I am doing this blog for several reasons. Probably the most important is that it will be a permanent archive for our family memories and it will be enjoyed by my children and our descendants. It also is a chance for me to consider and reflect upon my life and that of my family. Time passes so quickly and the blog helps me savor my experiences and perhaps through reflection, slowing down the pace and appreciating the full range of thoughts, emotions, relationships, etc. that make us human.
Below are “official” family photos taken through the years. I’ve chosen a life abroad and a slightly nomadic lifestyle. One sacrifices stability, some material possession and roots in a place, but gains much more. In my opinion, our intercontinental journey has given us roots within our family and making many places on the planet our “home”.
Recently, I discovered my biological roots in Pennsylvania and combined with working on my doctorate at Lehigh University, have come to see the Lehigh Valley and the Poconos Mountains as one of our “homes”.
We currently live in Minoh, Japan and are taking delight in the distinctive Japanese culture. I appreciate the freedom our children have here to go on their own like I did in the 1970s. I also treasure the change of season and the outdoor beauty of Japan. Below is a picture with my sister-in-law and nephew in the snowy Hira Mountains on the shores of Lake Biwa.
We lived in Belgrade, Serbia for 6 years. Balkan culture is similar to Latino culture and we really loved our time in Eastern Europe. I felt the appeal of belonging to a tribe and understanding my ancestors, who came to America from Central and Eastern Europe several generations ago. I will never forget the warmth of the Serbs and the beauty of the Tara Mountains.
The next photo is from Urubo, a growing section of the eastern lowland city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Both sides of Nadia’s family were early settlers of Santa Cruz and we have visited the city many times over the years. The city is my Paris, the most romantic city in the world. It is where I met Nadia and so many places remind me of when we first started dating. We get much of our family practices from our time in Latin America and the influence of Nadia’s parents. Owen and Ocean were born in Santa Cruz.
I am grateful for the travel opportunities working in international education has afforded my family. One Christmas break, we visited Nadia’s sister when she was working in Bahrain. They say you can’t understand someone until you walk in their shoes, well, wearing their robes gave me a different perspective on the Arabs.
We lived for almost six years in Eastern Venezuela, working at a small oil field school. This is where all three of our children were born. It seemed Nadia was pregnant the entire time we were there! It was the perfect place to have babies because we lived on campus and had a lot of domestic support (maid, nanny, right-hand man). Oliver was born in Anaco. Venezuela will always have a special place in our hearts and I hope the Venezuelan people can overcome a really bad leaders and build a just and compassionate society.
I was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My hometown of Caspian has 900 inhabitants. The Upper Peninsula is a sparsely populated land of forests, lakes, granite and snow. I developed my love of wilderness there and my adopted parents, Charles and Yvonne gave me and my brothers a wonderful childhood. I wish they are alive to see their grandchildren and I miss them. The photo below shows all of the Kralovec men together, three generations. We had just come back from the annual Fathers’ Day breakfast at our home parish St. Cecilia’s Church in Capsian.
I will always be a Yooper and am proud to have grown up there. “Yoopers” are the residents of the Upper Peninsula (UP). Being the size of Maryland, but with only just over 300,000 people in it, the remoteness of growing up in the pre-internet/cable tv era put a distinct character to my personality.
Below is a picture of my son Oliver on the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Lake Superior and the pine forests are in the background. The UP will always be one of my favorite places on earth. The experiences of your childhood and adolescence are very emotional and form who you are as a person.
Profile: My name is Bill Kralovec. I am 51 years old and an international school administrator. I am the Head of the Osaka International School of Osaka, Japan. I am originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA and have lived and worked in international schools for the past 26 years. My previous posts were Barranquilla, Colombia, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Perth, Western Australia, Anaco, Venezuela, and Belgrade, Serbia. My wife Nadia is originally from Melbourne, Australia. She is a dual citizen of Australia and Bolivia. We have three children, Owen (age 15), Oliver (age 13), and Ocean (age 10). We are a multinational family with citizenships from the United States, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Australia.
To contact us, you may email me at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
60 thoughts on “About This Blog”
I noticed that there are some mistakes in the translation.
Maybe somebody already informed you about that?
This is the right translation.
I am from Serbia but I live in Holland.
Now a friend of mine is also learning Serbian to speak/write. And he has a great website where he does that, maybe you already know about the website otherwise this is it:
Kako se zovete? (What is your name?)
