Saturday, August 29, 2009

Prija and Prika

Ok, after 8 years, I am still learning this language... and here is a little story to show this:
On Thursday I was at the orphanage to have a meeting with the director and some of the carers. Afterwards I was driving "Teta Duska", one of the carers, home. I was explaining to her where I lived and she said "oh that is near where my 'prija' lives".

At that, I realised that "prija" was the word for "mother of my son-in-law". Yip, they have a name for the "mother of my son-in-law": 'prija' and "father of my son-in-law": 'prika'. Now, how had I figured that out so quickly? Because my landlady has a daughter who is married, and thus a "son-in-law". And I thought that his parents' names were "Prija" and "Prika" as that is what my landlady calls them! I thought it was their NAMES! And I just thought it was cute that they had found each other (like Chris and Christine)! But, with Duska saying my "prija", I realised that it couldn't be her name, but instead must be the word for the "mother of my son-in-law"... oh boy!

But, it just goes to show the importance that family plays in this culture, as they have names for everyone in the family and the different nuances of relationship... they have 3 words for uncle depending on if it is your mother's brother or father's brother or married to your mother or brother's sister... and the same for aunt, etc... And 4 types of sister-in-law: your wife's sister, your husband's sister and then back the other way: all have different names!! yip!

So, I think it is not really surprising that I thought "Prija" and "Prika" were people's names: how am I supposed to know otherwise???

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New couch...

When the team was here, I shared with them the need for a new couch for the family room where we hold the English Club at the Children's Home. It is one of the 8 families in the home, and the teacher is always happy to have us. The couch has been wrecked over the years and they really needed a new one. Here is Liesbeth, the team leader on what was left of the old couch: Now remember there are 12 kids in this family who have to somehow fit on this couch...I had managed to collect some money, and with what the team gave we had more than enough! So here is the new couch which I bought for them: Showing it off are Milica, Mladenka, Gorka and Maja: The other 8 girls were either too shy or sleeping or otherwise unavailable!
Ok, now we are sick of having our photo taken: but you get the idea - it goes really nicely with the paint-job which Ljilja and I helped out with earlier in the summer! And as you can see, more than enough room for all of the girls!!
More to come on what we will do with the rest of the money...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When it is lost in translation...

I guess one of the fun things about living in a place where you have to learn another language is when you see the things that are quite different between your mother tongue and the language you are learning... Here the local language is called Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian depending on which part of the country you are in or to whom you are speaking. In Zenica I was learning "Bosnian" but when I talked about it to my landlords it was "Croatian" (they were Bosnian Croats!). When I moved up here to Banja Luka in the Serb republic, it became Serbian...

Serbian and Croatian are distinguishable by the different scripts, ie Serbian tends to use cyrillic (like Greek or Russian) and Croatian uses the latinic (like English). There are some other distinctions, but they are pretty much the same language...It is just political really. Before the war in the former-Yugoslavia, they all spoke the "Serbo-Croat" language.

There is an interesting story about negotiations that happened during the war. They were held, I think, in Geneva at the UN buildings and they had those little earpiece translation thingies. You could chose which language you were going to listen to. So 1 was English, 2 French, etc. 4 was Serbian, 5 was Bosnian and 6 was Croatian, but they just had one translator for all 3 of those numbers!

Now, the local language is idiomatic, like English, and some of the sayings are just great, but maybe get a bit lost in translation: For example:
-left hand, right pocket (this one took me a while - it is talking about thievery where the left hand of the thief goes into the right pocket of the victim!)
-who doesn't have it in their head, has it in their legs (this is definitely MY saying - if you forget something you will have to run around more!)
-the dog doesn't bark for the village, but for itself (everyone is out for themselves!)
-you give him your pinky finger he takes your whole arm (give him a little and he takes the whole lot)
-their tongue is faster than their mind (another one for me... :-))

And Ljilja has a couple of her own which are really cute:
-I would go for a run, but I don't have anyone to run after... (her excuse for not exercising!)
-Come to yourself, if you have someone to come to... (or pull yourself together if you can!)
They sound much better in the local language of course!!

