Saturday, December 20, 2008

Heading Home!

So I am going to be HOME in 2 days. I am counting down the hours. Its crazy to think that I have been away for 8 months. The time has flown by. It seems such a short time ago that I was sitting in the San Fran airport balling my eyes out as I waited to board the plane that would take my miles and miles away from home to a country that mind you when I first heard about it, I had to search for it on the map. I remember so vividly my feelings of fear and anxiousness but also of excitement and eagerness. Then again, when I look back on all the things that I (meaning me and Flor and Maelys and the whole school)have accomplished since I arrived here, its like I have been here for ages. The past months have been so challenging and sometimes even daunting. But I have (I know I say this in like every other blog)learned and grown so much and every new difficulty that I face teaches me something of extreme value.
Anyways, the point of the blog is just to say how excited I am that I am heading home for the Holidays. I have been missing my family and friends so much and I cant wait to see them all again and spend a few glorious weeks relaxing with the people I love.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New boots!

It started snowing about two weeks ago. I woke up Saturday morning to find everything completely white. It was so beautiful and I was thrilled. These happy sentiments only lasted seconds. As soon as I stepped outside I found out that my old boots would just not do, I was slipping all over the frozen ground and my feet were soaked after a short walk through the park. Appearently the traction and the water proofing had worn out after 2 winters in Rexburg. It was obvious that my need was immediate which I was not thrilled about becasue things here in Sarajevo are so expensive, especially clothes and shoes. I was really hoping to hold out until I was back home to buy anything.
Reluctantly I began my mini adventure to find a pair of boots, but not just any boots, I wanted them to be inexpensive, comfortable, warm, waterproof and of course CUTE! I knew this would be a challenge. The first problem I encountered was size. I guess people here have small feet because I couldnt find anything above a size 8. When I finally did, they were all too narrow for my wide feet and were squeezing my toes together. After a while I finally found a pair that met all my requirement...almost. When I checked the price I wanted to cry. 250 km! That's 162 dollars, which okay, maybe that doesnt seem so bad, but I have never in my life spent that much on a pair of shoes. My usual shoe stores are Payless and Target. My old boots were like $40. I didnt want to do it, but it was my only was either fork over the money or break my leg.

I am really happy about my boots now. They are warm and comfy and I feel much more confident walking through the snow, I havne't slipped at all. The best part is that they are pretty cool (I think) and I believe my brothers will be quite proud of me when they see them. If you know them at all, it will be obvious why.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An Overdue Update!

So I am really lame at blogging. I know I say this like every time, but it has been FOREVER since my last post. I think that sometimes I just don't have anything interesting to say and then other times the idea of taking the time to write about whats going on is too overwhelming. I don't know. I never was successful at keeping a journal and this is basically the same thing.
Since school started I have been so busy. Teaching is a job that requires more time than there is one day. Even after the kids have gone home I am still working...writing lesson plans, creating new activities, attending meetings and so much more. But there are those beautiful moments throughout the day like when a child becomes excited about something they have learned or when they get upset when its time time to go home because they really love to be at school...those moments make it all worth it. Teaching although at times a frustrating and exhausting challenge is a very rewarding job and I do love it.
I have met a LDS family! They are from the states too! It has been such a huge blessing to be able to spend time with them on Sundays. I hang out with them during the week sometimes too and its just such a warm and comforting feeling being in their home.
One cool thing that I was able to do last month was attend a Montessori conference in Belgrade Serbia. The conference was given by a well know Montessorian who is the President of a Montessori association in London and has also written many articles and even a few books about Montessori. I learned a ton and it was really great to visit Belgrade. We (Flor and I) didn't have a lot of spare time to site see or anything but we walked around the city center a bit and it was beautiful. I was stoked because I was able to eat at McDonald's which has never tasted so good in my life even though my 4 piece chicken nugget was like 10 dollars. I am so lame because I didn't take any picture besides this one of Lego Harry Potter. I know, I am a huge dork!
Flor is visiting home now, so for the past two weeks I have been here on my own. I was really nervous for her to go, but things have been going fine at school and I am keeping myself occupied with work and movies so I am not too lonely. It has made me a little homesick though and I can't wait til its my turn to be with my family and friends. Only 6 more weeks!!! I can't believe I have been away for so long, the time has gone by so fast.

Monday, September 1, 2008


On Saturday Flor, the other teachers and I attended a basic first aid course at the Red Cross. I am positive that it jinxed me, and maybe Flor too. On Sunday I rolled my ankle as we were walking through the park. This morning I burned myself with the hair straitener and then this afternoon Flor fell down the stairs in the school. Learning about all the things you can do in case of injury has caused a lot of pain. Luckily we didn't hurt ourselves really bad and we didnt even have to use our first aid knowledge. I just iced my ankle with a bag of frozen corn.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Public Toilet!