Zovem se Bill. (My name is Bill)
Molim bac—> Molim vas means please (please and welcome) welcom means Dobro dosli
Hvala (thank you)
Drago mi je. (nice to meet you)
Ya sam (I am) Ja sam / ti si (you are) / vi ste (you are)
When you ask a question, throw a “Da li” in front of it. For example, Da li govorite Engleski? Do you speak English?
Ne razumen. (I don’t understand.)
New Phrases I want to learn this week
Izvolite – Can I help you?
Živolite! – Cheers means —>Ziveli
Ja bih (kafu) molim bac? – I would like a coffee please.
Dajte mi (kafu) molim bac? – Give me a coffee please.
U redu – okay / all right
Tagged: languages, serbian, Serbo-croatian
uh, stumbled on to this. But I’m a serb as well, so just one quick thing:
wherever you see “bac” above, it’s actually “vas”.
the confusion arose since “vas” is literally written “bac” in cyrillic, so the person doing this got a bit mixed up.
I’ll snoop around a bit more
Your last name sounds Croatian.
What are your origins? Have you ever checked your family tree?
beautiful family btw.
My surname comes from the Czech Republic. I also have Slovak and Polish in my genetic heritage. I am a third generation American however, with my ancestors on both sides coming over to the USA in the late 1800’s. It feels like I am getting back in touch with my Slavic roots living in Serbia.
let me say your blog is very peaceful and interesting. Probably because of your bohemian (czech) blood. Your blog has little bit soldier Schweik inside.
Bill como estan??? soy xime la amig a de Nadia estoy hace dias explorando tu pagina y no entiendo casi nada solo veo las fotos FELICIDADES por tan bella familia y que dios les siga bendiciendo con tanta felicidad!!
Saludos a mi amiga del alma NADIA
Bill, just want to say hello and keep up the good work. Have you been to Novi Sad? I like to read you blog, it’s very interesting and amusing 🙂
All the best!
I have only been to Novi Sad once and really liked the city. My initial impression is that it is a mini-Belgrade and it has a nice feeling to it. I am sure to go again while I am in Serbia. The Vojvodina region reminds me of Iowa/Illinois in the USA. The region is the “bread basket”of America, with long, flat views of corn fields, etc. Thanks for the kind words.
You’re welcome 🙂
Reserve a weekend in Novi Sad and go see Petrovaradin fortress. It’s the second biggest fortress in Europe and it’s beautiful. Also near Novi Sad is “Salas 137” (http://www.salas137.rs/index.html). “Salas” is and old farms in Vojvodina far away from cities and civilisation – excelent for realxing. From 6. -14. June in Novi Sad will be held “Cinema City” (http://eng.cinemacity.org/novi-sad-serbia.51.html) – the festival ov movies when whole city becomes one big movie threatre. So come to Novi Sad 😉
I really enjoy to hea that foreigners like Serbia and see that we are not savages as tv represents us, but we are also kind, relaxing and open-hearted people.
Can’t wait more text’s form you.
Best wishes from Novi Sad
Are their reptiles and amphibians in Serbia?
Amazingly so, even when they have three kids that get up every morning at 6:00 AM!
I’m considering moving to Belgrade (I currently live in Houston, TX), I would like to ask you a few questions that could help me make a well informed decision. Is there a way to contact you via email? My email is email@example.com
See my private email reply.
Just to say hello from Canada. Nice blog! If those Serbians, Croats, Slovenians, Macedonians, Albanians read your blog before maybe 100000+ lives could have been saved. How are the “tribal nationalistic feelings” there now?
The people I interact with in Belgrade on a daily basis are not very “tribal and nationalistic at all.” A lot of the war was caused by idiot politcians and villagers. The Belgraders are quite cosmopolitian and all of my Serbian friends really had minor or non-roles in the violence of the break up of Yugoslavia. Thanks for the compliments on the blog and your interest in the Balkans. It is a fascinating place and Serbia is an enjoyable place to live.
What a great blog! I am an American English Language Fellow currently living in Novi Sad. I found your blog by googling “Belgrade Commissary” of all things, since I’m going to it this weekend. I’d love sometime to meet you perhaps at an Embassy function or something and discuss your international school experiences. My husband is a high school teacher in Washington, DC and we have been considering work in international schools for him in the future. At any rate, great blog, and you have a beautiful family! I hope I can meet you someday!
