July 2008

Lots of things are happening with me in last … lets say two weeks. I already wrote about our newborn. His parents have decided to be utterly merciful and have sent me MMS with Vuk but I can’t find cable at the moment to move the image on the PC (will do). Therefore there’ll be no photo again. However I can assure you that indeed he’s not ugly at all (anymore). He is one cute little baby. I was hoping I’ll see him again before I go on vacation but I’m in total mess (which is more/less my regular state) so I will not.

I can’t believe what kind of babies my sister in law and my brother are making. It is as if they are ordering them! Namely my niece was a fantastic baby; she was sleeping, eating and shitting. OK “fantastic” from the perspective of a parent; if you ask me she was boring! You couldn’t do anything with her. She even didn’t want to be hold in the lap/hands. The last thing was great indeed. I remember once she was crying in the cradle and my mom wanted to hold her but I didn’t let her “If you hold her too much she’ll cry every time you put her back in the cradle!” but she was persistent (both, mum and niece). The last (unsuccessful) try was “She’s not blue yet” lol
Anyhow this new baby is the same as his sister (he only sleeps more … and shit more).

OK I had lovely birthday and birthday party because party was in Saturday while my birthday was in Thursday. I decided to male a cake, my first one and it was fabulous! Everyone said it’s better than my mom’s (I changed recipe) which is huge success cause I don’t eat sweets (therefore I don’t make those). It’s “Greek Cake” with lots of almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, dark chocolate and powdered cookies.
And presents are great! Books of course: History of Beauty by Umberto Eco (something I wished ever since I saw it for the first time!); My Michael by Amos Oz; Anthology of Nigerian stories; The Ruby in her Navel by Barry Unsworth; Birthday Stories by Haruki Murakami; Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore; A Guide to the Serbian Mentality by Momo Kapor (beautiful book written by heart; I’ve read few essays from there); Keith Harring ‘paint’ (which shows pretty much how I’m feeling now); Photo album; Kitchen accessory; Lots of wine and MP4 Player, great equipment for the upcoming trip!

Last Monday I was listening my favourite radio station B92 while preparing stuff to go on the swimming. And they asked listeners to send them text message with an answer Why is better spend summer on the mountain than on the coast on the beach?” There were lots of answers and many were sort of cheep poetry (mentioning B92); I didn’t like them so, considering I have slight problem on the swimming pool I sent reply “Because you don’t have to spend whole vacation with your stomach pulled in. Relax!” and I went on the pool.
Few days later, on my birthday, 17th July my cell phone rang:
Hello Milan! Here is radio B92, I’m just checking are you available. You’re participating in a quiz.
– No I don’t! Is this some joke?
– No it’s not joke. Haven’t you sent us text message
blah, blah
– Yes I have
– Well we like you answer a lot and you are our Monday winner. And in the semis you’ll competing with winner of Tuesday and the winner of that duel will competing with the winner of Wednesday.
– But I didn’t know it’s a game! I just replied on your question and left the house. This must be some birthday joke; If I knew it’s a game I surely wouldn’t participate! I hate being on the radio!
– Oh come on! It’s even better you didn’t know. You’ll see the questions aren’t hard at all!
– Ok but don’t mention it’s my birthday
(maybe I’m lucky and no one will recognize my voice)

And so I participated in the quiz. It was like picking one number 1-30 until someone fail to give an answer. I was the first (considering that I’m Monday winner). (I’ll type questions here just for myself to remember them; I know you’re not familiar with any of these since it’s geography and culture of Serbia)
I picked #1
Q: What’s the name of the highest peak of Kopaonik Mountain?
A: Pančićev Vrh (CORRECT)
My opponent picked this:
Q: What’s the name of the mountain where Josif Pančić discovered new spruce specie, Omorika (Serbian Spruce, Picea Omorika)?
A: On Kopaonik mountain. (WRONG! It’s Tara Mountain, I knew that)
So I won and pass in the final against winner of Wednesday.
I picked #2
Q: Which town is nearest to Kopaonik mountain?
My Wednesday opponent picked this
Q: Which monastery is the nearest to Kopaonik mountain?
A: Ravanica monastery (WRONG! It’s Studenica, of course I knew that)
Radio hostess:
– Milan, congratulations! You won 10 days vacation in the  Jat Apartments at Kopaonik mountain for four persons!
– You must be kidding!
– Nope! I’m not kidding! Happy Birthday!

Can you believe this? I hardly can, but then I looking in the voucher that is confirming I wasn’t dreaming and beside that few minutes ago, precisely while I was typing this post my cell phone rang. It was call from management of JAT Apartments from Kopaonik, congratulating me on the award and telling me that I’m welcome to come whenever I want till 13th September! And if you’d like to see how it looks like here is the link: JAT Apartments – Kopaonik.