For Ljilja's birthday, we were at a fancy restaurant near Jajce, which obviously catered for a lot of foreigners as the menu was also in German and English. Some of the translations were quite funny... see if you would like to eat: lake trout on fire, luttuce, griled beff stake or paper salad! And the meals all came with contributions of race or chips. Yip, something definitely got lost in translation there!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


People often ask me what my average day is like, and I always say that I don't have an average day... Today is an example of how much flexibility I need to have! I read this morning in my quiet time that God is not going to be surprised by anything that will happen today: well He might not be, but I had a few surprises!!

Yesterday if you asked me what I would be doing today I would have said:
Going in the morning to do some medical tests, then meeting with Janet, after that picking up the test results and going to the doctor. Then at 3pm having a skype meeting with other YWAM European Communicators, and at 7.30pm skype meeting with Olga a leader from my church.

Firstly, Viki from Dorcas asked if she could meet with me, Ljilja and Sinisa at 3pm, and as we have been trying for ages to meet with her, bang went my EuroCom meeting. Then Janet called and postponed the meeting until tomorrow and Olga emailed to postpone our meeting until next week! So nothing happened as I planned it!

I did make it for the medical tests and to the doctor and am mostly well, "just" a bladder infection which I am now taking antibiotics for. That was probably the one thing that wasn't a surprise!

I decided that since I didn't have the meeting with Janet in the morning that I would go and sort the tax office stuff out for Sergej's organisation. And here is where my day got really bizarre... Because there was something hinky with the papers I had to talk to the "boss". We started out just chatting and he said he had a brother in South Africa and then he started to flirt with me. He was 50 if he was a day! And married! Ljilja said I should have said "I already have a father thank you very much..." why didn't I think of that?? (in the end we did sort out the paperwork in between him propositioning me!!!)

So, today was full of surprises to me, but God was not surprised... I kind of like that and that is what helps me when I have days like this - which is almost every day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vancouver here I come...

Ok, since October last year when during our family reunion I spent all of 3 days with my brother, sister-in-law and their two boys (and that was first time we had been together in 3 and a half years), I have been wanting to get out to Vancouver to see them. When I got my British Passport this became a LOT easier (no visa needed!), and so I became more motivated!

I was playing with the idea of going in January (when things here are completely DEAD) for a while, but as ticket prices were ridiculous it was just an idea... and I was thinking it would never really happen...

And then last night completely by accident (or not?!) I found a website called whichbudget which shows all cheap airlines throughout the world and where they fly. I discovered there was a budget airline that flies from London to Vancouver. I looked at ticket prices and for January they were actually doable... the idea starting forming... then I called my brother and sister-in-law (and my parents who are there at the moment) and we all got excited about it!! And now it is going to be a reality - Vancouver here I come!

When I talked to my mom, she pointed out that as I now have no car I need to save up for a new one. She has a point. But I kinda think that it is going to take forever to save up for a new car, so either I (or rather God!) need to find another solution or it will be years before I will get a car. So, if I don't do this trip because I want to use the money towards a new car then I will be without a car for a long time and unhappy as well, as I will not get to see my brother and his family either. This way if no miracle happens at least I will be HAPPY-having seen my brother! See the logic?

Talking about the car, the latest is that the police think that they are close to catching the culprit, which is good news. The bad news is they don't think they will ever get the car back (our guess is that it is in parts) but they can't say more than that... So, we will be able to find out who did it, but not get the car back. However, if that guy is found guilty we can sue him for the money for our car... so maybe one day I will see the money IF they find the guy and IF he is found guilty and IF we are successful in suing him! Good thing I am relying on God and not on the 3 above IFs!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Krupa na Vrbasu...

Today Ljilja and I went to Krupa na Vrbasu (about 1/2 hour from Banja Luka) with the Vojnovics: Damjan and Tanja below: And their two sweet kids: Bojan and Snjezana - here with Ljilja: this is the life!We all enjoyed great food - from the rostilj/braai/barbecue: chicken, "cevapi" and sausage with "ljepinje" (special bosnian bread) mmmmmm.....

After lunch I had a lovely walk along along the river with Tanja and Bojan:
And lots of cuddle time with both of the kids - they are both "maza" as they say here (they love to cuddle!): here I am with Snjeza:The river is quite low: here is it now and a month ago: see the difference:-

For more fun photos check out my facebook photo album (even if you are not on facebook!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Zenica trip...