Thank you Jacqueline. I’d be happy to talk with you and show you the school.
Hello, I was looking at info about the Caspian Mine as that is my home town. The first picture I saw was Mr. Charles Kralovec fishing with 2 young boys at the mine. Mr. Kralovec was the principal of my grade school and taught my science in 5th and 6th grades. He is an excellent man. My maiden name was Mary Webber and I lived on W. Railroad St-just down the hill from from you? It is a small world-Mary
Just stumbled on to your blog. The International School teaching caught my eye. I taught in several International Schools as my husband wandered the world with the U.N. None of the countries where you have been however.
Bill, I also stumbled on to your blog. My guess is that a couple generations back,, my husband’s family and yours are the same. His name is Charles and he grew up in LaHarpe IL – his grandparents were from the Chicago area. (Now we live in Oregon)
We both want to travel to the part of the world that you are in – actually, to many of the places you have been. He is a teacher (retiring soon) and I was a teacher – many times we looked into international teaching – thinking we would raise our three daughters (now 20, 18, and 14) where ever we went. But, it didn’t happen, so we will end up traveling the world more in the tourist mode in the future.
I am inspired by your wonderful blog and gorgeous pictures! What a beautiful family you have – my girls are beautiful too – must be those strong Kralovec genes! 🙂
Thanks for the kind words. My great grandfather Andrew, first came to Ashland, Wisconsin from Bohemia. My father Charles, grew up in Menominee, Michigan.
It has been nice to live in a Slavic country. I don’t have to spell my name anymore, just pronounce it and everyone gets it. It is like being a Smith or Johnson in the US.
great blog and a beautiful family. I have heard lots about Serbia and it´s culture.
I have met people from Novi Sad,Belgrade and Kragujevac.
I am a Canadian, living in St.Cloud, Minesota. I was thinking of moving to Belgrade.
Could you give some tips, experiences etc. about Belgrade and Serbia.
I found your blog. I am the USA in the state of Kansas. I will be doing a river cruise on the Danube River starting in Budapest. When I get to Begrade I want to get to the Air Museum. Do you have any suggestions in getting from the cruise port to the Air Museum.
The Air Museum is located near the Nikola Tesla airport which is about a 20 minute drive from the port. Your best option would be to hire a cab. The cost of the ride will be $30 (there and back).
Another Kralovec stopping in to say hello. My father is George Kralovec, as was his father, originally from the Riverside/Chicago IL area. I’m currently living in Crete, Greece on a one year sabbatical, but will be returning to the States at the end of May. After reading your bio, I’m beginning to understand which from which side of the family my “travel” bug might come;-)
All the best,
I am the father George of which Kyrstyn wrote. She is our favorite oldest daughter and another example of the strong kralovec genes. The travel gene is definitely expressed in her, along with the strong Irish genes of her mother. Not only my father was named George, but also his father! Gave me the curse of being “George the 3rd.” My great grandfather James Martin Kralovec came to America with his family from a town in Czechoslovakia near the German border. His name passed down the line to my father’s younger brother, uncle Marty. His two daughters are Alice and Claudia. Our favorite younger daughter’s name is Merit. Our son’s name is Matthew. No need for more Georges!
Enjoyed your blog. From your picture I can see a resemblence to the Kralovec men, who are all also handsome… 😉
Hi Bill, Hi George,
I can confirm that Kralovec family comes from the western part of Bohemia (Czech Republic) near the town Domazlice. This town is a center of a region called Chodsko (the land of Choden) where people have regional dialect and costumes (not too much today).
I am Josef and I come from this region, too.
Congratulations to the nice blog.
Regards to all 🙂
Josef, Thanks for comment. I’ll have to travel to the region before I leave Europe. Bill
Hi I am interested in getting to know the US expat community in Belgrade as I might be moving there in a few years. Any tips or resources would be welcome. Moving from Minneapolis / Chicago midwest area.
Just wanted to mention that over 1 year passed since my last communication and wish you best for you and your family in the new year.
P.S. You should update your photos or you want to stay virtually young?
Stan, I want to stay virtually young, but it is a matter of time. You are right however, in that it is time to update. Perhaps over this holiday we’ll get another family photo together.
I ran across your blog while googling Serbia.
