though, I bike around west OC. I love all the nature and back roads.

Baby geese are everywhere.
Beautiful Magnolias are in Bloom
The fragrance is intoxicating, paradise couldn't smell any better that this.
And wondering around all the cool new neighborhoods that rest beside the bay and other bits of water are so peaceful. Along the tree lined lanes there is always some little critter scurrying around in the brush and leaves on the ground. I can never seem to see them, but I hear them running away from the sound of my bicycle.
Turtles heads poke through the water and dive below the surface as I try to get a better peek.
My favorite sites are the ones that look onto Assateague or Ocean City. Today the air was clear, the sky was blue, and the water was the color that make postcards jealous.
This picture doesn't do it justice.

Enjoy your summer, take advantage of where you live and find the interesting things around you. If you just look you will find oddities and beauty where ever you are! For instance:

Today, on my ride, I saw a Nun in her full habit getting two little boys off to the bus stop, not something I have ever seen before. If you just get out and look you will find amazing things.
Have a great day!