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Archive for September, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Okay, okay….I know it has been much too long since my last post….would you believe me if I told you that I had two posts already written up that just “magically” disappeared while I was traveling? Yes? No? — well, regardless here I am now!

Towards the end of August I traveled to Kiev for a training conference for our secondary programs. It was a very informative 4 days of learning how the recruitment process is put together here, how we evaluate students who apply for our programs and how final decisions are made. It was a great opportunity to meet other American Councils field staff (as I had not previously met anyone working in other AC countries!) and to get a better grasp on our programs. A very busy, but useful time!!

Following the Kiev conference, I headed back to the States (re-routed due to the “Hurricane of the Century” to Chicago and then to Akron) and filled the next 5 days in Ohio with running around way too much, packing the rest of my stuff and helping Josh to button up the house in Seven Hills. It was a lot of work and I regret that I did not have more time to just spend with family and friends….on top of the running around, my body decided to betray me and I was sick for the entire week as well….ahhh…..the best laid plans…..some things just never work out how you want them too….

With husband in tow we arrived back in Belgrade on September 5th (Labor Day for all those in the US).  Our trip was definitely one to remember – starting with an overbooked flight from DC to Munich that then got changed to a different flight from DC to Frankfurt and an alternate option from Frankfurt to Belgrade. All in all the flights worked out and we arrived only 1 hour after we were originally supposed to.  As is customary, we waited with all the other passengers at the baggage carrousel for our 3 crates and duffel bag all checked in at Cleveland Hopkins….we waited….we waited….and kept waiting…..but alas! No bags! After filling out a report for missing baggage at the airport we me Misha who whisked us off to the grocery store (to pick up my long awaited yogurt —- which you would have read about had the blog not come up missing!) and then to the apartment.  Unfortunately getting back to the apartment was a little anticlimactic as we didn’t have anything to unpack….after a nervous night of thinking our luggage may be lost forever, we received a call the next day that our luggage would be delivered to the apartment and around 5pm an airport van pulled up with our missing pieces. It was a huge relief! (By that point, as I was so tired, I couldn’t remember what I had packed, but knew it MUST be important! – the only thing I could remember is that I had packed 5 packages of sugar free pumpkin peeps, and I couldn’t stop thinking about them!) 🙂  — and yes, as soon as we got the bags, I tore into one of those packages! (needless to say, I am down to 1 lonely package…so sad….and it isn’t even Halloween yet!)

These last two weeks in Belgrade have been busy, fun and stressful all at the same time. I have really enjoyed showing Josh around and seeing Serbia through someone else’s eyes (he will have to give you his take on….let’s call it….”Serbian fashion”….) and seeing the little things that I don’t see anymore. This week we celebrated his 34th birthday which gave us our first opportunity to go to a restaurant here (amazing smoked trout!) and at dinner I asked him if he ever imagined in his life that he would be celebrating his birthday in Belgrade, Serbia, to which he promptly replied “No!” – but then said he is loving every minute of it (I am sure not EVERY minute, but hopefully most!) In these last two weeks at work we have been gearing up for our recruitment season, as we will start interviewing students who apply for our secondary exchange programs and I also attended two events (one at the US Ambassador’s house and one at the British Ambassador’s residence). I also started travel planning as I have several trips coming up. It looks like October and November will be crazy!

All in all I feel like I am getting to know Belgrade more and more every day and finding a niche here. I do find myself watching “Hot in Cleveland” every chance I get and love the references to the “Cleveland Playhouse” or “Lakewood”….just nice to hear something familiar from time to time….

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