Springtime Adventures

I’m trying to be better about keeping up with this blog. I’ve been re-reading posts from years ago of our life in China, and it’s amazing what little details I’d forgotten. It motivates me to keep this one up to date as well. It just seems like we spend so much time staring into a screen these days, that the last thing I want to do is use my free time to do it some more. Haha, oh well. I’m writing right now poolside at out house in MNE, so it’s not like work at all.

February slid past us quite quickly, as it always does since it’s so short. We had a holiday in the middle of the week for Kosovo’s Independence day, so we used that to brew a batch of homebrew. It’s been almost a year since we had brewed, but it all went relatively smoothly. The end result was right on target, a hoppy IPA right at about 6.6%. It feels good to know we haven’t lost our brewing touch. We’ll probably brew again before summer so that we have some beer to share with whoever might make it to out to see us. 😊

That weekend following was a busy one. Donnie and I had PD at school, so Paul spent the day hanging out with his babysitter while we worked. It was a full day from 8-4pm, so we were pretty spent afterwards. Paul and I got up early the next day to go for a sledding trip with his Cub Scout pack in Boge. I had never been there, and I was excited to explore somewhere new. The drive was kind of a drag, 2.5 hours and we got a little lost before we finally made it. From our meeting place, we all piled into a snow cat, which took us about 20minutes up the mountain. It was quite an experience. We finally made it to our sledding spot and it was just us. The hill was pretty steep and the drop off kind of scary, so Paul did a few runs and then mostly hung out with me. We did go sledding a few times down the hill together, I like to go slower than he does, but we still had fun. After a couple hours, everyone was tired so we headed back down the hill in the snow cat. Everyone stayed to have a meal, but I had work to get done so we had to head home. Paul slept the whole way back while I sang MB20 songs really loudly to myself. 😊

The next couple of weeks are a blur of work, running, sleeping and watching tv as a family together. We had a few close calls with COVID. Donnie and Paul had to do two separate quarantines after possible exposures. Luckily, neither of them got sick. The weather played back and forth between sunny spring days and cold winter ones. We try to capitalize on the sunny ones when we can by hanging out on our patio or our front porch. It always lifts my spirits to be in the sun listening to music and being with the family.

We made another couple of trips to our house here in MNE. We wanted to see the new floors and doors. They turned out pretty well! There’s a little cosmetic work that needs to be done to make them perfect, but that will come in time. On our last trip, we got caught in an epic snow storm on the way home. It was basically my worst nightmare when it comes to driving through the Albanian mountains. It had been raining, and it turned to snow when we had about 150 km to get home. The snow was coming down so fast that the highway became treacherous very quickly with it’s curves, drop-offs and ups and downs. Donnie took over driving and after many near misses, 4 hours of intense, slow driving, we finally made it home. I can’t believe we didn’t end up buried in snow on the side of the road. I am really thankful for Donnie’s cool head and ability to drive in crazy situations. The reward for all that snow was a snow day the next day, which we made the best of by taking family walks, burying Paul in snow, building a snowman and eating warm food. Like I said in my last post, I hope it was the last of the big snows, but you never know.

One thing we did do over these past couple of months is buy a new car! After much view and weighing our what we wanted, we finally settled on an X1 with all wheel drive and a sun roof. This car is one of the reasons I think we didn’t slide off the road in that crazy snowy drive. We imported it from Germany, which was a process, but I’m glad we did it because that way we could buy directly from BMW. It’s not a new car, but a year newer than our other ride and with a few more bells and whistles (heated seats!). We sold our other car in order to pay for this one, but we’ve never really needed two cars.

That just about brings us up to today. We’ve had a few COVID cases at school recently, so we ended up closing for distance learning for one day before spring break. It was a little rushed, but I think it was a good choice. Seems like Kosovo is going to go back into lockdown this week (our spring break), so we will probably do online learning the week after the break as well. I hope it’s only those 5 days. DL is no fun for long periods of time.

As you can probably guess, we’re spending our spring break at our home in MNE. We have a list of projects a mile long to try and get done or at least get started. We’ve already handled a couple. We bought new furniture for Paul’s room. He helped pick it all out. The bed he chose is being made this week, so he should be all set up in the next few days. We found some furniture we like for our bedroom also, but we might hold off until we get the house painted. We also decided on exterior paint colors! Now to find painters, someone to build the fence, fix the tiling in the pool house, get a pool heater, pave the front yard…the list goes on and on. The weather is unusually cool for this time of year, but we do get a couple of days of sunshine, which I’m trying to take advantage of.

We had a really low key, but fun Easter as well. I feel a little guilty because I don’t make a big deal of holidays for Paul, but we do have some set traditions. We decorated eggs with some crazy dye I found at the grocery store here, and then had our egg wars as usual. Donnie won this year with his Darth Vader egg. Then we ate egg salad and had some yummy strawberry cake that I made from some strawberries we had left in the fridge. We called family and generally had a good day with even a little sunshine.

Since then, I’m trying to soak up these days with no work, and relax during this week. It’s hard to imagine we still have 11 more weeks of school. It’s going to be a loooong stretch to get to summer. I am thankful we can take these trips to our house with just a quick COVID test and it’s like a mini vacation. We’re hoping to get vaccinated sometime this year, but the chances seem pretty bleak. Kosovo doesn’t have an vaccines to give us and the US isn’t helping expats. We’ll see what happens.

For now, I’ll keep prepping for having visitors soon and finish projects so that we can relax and host our friends and family.

Much love to all,

J

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