Saturday, October 16, 2010

What Can a Year do for You?

The rumors are true, I've lived in Sarajevo for OVER a year now! 
Here's looking at you, kid! 
 In honor of the big milestone, I thought it would be fun to give a compare and contrast to what my life was like before as a shower scheduling, burrito eating, softball playing band director in Texas to my life now as a planner-losing, cevapi devouring,  ski-loving English teacher/Bosnian language learner in Sarajevo, Bosnia. 

I normally teach adults, but I love this picture too much to not post it...

Then: When entering a shoe store, I say "good afternoon," look around at the style I want, ask for my size, then pick between the regular, narrow, or wide version.
Now: When entering a shoe store, I say "dobar dan," and immediately ask if they have anything in my size (10). If by some rare chance they do have something (again, a rare occasion), it is usually something that would have been before my grandmother's time.

Then: I drove an average of 45 minutes a day. 
Now: I walk an average of 45 minutes a day.

Then: I had the emotional stability of a doped up reggai bass player. (Its aaalllll goooood)
Now: Often times I have the emotional instability of a mom who gets teary-eyed watching Hallmark commercials. 


Then: I said I would update my blog weekly.

Then: If I drove in a straight line at 80 miles an hour for 3 hours, I would get from the top of Texas to somewhere in the middle of it (If I'm lucky...)
Now: If I could drive in a straight line for 3 hours at 80 miles an hour (not that that's possible right now), it would get me from Bosnia to Budapest, a country with a completely different culture, language, food preferences, currency...

She may benefit from a trip here...

Then: I liked long distance running and ran a lot of miles.
Now: That hasn't changed, but now I count in kilometers and thus have a higher sense of achievement.

Then: Saying "you have too much time on your hands" would come out of my mouth A LOT.
Now: I honestly can't imagine saying that to anyone right now, and I honestly think most people need a lot more "free time" on their hands.

Then: I could barely count to 100 in Spanish, my "second language."
Now: A month ago I was able to share my testimony all in Bosnian, specifically telling how Jesus brought me from living an over-achieving, world-pursuing, "rat-race" feeling life to a life with peace, redemption, purpose, and heart-awakening adventure.

Then: This is the setting where I performed the clarinet... (see the red curls in the background?)
Now:  I now perform in an English pub and WITHOUT music. To put it all together, I'm an Irish woman playing Scottish folk music in an English pub while living Sarajevo. Whew.
(To my musician friends, I want to add that this whole playing by ear thing intimidates me a whole lot more than Shostakovich ever did...)

Then: Sleep came as I could have it and it was not a high priority.
Now: I learned very quickly how meaningless my 30 hours of weekly language study was without sleep, so getting a good night's sleep is HIGH HIGH HIGH on the priority list!

Then:  Good hiking would happen MAYBE once a year, and this after a loooong road trip to Colorado.
Now: If I want to and the weather is cooperating, I could wake up tomorrow and go hiking in the gorgeous mountains surrounding Sarajevo!
Then: My identity was wrapped up in how busy I was, how well my students were doing, what my ratings were at contest, and the things "I'd" achieved thus far in life.
Now: I'm learning more and more that my identity is found in the One who created me, and by seeking Him with all that I have, I more fully understand who He created me to be.

Then: Culture shock= scary.
Now: Reverse culture shock=scarier!!!

Then: Going to coffee meant sitting with someone for an hour, maybe 2 if we're lucky.
Now: Going for coffee could be an all-day event, and I make sure to block out at least 2 hours each time.
traditional Bosnian coffee
For all you schedule lovers...

Then: School dates would be set the April before the next school year. 

Now: A friend of mine didn't know when the last day of school was for her child until THAT DAY. They kept saying things like "maybe 2 more days... maybe next week... could be tomorrow.."

Then:  I would schedule the exact time I would eat, take a shower, and go to bed.
Now: I get a little stressed when someone tries to plan a coffee (or skype, etc.) with me a week before.

Then: Each week would look VERY similar.
Now: One of the most dreaded questions I get is "What does a normal week look like for you?" because there is no normal week....

And finally, in honor of football season:

Then: I thought Bevo was a fat cow. 

Now: I still think Bevo is a fat cow and am waiting for someone to correct me on this...
Mmmm... barbecue... 

Till next time,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A year come and gone!

So... guess what? I've officially lived in Sarajevo for OVER a year now! September 24th marked my one year anniversary!

Much to my surprise, I've a few people email me for a year in review update, and I want to thank you for that!!! Its SO nice to know people actually pay attention to my blog. :-)

 I have been working on a well-thought-out-year-in-review-blog and hope to have it posted by the end of next week at the latest.  Thanks so much for asking me about it! 

In the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy a few picture snapshots from the last few summer months! 

