Weekend Getaway

Well I’ve been in Sarajevo for about a month now and everyday has been
an adventure so far. My internship at Wings of Hope has been a great fit for
me. I love the people that I am working with and I know that when I
reflect back on this time, they will play a large role in my
experience. A large part of my internship has been getting to know
them and forming those connections that I hope to keep up after I
return home. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn more about how an
NGO in Bosnia operates including everything from program development to funding and
budgets. And next month, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to
go up in the mountains and be a part of the summer camp that Wings of
Hope runs for adolescents. During this camp, the students take classes
in various subjects, do arts and crafts and other recreational
activites. I am really looking forward to this opportunity. It will be so great to work with kids again. I miss it so much!

This past weekend, I traveled to Ljubljana, Slovenia with some other
students. It was a great experience and such a beautiful country. We
took an over night bus from Sarajevo to Ljubljana and arrived there on
a Friday morning. We spent the first two days exploring the city,
which was beautiful. Exploring the city was like being in a fairytale.

It felt much more like a Western European city to me.
When the former Yugoslavia broke up, a war broke out in Slovenia, but
it only lasted for 10 days, so there is not any visible destruction
left from that time, which is quite the opposite of what we see in
Bosnia. Slovenia has also been a part of the EU for 7 years and
financially is much more well off than Bosnia. These differences
between the countries struck me as soon as I got off of
the bus and I continued to notice them throughout the trip. On Sunday,
we went on an organized tour that took us to the caves, located about
an hour from Ljubljana. These caves were amazing and so incredibly big. After
the caves, we drove to the coast of Slovenia. Much to our surprise,
this drive included a quick trip through Italy and we didn’t even
have to pass through a border control or anything like that. We spent
the rest of the afternoon hanging out on the coast, which was nice and
relaxing. There is something about being close to water that
immediately puts me at ease. On Monday, we woke up to a stormy day,
which we were worried would put a damper on our plans to visit Lake
Bled. However, we decided to brave the bad weather and caught a bus to
Bled. Even though it was overcast, it was still an incredible
sight. The water was a distinct emerald color and the island with the
castle in the middle of the lake added to the picturesque scenery.
After walking around the lake for a bit and renting a row boat to get
to the island in the middle (unsuccessfully), we caught a bus back to
Ljubljana. That night we caught another night bus back to Sarajevo and
when I arrived on Tuesday morning, I definitely had the feeling that I
was back home, which was a great feeling!

The time is flying by. I can’t believe we only have a few weeks left.
I’m already not looking forward to leaving. I’ve traveled to many places around
the world, but there is definitely something about this place that
continues to draw me to it, so I am going to take that as a sign that
I need to come back!

I can’t post pictures until I get back to the States and my camera cord, but trust me Ljubljana was gorgeous, hopefully my pics can capture some of its beauty.

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One thought on “Weekend Getaway

  1. First, thanks for sharing your experience as well as the blog. I can relate to so much of what you shared i.e. the thoughts of being locked into time, the hospitality of the culture, working in the community, learning how to make do with less, etc.. Things are slow to change in that part of the world. I was assigned to Incirlik, TURKEY at the Air Base as a LCSW in the early 1990’s just after the Gulf War and worked with the Community Health Nurse in the local schools. a lot of challenges for sure. I enjoyed the people and the culture i.e.learning thei language, shopping in their markets, partaking of ekmek while while learning how content they are with the slow pace of life that they live, the calling to prayer five times a day.. It gave me more patience and insight than I would have had not living in the village among the people themselves. To this day I treasure those memories and still have contacts there. Infact, one of the children I befriended is now 31 yo., married with three children and has found me on Face Book.
    I will look forward to further writings you may execute.

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