Once again it has been a month since my last post. The good news is that everything is going great for me and for the school and we are extremely busy! The bad news is that since I never have the time or energy to keep up with my blog, probably nobody even checks anymore to see if I have updated it. Anyways, I am updating it now and hopefully their are still a few faithful friends who have been patiently waiting for this post. As I said I am doing really well. Since the holidays we (ALL the Blooming Child staff) have been working diligently preparing the school. You cant imagine how much work goes into a project like this...creating a school from scratch. Of course there are all the major things that everyone always considers, but then there are the minor details. There are a million minor details!!! I have never in my life worked so hard and put so much effort into something. It really feels wonderful, especially when I look around the school and think back to beginning, we have accomplished so much in a very short time.

Enough about work though, I have a funny story to tell. So I went to Scandaria with Emira so that I could get my nails done (by the way they turned out horrible and fell off promptly). Anyways, I needed to use the bathroom so Emira lead the way. Mind you, this was my first experience using a public toilet since arriving in Bosnia. Before we got into the restroom we had to stop at this little window where a woman gave us toilet paper. I was already thinking this was pretty weird. Why didn't they just have the toilet paper in the stall? So we continued on into the bathroom and I opened the door to the stall. The first words out of my mouth were "I don't get it!" I have added a picture of the toilet. Maybe some of you can understand my confusion. I stood there thinking. I was truly trying to imagine how I would proceed without any "mistakes." I kept asking "But, how do you...?" Obviously I had never encountered a toilet like this before. Emira and I both laughed for several minutes, or rather Emira was laughing at me for being so naive. Apparently these kinds of toilets are super common, but I didn't have a clue. Don't worry, I was successful, but now I always make sure I go before I leave my apartment because afterwards they make you pay for the toilet paper. What's that all about?

Friday, July 18, 2008


I know it has been a month since my last post, but really, truly, honestly nothing very blog worthy has occurred since then except for me turning 24. The last 3-4 weeks have been filled with lots of long days training the teachers as well as preparing some of the materials for the school. We have also been meeting with prospective parents and showing them around the school and answering all their questions about Montessori and such. It has been really interesting to partake in these discussions with parents. I have come to find out what things parents are the most concerned about when deciding on a school for their children. I have been surprised! Last Friday was our last day of training and now we are on holiday for two weeks. Everyone that I know in Sarajevo has left the country for various destinations so I have been alone here. I was a bit nervous about that at first but I am totally loving it now. I have been occupying my time with good movies and good books and a bit of pampering here and there. Today I am going for a massage and on Saturday a pedicure. I am indulging now because I am pretty sure that once September comes I will be so busy and so wrecked that I will not have the time nor energy to do so. I really have to start working again soon. I am completely logged off right now so I am going to ease my way back into work before I have to be on full blast once more. Today I am going to work on the list of books we want to order for our little library. One thing I just remembered that is cool news is that we decided on a name for the school...Blooming Child. I am in the process of creating a blog for the school, so when its ready you can read that one as well.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

James Blunt!

I was VIP at the James Blunt concert this weekend. Well, of course I wasnt really important but I knew some people that were. I love that I have connections here. Anyways the concert was awesome! James Blunt was fantastic live. He had lots of energy and was really fun to watch. Its near impossible to take a decent picture at a concert since its so dark, but I thought this one turned out cool even though you can't tell who the band is. The second picture is of Azra, Emira and me right after the concert. They are both way sweet and fun girls that will be teaching with me at the school. I really dont have much to add, things here are the same as last work and more work.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Working Overtime!

This week has been so busy! Florencia and I have been working from sun up til sun down...seriously 14 hour days easily. But the great news is, we are enjoying it. We spend the mornings preparing for the teacher training course, the afternoon training and the evenings working on other projects in preperation for the school opening. The first day of training was difficult because of the language barrier. Some of the teachers struggle to understand English, but mostly they aren't confident in speaking it. We pushed them really hard all week and it was amazing to see the improvement by Friday. In just five days they needed practically no translations. All of the teachers seem very dedicated and are putting in lots of effort. They appear to be excited about Montessori and about learning more of her philiosophy and method. I don't mind that I have been working so much because I am so happy to be teaching and learning at the same time. There is so much that I don't know and this week has been completely fascinating to me as I have learned a lot about pre-natal and the first three years of life. I have been teaching a workshop on communication with children and as I have prepared for it, I have learned so much about language and its affects on our emotions. Be very careful what you say! The more I learn about Montessori the more I love it. Everyday this past week was like a confirmation to me that the path I am on right now is the right one. I am so eager for next week to start...I love sharing my knowledge with others! It is rewarding to see the eyes of these teachers light up as they begin to understand and appreciate the Montessori way.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Misleading Information!

