expat blogger

living in Serbia

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!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Old wives tales and Baby Traditions and beliefs in Serbia

While living in Serbia, I have found that many ideas are reminders of the past, the region you live in, and the fact that "old wives tales" are strongly followed world-wide.

In the US we " knock on wood" to ward off a bad thing from happening when mentioned it, or throw a pinch of salt over our left shoulder if a bit is spilled. Here are some of the traditions followed by some Serbians to keep their babies safe from the "evil eye" or the like.

All of these were told to me, by my native Serbian friends, feel free to correct anything that my be different in your region. I love to hear varriations!

A red string is tied around the babies wrist to ward off sickness as well as at least one item of inside out clothing, usually underwear. 

Babies are kept inside for a little while because too many people looking cause them to get sick. This idea is not only for babies, but infants seem to be the most vulnerable.

I have been the victim of this kind of thought as well. I got sick after a wedding and my mother in law and her friend wanted to make sure I wasn't under the influence of the evil eye. They thought too many people were looking at me because I was an American. They were inclined to put a hot cole in a cup of water and touch  my forehead with the water. My husband put a stop to this when I started freaking out. We had a good time calling her a "witch doctor" for a few weeks after that. 

Things believed to help you have healthier babies:
Sitting on the ground, or walking barefoot could ruin your eggs so these things should be avoided. I am guilty of both of these things, I love to walk barefoot, inside and out. and my mother in law has a fit! She loves me and want the best for us, and I love her for it. It is a nuisance sometimes though. I don't want to wear shoes or papuche (slippers) all the time.

It is also believed that babies should not be sat up before they are 6 months old. They think it can ruin the hips, but here it is encouraged. Babies all over Yugoslavia are subject to wearing hip braces for a while to keep there hips from developing problems. When I tell my Serbian friends that we always sit our babies up, from birth, many of my friends were shocked.

The funniest thing I have heard was after a Slava. I was sitting in the kitchen with my two best Serbian girlfriends. We were comparing this kinds of stories. All of of burst into uncontrollable laughter when one of them told  us how a distant Baba from her husband's side of the family had asked here what sexual position they had used to produce their new baby boy. I think I have heard that idea here in the US a long time ago. I do not believe this is a Uniquely Serbian idea, just another old wives tale. 

I was startled by many of the beliefs, but enjoy learning about them. it is really fascinating. Not long ago I watched a movie call "Babies". Watch the Trailer here. This is more of a documentary movie that follows 4 babies for one year world wide.  The babies are from Japan, Mongolia, San Francisco, USA, and Africa. It was interesting to see what is acceptable world wide and refreshing to see how resilient babies are. Ironically, the scariest thing I saw was in San Francisco.

I would love to hear from you on this subject. It is fascinating to me! Well pretty much all customs and beliefs world wide are. It is the Social Scientist in me. :)