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Tina Jones Jovanovic

My name is Tina Jones Jovanovic.

My husband and I started splitting our time between the US and Serbia two years ago. This is my husband’s home country.

What challenges did I face during the move? It was a HUGE culture shock for me. The first five and a half months were torture. The food, the language, shopping, everything was different.How did you find somewhere to live?

When we first came we were living in a condo my husband’s parents owned, and we still are, but we are looking to buy a house of our own here.

Are there many other expats in your area?

There is one other woman like me from Africa. But we don’t have much contact. Unfortunately our lives are very different. She has kids and we don’t. But she is lovely!

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What is your relationship like with the locals?

Some of the locals are my family, and I get on with them all beautifully. I am lucky to have a wonderful bunch of in-laws. The rest of the people seems generally nice. I have made great friends. I am friendly, so I can get on well anywhere.

What do you like about life where you are?

The fresh baked bread everyday is one of my favorite things. But I love that there is a slower pace in my little town. There is time for having coffee with friends and rarely is there a rush for anything.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Serbia is a poor country, the economy is suffering hugely. As a result, there is no movie theater in my town. Men are out to coffee while women stay at home with the kids. The hospital in my little town may have computers, but I haven’t seen any. I guess, I miss the every day things from the US that are luxuries here.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Think hard before you live abroad. It sounds exciting and is a romantic idea, but the realities are more often exhausting. Do research! Contact expats in the country that you are looking at. read blogs about those who are living in that country. Get a Kindle or any other Ebook, if you are going to a country that isn’t friendly to your native tongue.

What are your plans for the future?

We are not sure. But it is great to have this opportunity.

Tina shares more "ups and downs" as life as an expat in Serbia through her blog Chronicles of Serbia