Country 15

Short post.

We have made it safely to Bulgaria, our 15th country of the trip! The border crossing from Serbia to here was the easiest we’ve encountered so far, mostly just a smile and wave after stamping our passports.

Our hosts are lovely, a British lady and her young son who are living the dream life here in Bulgaria with their dogs, cats, and horses (they have as many as we do)! I already feel super comfortable here, as these are definitely my kind of people. There’s another Brit and her two daughters living nearby; its made me a bit homesick hearing their accents and wishing for England.

Oddly, I’ve found the three kids we’ve met to be very entertaining. I’m not a kid person, as anyone who knows me is aware, and usually I tolerate children rather then enjoy their company. Maybe it’s just the British accent that has me so charmed but I was genuinely enjoying talking with them and learning about their lives here. It helps that they range from ages 8 to 11, the age group that I generally find to be the most tolerable. It will be interesting to spend more time with them.

It’s FREEZING here, the coldest weather we’ve encountered so far that we’ve had to sleep in without heat of some kind. Tomorrow we will sort that aspect out, as there is no way I can sleep in the caravan without a heat source other then the dogs and cats as the temperatures dip the deeper in to winter we get! But for tonight, I’m going to force all five cats to sleep with me and snuggle the dogs as close as I can. Wish us luck we survive till tomorrow!

Winter is Coming

Today has been an exciting day, for all the wrong reasons.  These sort of days are bound to happen on a trip as long as this one, but they sure do make us miss home sometimes.

The day started with the promise of foul weather incoming over the next few days.  This wouldn’t be a huge issue, except that Travis is leaving for the States tomorrow and flying out of Sarajevo, a three hour drive over mountains from Kupres.  The prospect of bad weather had us deciding that we had better make for Sarajevo a day early so there was no risk of Travis missing his flight.  This also meant a hotel for the night, situating the cats for a couple days on their own, and packing seven dogs in to a car that really are not keen to be crammed together for long lengths of time.  The cost of a hotel was my main concern, as my finances are strained well past the breaking point already; thank god for parents who were willing to lend a helping hand there.

On the way to Sarajevo, we made our scheduled stop in Bugojno to have Syn and Wasi seen by our vet.  Both dogs seemed stable this morning, but were clearly still not improving.  The vet diagnosed them both with Babesia, a dangerous tick borne illness that is prevalent and often fatal here in BiH.  As a precaution, he recommended treating all six of our dogs with Imizol to head it off in the others and hopefully get Syn and Wasi on the way to recovery.  Everyone but Syn reacted fine to the injection; she promptly vomited and has been going downhill ever since.  There’s nothing worse then being on the road with a sick dog, and its thousands of times worse when the thought is in the back of your head that the disease is often fatal.  However, Syn did eat a full dinner tonight, and seems to be enjoying the hotel digs (she and Wasi are even being featured on the hotel’s instagram account, check them out @hotelazizasarajevo), so we’re hoping the medication is starting to kick in.  A blood transfusion is the next step, and that’s a daunting undertaking no matter where you are, so I’m hoping hard it doesn’t come to that.

Following the vet visit, we headed to the auto shop to attempt to finally replace the battery in the Suby, which has been dying steadily since Austria.  My trusty Subaru Forester has been as amazing as anyone could ask a car to be over the last seven years.  I bought her in CA in 2012, brand new, the first vehicle I’d ever purchased.  Since then, she’s travelled not only through over 25 states with me, but also through nearly half the countries of Europe with more to come.  She’s slowing down though, and the battery isn’t the only thing that needs some help (aside from the battery, she needs a routine oil change and minor service, new brakes, and her fuel injectors are in rough shape).  We’re doing our best to get her taken care of as we can afford it.  Unfortunately, while attempting to purchase her a new battery, we discovered that there is another problem, one which we do not currently have an actual name for because the mechanic spoke no English and the auto parts clerk’s was limited to “the engine is broke.”

What that means is anyone’s guess, but it certainly wasn’t the kind of news we needed on a day when we’d already spent the little remaining savings I had left treating sickly dogs.  Worse, the mechanic refused to do any actual diagnostics because as he literally pointed out by tapping the Subaru symbol and throwing up his hands, they don’t stock parts for Suby’s here.  Another blow on an already shitty day.  Since we’re in Sarajevo and its a major city, I’m going to try to find an auto shop here that may be able to at least order the parts in, but I’ll admit that this is an area where I always feel like a fish out of water.  One of the main reasons that I opted to travel Europe in the company of my cousin was that I knew there was the chance of running in to car issues, and I wanted someone around that had some idea of what they might be talking about.  The prospect of having to deal with this alone after Travis leaves tomorrow, in a country with no Subaru dealership, and with a notable language barrier not to mention my own lack of auto knowledge has me bordering on an anxiety attack already and its still a whole sleep away.

I’m trying to remind myself that this is the sort of thing that I need to learn to face and deal with in order to grow in to the complete person I want to be.  Overcoming adversity, whether its sick dogs or a car whose “engine in broke,” is half the point of this entire trip in the first place.  But I freely admit to being nervous, even downright scared.  As of tomorrow, I’ll be entirely on my own (if I don’t count the furry crew) for the very first time since I was married over five years ago…  and it seems like the problems are piling up as fast as the snow I can smell in the air.  Winter is coming, and I’m not at all sure that I’m ready to face it.  But I guess I have to be don’t I?