Milan has just returned from a six day trip to Turkey for the Senior Balkan track and field championships, and because he is such a stud he brought home two medals. Bronze in the 4x100m relay and a gold in the 110 hurdles. You’d think I’d expect it by now, but I can’t help but be excited for him.
Notice how I said HE has just returned. The ME half of our couple stayed here in Belgrade at his parents house. While I enjoyed staying with his sister for a night, and using google translate to talk to his mom, you can understand that I was having to be silent for a lot longer than I’m used to. And I’m sure it goes without saying that I gave Milan an earful when he returned.
It’s hard to believe that a week from today I’ll be back on a plane headed to the states. While I’ve loved my stay in Serbia, home will always be home. I have learned a lot though. These are the top ten most striking things I’ve picked up on lately.
10. Turbo-folk is king – No matter which radio station I turn to, or which store we go into, I am surrounded by the sound of accordions and busty women singing to something between techno and pop music. If you’re not in favor, buy an ipod, or two. I promise it’s everywhere.
9. Just because it’s a one lane road doesn’t mean multiple cars won’t try to occupy the same space at the same time.– It is a simple fact that if you want to keep your arm, do not stick it out the window. It does not matter if your side of the car is next to the curb, that does not mean that around car won’t maneuver itself up the sidewalk to zip past you without regard for your arm or whatever body part is out the window.
8. Meat and bread are not food groups, they are a way of life. – Growing up in the south I am not a stranger to meat and potatoes, but Serbian meals are way out of my league. Of course it is all cooked to perfection (as many hours as that may take,) but it is so rich and heavy that I have a hard time eating more than a delicate serving. Which brings me to my next point.
7. I Honestly don’t know where they put it. – I may have mentioned before that I am astounded by the lack of fat people in Serbia, but even more astounding is the amount of food that they can ALL eat. I have learned that even after I’m full to keep food on my plate and kind of push it around while everyone else eats. This is the only thing that will keep people from putting more on it and instructing me to eat. I admit that having my thyroid out has taken me out of the eating game, but I think even back in my glory days of downing whole pizzas I would be impressed.
6. Coffee is always always acceptable.– How can I not love a country where coffee is always a good idea. Yes of course when you wake up, but also in the afternoon, evening, in a box, with a fox.. literally whenever you want. While I know the US is becoming this way with its overwhelming number of coffeehouses, I love it here because its not only okay, but encouraged.
5. Naps are good for you- Serbia (as I’ve experienced it) is like never ending Thanksgiving. You go out and play with your family (going out, practicing, and random socializing,) then you eat as much as you can whenever you can, you nap it off and then you coffee up and start over again. There are much worse ways to spend a summer.
4. All subjects are open for discussion. – If people want to know something about you, they ask. There is nothing too personal for people to ask about. In return they also expect you’ll share if there is any type of activity in you life, big or small. If you have new pimple, remain prepared that it could work it’s way into the conversation.
3. Practice your answers about Tito. -Nothing makes you more of a ridiculous American then when some asks you to tell everything you know about Tito and you are silent. Don’t get me wrong, I know we discussed Tito in a couple of those History classes that I napped through, but now there’s a little more pressure than getting it wrong in front of a bunch of American teenagers. So, even all the facts that I think I know, I don’t want to say for fear of being wrong and becoming enemy #1 of everyone at the table.
2. You neighbors are qualified to punish you for your misplaced car. – My earlier statement that you can park you car wherever you want is now being retracted. To my understanding, it is acceptable for the people around you punish you for your parking misconduct. There are varying degrees of car damage that you are to expect depending on your offense. Like blocking the walkway to an apartment building will get your car keyed, taking up too much room in a parking space, you loose your hubcaps. And from what Milan says, the guy who keeps parking his car halfway over the speed bump should expect to have his windshield wiper blades taken . So not only am I not a skilled enough driver to navigate Serbia, I can’t even trust myself enough to park a car somewhere.
1. Serbians are party people.- I understand that you cannot categorize any group of people based on the actions of one, but I have yet to meet someone here (other than my Fiance) who doesn’t like to go out and throw down. Every person I’ve met so far has asked me how many times, and what places I’ve been out. I’ve recently learned that Belgrade is in the top three in the world for nightlife. So, if you’re special talent has anything to do with singing, dancing, drinking, or socializing, Serbia might be the place for you 🙂
It’s been so nice to learn a little more about the culture in which my man grew up, and I hope that throughout our life together I can learn even more and maybe get a little better at the customs, and maybe one day learn cook the food.