The first few pics are from a Bosnian protestant church camp I attended for nearly 3 weeks in July at Boracko Jezero (Jezero means lake)
The group coming back from swimming at the lake.  
My abode for nearly three weeks, complete with cold showers. Awesomesauce.
Week one was teenager camp, and this was during one of the evening sessions. 
Bosnians showing me how football is played. 
Week 2 was kids camp. These were a few of my language helpers and campers. You can see one holding up my torn up Bosnian dictionary!
Me doing a clinic on kickball- a game virtually unknown in Bosnia. 
We are so intimidating, especially me with my button down shirt and over-sized sunglasses. 
Week 3 was the young adult camp. This is the group (minus the photographer) at the end of a hike and climb.
I had the privilege of seeing 2 Bosnians be baptized specifically into Protestant Christian Churches in Bosnia.
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death.... in order that we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4
 I ran (okay.. survived)  a half marathon in Sarajevo with a few friends. Counting distance in kilometers is way better than counting in miles when you run long distances! 
During a rafting outing with some friends down the Neretva River.
I hopped on a bus and went with a friend to the Croatian coast for a few days. This is me peaking out at the Adriatica. 
These pictures are all from Dubrovnik, Croatia. I would name this is as a TOP SPOT to see before you die! The city lays on the Adriatic coast and is surrounded by a massive fort. The fort is wide enough for you walk all the way around it.

A view from the fort, looking over a port into the Adriatic. 

I was able to bring in my one year anniversary in style as I hoped a short flight to Rome (living in Europe can be so cool!). This was taken in front of the Vatican. Its good to know I haven't lost my Irish roots throughout process! 
Till next time (and I hope next time is next week!)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Snapshots of the last 2 months

Okay, okay. I know I've been a blogging slacker! (Not having internet at my house for 3 weeks definitely didn't help me in my procrastination!) In order to make up for some lost time, this post includes a few pictures that I've taken over the last 2 months in Bosnia.

And just as an addition to that-I'm starting to see more and more that one of my roles here is to show people just how beautiful this place really is. There are many, many reasons why Lonely Planet listed Sarajevo as one of its top 10 cities to visit in 2010, and I hope I can somehow spread the word with them! Below you will find pictures of a a few places surrounding downtown Sarajevo, and all are in Bosnia.

So, without further ado.....


The first few pictures are from Vrelo Bosne. This is a park that is located on the outskirts of Sarajevo. To get here, Liz and I took a tram for about 25 minutes from the center of Sarajevo and walked 4 kilometers. If you aren't the walking type, you could travel in style like this couple... 

As you can see, the park is well worth the walk! 

And yes, the water tastes just as clean as it looks! 

While we were there, there was a choir from a local Islamic school taking pictures for their upcoming concerts. I've actually seen a few of these pictures posted lately around town and hope to get to go to the concert! 

I know, I know. Liz and I just blend right in... 

The park even has a playground for you to get in touch with your child-like side. (Or maybe in my case, childish side?) Still working on that patience thing... 

On the walk back, we stopped to chat with these gentlemen. They were kind enough to let me take their picture, but looked less than enthusiastic when I actually did it... 

Still haven't decided if I like the black and white version better... 

The next few shots are taken from Prvi Maj (the first of May). It is a BIG holiday here, and I went on a hike with a few Bosnian buddies- the PERFECT way to spend a beautiful day!

Okay, so funny language moment- we organized these plans the night before at a cafe, and the conversation was all in Bosnian. I was a bit proud of myself for understanding enough that we would be going to the mountain, but for some reason I had it in my mind that it would be a little bit of hiking and a lot of relaxing and frisbee throwing! Well... yeah... we ended up hiking pretty much the entire day! That was COMPLETELY fine with me, but my guests and I probably would have dressed a bit differently!

P.S. the bosnian word for hiking is pješačiti and all day is cijeli dan, in case you were wondering... 
At least we hiked in style (and a little in the snow, I might add). 

Have I mentioned yet that this stunning hiking trail is located just 30-40 minutes outside of Sarajevo by car?!?

This is our last group shot before getting to the very top! (the soon to be conquered mountain is behind us!)

Celebrating at the top, deciding to go for a little walk to get a little fresh air... 

You gotta love how beautiful it is here! 

The last few pictures are from an excursion we took with our ESL classes to Travnik and Jajce- both are older cities in Bosnia, complete with historic forts and mosques. 

 It rained for the majority of the day, so I wasn't able to take too many pictures. 
First, we stopped to have coffee in Travnik. I ordered Bosnian coffee, and this is everything that was included. Look closely to see why I felt so compelled to take a picture.... 

During our time in Travnik, a couple of the ESL students decided to show me how they really felt about my English teaching abilities.

A view of some of the beautiful waterfalls in Jajce. 

Maybe I'll start looking for a job with a Bosnian tourist agency?

And one last one group shot from Jajce! I think this really could be on a travel guide somewhere! 

Till next time-