I’ll probably go with my mother. I think she would enjoy in such vacation; She was reluctant but considering it’s not skiing season so she can walk it will be lovely for her. Beside that we don’t spend much time together since we are living in different town (and I don’t have problem to go with my mom. LOL). Also I hope we’ll be able to steal my niece (I have extra need to give her more especially now when new baby is here); and my best girl friend (that makes us four).

So this will be rest for previous BIG trip which starts tomorrow! And which makes me SO nervous!!! This is the map of the trip:

Strbske Pleso – Slovakia 23rd July
Krakow – Poland 24rd July
Tallinn, Estonia – 25th July
Helsinki, Finland – 26th-28th July
Tampere, Finland – 29th July
Rovaniemi, Finland – 30th July-01st Aug
Inari, Finland – 01st -02nd Aug
Kirkenes, Norway – 02nd Aug
Oulu, Finland – 3rd August
St Petersburg, Russia 04th–07th Aug
Riga, Latvia – 07th Aug
Krakow, Poland 08th Aug

It’s very tight schedule indeed but it will be a dream vacation. I still can’t believe I’ll visit St. Petersburg. It’s one of mine top 5 places on to-see list. Of course there are lots of other places (not listed above) I’m looking forward like the coast of Arctic Ocean, or Auschwitz. But special excitement is the fact that I’ll meet Finnish BookCrossing crew and among them two very dear friends of mine (they sometimes post comments here). I never thought I’ll meet them, especially not in their home land!
So I’m spending last days thinking about the trip, going in last minute shopping (hate that), thinking what to pack (temperature range will be 12C-35C (53F-95F) so you can imagine my problem) and of course reading books to prepare this trip in best possible way!
So my current favourite literature is this:

OK I’m off to pack myself …


The Islamist – Why I joined radical Islam in Britain, what I saw inside and why I left
Ed Husain

I’ve recently read this book and I really liked it.
It is sort of protest against politic Islam, based on personal experience. This is for the first time that we have opportunity to read about Islamic fundamentalism and life within radical Islamic organizations from an ex-member.

Namely Mr. Husain, British Muslim has become Muslim fundamentalist in sixteen an then years after he saw how wrong is that path. What has awaken his criticism (and opened his eyes) was personal experience with devastating Islamic ideas planted in the minds of Muslim teenagers in Britain that encourage them to be confronted with others in the name of religion.

Time Mr. Husain has spent in Saudi Arabia firmed his beliefs that rigid, old form of Islam: wahhabism joined with political Islam: islamism is causing only suffering all around the globe: Baghdad, Tel Aviv, Madrid, London, New York, Istanbul, etc he realized how that ideology is filled with anger, ideology that he once belonged to is not only a threat to primeval Islam and Muslims but to entire civilized world.
After he finished this road Mr. Husain thought it is his humane duty to speak against something that is presented in Britain as a “true Islam”, because the Koran orders to all Muslims to speak the truth, even if the truth is against them.

First part of the book is little slow I must admit and that maybe because I wasn’t familiar with things related with British society. Everything was new for me but there are so many information that are more/less familiar to someone who lives in Britain I guess. However, for me it from time to time it was little hard to follow.

What surprised me the most was part about Saudi Arabia. Namely, I didn’t have a clue that to love a Prophet is actually forbidden and is considered as idolatry. I was in shock what treatment believers are receiving on Prophet’s grave.

Mr. Husain has done amazing job in introducing us to creation of Wahhabi stream in Islam and I didn’t know that precisely Wahhabism is official form of Islam in Saudi Arabia! That was really surprising. Thinking about peninsula and how huge amounts of money are coming from there to help all Islamic actions all around the world (including erecting mosques in Bosnia but also financing war and sending mujahideen and Al Qaeda forces in the same Bosnia) I would never thought that Saudi Arabia is such a racist society towards Muslims (!). It’s extremely segregated and indeed the title of the chapter about it Saudi Arabia: Where is Islam?” is perfectly chosen.

I really enjoyed in this book (enjoyed in sense I’ve learned a lot) but the main readers would (and should) be (young) Muslims in the Western world. This book is showing how enormously wrong picture about “true Islam” and the life in the cradle of Islam they have. Almost everything is wrong and artificially created completely ignoring the Holly Book. But the worst thing is that young Muslims in the west are accepting this radicalism thinking it’s how Prophet and the Koran is telling them they should believe, think and act.
And moreover Mr. Hosain has explained entire genesis of radicalism with the names that stands behind it and the books that can be purchased in regular bookshop in London. Now comes the old question (I wrote about this in my post about “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali) Why intolerance should be tolerated? In the name of religious freedom? That’s a nonsense, very expensive one! Not only because of innocent victims of radicalism but also because it produces even bigger segregation between cultures, between religions and we are all victims, on both sides of the gorge while in reality we are in our own cultures and religion much more closer then we know.

