I arrived back in Denver late last night to the quick-moving, loud and very convenient United States. Like everyone who re-enters, today has been a bit of a fog and a jumble of emotions. I have been thinking about the blogs that I meant to write about Srebrenica, Lukomir, the all night pekara (bakery) and the young man at the book fair who bought me pastries after we talked for a long time. He told me about the reasons that he gave up an opportunity to study medicine at John Hopkins so that he could return to Sarajevo and care for his ailing mom. He now makes a living any way that he can, including selling books at an occasional book fair. I also intended to blog about climbing one of the steep hills in Sarajevo, stopping to buy fresh pizza and somun (bread made for Ramadan) along the way, and ending up in the walls of an Ottoman ruin. Up there, above the city, a cannon is fired every night at sundown to signal the end of the fast during Ramadan. As the cannon fires, the lights of the city below come up and the ezan (call to prayer) can be heard from all of mosques that are in the surrounding area. Our last night was during the full moon.
My favorite idea for a “blog that never was” involved the names of some of my friends in Bosnia. In the U.S. I have friends named Carol, Michele, David, Lindsay, John, Marsha, and Steve. You don’t tend to find these names in Sarajevo but you will find Sanela, Sefko, Raza, Nedim, Braco, Jadranka, Naida, Sead, Kerim, Osman, Muhammad, Zine,—different names, different cultures, all great people.
Today while driving around Denver which was warm and sunny and beautiful, I felt a rush of excitement to be home, followed by an intense longing to be back in Sarajevo. I don’t want to lose the feeling of being enveloped by that city and its people but it seems that I have to let it fade at least a bit in order to rejoin life in Denver.