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I wonder why we are all unique in one way or the other. Because of who we are? (Too shallow). It’s because we are throughout our lives shaped by our experiences, people we meet, people we don’t, schools from which we graduated or dropped out of, careers we pursue or stopped pursuing, trains we caught or missed, dreams we thought would never come true and the ones we have yet to fulfill, our fears: the fear of dying, flying, aging, loving, not being loved, being paralyzed, imprisoned, abandoned, rejected, not respected, the fear of mutilation, separation, humiliation and finally shame. According to surveys (source: Wikipedia), some of the most common fears are of demons and ghosts, the existence of evil powers, cockroaches, spiders, snakes, heights, water, enclosed spaces, tunnels, bridges, needles, social rejection, failure, examinations, and public speaking.

We are influenced by births and deaths, jobs we’ve done enthusiastically or half-heartedly, past lovers, loves of our lives, unrequited loves, crying over spilled milk (it’s no use), spilling the beans (once, many times), people we trust, people we don’t, people who betrayed us, people we deceived, people we lied to, people we have been lying to, people we could never lie to, truths yet to be told, our friends, our families, our acquaintances, our neighbors, our parents, in-laws, strangers in the night, our soul mates, people we have nothing in common with, best sex ever, worst sex ever, public sex, private places, words spoken, messages between the lines, messages taken, messages misread, secret glances, memories (good and bad), diaries, photos, galleries, books, songs, funny jokes, lousy jokes (why laugh then?), witty people, boring chores, errands to run, demanding bosses or just bosses, a wish to become a boss but knowing deep down you’ll just go on being bossy without being someone’s boss, perfectionism, a lack or ambition, excuses, secrets and regrets, drunken parties, camping sites, starry nights, starless lives, falling in love, falling out of love (will I ever love again?), falling apart, falling, falling…

We are molded by being polite for no reason or for a good reason, not offending somebody, offending somebody, being offended by somebody, meeting somebody, fancying somebody, dating somebody, getting married, having kids, getting divorced, getting back together, our first kiss (cat got your tongue?), first sex (painful), last sex (don’t remember), sleepovers, confessions on the dance floor, estranged siblings, estranged partners, being born again, food to die for, girls and boys to die for, dirty hospital linen, good doctors, bad doctors, cramped buses and deserted beaches, moments of utter happiness and profound sadness, embarrassments, school trips, day trips, bicycle rides, journeys we took, places we visited, going to visit, about to visit, shall never visit, paying a visit, being visited.

Images take turns before my eyes, images of big beds, empty beds, small beds (who mentioned small beds?), snoring, hiccuping, does somebody out there still think about me sometimes – wishful thinking, wishes coming true, wishes we stopped wishing, cruelty, poetic justice, paradise found, paradise lost, paradise regained (maybe), breathtaking waves, breaking the waves, empty stomachs and full hearts, full stomachs and empty hearts, a carousel: an amusement ride with seats for riders, how amusement stopped being amusing. When did amusing turn into amused (if at all)? I love you’s, don’t forget to take out the trash, why didn’t you take out the trash? I am happy. I am unhappy. (Are you happy?) 2 in 1, a baby bump, 3 in 1 (when are you due?), light, who turned off the light? I can’t see (light at the end of the tunnel).



After waking up and kicking and wriggling in our bed for a while, B. turns on his stomach and pushes his way off the bed. He moves things to and fro, starting with my socks drawer which he empties thoroughly. Knowing he’ll be safe for a few seconds, M. and I go back to bed, briefly closing our eyes. The socks are flying all over the room. They are on the bed, under the bed, on the window sill, and in his laundry basket. Now he’s on the other side, pulling the sliding closet door and taking out the towels, napkins, his hygiene products and cloth diapers. Suddenly, we hear an unfamiliar sound.  What is he up to? He’s trying to climb the changing table. Yes, he’s made it. I didn’t think he wouldn’t. Get out of there. Down, mister. His diapers are full. He needs to eat. We get up.

While I’m preparing his breakfast, I’m going through today’s to-do list in my head. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, fruit, don’t forget the fruit and veggies market, strawberries, raspberries, playing in the backyard, nuts, laundry, get the swimming pool ready, cut his nails (he scratches), yogurt, buy cheese, we’re running out, juice, tea with lemon. M’s in a hurry today. He washes up, gets dressed quickly, grabs a banana and next thing you know, he’s at the door tying shoelaces. Daddy’s gotta go sweetie, but he’ll be back, I promise, no need to worry.  Don’t cry; momma’s here. Momma’s with you. Brush your teeth up and down, brush your teeth round and round… He hears me sing and heads straight for the bathroom. He knows it’s time to do the teeth. Brush your teeth from left to right, brush your teeth in the morning and night… I’m closing the door behind him, putting his bib on, and squeezing toothpaste onto his brush while he’s waiting patiently. Brush your teeth to keep them white…We brush our teeth together. Brush your teeth in the morning and night…

M’s out. We can get back. On his way out, B. grabs the shampoo bottle. He’s running rampant through the apartment: living room, bedroom, kitchen, living room, bedroom, kitchen. Put that thing down. Put it down, I said. Don’t touch that. Not the garbage, for God’s sake. Not in your month! What do you have in your mouth? Spit it out! Spit it out! A long list of don’ts.

