Family Journal: Backyard BBQ


Our landlord put in a new BBQ oven in our back yard. We’ve been spending more time outside since the weather has improved and we’re loving the “mini-šuma” (forest in Serbian) the extra space has given us.

The black worm-shaped objects on the ground are the flowers of the Walnut Tree (Juglans regia). It is a very common tree in Belgrade. In Serbian it is known as the orah and besides collection of the nuts, the Serbs make a nice rakija (distilled spirit) with them. It is one of my favorites, along with the honey spirit.

We hope to use the BBQ although I am not that big of a “griller.” I still consider it cooking, even though in popular culture men brag about their BBQ skills. I think women encourage it because they like to see the men cook! I do have pyromaniac tendencies however, and do enjoy the fire aspect of it. I’ll try to get better this spring just because I like being outside more than in the house.

I’ve finished quite a few books lately but have not had time to blog about them. My most recent was “Blood River: A Journey to the Broken Heart of Africa” by Tim Butcher. He is an English journalist who tries to retrace the steps of the famous British explorer, Henry Stanley of “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” fame, and his mapping of the Congo River. It was an interesting book as he mixed Congo history and culture with his travels through the country. Butcher does not give a nice picture of the country. Since the Belgians left in the 1950’s, it has deteriorated to the point of going back to the stone age. Where there were roads, industry, and hotel resorts, there are no foot paths, thatch huts, and misery. It made me sad and angry that in these modern times, there are societies that live like this. Butcher gave the impression, especially in the rural areas, of being the most dangerous and backwards country in the world.

I’ve been extremely busy at work with the end of the school year rush. There is so much going on and with a construction project on our campus, it just complicates things even more. I hope to maintain my balance of family and work and health during the run up to June 21rst.

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