Friday, December 20, 2002

Happy Holidays!!!

This year, I did my Christmas cards by candlelight.  The power at its worst was one hour on, five hours off (1:5)!!!  Ugh, it was hard to keep my flat warm but with a large brick heater, two oil heaters, one element heater, and two wood-burning stoves, I managed to keep it at least at an acceptable level (except the living room which remains around 40º-50º F)

I had one minor accident with the wood stove in the living room and ended up toasting the front of one of my sweatshirts and lightly toasting the tip of my bangs.  I was trying to start a fire and decided to use some lighter fluid to aid since the wood was a little wet.  I forgot to open the second door so when the lighter fluid lit, the flames shot back out the door that I was using.  I think I probably said a couple things that would have caused my mom to look at me in fact, I think I got a look from Smokey, but at least the fire started :)  I was probably fortunate that I was wearing my glasses at the time.

The weather has been fairly mild and there hardly has been any snow.  We told some of the new people to the project that arrived in spring how cold the winters were...and now we have an incredibly mild one.  They don't believe that it was really that cold and difficult last winter :P

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Gobble, Gobble

There wasn't a Turkey this year for Thanksgiving as I was not able to find one in the local markets.  In fact, since Thanksgiving is a US holiday, I had to work :P  So, Thanksgiving passed without too much excitement or merriment for me.  I do miss the start of the holiday season.  Because Kosovo has a Muslim majority, there is little evidence of the holiday spirit that you see in the US.  In fact, the Serbian Orthodox Christmas isn't until the 7th of January!  

I was able to score a fake tree from Bondsteel this year and decorations from Bondsteel.  Sticking with family tradition, I decorated my office the day after Thanksgiving.  I passed out candy canes, which many of my colleagues had never seen before!  One interesting thing that I learned is that in Kosovo, they do not have a Christmas tree because they don't celebrate it...but they do make a tree for New Year's.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Things that Make You Go Ewww!

Eating is always an adventure in Kosovo.  With a combination of hot summer days and bad power, restaurants can have some trouble keeping food fresh.  I had quite an interesting experience recently at the small Alfredo restaurant across from OSCE.  I went over to the restaurant for lunch with a group of friends.  We ordered and sat down for a good meal.  The food is normally very delicious...but after today it will be a long, long, long time before I go back. 

One of the group ordered a pasta dish covered with cheese.  Just before taking a big bite of the meal, he noticed that the cheese was "crawling".  As it turns out, the cheese had spoilt and there were all sorts of little worms/maggots/nasty crawly bugs wriggling around in the lasagna dish.  I think all of us quickly lost our appetites as the dish was sent back to the kitchen.  Funnily enough, the waiter kept the dish on the bill when it was presented to the group and we protested heavily about paying for such a dish. 

Anyways, it was just another adventure in eating in Kosovo and I think I'll be poking my lasagna to make sure it doesn't move from now on!

Friday, August 30, 2002

New Family Member

There was a new addition to my family at the end of last month.  I adopted a puppy that was born under the containers in HQ.  I named him Smokey.  I can't say how excited I am to have a puppy of my own :)  I have always loved dogs and love having a pet. 

My rugs are absolutely ruined after house-training him...but he is house-trained now :) I learned the hard-way that I can't feed him the wet dog-food that is sold in the markets because his stomach doesn't take it well *eww*  And he does seem to get a little sick in the puking every single time he goes anywhere!!!  
I was able to find a vet in Pristina to give him his distemper and rabies shots.  Since he was living with his brothers and sisters under our containers, it wasn't a surprise to me to find that he had fleas and worms...but that was quickly taken care of with medicine and bathing.

Smokey is also very curious.  I took him out on the balcony one night because he was whining so much and wanted to go outside, but not to the bathroom.  Well, he tried taking a dive head-first off the second floor but I luckily caught him by the legs before he was off!  He has taken to following me around the house to see what I am doing and I am taking care not to step or trip over him since he is constantly on my heels.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Road Rally Champ :)

This month, we had an IT Road Rally on the 25th that took us all around Kosovo.  Our chief and his wife spent several weeks driving the back roads and planning a route that would take us from Pristina to Prizren to the Moroccan Army base near Obilic.  Aaaaaaaaaaand...I was the champ!!!
Some of the clues and answers were like..

Bear left at the palm trees 100 meters before a venerable world famous restaurant.  Q>Name the restaurant.  A>Venera Mc'Donalds

200 meters after the structure reminiscent of a NASA rocket launch, Q>  Name the restaurant "for the birds". A>Aviano (for Air Force Base in Italy :)

Q> If you have seven pears on a tree and eat all but three, how many do you have? A> Three

Sunday, January 20, 2002

Freezing the Nether-Regions!!!

Agh!!!  It is soooo cold!  When I returned from Christmas vacation, I discovered that we had not had power for the past eight days in Gracanica and my flat was 20�F!  It was difficult to start a fire while your hands are shaking and your whole body is protesting the cold but I got one going!  Then I ran around the flat closing all the doors and pulled out the hide-a-bed couch in the living room, grabbed my thermal sleeping bag and camped in the living room for a couple of days until I was able to heat the rest of the house to an acceptable level.

Even though the power has been off, I have been able to use a cooler on the balcony as a refrigerator.  Unfortunately, while I was gone on vacation, the temperature in the real refrigerator dropped so low that one of my cans of pop I got to clean up that mess :P