"Really, Lana, you've never had your electricity rationed? Hasn't the American government ever just . . . you know. . . shut off your power without warning?" All eyes were on me as I awkwardly replied, "Well, sure my power has gone out before . . . but only because a tree fell on a power line, or a drunk driver ran into a nearby utility pole. The utility companies always scramble to get the electricity working because they lose money every second that the power is out."
I quickly learned that there is no such thing as a private utility company here.
In Serbia, the government owns the "utility company."
Because of the overwhelming snow fall, the Serbian government worried that the power grid would fail, so their tried-and-true-age-old solution: power rations.
I guess it's normal and expected here.
A few nights ago - around dinner time - Chris and I were finishing cleaning up the kitchen when the lights suddenly turned off. No warning, no flickering, just complete darkness. I peeked outside and realized that we were not the only ones without power; complete darkness enveloped the entire city.
In the eerie light of Chris' computer I stumbled around for a lighter and candles. Thanks to Pinterest, my love of red wine, and a whole lot of free time on my hands, I had decorative "candle-holder-wine-bottles" just in case.
They make for great decorations as well.
Chris and I looked at each other and started laughed, "so this must be the power rationing that Subotica had been threatening." We had no idea how long we would be living by candle light, so we snuggled up and watched a movie on the laptop. I made a mental note that we should always keep the laptop fully charged just in case the rationing continued through the dwindling winter months.
I realized in that moment, that there would be no utility company scrambling to restore light to the city of Subotica. No private company was losing money in this blackout. In Serbia, when the lights go out, the government lets out a sigh of relief; they are saving money.
Luckily our first "power rationing experience" only lasted an hour, but everyone around town keeps whispering that it will get worse before it gets better.
Ohhhh well, at least I have a whole lot of candles and a best friend by my side.
After all, it is a little romantic.
Positive thinking, positive thinking!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you are staying warm and that your home is well lit!
Cao from Serbia!