Sunday, June 16, 2013

Trip to Kosovo

Dear Sophie, Today is Father's Day, and we are catching up. On sleep (you're napping right now). On time with Daddy (because he's been away for two weeks teaching in Chicago). On the rental property (Daddy is cleaning up the remnants of a big tree that fell down during the storm). On Mommy's blog about you (because we've been so busy, especially with our 11 day trip to Kosovo). The last time I wrote here was about three months ago.

I will be surprised if you remember on your own our March 15 - 26 trip to Kosovo, so I'd like to share with you how it went. Along with you, Daddy, and me, Grandpa Mike ventured with us. You were quite the little traveler. Flying to Skopje, Macedonia, our airport destination city, was a day long process, followed by couple of hours' drive to Brezovica, Serbia (Kosovo), where Uncle Chris, Auntie Jelena, and Cousin Iva live. You did well on the long flight (from Washington D.C. to Istanbul, Turkey), only getting cranky and restless in the last 20 minutes (and frankly, who among us wasn't cranky at that point!). For the most part, though, you slept, and when you were awake, we entertained you with movies and TV shows on the iPad.

The purpose of our trip was to visit your baby cousin, Iva, for the first time. Baby Iva and her parents live in Brezovica, in a village nestled in the mountains of the country Kosovo (or Serbia, as it is known by the residents of Brezovica). We spent the first three days of our vacation in Brezovica, playing with Iva and her doggy Kenny, and enjoying the mountain life. Then Uncle Chris, Grandpa Mike, Daddy, you and I took to the road in a big eight-passenger van to visit some Adriatic coastal cities: Budva, Herceg Novi, Kotor, and Petrovac in Montenegro; and Dubrovnik in Croatia. It rained on us in Herceg Novi and in Dubrovnik, but we persisted in making the best of it, having the time of our lives, and taking probably a thousand pictures to capture it all. After concluding our time in Dubrovnik, we returned to Brezovica to spend the last day and a half with Auntie Jelena and baby Iva, who celebrated her 6-month birthday.

Perhaps the most memorable moment on our trip was in Dubrovnik. It was one of the rainy days, and we had gathered in a hall of the hotel to look through our guide book and find something indoors to do. Your daddy had taken you to change your diaper in the mens room, and after leaving you with us, he excused himself for his own restroom break. In that moment, Grandpa and I looked at you, and then we turned our gaze back to the travel book. Never did we think you would walk away from us. Daddy came back from the restroom, and not seeing you at the table with us, asked where you were. Grandpa and I had not realized you were gone! Daddy and mommy ran all over that floor of the hotel, in the bathrooms, in the hotel office, looking for you. We checked outside, as the door was wide open and you could have run out into the street on your own. We yelled and yelled for you. Daddy was quite angry - at the circumstances and at me - and thinking of all the worst possible scenarios. Finally, I heard a faint little voice that I thought was coming from up the stairs. I went up three flights before finding you, sitting calmly on the top step of the third level. Out of breath, I asked, "Sophie, what are you doing?" "Wooking Daddy," you answered with sincerity. You were looking for your Daddy. Daddy blames me, and I blame him. We laugh about it now, but we certainly weren't laughing at the time.

Other than that one incident, we had a wonderful time. And even now, you say, "Mommy, I want to go back to Uncle Chris' house." It was a very special trip for many reasons: spending time with family and seeing an amazing part of the world.

I am short on time (you've woken up from your nap), so I will wrap this letter up. As I look back through our photos of the trip, I am very pleased. My dear tiny one, I am so very grateful that you took everything in stride and remained an easy traveler for the whole trip. It would have been ruinous if you had been an unhappy tourist. Thank you for being so flexible. I hope that characteristic stays with you throughout your life.

Daddy is so lucky to have a daughter like you. Today should be Happy Father and Daughter Day.

Love, Mommy

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