Monday, July 30, 2007

so how'm I doing?

I got back from camp on Friday and had some guests staying for the weekend. Jocelyn and Lena from Visoko. We had a great time on Saturday with them, (see the photo below at Castra by the river-me, Joce, Lena and Ljilja) but then unfortunately Ljilja and I both came down with a tummy bug on Saturday night... I was up all night with my new best friend the toilet bowl and Ljilja sometime in the early hours of the morning started fighting with me for rights to that friendship... not a good situation to have guests in! Luckily I had put ingredients in and set the timer on the bread machine before I got really ill and so there was a "home-made" bread for breakfast for them which they helped themselves to when they got up as I was unable to get out of bed... so thankfully I didn't have to worry about them too much (esp as they are American and can help themselves). Anyway they ended up leaving earlier than planned and Ljilja and I slept most of Sunday and are mostly better today!! Although we are both just whacked out...

Then today, the great news is that I went in to get my CROATIAN VISA (which lasts for a whole year whoopeee!!!). I am so happy as it means I can travel in and out of Croatia (a neighbouring country for those whose geography is not that great) without having to get a visa each time!! Small things, but it means a LOT! The rest of the day I spent sorting out stuff for the team that is arriving on Thursday and for the project proposal which we have to hand in tomorrow, so no rest for the wicked!!

But to end the day, Ljilja and I went to visit some of the people we have got to know through our one Humanitarian Aid project. And it is really true, all your worries just go away when you hold a baby...nothing else really matters... and aren't I just the cutest!!?? My name is Mateja and I am just 6 months old... (and no I am not getting broody - it is great to be able to give him back to his mama when he starts complaining!!)

Friday, July 27, 2007

EUS/InterVarsity camp

I just got back from a week at a camp run by the Evangelical Union of Students (InterVarsity). It was held on a mountain near Zenica. There were about 45 of us - including a team from the US and students from all over Bosnia. There were 3 of us from Banja Luka - me, Ljilja and Alexandra (below).We had bible studies in the morning and talks in the evenings. I helped a lot with translation, and had a great time helping to lead worship as well. It was great hanging out with some old friends that I hadn't seen in a long while. I also got to show off my speed scrabble skills!!
The theme of the week was "Identity" and I know that everyone, including me, was really challenged in the way we think about ourselves. On the last night we separated into girls and guys groups and worked on some of our own issues. This is the last slide from the teaching and it sums up the week for me:

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ljilja's Birthday...

On Wednesday it was Ljilja's birthday. She woke up to this outside her door in the morning...Here she is showing off her presents from me (pajamas and curtains) and the cakes she made showing her age...
We had Sinisa and Olja over for lunch - I made Ljilja's favourite, Apricot Chicken (with brown onion soup packets from South Africa!).
Later on we had loads of people over. Starting with some at 5pm, then others at 7 and 8pm. Here are some of the people in our lounge: Bojana, Dragana, Ljilja, Bilja, Ljiljana, Sveto and I.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


So, if you want to show the English a good time and also how BEAUTIFUL Bosnia really is... take them on a road trip to Balkana (about 1 1/2 hours drive SW of Banja Luka). Above is a photo of some of the spectacular views of the canyon on the way there. These are views you can only get from the top deck of the double decker...
Above is a picture of Balkana which is a lake of which half has been made into a swimming pool. It is in really beautiful surroundings as you can see.

Add Andy Mayo playing some of his funky songs into the mix: He is a Christian jazz musician "on the side".Needless to say we had a good time. Here I am with Sinisa, Andy and Ljilja.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The English have arrived!!!

A busload of English have arrived in Banja Luka. All 54 of them! Ljilja and I took their passports to the police to register them - and boy were they happy to see us!! OakHall is a Christian tour company, which also supports the Bible school in Serbia where Sinisa did his schooling. They have continued to support Sinisa and the work here since then. Each year they come to Banja Luka with a group on their way to or from the Bible school in Serbia. They come to get a taste of Banja Luka, and to see what we do here and we go all out to give them a good time.
Sinisa organised for them to stay at a local boarding school, some are in their boarding house although the majority are staying on their lawns in tents, as this is a shoe-string tour.
After a long day of touring Banja Luka and the surrounds, we took them to the restaurant "Jezero" ("Lake") as it is actually very cheap-especially when you have to pay for 54 people! (each meal cost just 3KM, about R15). I am sitting next to Andy Mayo, who started the bible school 10 years ago and whose family runs OakHall. He is great, we love Andy!

They are here just for 3 days, and they head back to England...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Don came for a visit...

Don Stevens, the leader of YWAM in Bosnia, who is from the US but based in Sarajevo, came this week for a visit. Here we are with my friend Janet in my lounge. We had a good time with him while he was here - it was really encouraging.

I had originally invited Don to come up to visit my English Club as he is a great teacher and one of the themes he teaches on is Worldview. I gave him the challenge to teach on worldview to a second-language group in ONE hour. He did a great job and they had a great time and, hopefully, were challenged to think beyond the way they were before...

He does a very interactive and interesting job - with lots of audio visual stuff going on (including film clips and loads of pictures...) Here is just a taste: this is the end comparison table of different worldviews...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

New Car!!!

I think that Ljilja is more excited about this than I am, but I am pretty stoked! My little Mazda has started giving up the ghost (I have taken it to the mechanic 8 times in the past year) so I started looking for a new car. I had some money saved up and so it just seemed like God had worked it all out for me to be able to afford a "new" car.
I was looking for a long while for this, and yesterday it all came together. Everything I wanted for a really good price. This is the first car that I have gone out and bought (the Mazda I bought from my colleagues and so it isn't the same) and so it was pretty cool! Before we finally bought it, I took it to my mechanic and he gave it a once over and approved -he takes good care of me, and I trust his opinion - he said it was in "great shape".
So, details - for the girls it is metallic silver Peugeot 206. For the boys it is a year 2000 1,1l engine with aircon (yay!) and powersteering. It cost 10000KM (about R45000) which includes a year's registration (which is worth about 450KM or R2000) and the best part is that it all happened here in Banja Luka - I was worried that I would have to go somewhere else to buy it as I was not finding anything. And I don't have to worry about registering it until next year!!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ljilja and English...and "chushni"

Ljilja made a good friend,Corina, on the last team that was here, and has been learning more and more English through corresponding with her every day. She has of course also been making some great mistakes (as we all do when learning a language) and so I thought I would share some of them with you...

The first is so cute: instead of cell phone she was writing "self phone" which actually makes sense if you think about it!! And sounds the same if you say it fast...

Next: she was trying to say "peaceful" and because Bosnian is very phonetic, she spelt it the way that they would: "pissful" :-)

And now to be fair, I have to share my latest language blunder: We were at a braai (barbecue) at the Balasevic's and their son fell asleep in his pram. They were wanting to put him somewhere out of the sun. I said "zasto ga ne chushni tamo" (why don't you put him over there), but the word I used for "put over" was "chushni" which I then found out (when everyone started laughing) is NOT a word you use for children! You can use it to say "put that thing over there"- but not for people!! Oh well, you live and learn!
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