OK - one morning we're sitting around the table under the arbor with friends drinking coffee, and we start talking about a billboard we saw on the way home from Nis the night before. It said (in English): Brain Rules Force Timber Push.
What? The Serbs all started trying to explain -- talking at the same time in those loud voices that makes our friend Paul tell his Serb girlfriend "When I learn Serbian - don't talk to me like you're mad."
What they decided was that it was a VERY literal translation of our saying Mind Over Matter. Get it? Pretend the word timber means "large log". Now do you get it? It took more words than I feel like typing, but trust me -- it works.
That started us thinking... what other Serbian gems might we need to know? Here are a few that our friends came up with:
"Pomesaj Se Sa Mekinje, Pojesce Te Svinje" If You Mix With Slop, The Pigs Will Eat You. (Choose your friends wisely)
"Ko Sadi Hkve Sa Djavolom O Glavu Mu Se Lupaju." Who Plants Pumpkins With The Devil Will Get Hit In The Head With These Pumpkins (I think this is basically the same, but it's so very pumpkin-specific that I can't be sure. Maybe it only applies to farmers, or to Halloween?)
"I Crna Krava Belo Mleko Daje." Even A Black Cow Gives White Milk (Self-explanatory, even to girls from LA who don't milk cows)
"Ili Jare Ili Pare" The Money Or The Goat (You can't have your cake and eat it too) This one is terrific because it sounds so cool when you say it. Our kids hate it already.
Here's another billboard we saw, again in English, that we haven't figured out yet, so all you Serbs out there -- explain please: Hard To Frog Force In Water.