My husband and I are considering adopting from Serbia. The adoption agency just started this program in September and have not completed any adoptions as of yet. It is my understanding that we would not need an agency to complete an adoption there, but as we are not familiar with Serbia using an agency seems to be in our best interest.
As an American familiar with Serbia do you have any advice or thoughts you could share with us?
Thank you so much for your time,
I’ve not heard much about foreigners adopting children in Serbia. I interviewed someone who worked for Familia – The Association for Alternative Famly Care, which is a NGO that works on children and social welfare issues. (www.familia.org.rs) They might be some help to you.
This is the second time I’ve stumbled upon your blog. First time I wasn’t in Serbia yet. I love your blog though! You have a good situation about you and a beautiful family to put the icing on the cake! Congrats!
Glad to be here in Serbia, though! And glad to be reading your blog! Subscription here I come!
Congratulations for your great family, i´m from Anaco Venezuela, God Bless your family, and keep yours together.
I miss the sweeping vistas of the canyons of central Anzoategui. All three of our children were born while we were working in Anaco and we have fond memories our the Escuela Anaco camp life. It is sad that the Chavistas chased out all of the foreign companies except the Chinese. I feel that Anaco is less of a place because of the loss of expatriate community.
Its Ashley Gibbs from Perth…. COACH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Blake Ainley and i reminisce and talk about you all the time and have been trying to find you for years!!! hows everything going?? miss you large coach, miss the scrimmages with the commentary BULLS VS LAKERS final minutes!!! hows life coach?? hopeful chat soon!!!
BEST TEACHER ANYONE COULD ASK FOR!!!!
Just came across your interesting Blog on Serbia. Just before the break-up, I had the occasion to visit Belgrade several times in an attempt to help implement a power grid management system to centrally control and manage the power grid of all of the regions of Yugoslavia. I was working with some interesting folks from Genex. Needless to say, the project never came to pass but I came away with some unforgettable experiences. Having grown up on an Indian reservation in Northern Wisconsin, I came away with a great appreciation of how Serbia got to be where it is today.
Keep up the good work.
I came across your blog today while trying to find some history on Serbia.
I have been researching information on my family on Ancestry.com and discovered my grandmother was actually born in Gajdobra, Serbia. I had previously understood she was born in Austria or Yugoslavia. But I found a piece of paper she’d written her birth information on for my dad that read: “Shrem, Gajdobra, Yugoslavia.” Gajdobra is now in Serbia since all the changes across Europe over the last century.
My family settled in Gajdobra after my grandfather (5 greats or so back) emigrated from Luxemburg to Gajdobra (perhaps down the Danube).
I have decided to write about her life in a novel but need a better understanding of the culture, land, and people.
Thanks for your writing.
I hope to read more since traveling there isn’t in the near future.
Your name definitely sounds slavic and I know that any slavic name ending in C is pronounced as TS or CH. The OV means belonging to in Slavic languages, similar to the English OF.
I think your last name starting with Kral means king. I know that Kralj is king in Serbian. You probably had some high ranking people in your ancestry.
Nice website and beautiful pictures.
I think that your blog is great, even if I dont like blogs, but yours is quiet interesting.
Do you visit Republika Srpska in Bosnia allready? Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis, etc are nice cities with interesting people and great places, but if you´re really interested in Serbia, than you will find the serbs in Bosnia super interesting. Banja Luka, but also Bijeljina or Zvornik (where my mother is from) are such nice places with so kind and warm-hearted people.
Try and see =)
A great blog, I nominated it for a “Versatile Bloggers Award” http://belgradestreets.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/the-versatile-blogger-award/ …keep up the great work
You have some very interesting blogs, what a great idea! Not only am I also a native Michigander lol, but I am also in the field of education. I am currently teaching in Florida. Just out of curiosity, how do the school systems you have been in compare to schools in the states? It seems our system is struggling at this time.
Best wishes to you and yours,
Ps. I am originally from Brooklyn MI and am a graduate of Central Michigan University.
Kathryn, Our school, which is a private, independent, non-profit school, and not a Serbian school, has been affected by the global economic crisis here in Europe. We experienced a drop in enrollment due to less businesses and diplomatic organizations sending students to the school. We are still in a good position financially and students are receiving a great education, but, we are concerned about the near future of the economy of Serbia and its impact on the school.
