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Monday, April 28, 2014

We started with Midnight Mass, fortunately well before midnight.... Began outside church, lighting the Easter Fire, from which we all lit candles and processed into the church. After the service there were eats downstairs, the first of a 24 hour marathon of Easter eating! Some of us then wandered down to the Orthodox church, as Easter falls on the same day for Eastern and Western churches this year. People were streaming out of the church with lighted candles, spreading the light in all directions.
Back to church i. The morning, after which we received official visits. I was encouraged that 2 people came from the Islamic Centre, one of them originally from our village. Other people who came were the mayor, politicians etc, as well as members of the congregation.
Home for a quick sleep before setting off for the Sisters,mwho were receiving guests. I stayed with them aerwards as we had been invited to supper, and what a supper, with the Sisters in a nearby town. I got a lift to supper and home afterwards, as I get blinded by headlights when driving at night. The supper was fantastic. The visiting priest, as well as being a man of God, is also great fun. We were telling jokes and anecdotes till 11 p.m.
I was amazed o. tuesday that I seemed to be back to my goal weight in spite of all that eating and not much exercise!
In our village we shall be having our belated Easter celebration on Friday. We shall tell the Easter story, from Jesus entry to Jerusalem when he was acclaimed as king, through his passion and death and resurrection, to his command to his disciples to go and spread the good news through the whole world. I now need to prepare the programme! People know whichnpart of the story they will be telling.
I shall probably blog aboutnhow that went, but had to blog today, as I am doing the 100 day challenge, and one of my aims is to blog at least once a week!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLORIAMAJDI 4/29/2014 8:22AM

    What a beautiful celebration of the resurrection, and I like that it is extended to this Friday as it seems to me that we should be celebrating this all of the time, not just once a year! Like so many other holidays, here in the U.S. Easter has become somewhat commercialized, which is quite unfortunate.

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ALICIA214 4/28/2014 1:54PM


Easter is a beautiful Season, full of so many emotions.

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civil wedding in Albania

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My friend is marrying a German, and has had to jump through hoops to qualify for a visa to join him in Germany. First she had to pass a (fairly simple) German exam, for which she had only a short time to prepare. Then she had to get various documents and get them translated and notarised and sent to her fiance. He sent them back, duly approved in Germany,but the post office mislaid them, so she got them 4 days after the Albanian 3 month deadline had expired. As the German documents are valid in Germany for 6 months, they couldn't even get replacements till the 6 months were up. Albania has agreements with many countries that she will accept their documents for 6 months, but no agreement to that effect with Germany. SO my friend had to wait till the 6 months were up and her fiance sent the new documents. Then she had to renew her own expired documents, and send them back to her fiance to be validated in Germany. After which, she was able to apply for a civil marriage here. (They will have a church wedding in Germany, when she eventually gets there).
Now the fun and games continues. They decided to have the marriage early, 8.30 a.m., as she wanted to get her application for a new passport handed in that day. They asked me to be a witness. Rain was forecast for that day, but in fact we had heavy snow, with really nasty slushy roads. I had asked my neighbour to take me to the registry office in the next town, as I didn't know where it was. I was glad not to have to drive in the driving snow on slushy roads. We arrived at the registry office and had to wait about half an hour as the girl was busy with other things. Then the fun started. When she saw my passport, she explained that, as a foreigner, I could not be a witness. My neighbour had come without his identity card and they needed proof of identity for him to be a witness. They rang the registry office where he is registered, but they couldn't help for some time as their internet connection was down... Eventually they got back to us to say he was who he said he was, so we did the formalities. By now the internet was down in our registry office.

