Friday, 8 July 2011

Penultimate leg of homeward journey
Getting home is feeling like a marathon - not that I know what one feels like. I think it's due to lack of sleep. I tried to doze during my 6 hour wait. I sat on my case which was on a trolley. Thankfully the brakes worked. I half expected me to be somewhere different when I woke up. I am sooo glad I packed my blanket. After helping Naomi get the boys and things to the car it started to hail quite heavy. I got soaked.

I am amazed and happy at how great the twins coped with the journey. They woke up as soon as we got to the airport. They were so tired. With so many new things to see there was no way they'd settle. Even then they were really good. When we took off they fell asleep. Naomi and I stretched out with one each to relax a bit. I dozed again but it's not the same as sleeping in my bed.

I was a little sad leaving Serbia. It always finds a place in my heart. When I met up with Vesna on Wednesday she asked what she could do to get me over more regularly! Bless her. It has more to do with me keeping tight control on finances and annual leave.

It has inspired me again to get back learning the language. I'm hoping the more I learn and try the more sense cases will make - at least have a bit more knowledge which one's it could be instead of randomly picking. Back to basics again, me thinks. It would be great to have a conversation instead of understanding what they've asked but cannot reply. That'd be a good place to get to.

Just under an hour before the flight leaves to Dublin. I just want to get home now. I'm totally exhausted.

"Show me the way to go home, I'm tired and want to go to bed"
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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Amazing animals
 What an amazing last day of hols. We took the boys for a walk as usual before they went to bed by the river. I heard a strange noise and asked if there were ducks. No, they are frogs. I have never heard frogs sound like that before.

We are all packed - Naomi, the boys and I. I sat on the terrace for a while and was distracted by lights coming on and off. I've seen fire flies. Wow, so amazing watching them. Just as I was about to come in a bat was feeding. It came so close.

I am tempted to stay outside and watch but I'm shattered and we're leaving in a couple of hours so thought better try to get some sleep in case the boys need entertaining on the plane.

Again I'm feeling sad to leave Serbia. I feel so loved here. I cannot explain why or how. I always have each time I've been here. But am so looking forward to get home to Belfast. It's gonna be a long day. I think I'll be finding a quiet place to sit down at Luton to sleep. I have around 8 to wait. But I had to leave some time in case there's a delay leaving Beograd.

So night night. I'll be back in UK by 7.30 tomorrow morning.
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Soko Banja za Soko Grad

It was worth the (rock)climb
I went for a walk today to Soko Grad. I set off early before it got too hot. It's such a lovely day. I think it could be called a hike and climb. I ignored my fear and climbed up to the fort. Going up is not bad, it's the coming down unaided I don't like. Especially when I fell, I managed to fall backwards but the rock was sloping and I ended up falling sideways into another rock. I was winded and not sure how I got down the rest. Definitely not a walk to do if it's wet as the rocks are slippery enough dry.

I'm glad I went up for the walk. I sat and looked at the mountains opposite. They looked covered in shrubs - actually trees. It reminded me how small I am and that my problems are insignificant. Perhaps another way to explain it would be - how big the world is, huge the universe yet God still chose me, found me, called to me and is with me.

I now realise how important it is for me to get out and about either walking or cycling. It helps put things back into perspective. I know I haven't had to deal with work or "normal" life so I'm more relaxed anyway but I know being outside makes me feel soooo much better.

Anyone want to join me?...
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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Good film line becomes reality
Have you watched "My big fat greek wedding"? There's a line something like this "He doesn't eat meat?...that's ok, we'll cook him lamb". It's such a funny line.

I've now been here 5 days - well, today's 6. I've been explaining I don't eat meat since I've arrived. I'm also having to watch my intolerances so added them to the list. Serbian's do not understand that I don't want to pick out the meat. I've been offered cooked vegetables in a rabbit stew. They eventually said the veg taste like rabbit but I won't be eating the meat. Then last night they made me a pizza with cheese and tomatoes - 2 intolerances I cannot eat. We went to the health food shop the other day which I forgot about so started creating. I was offered polenta cake which sounded lovely. My dinner was ready so dished up, up came the polenta. Milos said I'd have to scoop out some of the bits. I thought they were tomato but turned out to be ham. Not again!

I'm not sure why they don't listen. There are lots of Serbians I know who will listen to you and even if it's a completely different view respect that view. It's so hard - I know it's even harder if this is what you have to live with (honey, you're amazing). It's wearing me down and it's not even a week.

Yet at the same time these guys cannot do enough for you. May not be what you want but they do it anyway. It would be quite comical if it wasn't so often.

Naomi, the twins and I popped into the church in Nis yesterday. They were having a mum & toddler group. It was great to see so many attending. They have asked us to pray for this group. They want to do this twice a month from September. The church is being transformed. Downstairs looks fantastic. The room layouts the same but I never thought it could look this good. They are definitely getting themselves on the map!