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Breakfast served. Breakfast eaten. The dishes are dirty. The dishes are clean. The dishes are dirty. No dishwasher, all manual labor. I’m sipping my first morning coffee, looking away for a split second. A loud crash. Several glasses and mugs are on the floor, shattered in hundreds of pieces. By the time I get the dustpan from the storage room, B’s already seized the cupboard tablecloth and pulled it down. His glass nuts jar falls on the ground. Don’t come near. Mom will take care of it. He watches me collect the big pieces with my hands. God, what a mess!


My son’s 18 months old. He’s just woken up. I wake up too. I don’t bother to check the time. I know it’s early. Not for him though. For B. it’s just the right time. Rarely does he sleep through the night. He sleeps tight for a few hours, then starts tossing and turning, next he cries a bit (or a lot), and sometimes he picks up his pacifier, puts it back in his mouth and goes back to sleep. This time M. does it instead. B. spits it out and sits right up waiting. He wants to be close to us so we let him finish sleeping in our bed since he can’t settle in his crib. We have been trying to break this co-sleeping habit but he keeps “raising objections” so it hasn’t been easy. Broken nights have been pretty exhausting for both but as long as he feels safe and protected, we’re ok with it.

Once he moves in with us, he’ll take possession of most of the bed (usurper: a person who takes a position of power or importance illegally or by force), squirming, in an attempt to get comfortable, until it’s time for him to get up. During these few hours he spends with us, he’ll demonstrate zero tolerance to his dog-tired parents, and consequently we’ll hardly sleep a wink. To date I’ve read dozens of articles and forums with tips on baby sleep only to discover we haven’t been doing anything wrong, really. In a nutshell, B. is a lousy sleeper and there’s nothing we can do about it. Be that as it may, we tend not to worry. As tiring as it is, we know it’ll pass. Besides, we’re not the only ones in the boat.

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It’s past 7AM and B. is almost ready to get up.  His leg is on my head while he’s pulling M’s hair and playing with his ears, which is his usual ritual signaling it is either bedtime or that he’s awake but not ready to open his eyes yet. Now he’s really up and about. He’s crawling, kicking, punching, slapping, pushing, pinching, scratching, and biting. He stands up. He sits down. He’s running on the bed. We run after him. He’s jumping up and down. We jump out of bed. Wake up folks. We’re gonna hop. Let’s twirl. Let’s hop and twirl. We fall down. One man is still standing. We’re wide awake thanks to the loudest alarm clock in the world. Shock and awe.



Back in the olden days, as Peppa Pig says it nicely, I used to take notes about everything and anything when I was younger: diaries, random thoughts, essays, short stories, arguments, romantic ideas, secret longings and so on. I remember even keeping a war journal during NATO’s air strikes against Serbia, a painfully honest, and rather hard to swallow testimony of a time from the perspective of a 22-year old English Language and Literature student back in 1999. Interestingly, this speaking straight from the shoulder is the only thing I never ever went or wanted to go back to. I do know where the book’s hidden though. The thing is – I’m still not sure what I might find there, what horror, shock or disgust for once the genie is out of the bottle, there’s no going back. Actually, I got my mind set on pulling it off the shelf this very summer. It’s gonna take time, a whole lot of precious time, it’s gonna take patience and time, to do it, to do it, to do it…to do it right child. Whether I’m going to do it for real this time or wait another 20 years is yet to be seen. Anyhow, I’ll keep you posted.

I loved spreading my thoughts on a white piece of paper, and decorating the page with dried plants, drawings of my own, intriguing quotes, book excerpts and magazine cutouts. It was liberating, truthful, direct, maybe not always virtuous, but certainly done with a good intention even if unsuccessful or foolish at times. Some notebooks I kept, some I gave as a present to my high school darling at the time, some I shared with the class as a part of a regular school assignment. Some I burnt, literally (where there’s a teenager, there’s drama), some disappeared mysteriously and some still lie hidden at the back of the drawers and shelves at my parents’.

As time went by, I stopped expressing myself in this way. I’ve never known why. At first, I thought I had lost the ability to produce anything meaningful, experiencing a creative slowdown. But then again, I’ve been constantly pressed for time since I started studying and then working and silly as it may sound, I forgot (not how to write but to write in the first place). So I can’t even call it writer’s block as I haven’t done any writing until now. I could have lost interest though or simply haven’t had anything to say, which is highly unlikely.