In the registry office

Eventually we left the happy couple to wait for the internet to come back, and had a nightmarish drive through terrible roads till, to my relief, we arrived home safely. The happy couple waited all morning and the internet didn't come back. Don't know why they can't get a competent provider for the local authorities. My internet seldom fails.
Next item on the agenda was a small lunch party, just the bride and groom, the bride's immediate family, the other witness' family, and me. I was dreading the journey in the snow and we thought about putting on chains as I was taking my friend's sister and family. In fact the snow suddenly decided to stop falling and start melting and the roads cleared, to my relief. The lunch was at a restaurant I had not been to before.

in the restaurant

With great difficulty my friend had persuaded her mother to come to the restaurant, with moral support from her daughter's mother in law. She's embarrassed to eat out as she has no teeth.

Sister's mother in law and mother

The food was good, and they gave us so many starters we would have been satisfied without the generous portions of meat that followed.

There was lots of meat left over, so I packed it into my doggy box and gave it to the sister's family. Albanians are embarrassed to ask for doggie bags, tho the restaurants have no objection.
Now my friend has to get her new passport. Hopefully they were able to hand in the application for that today. Then she goes to the German consulate with new passport and marriage certificate etc to apply for the visa, which will take about 7 weeks. Then I shall lose my colleague and one of my best friends here. AT about the same time another good friend should also be leaving to join her (Albanian) husband in America. I'm happy for them, but we shall miss them both.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BESSHAILE 5/11/2014 5:57AM

    Wow! What a story. I should send it to my son and daughter-in-law. She is from Romania and they had a long long wait to get all her papers stamped and approved to come here and get married. But all's well that ends well. And now you will have someone to visit if you go to Germany.

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GLORIAMAJDI 4/17/2014 7:41PM

    Best wishes to Beri for a long and happy marriage! After she leaves you will be able to look forward to her visits to Albania, or perhaps you will be able to visit her in Germany - so you are not losing a friend, she will be close at heart!

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JTREMBATH 4/17/2014 7:00PM

    emoticon to your friend.

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STUDLEEJOE 4/17/2014 6:00PM

    Congratulations to your friend.

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100 days to a new you, day 1

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Have joined 100 days to new you challenge. My goals for this challenge are
1. 30 mins exercise a day, aiming to burn 150 cals at least, but yoga OK if I cant do more, e.g. Now, recovering from flu bug
2. 5-15 mins decluttering, except when away from home
3. Blog once a week

Exercise was a habit till sabotaged by flu.
Havent blogged since January, so it will be good to get into the habit.
DECLUTTERING is the main challenge, so important for present and future happiness. I also have a deadline to turn the present junk room back into a welcoming guest room for when my sister comes to visit on 30th April. When I eventually get my bedroom decluttered, I shall reward myself with some purpose built storage units, affordable in Albania.
Incidentally yesterday I contacted a workman who measured up my balcony for transparent plastic blinds I can raise or lower according to the wind. This will give me hours more each day when I can sit outside. And enjoy the sun. I was enjoying my capuccino at one of my favourite restaurants up the mountain, sitting on the balcony on a windy day, protected by the blind. I got the name and workplace location of the chap who had installed them. We found the place ysterday morning, he came in the afternoon. He is quiet, concerned that I should choose what will make me happy, unusual in Albania, and has proved his competence by the sample of his work I appreciated at the restaurant. And not expensive. One thing I wanted done while he was here, he suggested I wait till he has done the rest and see if I still feel I need it, in which case he will happily come back. He should do the job this week or next.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLORIAMAJDI 4/15/2014 8:55AM

    Nicky, I know you are going to enjoy your sister's visit! Does she live in Britain? Good job on joining this challenge, sounds like a good one. I know that you are going to get back into your exercise routine, that flu that you had really was a rough one, just be patient with yourself, it will take some time to build back up and you are doing the yoga already so are off to a great start!

emoticon emoticon

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BABYSOX 4/15/2014 6:21AM


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KITT52 4/15/2014 5:48AM


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less haste, more speed!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The little church by the nice restaurant part way up the mountain.