Today I'm off to see Vesna in Nis after her exam. I couldn't come all this way, be 30 mins from her home town without seeing her. It'll be great. Better go get ready!
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Saturday, 2 July 2011

Non-roaming even though I have

I've tried 3 times to get my mobile connected to a Serbian network and 2 of those have been via international calls to UK. I give up. I'm told something different each time. Thankfully the restaurant has wi-fi so am connecting via that. Ok no phone calls or texts, but next best thing. I'll certainly be looking for new network when get home as it cannot be anything to do with the Serbian network as I cannot get roaming 2 hours from home and what's the point of that. Yes, I'm a bit upset about it! Dread to think how much the calls will cost. Taken at least 40 minutes to sort out so far.
I had so much peace on Friday travelling down the country with no phone. I couldn't let Naomi and Milos know which bus I was getting so they'd know when to collect me. I tried a public phone bo only to find they are now phone cards. I didn't have time at the bus station to get one so just got on the bus.
The bus arrived early at Soko Banja. I was unsure if I should wait or make my own way. I was feeling adventurous so decided to see if I could find the way (I wasn't sure they'd come to collect me). So with my case in tow off I went to the first crossroad. Hmm, by process of elimination there was sort of one possibility. I kept an eye out on the way to the bus station and didn't think it was that way.
I toyed with the idea of going into the first restaurant and seeing if I could use their phone but I didn't. I kept walking - yay, I found the park in the centar. Ok, I knew which way to walk and I had to turn right at some point. I'd only been to their apartment once before so my memory was a little faded and I was so tired by now. I turned right and walked a little. I wasn't too sure until I saw a shop and was encouraged as I remembered a shop near the apartments. I thought I saw the apartments in the distance and continued walking only for them to disappear. By this time I was wondering if I'd been hallucinating because of lack of sleep. I decided to continue to see if there was a sharp bend around the corner. If not I'd go to the shop and ask for help. If only I'd had their address or at least written down Milos' surname - I wouldn't be able to say it but at least someone could read it!
As I found the bend I looked to see the house, a sign for the restaurant - of course, it's Kaskade and the apartments. I looked up to see Naomi on her balcony. I left my suitcase on the steps up to the door as Milos was on way down to collect the suitcase. The three flights seemed to take forever - only because I was tired.
Milos had gone to the bus station and spoke to either the bus driver or a ta xi driver to be told there was an English lady on the bus and she spoke very good Serbian. I hardly spoke any. Perhaps that's the secret, be good at what I can say and say no more!
Relaxing day today. For me it's warm but locals are wrapped up. It's great being out and feeling warm again. We took the boys out a couple of times today. They both had bad night last night and we were coping with that.
I'm being reminded again what having children is about. It's so challenging. Lovely and rewarding, at the same time. Also seeing the way different cultures deal with bringing up baby. I think my thoughts are more about the culture and their beliefs as opposed to specifically thinking about parenting. It must be because I'm out of my own culture and have a bit more time to see things.
It's also got me thinking about national identity and how much conflict can be caused in the name of it. We have to have somewhere we belong and feel connected to. Sometimes that can be threatened by politics, religion, leaders, I suppose anything that can challenge us. It's how we decide to react that's important. Do we lash out in fear, goad others into our "cause" or work it out another way? Do people helping us support us or are they along for the ride, on the bandwagon or because it's an inherited view?
I feel that working out which of my beliefs are my own for a reason and which are inherited is important. I am not disrespecting previous generations if I don't agree with their view. To me it feels more respectful after having looked into why they feel that way. It can bring a deeper relationship.
We are all individuals who have different life experiences even within close families. I can view the same situation in a different way to the person next to me therefore can have a different view.
I know it's important for me to know in my head and heart who I am. Lately I've been looking at untrue beliefs - why I hold them and why I've developed them. It's been a very interesting journey so far. There have been a few where the root of the problem has been revealed to me by the Holy Spirit. It's amazing how clear His revelation is and the gentle way He is doing this. Oh yes, it's painful but knowing I'm being set free from potentially life-threatening beliefs is great. It's a great example of how much better Jesus knows us than we know ourselves.
When was the last you examined your beliefs?

Friday, 1 July 2011

1st flight done
Woo hoo, arrived @ Luton Airport. There are lots of people milling around. I've found a bench and table to stretch out on. I may get some sleep, be good if I can as I'm shattered.

I phoned Virgin Mobile when I arrived here as I couldn't get signal @ Dublin Airport even though I checked earlier in the week. Can u believe this - if I have problems in Serbia I have to phone again as they cannot do anything when phone is in UK. Please pray it does work or I'll have to spend time ringing when I should be on way to bus station. Naomi won't know what bus I'm on. I've learnt from yesterday and written down some phone numbers in case I cannot access later on. It'll be fine. I'll just have to find public phone box and ring when get off the bus. It all adds to the adventure!

I'm going to try and get some sleep for a while. My head is buzzing with lots of thoughts but they're too deep to start writing now.

Nite nite for now.

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