I’m finding that every day here is an adventure, a learning experience, a curiosity. Here’s what I’ve got for you as of late:
-Serbia is not easily maneuvered for those with disabilities. You’ll almost never find ramps or automatic doors. If anything, it’s like negotiating a gauntlet. We’ve had such a hard time with Laura’s broken ankle this time around. The hospital didn’t have crutches that fit her, the smallest pair being over her head. Chris drove around and was unable to find a smaller pair so he had to cut a pair down to make them fit. They also had no wheelchairs available, not that she needed one, but when you’re 6, you cannot go long distances with crutches. I’ve carried her to and from school every day and, though she’s still a tiny little bird, she feels as heavy as a truck by the time I set her down. Over the weekend, we searched all over Belgrade for a wagon, to make it easier to bring her to school and back. Most Serbs we asked had never even seen a wagon before. Ever. This was one of those “I wish I was in Canada” moments where things would have been much easier for us.
-Whatever Serbs are talking about, good or bad, they almost always sound hyper, forceful, or even angry. The rare exception to this is daily greetings, ‘dobar dan’ or ‘dobro utro’, as these typically render a small smile or acknowledgement. I think it’s the language, possibly the culture, and while they are not always angry or anything, they are definitely passionate communicators. Unless they are commenting on the McGregor/Mayweather fight, then they whisper like they are sharing a secret in church. Half Ukrainian, I’ve known many of my Slavic brethren to communicate as passionately, usually with their hands as well.
-On this note, we’ve had few issues communicating with others. Many, if not most, Serbs speak a little English and the times we really can’t understand each other, Google Translate, pictures, or even pantomiming has helped. The only time we’ve run into a snag is over the phone. Several times, the person I’m calling has hung up on me the second I speak English or ask for English. Drives me crazy, but it is what it is.
-My hair was in some definite need of TLC. I knew I needed it done but when Chris first arrived in Serbia, he got a very bad haircut. I love my husband, can’t wait to see him every single day, think he is as sexy as hell….but this cut, this cut made him look like a potato. A sexy potato, mind you, but a potato where the eyes had been sprouting. It was the worst haircut I’d ever seen on him. Luckily, his hair grows super fast. He found a new stylist and his hair, one of my favorite things about him besides his shoulders (eyes, smile, nose. I’ve always loved his nose, it’s much nicer, straighter than mine. Weird, but I do….), is back to being super cool. I will still love him when/if he ever goes bald, just like he’s gotta love me when I get that mousy, liver-spotted scalp-showing hair. (Our eyesight will be poor by then, so I don’t think he’ll notice. 🙂
Anyway, because of Chris’ experience, I was going to wait until we returned to Canada to get my hair done by my Maggie (yes, my Maggie, the one and only, at Fuzion in Sarnia), but I looked like a rat had nested and had been chewing on my ends. On a whim, I passed a salon in Usce mall where I had been shopping for a birthday present for Rebekah’s classmate. They got me in immediately and I asked for the same color, just “healthier” looking. In Shauna speak, this means just barely trim it and cover the grey. When I was 20, the guy I was dating told me I looked like a hippie because my hair was so long so I cut it. I’ve been trying to grow it that long ever since. (Note: I would NEVER change for any person EVER again. I was young and too insecure to stand up for myself. I’ve been teaching my girls to speak their minds and to never, ever, let anyone at any time make them feel less than amazing.) Long story short, somehow the translation was ok. I’m blonder, but it looks pretty good. This is always the case when I leave a salon. They do such an amazing job doing my hair and after I wash it, I can barely do anything with it. I am hair inept. Straight or ponytail, that’s my jig, and it’s good enough for me.