My jogging is gradually getting less slow. Interestingly uninterrupted jogging for about 10 mins is a few seconds slower than either walk-jogging or walking for the same distance!
When I set off up the mountain in a leisurely manner I arrive with more breath and more speed than when I tried to get there fast!
Last year I aimed to weigh the same at end of January as I had on Christmas Eve, and then to shed a kilo a month till I hopefully reached my goal weight in the summer. I weighed less by end of January than I had before Christmas, reached my goal weight early March and shed another 2 1/2 kilo while trying to find out how to maintain. I decided 2 kilo below original goal felt right, and failed to stay there!
A calorific month in Germany in October, visiting hospitable friends and enjoying German cuisine put on about 3 kilos. Thought I's take most of it off before Christmas. Took off about one kilo in those 2 months, not helped by feeling genuinely hungry.
Now I am exercising more, repeated January Jumpstart, and seem to have shed a second kilo. One more to go! Hunger pangs have stopped, which is a blessing.
SC Mail a Coach has been a great help. My year's half price sub has ended and I have not resubscribed as the programmes no longer met my needs and the Coach's advice had taught me good principles for working out. Not once but 3 times I sabotaged my progress by overexercising. The coach patiently helped me through this each time.
I celebrated getting my 10 year residence permit, no mean feat finding our way through multiple administrative hangups with the help of an exceptionally friendly, helpful policeman... I celebrated by treating myself to a microwave, which I use more than once a day. Saves time and washing up.
Once again, many thanks to SP, and particularly to supportive friends in Losers Keepers.
Incidentally forgive me for being rotten about failing to respond to kind comments. I hope I may reform....
Petri on the mountain.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLORIAMAJDI 1/26/2014 8:10PM

    Hi Nicky! What a beautiful photo of the little church on the mountain! Just gorgeous! And I take it that Petri is one of your puppies? I think that you said your dogs are Albanian sheepdogs? He looks like a good dog!

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#backontrack progress

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jumping jack squat reps up to 30, plus 10 to make 100. Very challenging today for some reason. Pushups over the hiccough. 5 reps stretches me to my limit, but I can do it this week.
Cardio blast. Have done all the workouts and sometimes repeated one.
Fit firm and fired up. I'm working at it. I find strength exercises challenging.
Last week I had no problem burning cals, but was an hour short of minutes on Saturday afternoon, my non-cardio day! I got the car out to go into town. Then waited for a thunderstorm. It came, but wouldn't go. I realised I needed to do my shopping, so went into town despite continuing rain. I don't have really waterproof clothes. But the rain stopped soon after I got into town, so I walked around for an hour and clocked up 11000 steps.
Today after the storm it was much fresher and cooler, so I took the dogs out. Getting home was complicated. There are 2 ways home. On the first one I saw a large loose dog, on the other one was a flock of sheep, who often have dogs who are bred and trained to protect their sheep from any perceived aggressor, which would ;probably include me and my dogs! I took a round about route and eventually got the shepherd to reply to my call. He didn't have a dog, so we passed in peace.
FOOD PLANNING remains semi-organised. I have about 5 portions of chili, and 5 of couscous. Have thawed some mince, but not yet decided what to do with it. Have the wherewithal to make panzanella salad etc. And a flatfish that will do at least 2 meals. I need to get my act together and make a quiche or breakfast casserole. I've been saying that for ages.
I'm eating my 5 helpings of veg and usually 5 of grains. The grains do increase calories consumed! But my weight seems to be staying fairly constant in spite of high calorie consumption!
I need to get into the garden more.
I'm concentrating hardest on getting the exercise programme running smoothly. That's making progress.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCHNOOTIE 9/1/2013 10:06AM

    Sounds like you are an exercise warrior!!! Did you end up making those quiches for breakfast? Do you plan to freeze them so you can portion them out for breakfasts? Sounding good!

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MADEIT3 8/11/2013 3:58PM

    We live in the country and roaming dogs are such a problem. Stay safe when you walk!! You really do inspire me to walk and generally exercise more. I look forward to retiring so that I can work more in the garden, too! Have a great week!!

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