Friday, February 29, 2008

Corina is visiting!!!

Our friend Corina from Indiana is here visiting right now. She has already been here twice with teams, but this time is on her own. She is staying with Ljilja and me, and has been visiting families with Ljilja and of course helping out at English with me. It has been great having her to stay and it will be really hard to say goodbye!

Here she is with Ljilja and "Queen of Chocolate" Cake at Pinguin, one of our favourite coffee shops. A picture of Corina with some of the English Club: Vanja, Sanja and Ceca. They all enjoyed seeing her again! Here is a picture of Corina and I sitting outside to show the unusually warm weather we are having for February - it is like Spring here right now! Up to 20 degrees every day!!
Here we are with Dragana when she came to visit. Dragana, always the opportunist, when she heard Corina was coming to visit offered to go to the US while Corina was here, so she could comfort Corina's husband Brad. But only on the condition that she did it on their Powerboat on the lake!!!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Brain donor moment

This is another phrase that not everyone will know: it basically means that you are not using your brain at all and so it should be donated to someone else who might actually use it.

So the definition of a brain donor moment is the following: I am all set to go Zagreb, Croatia tomorrow with Ljilja to get our dear friend Corina. I had organised Kuna so we can pay for the road tolls, I have snacks for us to eat in the car, I have checked the air pressure on the car tyres. All set to go...

Until I realised I had had a complete brain donor moment earlier this week: as I need to get a visa for Austria I had left my passport in Sarajevo with a friend, who will be doing the group visa for us. Now Ljilja had also left her passport, but she can go into Croatia on her id document, but I need my passport, which was because of my brain donor moment, conveniently 4 hours drive away in Sarajevo. So if anyone out there needs a brain, please let me know as I am obviously not using mine...

(the good news is that luckily I realised what I had done before the last bus
left Sarajevo for Banja Luka, and my friends, Janice and Mirjam(I love you guys!), went and gave it to the driver who will give it to us on this end for a small fee. The bad news is the bus gets into Banja Luka at 3am. But my wonderful Ljilja has already said she will go and I can sleep... and now at least I can go tomorrow with Ljilja - otherwise she would have had to go by herself!)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

English at the Orphanage

The team and I went twice today to the orphanage to teach two groups at a time (one older, one younger) English. We do it this way as the kids are at school in shifts so we catch the kids that go to school in the afternoon in the morning and those that are at school in the morning in the afternoon. We can do the same program because they are different kids. At first the kids didn't know what to expect and were NOT keen. At the end they didn't want us to leave and asked us if we were coming again tomorrow (and were happy when we said we were coming back next week!)

Here are some pics of the morning group that I was with - the younger kids. Our group did colours: so here we are (even the guys got into it!) colouring by number...And here we are outside (on what is a FANTASTIC day for this time of the year) playing "red light, green light" which they loved!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What is a baksuz?

Okay, let us all learn a Bosnian word: Baksuz. This means someone who is very unlucky, and to whom unlucky things keep happening... There is no equivalent in the English language. Now for example a Baksuz is someone who when driving back from Sarajevo takes the wheel from her roommate at the halfway mark and within less than 400metres is stopped by the police for going 76km/h in a 60 zone. She is a baksuz because where we stopped to change over was after the 60 sign and so she wasn't driving them and didn't even know it was only 60 (and not 80) and of course the police stopped HER and fined HER 30KM (about R150) because their equipment doesn't let them let people off... That is a baksuz.

So, Ljilja and I went to Sarajevo today for her to go have her US visa interview (she got the visa to go in June!!Yay God!!) and to take our passports for our Austrian visas which we need for a conference in March. And on the way back we had our little encounter with the friendly Bosnian police near Zepce. They were really nice, and even joked about the fact that I was really a baksuz, but their hands were unfortunately tied and they had to charge me... :-( (Luckily, Ljilja took pity on me and helped me pay half - sweet thing!)

YWAM Northern Ireland Team

A YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) outreach team arrived last week from YWAM in Northern Ireland to be here for a month. Besides helping out (a lot!) at the church and English Club, they will also be teaching English at the Banja Luka orphanage. There are 8 of them, 6 from the US, a Canadian and an Australian. It has been great (although busy!) having them here so far. Looking forward to the next 3 weeks!

Here are some pics from them at last night's English Club:
Aleksandra with Tim from Australia and Aaron from the US with Mladen:Kayla from New York with Sofija, Michaelafrom Canada with Igor, Branka with Darcy (who is one of the two team leaders).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day

Last night we started English Club after a break with a special "Valentine's day edition". We had a great time doing a romantic quiz, finding out how romantic we are, and then a quiz on Valentine's Day trivia. It was great also catching up with everyone again!

Then tonight, Dragana was over at our place and we were talking about Valentine's Day and who the day was for: just for those who are in love or also for friends. Then Dragana came out with the following "pearl"- She said: "Valentine's Day is for those who are in love: including those who are in love with themselves. I can hardly wait for tomorrow morning to wake up and tell myself: 'Happy Valentine's Day! I am so happy that such a wonderful woman like you actually chose to love me'... You see, it is important to love oneself". Needless to say Ljilja and I had a good laugh at that...

But it is true - it is important to have good self-esteem and I believe that Valentine's Day is also a day that you can tell friends and family (and don't forget yourself!) how much you love the fact that they are in your lives... So Happy Valentine's Day to you all!!!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Dad's caption...

My Dad is very good at putting captions onto photos - so I sent him some photos that I took on last trip with my new spiffy camera phone. I found a "China shop" in Zagreb (obviously meant to be "Chinese" shop) and my caption was "so where's the bull?". This is what my Dad came up with... (did I mention he is good with fiddling with photos as well?)...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

England trip...

Well that went by in a flash!! I am back safely in Banja Luka!

Here are some photos: I didn't get good ones of everyone I was with, (including my sister and her family), but here are the Raaffs in Staffordshire (Newcastle-under-Lyme). This is us actually managing to get a photo completed during "suicide hour" in the evening when kids don't want to do anything! And the Bennetts in London: this is on the tube on the way into London to go to the Natural History Museum to see the Dinosaurs with the twins. What fun that was!!
Highlights of the entire trip include: Becoming "Godmother" to Christopher Raaff by helping to cut his hair, watching my cousin's future husband (well in her dreams!), Ronaldo, playing for ManU with her almost p'ing in her pants because he scored two goals, and going to lunch with my friend Melinda after getting into contact through facebook - we hadn't seen each other in almost 14 years!

However, THE Highlight was definitely being taken to see "Mamma Mia" in London's West End. Being a true ABBA fan, it was such a great show to see - and of course being the West End and with great company, it was just a wonderful experience all round!
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