Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Belgrade "Look-See" April 2011

It's hard to be famous!

I got the super lucky chance to actually go see and experience my new school before the beginning of the school year in August.  The current counselors, Denise and Liz picked me up from the airport, after a grueling 10 hour flight and 8 hour layover in Istanbul, and welcomed me into their lives for about 5 days.  I stayed at Denise's place most of the time as she was walking distance from, the school. I was dropped off at Denise's for a quick nap and clean up and then Liz took me out to meet her puppy and go for a nice Serbian dinner down town.  It was a lovely place, albeit smokey.  Yes they are still smokers inside bars/restaurants, like in China... oh well you can't get everything!  Then I went back to Denise's and passed out!

Day 1 at the school was great.  I was dropped off at the school and my name was on the billboard outside!  Yes people...famous, I am!  The weather was beautiful, in full spring mode. I was lucky that it had just begun to warm up in the last few weeks! I met many cool people, some I will be working with and some that will be leaving. I basically just followed poor Liz (the girl who I am replacing) around and tried to take in all that was offered!  She was so gracious!! That night I went out to dinner with Denise and just hung out!  

Yugos yugos everywhere!
Day 2 at the school began at the middle school.  I got to see it.  It is a redone military headquarters so there are some interesting areas of the school.  That was a fun morning and then I was off to a Leadership meeting which was fun.  I got to meet and really chat with some key people in my new life and I am excited to get there and for us to work together.  On my way home I spotted many yugos everywhere and just could not help chuckling!!  I felt like I was back in time - college really with Christine's old yellow yugo that was always broken and a mess.  Great memories, though I digress...  That night was a parent night and a presentation that Liz put on that was fantastic!  I got to meet a few parents and more 11th graders and hear what they were hearing.. a rarity and a blessing. I think I made some Chinese hot and sour soup that night for Voija Denise's boyfriend and Denise.  
Liz and I laughing it up
Friday was the last day of school and I had many meetings with movers, the head, the principal, the office... but they were all essential and great as I got a clearer picture of my role next school year and my expectations.. plus they graciously answered all my thousands of questions!!!

Denise and I with Metaviche - (Sweet brandy)
group eating

Meat platter, pork, sausage, ham, chicken wrapped in bacon, beef, oh yeah and potato

Milan and me

Coolest bathroom seat- yes it's barbed wire!
That night we met a new friend Milan, my friend Damir's friend. Damir works at my school and is also from Serbia.  He took Denise, Mark and I out to a traditional Serbian meal with all the trimmings.  Meat upon meat.. good thing I am no longer vegetarian!  He dropped us off for one more drink... this is where there was a toilet seat made of barbed wire... ok inside plastic but still!!!!  It was a great night! 

The next day Voija and I went to the market while Denise helped teach a dance class at the school.. this was a great time and I am excited about these markets; everything is marked and you don't have to bargain!  YEAH!  Voija then kicked everyone out of the kitchen and cooked us up a FABULOUS MEAL.  Soup, chicken, cabbage, greens, you name it!  It was lovely!  I also went and looked at various housing establishments hoping I would see where I was going to live!  I won't find out until June but I made some hopeful pleas!!!  I then went to stay one night with Liz down town to get  a feel of that area as well.
Downtown has its own feel.. very urban chic!  I like the feel of the city.. Vibrant yet with a grungy undertone.   I got a glimpse of my first bombed out building apart from New York 9-11.The people are passionate and giving and kind and I am looking forward to the move immensely!  Liz has an ideal and absolutely fantastic apartment on the top floor of her building.. You can walk everywhere which is nice. We went to the fab restaurant called whatever on the corner as it has changed names so many times but loved the food and atmosphere!  Then we found this hidden bar in the basement of some building!  What a great trip!  Not much more I can say except.... here I come in August!

Mittens on my coat!

Cool building

A gathering place in town 

Bombed out building #2

Bombed out building #1

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors

My Trip to Xi'an to see the Terracotta Warriors: March 19-20, 2011

My mom really wanted me to go and see this amazing place.  I am glad she pushed me to go as I now feel I have really traveled to all the places I have wanted to see in China before I move in June.
 Interesting fact is that this city was the beginning of the Silk Road and the inner city is still surrounded by the a wall.  The emperor of the time I think his name was Qin (Dynasty) helped to bring the name of the country, same with the tea drinking cups "china".  I guess he was a huge tyrant and not nice man and when the people rebelled they found his army that he created for his afterlife and smashed them to bits.  A farmer in the 70's (whom I actually met) found this historic site and some interested broken clay faces while digging for a well.  He realized the possible significance and contacted the government.  Thus he is a hero although he is no longer a farmer...  Here are the photos.  Each warrior is unique and the men that built them were slaves and many time lost their lives if the creation was not perfect.  
Watch out, woman general!

All men must read!


warriors drying

drying first before the kiln

Mold for small soldiers

perfecting the mould

miniature warriors!!

creating indiv. faces for the warriors

Factory man, smoking!  Only in China

Best jeans ever!

In all their glory

the detail is amazing

happy or not?

swords are gone now...

my screen saver

interesting man

lone sentry

Me proving I was there! 
Since there are so many that were smashed if not most of them , they go to the clinic to be placed back together.  They use digital images to get the pieces to the right warrior and then they are pieced back together.  Each one takes about a year.  They work at night so that people can observe them during the day.


getting ready to be placed in the lines

he was not smashed and is preserved in glass.

I loved this guy!

he still has some color left to him

look at the detail in the shoe! 

gotta love the hair!
all the color oxidized and is gone now

picture of a picture - the original find

slowly they rebuild.

 DAY 2:  The Walled CITY:

Awesome dragon on the top of the wall
Around the inner city is a 9km wall and we got to bike over it.  There is also a mote and three sets of doors for security.  This emperor was worried about his enemies.. his idea for the wall and he unified what we know now as China. Great vision yet scary man.
Best Trash Can ever!

Tai Chi Man

Making the moves

finishing the moves

view of the wall

Wallace my gude

view from the top

love this pic

bells to let us know the time!

This was a fun very quick trip, but ultimately worth it!  Thanks, Mom!