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!