Whatever the case, here I am now, not actually having any specific goal ahead of me, but a blank piece of paper and a huge drive to get down to work. I haven’t just come up with some super original idea. As I said, no plans whatsoever. A notion that I haven’t forgotten how to write and that I still can just popped into my head. So I’ll just play it by ear and see what happens. You may call it a revelatory moment, a mental breakthrough, a sudden insight, a moment of illumination, an epiphany. On the other hand, these undefined perplexing thoughts which came rushing to my mind might as well be a result of inner turmoil, disturbance, confusion, sadness, rage, anxiety and restlessness I’ve been feeling lately. It is highly likely this whole thing I’m doing is some self-healing attempt, some process of recovery, some journey I am determined to embark on in hopes of getting out of this mess. Yes, that’s what it is – an attempt to get to the root of my obnoxious mood swings or shall I call it neurosis. I guess most of us suffer from it at some point in our life, which doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve radically lost touch with reality but have rather been feeling symptoms (mild or not so mild)  of stress, depression, moodiness and/or obsessive behavior. As a matter of fact, a recent study says that moody neurotics are more likely to be creative geniuses (or original thinkers, as someone put it nicely). That’s why I’d prefer to refer to it as soul-searching, reconciliation and finding peace I long for. It’s gonna take guts, patience, time and energy but I believe I’m ready. This conversation with myself I have been putting off for too long is meant to scrutinize my feelings, decisions, motives, convictions, attitudes and finally reactions. Anyway, I am basically certain only of my uncertainty at the moment. Something’s telling me we’re all going to find a whole lot more than we bargain for.

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I am a teacher who teaches, a translator who translates, a would-be blogger, a workaholic, a perfectionist, a sarcast, a skeptic, a realist with dreams, an art lover, a travel freak, a tennis fan, a coffee junkie, a carnivore, an environmentalist, a political being, a good person, a bitch, a neurotic, a soul searcher, a careful daughter, a caring daughter, a missing sister, a part-time wife, a part-time friend, and a full-time mom. I am a citizen of the world (who happens to be the citizen of Serbia), once a permanent resident of Canada, now a German temporary residence permit holder, a legal alien in all three.

Who am I? One in a million, one and only or one and lonely?!

Let’s find out. Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, believed that, in answering these insightful questions, we reveal our true nature. Here’s a part of Proust Questionnaire:

__1.__If you could be someone else, who would you like to be? – An eccentric artist, opening my eyes wide to the usual incredible sunset.
__2.__What is your idea of perfect happiness? – A happy family and a peaceful frame of mind.
__3.__What is your greatest fear? – The death of loved ones.
__4.__When and where were you the happiest? – When my son puts his arms around me, every time, any place.
__5.__What is your favorite word? – Freedom and culture, absolutely priceless.
__6.__Which talent would you most like to have? – A talent for singing.
__7.__Who are your heroes in real life? – My son and my husband.
__8.__What do you consider the most overrated virtue? – Modesty.
__9.__On what occasion do you lie? – To protect others, to protect myself and prevent disasters.
__10.__What do you most dislike about your appearance? – I used to really hate my nose and breasts when I was younger. Luckily, I’ve grown up.
__11.__If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? – I’d like to be more patient and less pig-headed.
__12.__Which words or phrases do you most overuse? – I mean.
__13.__What do you consider your greatest achievement? – Remaining relatively sane and stabile against all odds.
__14.__If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? – A male, to hear their side of the story.
__15.__What is your most treasured possession? – I don’t think I have one. I’m not good at possessing things.
__16.__Who is your favorite fictional character? – Goofy, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Tintin.
__17.__How would you like to die? – Healthy and old, in the kingdom by the sea.
__18.__What is your current state of mind? – Somewhere in between.

Ok Marcel, you’ve stripped me naked. Psychoanalyze me.

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WHO AM I AND WHAT I AM DOING HERE…in this world (too metaphysical for the wee hours), this very city in this very country (are there coincidences or things happen for a reason – too deterministic), this big bed for that matter (gee, too particular)?

Honestly, what am I doing here, suddenly being flooded with dozens of thoughts, a rush of emotions and an unstoppable urge to get out of bed, take an empty notebook and write? What about? Don’t know yet. Where am I going with this? No idea, but I’ll share it with you when I get there.

Now, after experiencing this light bulb moment and grabbing a blank notebook, I’m back in bed. No, I don’t sleep with a laptop (only a tablet) and it’s only later that I’ll transfer this to the white paper on my computer thus taking the first step toward joining the community of bloggers on the web. So, before opening a small book with ruled pages, I turn it around and upside down, inspecting it thoroughly and touching its covers. Then, I put it under my nose and smell it. It has that irresistible new book smell.  Something just stuck me, something I’ve read on the Internet. There’s a perfume called Paper Passion which makes you smell like a freshly printed book. A fragrance specially designed for serious bookworms. Cool, isn’t it?

Can we judge a book by its odor?