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A Kosovo Experience

I was speaking to a lady at work today about the people of Kosovo and their joy at independence and the Serbian people’s riots over their liberation, and it struck me that I can share a unique experience I went through nearly four years ago when I drove through Kosovo, in one day.

My husband and I were travelling all over Europe and living in a van, when we hit Croatia and were busting to go to Turkey, but were hestiant due to the southern countries standing in our way. To drive through Albania meant you would probably get robbed, or your car stolen, and the only other way was to go through Montenegro (previously Yugoslavia), Kosovo, Macedonia, to Greece then Turkey. As we started to plan our trip it was looking unlikely that we’d get into Turkey with the car and we didn’t want to leave it anywhere, so we settled on at least getting to Greece and enjoying the sunshine, food and people there.

We talked to a few tourists that we met, as many didn’t speak english, read our travel books and decided to make a “run”for it, through those countries described, in a day.

Montenegro seemed pretty hard up and still grappling with their own poverty. However, it had some very beautiful elements, that you see in the lastest James Bond “Casino Royal” movie, that is shot on a beautiful island with dramatic mountains and water scenery, see these two pics, that describe Montenego’s beauty.

montengro.jpg    montenegro.jpg

Anyway, to the crux of this blog, KOSOVO

As we neared Kosovo, we were not sure what to expect, as we’d been stopped by quite a number of police in Montenegro and we were wondering would Kosovo be even worse than this?? Well, it was actually quite civilised, the police and border guards were on their best behaviour, there was a UN presence everywhere, we noticed the proliferation of children playing on the street or swimming, which we hadn’t seen for quite a few days. People seemed happy and they were all out busy working in the field. I believed they were keen to rebuild their country quickly and felt very proud of their country. They must have been robust to recover so quickly from the disasters of the 1990’s. And maybe they were happy to be rid of communism?? I wouldn’t know. After Montenegro, that was full of mountenous country, Kosovo offered farming land that was flat and farmable. It seemed like it’s land would provide riches if people were able to gain access to land.

Here are some photos of Kosovo. Note, they are taken from a car, so you may notice the cars window’s showing up in the photos, but I think it will paint a good picture of the place for you.

dcp_5237.jpg dcp_5239.jpg dcp_5240.jpg dcp_5241.jpg dcp_5243.jpg dcp_5242.jpg 

Since I have learnt that the people of Kosovo have gained indpendence from Serbia (old Yugoslvaia), I felt very happy for a people who are so proud of their own country and heritage.

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If you had of told me on Saturday night at about 6pm, that our dam would fill up and our property would be flooded with water on Sunday morning, I would have told you you were crazy, and that it would not happen! Well, we rushed out and redirected some of the tank water in case the heavens did open and made the necessary plans.

And, well, it happened. The Bureau said we’d get about 25mm of rain, but our rain guage holds 70mm and it was overflowing ! Shock horror.

Here’s a pic to give you an idea of the deluge we received.

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Yes, you will notice in the third photo, that is our jetty underwater. We have found the frogs are now making their happy noises in the drains and my husband found a yabby (freshwater crayfish) under the house, who might have been escaping the water overload.

Here are the pictures of our dam in March this year,

I have a great feeling inside to know that we have some relief from the drought. I

think I might go and pull the canoe out this afternoon.

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 I mentioned in an earlier post that I met up with an old student of mine, Lizzy Player, in Bangkok, Thailand. Mind you, I had a funny tummy and couldn’t stomach anything. So Lizzy and my husband got to indulge in Thai food while I attempted not to watch.

We still did a bit of a tiny pub crawl, firstly hitting a place called Cheap Charlies. Which is basically a pub on the street where all the ex pats and tourists hit. And yes, it’s cheap but also full of lots of ephemeral stuff that would cause any small child to have nightmares. But it adds to the attraction of the place. Below is a pic of us at CC’s.

Cheap Charlies

Anyway, view below and you will see what I’m on about.

Thanks Lizzy for a great catch up !! You are a gem ! And it’s good to throw out the image of librarians as being shhhhhhhhh people, as this catch up was one to remember. Librarians rock in Bangkok !

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cc.jpg

Yeeeees, the restaurant is called, Cabbages and Condoms !!

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I’m presenting a paper  on saturday at the Australian and New Zealand Theological Association Conference, my paper is titled, “Transform: yourself and your library service with some handy tips and tricks using my toolbox”. I aim to post the paper to this site, but maybe not for a month or so.

The topics I will be discussing includes:

  • Information Organisation
  • Colour coding
  • Emails
  • Schedules
  • Saying No (when appropriate)
  • Listen to your clients
  • 80/20 rule
  • Networking in your organisation
  • Policy and procedures…
  • Technology to make your life easier – intranet, blogs and wikis
  • Improve yourself
  • Mentoring students and staff

Anyway, I have a style that likes to engage the audience and keep them interested in what we will be discussing. As well as poking a bit of fun at myself. I have taken a few snapshots to show them in the introduction of my paper to get them interested.

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Yes, that’s my illustrious co-worker Katy and myself, trying to demonstrate that my tips and tricks offered at the conference will transform yourself and your library from feeling very busy and from wearing alot of hats at one time to feeling refined and in control.Enough of the gas bagging, back to the paper…

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Drought Gauge

dam2.jpg

I had intended to use our dam as a gauge as to the state of the drought, but it seems that no sooner had I decided this, but the dam filled up within a few days. Okay, okay, I have my farmer Jill hat on again, but I think it’s imperative to our lives to have some interest in the state of our environment. I won’t give a lecture here, or rabbit on about it. I posted an earlier photo of the state of our dam in March, and it remained that way till last week. As I mentioned, the papers were trying to whip up more media frenzy by saying they wouldn’t fill for another few years, hence, the media was wrong, yet again. I thought it would be good to record that Melbourne might possibly be moving out of a drought it has experienced for over 10 years, but how do you really measure that?

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Winter Sun

Winter Sun

Here I am, playing around in the winter sunshine. I just love those long shadows created by the sun…bet you can’t tell I have a beanie, huge coats and jeans on because it’s sooo cold.

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Jill’s Weekend Toolbox

This has been my random weekend toolbox for the last few weeks. My wheelbarrow consists of native seedlings, a shovel (rarely, the crowbar), potting mix and water crystals, oh, and a bucket for watering them in. This photo hasn’t turned out very well as it was raining at the time, and I was keen to get these last lot in and hang up the shovel for another year. This year, we have planted approx 100 plants in our front yard, varieties include bottle brush, native gums, hebes (pretty purple or white flower, very hardy), acacia and anything else that is hard that I can get my hands on. I am looking forward to the blooming results…

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