On Monday I went on the train to Zenica (where I lived 2001-2002) for the week. It was GREAT fun! I stayed with Tiff while her husband Sladjo was away for the week :-) Here we are at the train station today before I left to come back to Banja Luka: I got around to loads of old friends, which was great - I of course didn't get pics with any of them other than with Buco and Silva and their youngest daughter Elena:
Isn't she a cutie pie?:
The week was a great mix of catch-up with friends I hadn't seen in AGES and fun times with the Tiffster...

Yesterday we went to visit our mutual friends Mario and Dejana together and we all were talking about the different humanitarian aid projects that we are all involved in. We were talking in Bosnian/Serbian and Mario kept talking about the one "greni" project. Afterwards Tiff and I were driving and she said to me "there was only one word which Mario kept saying that I didn't understand it started with a 'g'...". I said "was it 'greni'?" and she said "yes, that's it, what does it mean?"... I started laughing and said "ok stop thinking of that as a Bosnian word... it is actually English... he is talking about a project which helps old people: the 'Granny project'!" :-)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Kiddy day...

Today, my friend Jocelyn (she and her husband Donovan were both in Zenica when I lived there) came with her two "new" boys to visit. Nathan, 3, was adopted last year and Adrian was born this year, so I had not met either of them. We hung out at the park for a while and Nathan had a great time on the trampoline and the trains before we came back to our house to hang out. Here the three of them are playing on the mattress:We also watched my and Joce's favourite childhood movie "The Rats of NIMH" and read books, and played with ALL the toys in the toy box, and well you get the idea...

Ljilja was gone most of the day because she was being "Godmother" for her friend Tanja (here they also have Godmothers for people who get baptised later in life), but she got her baby fix (as did I!!) with Adrian when she got back:
After they left it was time to go to Andrijana's first birthday. I can't believe she is already ONE! We got her a little babydoll with all the extras - she took to it right away. Here she is with Mom, Olja:
As you can see it has been a nice "kiddy" day!!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Team and "Most" in the newspaper

Yesterday, when we were at the Orphanage with the team there happened to be a reporter there and she took the opportunity of including us in her article! Here is the link to the article in latinic script. The article is headed "Children through games learn English" and was mostly about the home and what is going on there. And then the bit about Humanitarian Aid Organisation "Most" basically said we come to teach the children English through playing games and in that way the kids have fun while they are also learning... See if you can spot me in the pic at the back!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dutch team...

Well, the Go team has been having a great time while here... going every morning to the orphanage and every evening hosting the English Conversation Club each night. I think the pictures speak for themselves:

As you can see we have been busy, and also enjoying ourselves at the same time!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sladja, Milijana i Ljusha

Ljilja's sister Sladja, cousin Milijana and their friend Ljubica are here visiting from Trebinje. They are having a great time, as are we with them... Last night we went to the Mercator Centre to go shopping and then had coffee there together... The photo below is of Sladja, Ljilja, Ljusha and Milijana: Today, the team went on an outing by themselves and we escaped for a while to the pool. Half the world was there too. I am quite brown for me right now... but of course I am WHITE next to the girls... so sorry no photos of me with them!! We bumped into the twins, Daliborka and Dajana, who are also young and beautiful:it is a good thing I don't have low self-esteem:
Driving on the way back from the pool, Ljilja and I spotted a silver Peugeot 206 in front of us and Ljilja even said how hard it was to see one so similar to mine... then we saw that the police pulled it over in front of us. They have random stopping here, but this looked less than random: like they were pulling it over because it was like our stolen car! So that gave me some hope that they at least are looking for my car!!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Dutchies are here...

The YWAM Go Team has arrived from Holland and they are great! 8 girls and one poor guy (who is doing well all things considered!) arrived yesterday. I sent them out on their own orientation - an "Amazing Race" kind of thing where they have to find places and answer questions all with the help of the locals who speak very little English, but enough to be helpful... They did quite well on the whole: one team did get a leetle bit lost...(cellphones are wonderful things!), but they had fun nonetheless...

Today we did some more orientation with me and then cleaned our buildings...

Who says cleaning can't be fun??

Afterwards we went out for a traditional Bosnian meal: Pita (Bosnian pie) with drinking yogurt:

The rest of their time here they will be helping at the Orphanage with the kids and also running English Club this week each evening... should be good!!
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