I’m Serbian but I live in Qatar, and I go to an International school. A lot of my teachers have travelled the world like you, but I rarely see anyone who has adapted to foreign countries the way you did. I really like you blog, especially Serbian history, it’s very accurate and detailed!
It was really cool to see my country from a foreigners point of view, especially since when I visited the USA this summer barley anyone knew that Serbia existed.
Keep up the good work!!!!
I’m Serbian living and working in Florence, Italy for the past 20 years.
I really admire what you are doing. Pitty that US Government do not have somebody as you as senior adviser for Eastern Europe. Keep doing great job!
Hi Bill! Little hello from state side. keep up the good work. Glad I found your blog. I have some questions for you in regards to education, reform and technology.
I have enjoyed reading over your blogs both from a teaching perspective and in relation to life in Serbia. I am hoping that I could pick your brains a little in regard to international teaching. My husband and I (both teachers) have always said “one day we will teach overseas” and now the feet are starting to itch. Having read that you once worked in Australia (and obviously know how our system works), I was hoping you would share how international teaching compares to what we experience in Australia professionally. Thanks!
As teachers from Australia, my husband and I have long considered the possibility of leaving our comfort zone and teaching internationally. After reading that you have taught here (and, I presume, know a little of how things work here) I was hoping that you would share your thoughts on international teaching; things that would be important to know before making a decision.
Hi Bill, first time on this blog, so I do not know are you a Serbian? Or you are just interest in the Serbian Culture, that went to Serbia to learn more about the language and culture.
I am not a Serb, but live in Belgrade.
Beautiful picture of your family dressed in Middle-Eastern clothes! 🙂
Another Yooper! I can’t believe it. I’m from the Ishpeming area, living in France, and hoping to visit Belgrade for the first time at some point this year. Your article about the club scene was great… do you have any other tips for having fun as a middle-aged person in Belgrade? I’m in my early 40s and it seems like everything I read about Belgrade centers on the clubs…
The cafes and restaurant scenes is really nice as well. Lots to see and do with the iconic tourist stuff of Kalemegdan, St. Sava’s Cathedral. My favorite place is Ada Ciganlija, rent a bike and ride around the island.
I stumbled upon your blog when I googled “percentage of adult smokers in Serbia.” It led me to your entry, “Serbia: Smoking Capital of the World.” Thanks for putting that together. I appreciate it. Yes, it certainly is quite heavy here, and hard to get away one. Seems like if you see a Serbian not smoking, all you have to do is wait a few minutes and s/he will be.
I have a question for you. Perhaps you can offer some insight.
I bought a small souvenir near Republic Square today. The salesman I spoke to had a reasonable command of English, so I thought I could get a response to a query.
Indicating a nearby guy who was set up to shine shoes, I asked the souvenir salesman what the going rate was for a shoe shine.
The souvenir salesman’s eyes got big, he shook his head, and he said, “Don’t go!” He went on to say that the guys who shine shoes are not trustworthy and that they steal from their customers.
I had a hunch that there was some sort of ethnic group discrimination that was behind that judgment, so I just let it be. I don’t know anything about the who-is-who here.
Do you have a sense of what could be going on behind the scenes of a local person saying something like that?
Best to you,
They might be Roma (gypsies).
Hola, Bill!!!! Sus B. here, I don’t know if you still check your blog, you’re obviously a very busy guy! My mind was just blown when I saw you are now the head of the Osaka International School! Here’s more mind blowing stuff- my husband Pete is a literacy consultant who does workshops internationally. He just came back from Switzerland, where he ran into Corine Vandenwildenberg! I will try to find another way to contact you in case you’re interested in having Pete come to your school– he has done workshops in Japan. Congratulations on your latest appointment!! All the best, Sus (Baumgartel).
It is good to hear from you! You sound healthy and doing well! I connected wtih Corine when she was in Montenegro and I was in Serbia. Nice to hear she is still in the international school world. Send me an email with links or info about Pete’s consultant work. My work email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I am also a yooper now living in China who stumbled upon your blog.
Bill, It was great to see your photo from 2007 with some of the oil companies that were in Venezuela. The Santa Fe Drilling letter head took me back to my time in Venezuela. My dad worked for Santa Fe Drilling and I attended Escuela de Los Morochas in Ciudad de Ojeda. That is also where the Santa Fe Drilling yard was. Also, Schlumberger and DOW and FLINT and Weatherford as well as Halliburton. Thanks for the memory. God bless and thanks again!