I’m sat in a hotel in Graz, Austria. The birthplace of Republican hero Arnold Schwarzenegger. The city which taught the worlds cleverest man – the Serb, Nikola Tesla.
Had a great evening with Anya. We went up Schlossberg (Castle Mountain) in the middle of the old town and then had Cevapcici at a Bosnian cafe. I’m grasping onto the Balkan culture as long as I can.
Then I got lost trying to get back to the hotel. Anya said she felt she was let down. Now Anya is reading in bed and I’m faffing around on the internet. 48 hours till Blighty.
Seems like I’ve been dead busy for weeks now. My creative juices run weakly, energy is low and social opportunities abound. This all leads to a lack of thoughtful blogging. So I’ll just give you a quick summary of what has been going on.
Norwegian and British Christmas came and went, then there was the task of distributing 4000 Christmas Boxes donated through Operation Christmas Child/Samaritan’s Purse from the UK. It is a different perspective to see the issues surrounding getting them to the children who would enjoy them the most. The project was headed up here by student worker Danijel who worked tirelessly amidst politics and harassment to get the packages out – all Rada and I really did was take two car loads of shoe boxes to Rada’s dad’s old school up in the village. What an incredible experience and warm reception! They treated us like honoured guests and gifted us with a book of the history of the school and fed and watered us very satisfactorily at their end of year feast.
Rada giving out shoe box presents sent from the UK
We have also hosted a New Years party, a family of visiting Norwegians and my old friend Bojan. I hadn’t seen him for over 3 years but it was one of those precious friendships that takes off where it left of and then deepens immediately. An amazing time but sadly Bojan is going back to Serbia today.
Mathilda, Bojan & Emil at New Years - they're all taller than me
Yesterday was Christmas in Montenegro. I managed to pace myself better than my last Christmas here when, after 5 visits before 1pm, I felt a bit like Dawn French in the Christmas episode of the Vicar of Dibley….remember? So was pretty exhausted yesterday but at least I could move without….well I’ll spare you the details.
Tomorrow is our Christmas service followed by lunch together at the church. Looking forward to being with people and celebrating the birth of our saviour.
Mmmmm just had steak that came from an unfortunate young bull that died at the hands of my father-in-law 24 hours ago. On Sunday I get to witness pig slaughtering. With any luck I’ll be able to try my hand.
In other news. Rada came back home today with the phone number of a policeman who had stopped her for a routine traffic check. And an offer for both of us to go out for a drink with him. Intriguing but I don’t think we’ll be taking him up on his offer.
Today I found myself tired and stressed. I guess on one hand it is no big deal but on the other its not pleasant and does somewhat disable your productivity. There are reasons for being tired – staying up to0 late talking with Goca & Rada, getting up t0o early to drive to back to Niksic for language lessons, finally going running yesterday. There are reasons for being stressed – I couldn’t find my way round the kitchen, dinner got ruined, I’m living in a new country, I didn’t have time to go running today, I’m a human being. But I’d rather I wasn’t tired or stressed.
Ah well. Here’s to another day. A prayer and a decision to rely on God’s love for me in all situations (even kitchen mishaps) and I should be ok.
Saturday was wood cutting day. I have never seen so much but fortunately Rada’s uncle, Drago, came with his chainsaw. I was privileged to be involved with moving the wood from the road to the new wood pile.
A menial job I know but it is great to be part of what is going on. It was hard work and took most of the day but the benefit will be felt all winter long!
It reminds me again of the great community and family values in Montenegro. There is so much for us to learn (remember from our own heritage) in England. I also love how you are so much more connected with the resources you consume. Whether its eating eggs, pork or keeping warm you’re so much more involved with the whole process. November is killing season….I wonder what is in store for us!
I can’t sleep. I thought about writing a post about not being able to sleep. But I decided not to.
So I’m gonna write the world’s biggest “to-do” list and hopefully in the process remove all the stuff that is whizzing round my head and stopping me from sleeping.
I only have myself to blame though. I went to an ‘all you can eat’ last night and really pushed it. I weighed myself when I got back and I had put on 2kg while I was there! This means I’m only 1.5kg away from ‘obese’ on the Body Mass Index. I am working much harder to be healthier, but last night was a very deliberate blip in my smaller portions, eat less often diet. Mind you, I’m really not sure the temporary pleasure was worth it. I feel like a beached whale. And from what I understand beached whales rarely get good nights sleep.
In my house I have many items of clothing that have been plundered from poor people. I paid much less for them than they were actually worth which means I stole money from the workers that made them, somewhere across the other side of the world.
Lots of the food that I buy, I pay less for than the food is actually worth. Which means I have stolen money from the farmers who grew the food, somewhere across the other side of the world.
Much of the petrol I fill my car up with, I get quite cheaply because my country has gone to war to get cheaper oil. This means I buy into those wars, somewhere across the other side of the world.
“‘The plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?’ declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.” Isaiah 3:14-15