Thursday, December 16, 2010

Laughter is the Best Medcine

video
Little A was so tired the other day from all the fresh crisp air, I had to swaddle him up with a warm bottle to sleep.  Everything I said to him was funny.  It made me remember when i was little (not as little as A) but when I was old enough to go to sleep overs with my friends.  We would stay up so late that at a certain point everything was so so funny.  Laughing so hard you can't breath... even a snort or two.
How great does it feel to laugh!  
Here is some info about Laughter..

Just a blown up gas line... meh

We were woken up from family nap today by a giant boom that shook the whole building.  
I jumped out and ran to the window and saw people gathering outside and staring up at the building..
Is the building on fire??
Smoke and Steam
Everywhere.
I went on the balcony and there was a manhole open with steam shooting out of it and sirens on their way.
Do we need to evacuate??
I made TH go downstairs and get the scoop and I dressed Little A and thought about what do I take if we need to get out..
What would I take?
His food/bottles/water
Passports
Blankets/Diapers
Stroller
Heck... I have 6 hockey bags sitting here.. give me 10 minutes and I can pack up everything we own here and be waiting outside the shady elevator.
TH came back to report.. 
"just a blown gas line.. blew the manhole lid off"
Wow.. that was loud.. and thank god nobody was standing on the manhole.
So now 6pm ish.. I just walked in the door from the store to buy dinner, there are 6 men digging up the line in the dark snowy cold.  They are all actually working. 
They also have a bobcat type tractor with a drill.  
So I guess tonight I will be falling alseep to drilling and ding dongs... which is still better than blowing up in a gas line explosion obviously.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Big Tub

In another lifetime I was probably a mermaid.. and that is where my love for water comes from..
This is the 4th time we have had a Big Tub..
not only is it VERY deep.. but it is also very long.
One of my favorite things to do used to be to fill the tub with the hottest water and then open the windows in the winter.. so it is nice mixture of hot/cold.. then chill out and watch a show on my computer or read a book. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!
Since little A came I haven't been able to do this... not because of the 'no time' factor but more because our house tub in Windsor Park is shallow and short... then in Holland we only had the classic shower on the bathroom wall... where the water goes all over the floor.. gross...
But here..
the tub in giant.. 
You have to flip the hot water switch a couple hours before so that you have hot water but it is worth it.
When it is full it is up to my neck and when I lean back it is sometimes scary because my feet don't touch the end of the tub.. 
I could drown because I am human and not a mermaid.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shady little Elevator

Having lived in Europe for 3 hockey seasons before this one I was already aware of the fact that they don't always have the same safety standards as some things in North America.

In North America, we are taught to always put your baby in a car seat when you are driving...  here I was told tonight by the cab driver who wasn't being patient as TH hooked the car seat inside..
"JUST throw your baby on your lap.."
YA RIGHT BUDDY.
I remember watching out the window of our apartment in Holland as children played in the playground outside.. 
a rope play structure jungle gym.... 
Something that would have been taken down at home in a second.
Another example is when mom and I went to the catacombs in Paris.  Underground cemetery... rows and rows of skeletal remains.. right there in arms reach.. mom even stuck her fingers in someone's eye sockets which I was NOT impressed by..  
This would be a health issue at home..

I am VERY grateful to having an elevator.  
I basically need one for the stroller now.
Our elevator here is VERY small. It fits me, TH and the stroller in it tight.  
Then you must close the main metal door, then the 2 wooden doors have to close which means you have to lean and step backwards so they can close.  
If someone forgets  to close the metal door on one of the floors the elevators just won't work. 
GEEZ..  
When this happened TH ran up the levels above us.. the doors were closed.. then he stayed with A and I ran down the levels below.. main floor.. door open.  
I got inside closed it and rode up to get them.
We live on the forth floor but here they don't count the first floor as 1 so we press 3 to get to our place.  
When we first moved in nobody told us that the bright red button with the symbol on it meant main floor.  
We figured... red button = emergency stop  
So when we got in and went downstairs we pressed 0.  
When we got to 0 we opened the little wooden doors and the metal door was locked. 
WTF
It is that nightmare that we all have about getting stuck in an elevator except for us... we don't speak Serbian and nobody knows us here to even come looking for us.
We closed the wooden doors and pressed 0 thinking we were on the wrong floor... wouldn't move.
Panic sunk in... 
TH pushed the doors harder and I lost control and pressed buttons 1, 2, 3.. finally it moved to floor 1.  
We get out.. and it is actually floor 2.  
So we walked down the staircase and carried the stroller.  
Same thing happened the next day when I was with TI except she pressed the red button when we were stuck on 0 and the elevator went to the main floor. 
OF COURSE THE RED BUTTON MEANS MAIN FLOOR!!??
When TH got home a while later I couldn't wait to tell him what we figured out (we meaning TI).. he said that he figured it out too because he was stuck in there for a while until someone else got in on a different floor and he thought he would be nice and pressed the 0 button for him.. when he did the guy was like... agghhhh and then pressed the red button and they finally got off. 
Floor '0' is the bomb shelter.
Which you would expect to be a RED button right??
NOPE. 
Simple as that... if you are a local I guess.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Here Doggy Doggy.... yikes

