Signs we have been in Bosnia for a loooong time and there may be some readjustment required before entry back into the UK:
1. When the traffic lights go green, my first instinct is now to hoot the horn, then to put the car in gear.
2. Pedestrians, what are they? (in my defence, if you take the definition of safe driving to be driving in a way that people expect you to, then stopping to let pedestrians cross the road does constitute dangerous driving as people will go into the back of you).
3. When I look out of the window and see some metal poles in the garden opposite, my first thought isn't ooo, look, football goalposts, it is oooo, look, a place to bash carpets.
4. It's 6pm. I've just decided to make the boys burgers for dinner, but we have no mince or buns. But that's ok, because we can nip round the corner to the butcher (open every day until 7pm) and then wander along just a little further to a bakers (open everyday until 10pm). On the way back I'll stop at the little local store to pick up some fresh tomatoes and free range eggs from the chickens in their backyard (open every day until 10pm). Total walking time for the entire round trip. 5 minutes. Total cost, not very much at all. England is going to come as a shock. I'm dreading Tesco's and the thought of the local convenience store veg there is making me feel a bit sick.
5. A no-smoking table? What's that?
6. A coffee in a cafe can last a good 90 minutes. Possibly longer.
7. Activities and meeting up with friends are to be arranged no earlier than the previous day. Any earlier, and the other person will just forget anyway. I've learnt to look at my week, stretching before me with nothing arranged at all and not be scared. I'm a little worried if I look at a week with many activities planned, I'm going to go into controlled chaotic panic.
8. Everything can be mended, fixed, put back together. Throw nothing away. If nothing else then the boys can play with it outside.
9. An obsession with cleaning windows has taken hold. The Bosnians are forever hanging out of high towers to ensure their windows are sparkling. It's quite nice, particularly when compared to the greasy smeared efforts of our house in the UK.
10. On learning that we have to go and see a Bosnian ministry, our first thought is now 'who do we know who might be able to help us' rather than just heading over with hope in our hearts and confidence in the system.
Signs that I will never be a Bosnian however long I stay
1. I do believe that sljivavica (plum brandy, the national drink) is not fit for human consumption. I am now ducking for cover as the Bosnians recoil in horror and start proceedings for our instant deportation.
2. My Bosnian is torture for the listener. But they seem to understand much better when I put on my best James Bond villain accent. Then I have no problems. Well except for the attack of the giggles as I imagine myself a karate chopping, leather wearing, sleek black bob sporting, kick ass kind of girl.
3. I can't wear jeans that tight. I just can't.
5. I can't take the ticks. The season has started. I now spend my evenings grooming the dog and extracting them from her fur. They are disgusting creatures and meet their doom in a glass of sljivavica (see point 1).
6. When I say no chocolate for the kids, I really mean please don't give them any chocolate. Feeding them sugar out of the sugar bowl isn't acceptable either. Particularly when one has already been car sick that day and we've got a bit of a drive home.
7. I have no idea if food will be served when we go to visit someone. I've lost count of the number of times we've been served up an enormous meal, with multiple courses when all I was expecting was a coffee.
8. I like set meal times. Breakfast at the beginning of the day. Lunch after some morning activities. Dinner when it is getting dark. I have no idea when the Bosnians eat their meals, but it certainly isn't the same schedule as mine!
9. I like my children to go to bed by 8pm at the latest. By 8pm I have had enough of them, and they have had enough of me. Plus I want to have a bath in peace. The thought of them still being up at 10pm and later makes me feel a tad teary.
10. Playgrounds are good things. Playgrounds that are open are better. Playgrounds that aren't built on the thickest gloopiest mud imaginable are better still. Playgrounds with all of these and without nails sticking out of the equipment are best of all. My boys are going to be in seventh heaven when they get back and see their first playground since November. Come to think of it, so will I.
As you can see by the post, we are not sitting on a flight from Belgrade as was looking likely next week. The boys and I are coming back on Tuesday instead. I'm looking forward to the flight as much as the thought of searching for a bracelet in a bucket of vomit. To get me in the mood of flying with two small children I'm off to read the flying with kids carnival put together by Mellow Mummy. And then I'm stick my head in the sand about moving for a bit longer.
Emily Vest writes the Brits In Bosnia blog detailing life as an expat Mummy in Bosnia with 2 small boys now aged 3 and 4 1/2.
Photo - Centre of Tuzla, our home town.
Photo Credit: Little Green Dragon