I was completely led astray by the world wide web, and by Hollywood! Don't ask me why I am at all surprised.
First, when I was researching Bosnia online I read that the warmest it get here is like around 80 degrees which I was so looking forward too. Well, its a lie! It is way hot here! It can get passed 100 degrees...and not to sound high maintence but I am dying because there is no air conditioning here. This summer is predicted to be the hotest summer in like 70 years or something Crazy. I am going to be miserable.
Second, in the movies when you are a foreigner in a country and something goes wrong all you have to do is run up to the embassy and yell "I'm an American!" and the gates open right up and all your problems are solved. Well, this is ceratinly not the case. I went to the American Embassy today because my passport and liscense were stolen (long story that's not important). Well since I didnt have identification of anykind and couldn't prove I was American they didnt even want to let me in. Thankfully Maelys' husband is a celebrity here and she was able to "gaurentee" me, whatever that means. Finally after they looked through my bag, took away my cell phone and scanned me with a metal detector, I was able to get in. Everything worked out fine in the end and I should have a new passport in 3-5 days. But, the point is, dont believe everything you read on the internet or see in the movies...duh!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Beautiful Bosnia!

This week I have had an opportunity to see more of Bosnia's countryside. On Monday Florencia, our friend Goran and I went to this huge park/picnic area up in the hills. The pictures really do it no justice at all, it was really incredible. We walked along little paths and over wooden bridges. I learned that Bosnia is full of natural springs. This particular park had several water miniature waterfalls. At one point I looked over and saw a couple sitting together on a bench and just behind them on the water where two swans and their was so picturesque.
Today I went to the mountains with Florencia, Goran, Maelys and the four children. The drive was gorgeous! It reminded me so much of being in Manton on my Grandparent's land. We were completely surrounded by green. I love it when there are those random trees whose leaves are much lighter than the rest...its like they glow because the contrast from the pine trees is so dramatic. Anyways it was so nice to be in nature and have cool fresh air. It was very peaceful. We drove as high as possible and then got out of the car and walked a bit. The view from so far up was breath taking. This week I have been in total awe at the beauty and magnificence of the earth.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My new roommate!

Florencia arrived from Argentina on Thursday night. I went to the airport with Maelys to pick her up. She is so cute and I love her English because she has a British accent. She lived in Ireland and London for many years while studying Montessori pedagogy and working in a few schools. We get along great! Yesterday we walked around the city and explored for several hours. Every time I go out I fall more in love with this city. I love that no matter where I am, I am completely surrounded by mountains. Its brilliant as Florencia would say. I have been slacking a bit on taking pictures, but I took two yesterday. One is of the old Ottoman part of Sarajevo with all the little shops with gorgeous hand crafted things and the other is of one of the many Muslim Mosques here in Sarajevo. In Islam you are obliged to pray 5 times per day. During the prayer hour a man goes to the very top on the steeple and sings...he is calling the people to come pray. There are megaphones or something that makes it possible for the sound to be heard all around. Its very beautiful and reminds me of a Gregorian chant of something. Every mosque also has a Pekara or a bakery attached to it. The bread is fantastic! I am really enjoying myself as I learn more and more about Sarajevo and the people here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Park!

My Apartment!

One week in!

So, I am one week and two days into my adventure here in Sarajevo. Since my arrival I have been very busy settling into my apartment, meeting new people, exploring the city and of course preparing the school for its opening in September.
I have been having a great time getting to know new people. All the people I have met are so kind and what I really love about them is that they are so pretense at all. The way of life here is much more relaxed compared to life in matter how much you have to accomplish, there is always time for a cup of coffee or tea with a friend. There are a billion cafes here. If you think the number of Starbucks in the states is ridiculous...litterally every 5 shops is a cafe, and sometime there will be 2 or 3 consecutively. But, I like that life isnt so rushed and stressful.
I have tried a few traditional Bosnian foods. Cevapi is a very popular fast food here that people eat any time of day. Its ground veal and beef shapped into sausage links and served inside bread kind of like pita bread. Its pretty good. I also tried Bosnian donuts which are not sweet at all and are served with a type of buttery cheese spread. I really liked them. Bosnian ice cream is excellent and of course I loved the baklava. There are some things though that I am not brave enough yet to try.
Maelys has kept me very busy. I think she worries that I will get homesick if I am bored. I have been given several assignements like preparing a workshop on adult to child communication, ordering materials, and preparing some documents for the government officals over education. Its been great because these projects I am working on are all good learning experiences.
Until today I have been living alone, but tonight my roommate arrives from Argentina. Florencia is coming to help trian the teachers in Montessori pedagogy. I am not sure how long she will be least a couple months. I have enjoyed my time to myself but I am excited to have a friend to talk to in the evening when I am at home.
I feel like I have been here much longer than a week and I don't feel too far from home. I am confident that this is where I need to be, probably for several reasons I am not even aware of. I miss home and all of you of course.
I would love to see more of you on Skype...its been comforting to see familiar faces or hear the voices of my family and friends.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hello from Sarajevo!