I’ll finish with two quotes which are unknown to, I’m sure many Muslims and non Muslims and that are reflects how same we are:

“Beware of extremism in religion, for it was extremism in religion that destroyed those who went before you” – The Prophet Mohammed (570-632)
“Whoever kills an innocent person, it is as though he has killed entire humanity” – The Koran

No I don’t wanna sound pathetic with this image. I’m not feeling alone or anything and certainly not be forgotten! I’m receiving whole day phone calls, text messages, emails, and personal messages on other sites so “Happy Birthday to me” doesn’t mean anything you might think. It’s just that I want to post this before midnight (i.e. on my birthday) and later, probably tomorrow will edit with what happened today (you will not believe me!).

So ’till soon 🙂

(13th July, EDIT TO ADD:
It’s official, he’s not ugly anymore. Moreover everyone say he’s incredibly cute little boy. Will add photos as soon as I receive them)

OK I’m back and more/less recovered from celebration 🙂

Day after (9th) we were in maternity home to see little boy and I was quite surprised! Namely we couldn’t see him “live”; he has been brought in one sterile room and we watched him on the screen! And OMG it was little hairy creature, not very pretty indeed. But then aren’t (almost) all babies ugly? (or is it me not being parent?)
My brother was melting with camera so I believe I’m recorded when saying “hello you little ugly!” I did say that in sweetest way though but nevertheless I think now I’ll have to be best uncle in the world to redeem myself from that statement! Oh well, I’ll be best uncle without that anyway 😉
Oh and my brother’s mother in law had the same impression and has been recorded as well so I’m OK. On the other hand she and I treat my niece (her granddaughter) in very (!) similar way (we aren’t spoiling her at all) so the fact that we said the same thing is not surprising whatsoever. Oh my niece was such a sweetie when she heard he grandmother she was so surprised: “Granny, how can you say that our baby is ugly?” and granny replied “Love, he has only one day and all babies aren’t pretty when they are so young. He’ll be very pretty soon. I was expecting that she would add “You were ugly as well when you were such a small baby” but now when I think she was very pretty baby so maybe that’s why she didn’t say that (she would tell her the truth, just as I would).

And then I spoke with my sister in law who was on the other side of glass wall with “phone” in hand. It was as if she’s in the prison. She looks fantastic! Delivery was smooth if you’re not counting that in between contractions she screamed “I want watermelon!” (yep, I asked her to repeat twice in case I didn’t understand)

Oh I didn’t mention that my brother was there with her! I’m not sure I would do that, not because I think that woman when seen during delivery becomes less sexually attractive or I think delivery itself is gross, after all as a veterinarian I’m doing rectal examination of cows and vivisection of cadavers and that can’t be prettier! I’d be afraid to say something stupid emotionless (I already try to be absent when PMS is in my surrounding). Anyway, my brother was saying “I’ll bring you the biggest watermelon! Push!” and that’s why I’d prefer not to be in delivery room. I’d probably say something like “Yeah I want that watermelon too but you’re the one who supposed to push it through lemon-size hole! Push!” and you’ll agree that wouldn’t be the happiest choice of words!

Everyone asks me about baby’s weight. That is the most usual question after Boy or Girl? No one can’t believe I don’t know. Why on earth is that so important? So I asked but already forgot *blush* (I guess I should blush) I believe it’s slightly less than 3.00 kilos (which is more than half kilo more than me. I know that because whole my life people are saying how small baby I was and “Look at me now!” I was born in 7th month so hardly I could weight more, right?)

Another answer I didn’t have was name, but that no one knew that! There were several possibilities. I like Mihailo very much and Anastas as well (but my niece is Anastasija so that combination would be silly); my mum wanted Vitomir (that’s my father’s name who is not with us anymore and I think it’s better to leave that name with him) and the shortlisted candidates were Aleksandar and Vuk.
And Vuk he is! I like that name a lot!

Here is small anecdote. Few months ago when they spoke about names and when Vuk became main candidate my niece didn’t say anything. However few days later she suddenly asked my sister in law:

“Mum, can I give name to our baby if is a girl?”

“OK which name you picked?”

“Crvenkapa!” (Serbian word for Little Red Riding Hood)

“But love, that’s not a name” said my surprised sister in law

“Why Crvenkapa is not name and Vuk is!!!???”

I was laughing incredibly when I heard that! Namely Vuk in Serbian means wolf but beside that Vuk is relatively common name in Serbia. Gosh her logic was amazing. I adore her!

As I said Vuk is relatively common name in Serbia and I believe (not sure though) the reason why people in the past have given this name to their children is to chase away evil spirits (because wolf supposed to be terrifying animal).

Oh and it seems our Wolf will be very protected not only by his name but also thank to the fact that we said he’s ugly! LOL Serbian custom indeed is not to say that baby is pretty because then “evil spirits” will hear that and will come to change that. But if they heard that baby is ugly that means they don’t have what to do there!

(indeed custom is to make sound like spitting (like pronouncing “PPP”) for the same reason but don’t ask me why)

I hope I’ll have some photos soon.

Few hours ago I received news from maternity home that I have a nephew!

Now I’m going to get myself really drunk! Cheers! (will be back in a few days)

baby feet