I can’t believe it’s my birthday! I feel this year is passing by so quick. When I was a kid I felt I was waiting 100 years until my next birthday comes. Today I feel birthdays arrive way too quickly. Since it is my birthday this week, I thought I would share 10 interesting things about me! So here we go!
1. I am born and raised in Serbia. Not Syria, nor Siberia but Serbia :). For those of you that are unfamiliar with this country’s name it’s understandable. Serbia is a very small new country located in the Balkans. Serbia used to be a part Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). After the collapse of the country in the early 90’s, Serbia became its own country. Those times were very rough and hard on all the people in ex SFRY country. War. Brutal economic crises & inflation. The only thing people could think of is “how do I survive this and feed my family.” At that time, I was a baby and couldn’t comprehend all that. Today I do and can hardly imagine my parents going thru all that. I will forever be grateful for all the sacrifice my parents made for me and my siblings.
2. As a toddler I was a wild child. Sitting in one place was not my thing. My mom said she needed to plan my day in 30 minutes blocks since I would get bored very easily and move to the next thing before you know it. You can’t imagine all the activities and things my parents had to do to keep me entertained. At one point my mom got me two pet rabbits, because, you know, dogs and cats were just too boring. I wanted a rabbit for some reason. During my first 5 years Serbia was wracked by war. We lived in a tiny village far from any big cities or areas of strategic importance. It was the safest place to be. I had a DREAM childhood. My parents didn’t own the farms & lands, but our neighbors did. Our neighbors frequently took me with them during their daily work on the farm to milk the cows, feed the chickens, pick apples, harvesting blackberries and raspberries, make Rakia (traditional Serbian drink made of plumbs) and so on. I also spent a lot of time hanging out with the many village kids. We would have garlic eating competitions to see who could eat most garlic. You can’t imagine how bad my breath smelled. I loved my childhood – I truly enjoyed it. The quote “It takes a village to raise a child” was a true statement when it comes to raising me. Thank you, mom, dad, & all the neighbors for putting up with me!
3. I am the oldest child. Yes, the one that got spanked the most, had the strictest rules to follow and got blamed for all the things younger siblings did and didn’t do 😀 I have a brother David who is five years younger than me and a sister Sofija who’s 11 years younger than me. Ultimately, I believe Sofija was born because I wanted us be like the cartoon family The Simson’s LOL. Seriously, I was obsessed with that show and wanted to have a younger sister so bad. When Sofija was born and came home from the hospital, I was so obsessed with her that I would stair at her in her crib for hours. I didn’t want to go outside to play with friends because I had a real baby at home. Everything else seemed boring. Thank God it was summer break. I love my brother and sister very much.
4. I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirt from a very young age. Once the war was over we moved to the city. I started first grade and spent most of my free times with my cousins. We were all close in and had lots of things in common. As soon as I would finish with school around 12pm, I would run home, do my homework very quick and be ready to play by 1:00 pm. That’s when I start expressing my entrepreneurial spirt. I was always on the go with many ideas in my head. Once I opened a “restaurant” in our backyard with my cousin. Our customers were our moms and dads, but we thought we were pretty successful. Our next innovations were handmade toys from old socks, buttons, and ribbons, that sold pretty good until one lady stole $10 that we earn working very hard for the whole day. That was very disappointing, but it was a good lesson.
5. My genetic lineage is a mix of all Balkan people, Italian, Polish, and Jewish. I discovered this when my husband and I took the 23&me DNA test. Even though I was born in the territory of Serbia I am a little bit of everything. It is easy to understand this when you study Serbian history – Serbia has been conquered many times. I highly recommend taking this test. You will be amazed by all the things you discover about yourself.
6. As a child I always had way too much energy. My mom signed me up for all kinds of activities – dance, choir, karate, modeling, extra English classes and so on until I settled for volleyball at the age of 11. I played volleyball for 12 years. Volleyball taught me many life lessons that helped me thru life latter on. I believe team sports are very beneficial while growing up. You learn how to work with others to achieve a common goal. You learn how to win and more importantly lose. Most importantly you learn to be tough. I am also a huge soccer fun and always look forward to the next world cup.
7. One of my favorite quotes is “Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” Don Miguel Ruiz This quote always keeps me grounded in staying focused on myself and living my life for me on my terms. This doesn’t mean I’m self-absorbed and Narcissistic, but rather I refuse to lose myself in other’s thoughts and impressions of me. I choose to be happy and fulfilled on my terms.
8. My three core principals by which I live my life are personal responsibility, personal accountability and individual liberty.
– Responsibility means recognizing you have the ability to act upon a situation or an act you made directly relates to an outcome. It means recognizing you have the power to create outcomes in your life.
– Accountability means you are willing to own and pay for the outcomes in your life associated with your actions or lack thereof.
– Liberty may only be truly achieved through being totally and actively responsible and accountable for your life. This means you must be willing to accept responsibility and accountability for every thought, word, and deed.
9. After living 9 years in the United States of America, I am totally “Americanized.” I love my Starbucks, Amazon, Target, Home Goods, and Chick-Fil-A. My Serbian parents think I’m totally spoiled. I came here as a teenager – American culture soaked into like I was a dry sponge. Also, my husband is American, so I guess that adds to the whole picture of me being “Americanized.” I love and appreciate this great country. I am in awe of the brilliance of the American founders and their creation of our founding documents.
10. I truly believe in writing your own life story – being the captain of your own ship of destiny. This really relates back to points number 7 and 8. Each of us needs to live life on our own terms. Our lives are ours to shape. We may not control where, when, or with whom we begin our lives, but we certainly control the course of our life and where we end it. Once we embrace the idea that we have the power to control our lives by accepting our Response-Ability and developing the will to hold ourselves to account, we liberate ourselves from our most enslaving weaknesses. When we free ourselves from self-imposed constraints, we become co-creators with the universe.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post!