I love dogs.  
When I got here about a week ago one of the first things I noticed was all the dogs around.
At home when you see dogs walking without leashes you figure that the owner is right beside them.. the only dogs I really worry about are the ones that are on the roads. 
This is when I would normally pull over and try to lure them into my car for safety and then drive around looking for their frantic owner.
Last summer I couldn't do this because I don't trust dogs in my car when little A is back there in his seat.
There are so many dogs here.
Then when I was talking about it with my friend TI, she told me about how there is a stray dog problem here and even dogs with collars are sometimes stray because the owners leave them out on the streets.
SAD
Then after she opened my eyes...
I started noticing that the dogs were homeless strays.
On the way into the rink I witnessed a dog fight.. doberman vs. popular tv dog (fluffy grey and white)..  the gm of the team scared them off and then laughed at me and how fast I pushed A into the doors of the arena.
On the way home that night... many dogs were crowed around the garbage bins looking for food.  
Kinda scary seeing many dogs together.
While this is still a serious problem in Serbia they are taking steps to control the problem.  
They have started teaching in the schools that it is wrong to abuse animals.  
They have developed laws that you cannot kill dogs on the street anymore.  
One article I read said they even made special shelters for dogs but the problem with that was they caged stray dogs together and then didn't have the supplies for them.. dogs were not fed properly, vaccinated or 'fixed' and the problem became bigger and some dogs became cannibals. 
I also read that there are many animal rights groups who are catching the dogs and adopting them out to other countries... I hope this happens more.
I feel so bad for these homeless doggies.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Church bell.. hell!

Have I mentioned the amazing location of our new apartment in Belgrade??  
It is pretty much prime location right in the centrum.  
Stamped paved walking streets, hundreds of people, patios, great shopping, restaurants and bakeries....... but there is one thing that makes it less than perfect.
DING DONG
The church across the street is old and beautiful  and for some strange reason it's bells ring every hour on the hour, one ding dong for 1:00... 2 ding dongs for 2:00 and so on up to 12 ding dings... 
then...
all night long this continues..
  Not only does it ring every hour on the hour.. it also rings once to let you know that it is 15 minutes past the hour and rings twice to let you know it is half past and then one ding dong again at 15 minutes to the hour.
THIS IS A LOT OF DING DONGS.
The first night I thought I had lost my mind at 5am when I got up and warmed a bottle... 
how could this be?? 
then when it rang at quarter after I was like.. 
holy moly this bottle is taking forever to heat up (waiting for water to boil) .. it has been an hour!  But then I saw only 15 minutes.
ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT.
The craziest part of this is that there is this stupid video game that I wish I could make disappear off TH's computer.  Every now and then he will put in a session at the command center and try to beat this one game he started like years ago and he can't beat.  
Anyways..it is a medieval times war game and for YEARS I have been falling asleep to the sounds of a church bell and trumpet and the words to declare war on other armies...  
That bells sounds like this bell!
Every time I hear the bell.. I look to see if he is playing that game.. and I get a little mad.

The ding dongs may just drive me to insanity... and if it does...  GOD help TH if he decides to put in a 'session' of that damn game when I am trying to sleep.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Belgrade, Serbia

"serbia"
"siberia??"
"no not SIBERIA.. SERBIA.."  
(convo with JM)

"hi guys.. where are you now??"
"we are in Serbia!"
"haha ya right.. but seriously where are you?"
(convo with TC)

"home for the month of January.. change of plans... TH signed in Saudi Arabia."
(post on JC wall)

"hope you brought your warm winter jacket!"
(inbox message from LH)

haha
I was very ignorant about Serbia before I came here.  
I thought it may be 3rd world-ish.  
Would I step on a land mine?  
Is it safe?  
I even had to look it up on a map to make sure I knew where it was exactly.

I found it even funnier when I told people where I was going...  Serbia isn't a top tourist destination, people just don;t know about Serbia.

So when we arrived in Belgrade, Serbia... a city with a population of over 2 million people it was a hot +17 C and we were happy to find out that people drive cars, live in houses and apartments and look like us.. hahah
I am happy to be here and to share my experiences with everyone.  Maybe after my Serbian Review.. there will be a couple more tourists from Canada that come to visit this beautiful country and it's VERY beautiful women... the men are alright.

Zoeter-Bankrupt.

I remember how excited I was in the summer when TH had signed with a team in Holland.  Him having his Dutch passport and now with little A having his, I felt like Holland was somewhere where the Harrison family needed to experience.  
The other reason was my strange love for windmills and cheese.
TH left first and A and I left on Sept 12th, 2010.  The city we were living in was called Zoetermeer and it was pretty much a great location and had everything we loved and needed.  
Little A and I walked everywhere and after only 2 months I felt like this was somewhere where we could stay another season.
The hockey... well... not the best I've seen and lets just leave it up to players to experience that themselves.  
I enjoyed watching the game and sharing our love for hockey with our son. 
After that 2 month point though... things started to crumble... week by week.  
I started to worry and I was ready for TH to pull the plug and find something else.. 
I had a feeling things were going to go south FAST. 
There was a day when I was very upset and was waiting for TH in the hallway, 2 people who I won't name came up to me and one put his hand on my shoulder and said.. 
"do not worry Harrison Family, it will work out for you, just trust us"
SO we did...  how do you look someone in the eye and touch their shoulder and LIE.
Anyways... 6 weeks later here we are in Serbia, not HOLLAND..

I do not regret my time in Holland nor do I hold grudges. 
Lets move on.
I met some great people who I will hopefully get to see again in the next hockey seasons.  There were so many people who went out of their way for us and for that I am grateful

That is basically the low down of how we ended up in Serbia but I think there is another reason.
I am not sure what it is yet but it feels like this was meant to be when I start piecing things together.

It is time.

After a year of no blogging I have finally been inspired to write about my experiences again.
I've  had severe writers block and since I have been in Serbia I have found myself wanting to share my experience with whoever wants to read them.
But.. unlike when I blogged before, I now have a little guy to look after and I don't have the time I used to to write everyday.. so check back often... but not too often :)