Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Doctoring Differences

On Wednesday we took Esther for the second of her "six month old" vaccinations (she is nine months old today). They are on a slightly different schedule here.
In the states, we went to the health department for shots for the girls. Here you go to a doctor (not our regular pediatrician here)who examines the baby then gives the shot. They do two patients at a time to speed the process up, so there was another baby and his parents at the next exam table during our appointment (they don't seem to have Hippa regulations here). The exam and shot cost 8 euro total-so about $10.50. The previous one was just under 20 euro (about $26) because there were several vaccines in that shot. I was told that if/when our girls are enrolled in school here, their shots will be free. Now she doesn't need more shots until she's a year old.
Ruth is on a daily anti-biotic because of a minor kidney defect. We brought a three-month's supply with us from the states, but knew that we would need a Montenegrin doctor's prescription to get more here. When we took Esther for her six-month well baby check up, we asked that doctor to write Ruth a prescription, which she did (she did examine Ruth's medical history first).
In America, a 30 days supply costs $20 after insurance. Here, a 20 days supply was 1 euro (about $1.30)!

Before you think that everything here is cheaper though, a baby-monitor is over 100 euros, and a simple rattle or teething toy (that you could find for $1 in the states) is about 5 or 6 euros.

I threw in a few pictures of the girls, just for fun

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gearing up for Christmas

Our Christmas decorating (along with the size of our tree) were downsized quite a bit this year. In Montenegro, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th, and New Year is January 14th because they follow the Orthodox calendar for holidays. They also celebrate January 1st, so there are two new year celebrations. The two malls are decorated for the holidays, but most shops aren't, nor do people deck their halls to the extent done in America.
From our time before, we noticed that people put a dead oak branch (with leaves intact) outside their homes-and sometimes on the grill of their cars-before Christmas, and then took these branches to a designated spot by an old Orthodox chapel, on Christmas Eve, where they are burned. The tradition, as we understand it, is that the evil spirits trying to enter a home (or car) will get caught in the leaves and then be burned up. We actually visited the area where the bonfire was taking place, and saw that it was like a big party, there was music playing and food and drink were being sold.
What Christmas traditions do you and your family celebrate that might look strange to someone from another culture? Did you "invent" any family customs for yourselves?
Steve and I (Laura) started a custom back when we were dating which still continues, we exchange our gifts on Santa Claus Day (December 6th), since he is associated with gift giving, and then Christmas Day can be devoted to Jesus birth.
Interestingly, in most former communist countries, Santa is associated with New Year rather than Christmas-I guess since they didn't celebrate religious holidays, but wanted a winter figurehead.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How to line dry clothes when it's snowing

The weather reports for today were that it was going to be raining and snowing today. But by 1:30 last night it was already snowing quite a bit (still haven't seen the rain)-I was up because Esther was up. Since we have to pretty much do laundry every day, regardless of the weather, and we don't own a clothes drier-they are very rare here-we had to come up with other ways to get our clothes dry. So here is one way-hang the clothes on a drying rack in front of a heater.
In case you're wondering why we need to do so much laundry, you should know that our washer only holds 6 kilo (about 12 pounds) at a time, so between our clothes, the girls clothes, diapers (washed every three days) and things like towels and sheets, it is a rare holiday when nothing needs washing.