After three airplanes and 19 long hours, I finally arrived in Sarajevo last night at 10:00 p.m., or as they have it 22:00. Wierd...its gonna take some time for my brain to automatically figure out the time with out any caculation. I was greeted by Maelys and her friend Alberta. They were both smiling and seemed very happy to see me. I immediately felt welcomed. Maelys and Alberta took me straight to my apartment. My place sits on a gorgeous park that has many trees and is intensely green. My apartment is spacious and full of light for the many windows. I have a large dinning area and a huge living room. The bathroom is big too. My kitchen on the other hand is tiny in comparison. I sleept soundly in my new bed. When I woke up this morning I felt really good. I almost expected that I would be thinking what have I done, but that was not the case at all. I took my time getting ready and enjoyed the beautiful view from my balcony.
Later I went to Maelys' house where I met her 4 children. They are all so adorable and have unique personalities.
Alberta took me to the grocery store and I bought some basic things like bread and cheese. They have Cheetos and Pringles here! Its odd what things bring comfort in a new and strange place.
I walked to Maelys' house tonight by myself. We were discussing that it might be better to just go for it now so I can become accustomed to the way of life here more quiclkly. I also took my first taxi ride ever today. I think I will have many firsts here in Sarajevo.
Sarajevo is beautiful. Its hilly and so green with tall trees everywhere. Today I learned that during the war when Sarajevo was surrounded some people wanted to cut down the trees for firewood, but others defended and protected them, even with violence.
I am learning a lot already about Sarajevo and about the people here. There is rich culture and lots of diversity. I am so happy to be here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The adventure begins!

When I was a kid I always got sick to my stomach any time I was nervous about something, but also when I was really on Christmas morning or the day of a field trip. This morning I woke up early with the same feeling in my gut. Although my stomach feels a bit uneasy my mind is oddly at peace. I really thought I might have an anxiety attack or a nervous breakdown. Today I leave for Sarajevo. I seriously can't believe it! I have been anticipating this day for months and its finally arrived. I have said goodbye to everyone except my parents and my little brother. I'm pretty much all packed with a few exceptions. There is nothing left here for me to do. It's the craziest thing thinking that in about 30 hours or so I will be in a different country, sleeping in my new bed in my new apartment there. My adventure is really starting and I am so nervous but so dang happy!
One more thing... thanks for your love and support. I will miss you!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

5 Days!!!

I leave for Sarajevo in 5 days! How am I feeling you might wonder? Well...I am a mess of emotions. I am so excited and happy that my adventure will finally begin. I am overwhelmed with graditude for the amazing opportunity that this is. I am eager to start my job and begin teaching and serving the children. I can't wait to see Bosnia and hopefully more of Europe. But, I am scared out of my mind. I feel like I am going to throw up everytime I think about my 19 hour and 4 minute flight there. I am nervous about meeting Maelys (she is the women who hired me) and her family. I am feeling anxious about being in a completely different world...culture shock anyone? I called chruch headquaters today and asked about the church there,bascially its non existent. That knowledge isnt helping any! So, mixed feelings is an understatement. Sometimes I am so stoked and then othertimes I think I am totally crazy for wanting to do this. The good news is that I know for sure this is an opportunity of a lifetime. I can remember the way I felt when I prayed about it, so I know its right. Even though I am kind of freaking out, somewhere inside of me I know its going to be great. Its going to be great!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My first post!

Hey everyone! So I decided to start a blog since I will very soon be leaving the country and I know you all will want to know what is going on with me. I leave for Sarajevo on May 5th. I am so excited and totally scared! If you dont know the whole story about my move to Bosnia, I will fill you in. During my last semester at school I got in contact with a women who wanted to open a Montessori preschool in Sarajevo. We communicated through email for a few months and eventually I made the decesion to accept a job offer as a teacher. I will be teacing 3-6 year old children. The school will be bilingual (English and Bosnian) so I wont have to learn the language, although I hope to. Everyone I talk to is very concerned about the fact that Bosnia recently was involved in a war. The war ended more than ten years ago and Sarajevo is a peaceful and safe city to visit and live in, so dont worry about me. I am making it a goal to keep up with my blog. I hope you will check it every once in a while to see what I am up to.

P.S. Download Skype if you want to talk to and see me. I have a webcam! My skype name is hails64.